The Sexual Expectations of Men and Women
While women learn to give priority to the romantic and bonding aspects of the love relationship and to deny the sexual and genital aspects, men learn to develop a preference for the latter and to repress the bonding aspect. Unfortunately these different learning experiences of men and women frequently produce misunderstandings and differences in desire in a couple.
On the one hand, the fact that only one aspect of sexuality is accepted at the expense of the other leads to sexual experiences which can only be partially fulfilling for women and for men. On the other hand, because the aspect privileged by one of the partners is the one denied by the other, men and women come to have a different understanding of sexuality and consequently develop different expectations.
These different expectations are often the cause of friction in a couple as each partner believes that his or her way of sexual expression is better than that of the other. The friction occurs when each partner tries to convince the other one that his/her point of view is better. Thus, women would like their partners to be nothing other than all tender and loving during sexual activities, while men wish that their partners were able to engage in sex for the sake of sex.
As each partner has learned to deny the aspect of sexuality privileged by the other, it becomes very difficult for the partners to respond to each other's requests. For such a response to occur, it would be necessary that each partner questions what s/he has learned as appropriate and correct, and this would be very uncomfortable as, in doing so, each partner would have to face a feeling of being incorrect. The man is likely to feel that his masculinity is being jeopardized; the same for the woman about her feminity.
Thus, a woman who wishes to learn to integrate the sexual and genital aspects into her sexuality will be afraid, at least at first, of feeling “dirty” and “bad”, because an “honest” woman is not supposed to love genital sexual pleasure.
Similarly, a man who wishes to integrate tenderness into the sexual activities he has with his partner will be afraid of being perceived as unmanly since a man is not supposed to express his emotions (even when he would like to).
First stepIt then becomes necessary for men and women to recognize that the partner’s way of experiencing sexuality is complimentary to theirs and that both would gain by integrating the other’s approach into their own way of experiencing sexuality. Even so, this recognition is only the first step in a long process of integration of the two aspects of sexuality within a person's and a couple's sexuality that becomes a source of pleasure and fulfillment.
The husband and wife first have to learn to identify how they feel toward their own sexuality and toward the other's requests. They also have to learn to speak openly to each other about what they are experiencing during the sexual activities they have together.
In this way, each of them will become comfortable with his or her exploration of the other’s sexuality, an area which had always been the other person’s exclusive domain. Eventually, when the woman succeeds in fully expressing the purely sexual nature of her sexuality and the man succeeds in freely expressing the emotional and tender aspects of love-making, the spouses will be more inclined to share a common bond in love-making.
In this way, each one will gradually become comfortable in his/her exploration of what had always been the territory of the other. Eventually, when the woman succeeds in freely expressing the sexual/genital part of her sexuality and when the man succeeds in freely expressing his emotions of love and tenderness during sexual activities, the two lovers become more apt to share a sexuality that will fulfill them both, both because each one will be more able to meet the other one's requests and because sexuality will be experienced in a more complete way for each one of the two partners.