Secrets Few Women Know about the Nuances of Male Desire
“We’ve got this stereotype about male desire being constant and unwavering. More recently, we’ve got #MeToo highlighting stories of men’s sexual desire being dangerous, toxic and about power. But what else is going on?” –Sarah Hunter Murray
Male Lust: the Stereotype
Across many cultures, men are often seen as constantly on the hunt for sexual satisfaction. The jokes and one-liners abound:
· Men are led around by their d*cks.
· With men, the little head rules the big head.
· All men are wolves.
· A man will do or say anything to get in your pants.
And so on.
In the film Long Nights, Short Mornings, the lead male character literally spends all day every day trying to hook up with any woman he sees. He seems to have no personality, no ambition, no character, nothing but an endless drive to enjoy as many women as he can throughout each day and night. Uh..oh…that’s definitely not male desire.
With seemingly little work to do, his overwhelming lust powers him around the clock. The “body count” of sexual conquests rises so high that it’s hard to keep track. This, supposedly, is more or less the typical man of the 21stcentury. But is it true?
In a Globe and Mail article from July of last year, Winnipeg relationships therapist Sarah Hunter Murray takes these stereotypes to task. She finds a much more complex picture of male desire, as well as how men feel about romance, relationships, and communication. In Murray’s book Not Always in The Mood: The New Science of Men, Sex, and Relationship, she outlines why many of our assumptions about men are wrong, and even harmful.
The Globe article encapsulates the research of Murray, as well as several other researchers, and we summarized their findings below.
Men and Low Male Desire:
“The myth is that men are a sex toy that you can pull out of your closet and it’s always ready to go when you are. Well, no, that’s not actually the case.” –CJ
As any porn movie director can tell you, men in adult film worldwide have one very special talent: they can get fully aroused on command. The talent is special because even the randiest guy usually cannot manage the feat.
This is particularly the case when youth—and its constant super flood of accompanying testosterone, as well as plenty of free time—ends. Adulthood brings career, marriage, and personal life stresses which in turn affects male desire.
As CJ (41) a government employee in St. John’s said, “If your time and energy is spent on the adulting – paying bills, working overtime, trying to keep your energy up for elderly parents or young kids – is there really time to connect emotionally and build that bridge that ends up in the bedroom?”
Although women are often stereotyped as moody, hormonal or emotional, and hence disinclined toward sex, the same holds true for the male of our species. Male desire is also affected by various factors.
Male desire can be lowered by the particular dramas of the day, be it from a frustrating project at work or an argument with a relative. Adam (67) a retiree in Kitchener, Ontario, elaborated on this phenomenon by stating,
“If I’m focused on something or upset about something at work, I just want to be alone or work something out in my head. You don’t want to have any kind of interaction with anybody.”
This makes intuitive sense to those of us who are married or in committed relationships: a guy who has had a failure in the office or a visit to a sick relative in the hospital will rarely come home in the mood for a hot session on the mattress. Male desire will definitely be on the low.
Murray summed up the situation by saying, “Men’s sexual desire is not a static trait that never changes and is impermeable to outside influences. We’ve gotten used to talking about the complexities of women’s desire being affected by how much sleep they’re getting, how much stress they’re under or by being a parent, but we simply don’t talk about this with men.”
Most people remember the scene in When Harry Met Sally where Meg Ryan fakes a climax in a restaurant, showing how easily women can fool men into thinking they’re satisfied, if only to get the guy to roll off and let them get to sleep.
Surprisingly, the Globe article notes that men can sort of reverse-engineer this same process: seeing you aroused, they can then work themselves up to a state of arousal themselves, work on you with feigned interest until you’re satisfied, and then themselves roll off and start snoring.
Why? For the same reasons we do: they’re tired, they’re stressed, they’ve got other things on their mind, they know you fake it sometimes so they figure this time they’d better return the favor. Basically, they understand you want it and they feel obligated to give it. Male desire is actually pretty similar to female desire.
Added to all that is the pressure for men to live up to the sexual werewolf reputation that they’re supposed to have. As CJ detailed, “It’s almost on a scale of 1 to 10. I’m not really there but I’m at a 6 and a half so I can go along with it. Other times you kind of take one for the team, realizing that she’s probably done the same thing for you.”
Men Like to Be Checked Out
Believe it or not, men want to be valued for their looks. Unlike us, men rarely fish for compliments, saying something like, “Do I look handsome in this?” So it’s up to you to speak first and say, “You look handsome in that.” According to Murray, if you want your guy genuinely turned on and ready to rock by evening, you should compliment him during the day.
Alexander (22) a Toronto student, explained how great he feels when his girlfriend does this for him. “We have better sex when she’s complimented me and encouraged me. It changes the whole tone of the evening. If a woman initiates even just one component of sex, that is the biggest vote of confidence.” That is crucial to building male desire.
Research backs up what Alexander says. One Journal of Sexual Medicine study showed men having the same need for validation as women. “We used to think that women just wanted to be romanced and men just care about sex. That’s not true. Men want to feel wanted as well, and for women to show interest in them,” University of Waterloo researcher Siobhan Sutherland explained.
“Life is being here in bed with you. Everything else is just waiting.” –Michael Fassbender, from The Counselor
It’s commonly thought that, for men, attraction toward women is based entirely on the superficial: nice skin, big breasts, long legs and the other eye candy. Men are supposed to be uninterested in conversation, emotions, or anything else.
Their primary goal is convincing you to unzip your dress so that they can romp among your delights. Men are supposed to yawn at things like romantic walks, romantic comedies, poetry, flowers and any and all such girly things. After all, what need does a wolf have for poetry?
The Globe article identifies this common notion as all wrong. In fact, Murray’s findings surprised even herself, as she discovered that men enjoyed date nights, emotional talks, and long walks—just like women.
Murray confessed, “To hear men talking about romantic and sweet things about their partner that turn them on, it challenged my own assumptions. When we have a limited belief about what turns our partner on, we unfortunately miss the more complex, nuanced, and meaningful ways that he feels desire for us.”
Men and Women: both human beings
Ultimately, the researchers featured in the Globe article proved that men and women have much more in common that we might otherwise believe—and this commonality extends to sexual and romantic desires. To paraphrase Murray, men are not from Mars and Women are not from Venus. Rather, we are all from Planet Earth.
So what’s your action plan?
Now that you know your guy is much more complex than you may have imagined, it could be the perfect time to put some more twists, turns, excitement, and depth in your relationship.
If you’re in the mood for some heat in the bedroom this evening, try to put him in the mood first. Drop a compliment or two, telling him how good he looks with that new tie or pair of pants.
Don’t assume your guy is eager to see that newest war or cop movie—perhaps he’d be excited to accompany you to the latest rom-com or tearjerker. Find new keys to arouse his male desire, and you’ll find your relationship and sex life take off in new ways.
Solo and looking? Build up your confidence to make the first move—or at least learn how to romantically flirt. Still not sure what might get the boyfriend or hubby going (or attract the guy you want)? Contact us and we can give you some juicy tidbits and what to say and do.