Intimate love — 02 November 2003
How to get in the mood for sex

How to get in the mood for sex

OK ladies, this column is for you. We all know that most men are always in the mood for sex. Women are a different story.

Men say that they can not understand what women want and why they need mood setting to get ready for making love.

Well, here are some partial explanations. First, women need to feel loved to be comfortable in proceeding with sex. Most women were taught that there are “good girls” and “bad girls”. Good girls go to bed with men who love them; bad girls go to bed with men. Since most women want to be good, they must first ascertain that their men love them.

This is a daunting task since love does not come with appropriate gauges, thermometers or other scientific appliances.
Love must be intuited from words and behaviors. Thus men are constantly asked to prove their love.

If a man and a woman are feuding, the man may desire sex immediately after the fight to feel reassured that his partner accepts and forgives him. Most women are least likely to be receptive to love making after a fight, since this is the time when they are most unsure of their lovers’ affection. Love making for women is a part of a loving relationship.

Biologically, men and women are sexually programmed very differently. Men are easily aroused and quick to climax. They are very visual and stimulated by sexy materials or an attractive female passer by. Women, on the other hand, are slow to become aroused and slower in reaching a climax. At the same time women may climax several times, while men’s peaks are sequential and require a rest period in between climaxes.

We also know that men and women’s desire levels are different. Research found that both genders have the same half dozen sex hormones, but in varying degrees. Testosterone, which fuels the sex drive for both males and females, is ten to twenty times more prevalent in men than in women. That accounts for the much higher sexual desire in men.

Another factor that interferes with getting in the mood is women’s lives.Though men and women may be equally busy, men are able to concentrate and focus on one issue at a time, while women are better at multi-tasking. Doing several things at once, comprehending various demands and attending to them simultaneously- is easier for females than for males. This tendency to absorb many details in the environment which may need attention, is well suited for a nurturer, caregiver and child care person, which historically been the realm of women.

When a woman’s attention is divided between many daily demands, and pleasing others, it may be more difficult for her to narrow her attention and focus on self pleasure. It also requires more time and special calming circumstances to slow down the preoccupation with everyone else’s needs.

In order to focus on herself, a woman may need time away from home, a nice meal, candles, soothing loving words, and a romantic setting, to name a few. All these serve as changes from daily responsibility and provide a calming atmosphere, reassurance of being loved, and permission for the woman to focus on herself. These and other forms of foreplay feel needed for women to get in touch with their femininity and sexuality.

Another troubling area for many women is their critical view of their bodies. Most women view their bodies as less than ideal. Since the largest sex organ is the brain, thinking ill of her body makes a woman less inclined to share it in love. Research found that men are much more positive and accepting of their partners’ physique than their women are of themselves. When a woman doubts her sexual appeal it is harder for her to accept the enthusiasm of her partner as healthy lust. She is more inclined to assume that he shares her view of her body and ignores his concerns because he is selfishly driven by sexual impulses.

Between the biological slow arousal programming, family demands, seeing love making within the context of being loved, the need for relaxation and permission to focus on herself, a low regard for her sexual appeal, it is no wonder that women find it difficult to get in the mood for sex.

So what is a woman to do?

® Trust that your man does love you. Allow your intuition to confirm it.
® Avoid “testing” his love. Accept what he can give and cherish it.
® Understand that the differences in arousal are biologically programmed. Do not label his sexual interest as lascivious.
® Realize that your arousal is your own responsibility.
® Find what turns you on-create it and ask for his cooperation.
® Begin to turn yourself on early in the day by thoughts of love, positive images of your lover, and soothing scenarios.
® Give yourself permission to focus on yourself. A pleased woman is a better nurturer.
® Think positively of your body. Concentrate on the attractive parts of your physique. Remember that a “perfect body” is not a prerequisite for a satisfying sex life. (A visualizing exercise for body acceptance can be found in Patricia Love’s “Hot Monogamy” book).
® See getting in the mood – not as an accommodation to your mate- but as a treat for yourself.
® A healthy sex life enhances yourself, your partner and elevates your relationship to a higher level of connection and intimacy.

® Get in the mood – its good for you!

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About Author

Offra Gerstein, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in clinical practice in Santa Cruz, California for over 25 years, and specializes in relationship issues for couples and individuals for improved quality of life. Her work includes: mate selection, marriage, long term relationships, gay and lesbian couples, work relationships, parenting issues, family interactions, friendships, and conflict resolutions. Offra has lectured extensively to various groups, conducted support groups for several organizations, and has been writing a weekly column "Relationship Matters" for the Santa Cruz Sentinel since 2001.

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