There are lots of rock songs about a woman getting sexually excited about a man while at the same time her head says, “No.” Is this a verifiable biological phenomenon or is it all just in a woman’s mind?
The fact is that scientists have discovered that women’s YES/NO sex debates stem from the very core of their biological processes. It is not something women simply conjure up in their minds. In fact, studies show that it is common for a woman to feel the maybe-yes/maybe-no debate up to 20% of the times she’s sexually aroused. That is why she should not be guilt tripped by the whole thing when she decides to say “No.”
To better understand the YES/NO sexual debate, let’s compare the differences between the way women and men get turned on:
• Women Evaluate Potential Sexual Encounters on Two Different Levels. This creates two different takes on the situation: the physical and the emotional. These two perspectives arise from two semi-independent biological processes. So it’s natural that, on occasion, a woman will have conflicting feelings about sex—the physical feelings of arousal won’t match her emotional feelings about having sex. In certain situations, a woman may be focusing on the emotional content so intently that she may not even notice she that is physically aroused.
• Men Have Comparatively Fewer Conflicting Feelings About Sex. Men’s emotional responses about sex are often more closely aligned with their physical responses. That means that a man generally has a hard time arguing against his erection. Men, of course, are aware of the deeper emotional aspects of sexual relations. But they are not wired to closely monitor the difference between their emotional and physical feelings the way women are.
• Women Have Distinct Feelings of Physical Togetherness. Women tend to focus on the whole act of sexual engagement—that it is two bodies together, getting it on. During sexual relations, women are aware of how they are physically positioned and what is happening to them. A woman’s experience is also affected by her partner’s movements and actions. This means that a woman’s sexual arousal can reflect the overall toss, turn, and tumble of both bodies—reflecting the feeling of being physically together. Men, on the other hand, feel more independent during the early aspects of sex, like actors performing, where they have to stay on top of their job or they might lose it.
• Men Are Aroused By Bodies and Faces. In contrast to women, men generally do not focus so much on the sexual activity itself. Rather, they focus on a woman’s body and face, and how that stimulus rattles their genitals. Also, a man’s awareness is more self-focused when contrasted to a woman’s. This may give the impression that men need to take charge of the sexual activity—as if testosterone propels them to be sexually aggressive. But scientists have shown that this is not true. Rather, an amyloid protein regulates men’s sexual potency, and sexual aggressiveness is not related to testosterone levels whatsoever. Instead, aggressiveness is the product of a man’s values and his life experiences, not some innate compulsion to copulate with everything that’s around him.
• Women’s Feelings of Excitement are Conditional. Women’s emotional urges to have sex are generally dependent on the situation that she finds herself in. It’s normal for a woman to be thinking: “Is it safe, interesting? … ah, just too cool.” The relationship itself also matters to a woman. This is why women are concerned about men being friendly, helping, and cooperative partners. These things tend to make sex an intimate emotional act that takes place with a particular partner. Sex is generally personalized, in other words, unless a woman suppresses these natural emotions so that she can have the sexual experience without the feeling of attachment.
• A Man May Have Limited Emotional Engagement. Men get emotionally involved when they are in love and when their family-feeling buttons get pressed. So there are times when a man isn’t aware of his emotional involvement in a sexual relationship until after it grows on him. Men, like women, are hit with bonding hormones when they reach orgasm. That makes them want to be with their partners. But some men have been raised to suppress those innate feelings.
• Sexual Arousal is Just Half the Ballgame. Sexual relationships don’t take place in a relationship vacuum—unless you and your partner are working hard at having no strings attached. Sometimes, of course, no-strings-attached does not work out that way, and a person feels lousy afterwards. That’s because you slip and get emotionally involved and maybe guilt-trip yourself over it. That happens because there are five relationship feelings that can engage when you are being intimate with a partner: the sexual feeling, the in-love feeling, feelings of friendship, the feeling of being a couple, and the feeling of wanting to help each other out. This is why, from a biological standpoint, sex doesn’t always happen in an emotional black out.
• Dealing with ‘YES-NO’ Sexual Cues. A woman cannot simply change who she is to accommodate a man’s sexual interests. And she shouldn’t have to. When a woman is feeling the Yes-No debate, she really is not ready for sex. She needs time and her own space to understand what she is feeling. While she cannot argue with his erection, she can talk around it. So switching the topic and simply moving on to some other activity is her best recourse for the moment. A man who isn’t obsessed like an addict about sex should be able to move forward with her. Men who demand sex, and keep track of the sexually exciting females, are sex addicts.
• Machismo and Sex Addictions. Some men refuse to listen when a woman signals she’s not interested in having sex. They will badger and harass her because they want a quick sex fix to escape their feelings of frustration, anger, and powerlessness. Or, they enjoy exploiting and hurting women, and feel entitled to do so. For them, sex is not about the woman at all—it’s about the expression of male power and the use of force. Today, the majority of young men are not trained to think this sort of macho behavior is normal the way some of their fathers did. And most women won’t tolerate it. Yet, with half the world’s population, sexual exploitation is the norm.
• Men and Women Reach Orgasm on Different Pathways. Women, more so than men, have a Yes/No debate going on in their minds before they consent to sex. That reflects, in part, nature’s safety value that allows women to think before they act. But once it’s over, men and women end up at the same place. Their bodies and souls interpret orgasm the same way. Unless—they are working hard at being emotionally uninvolved.
If a woman feels conflicting feelings about sex, that’s OK. It is normal, not some sort of problem with her. Nor is it necessarily the case that she’s made a judgment against a potential partner. It’s simply nature calling. A woman can ignore these feelings and venture forth. Or she may believe that she is simply not ready and wait until she understands what those feelings really mean to her.
People respond sexually the way they do because it’s a part of who they are. The only time you need to work on trying to respond differently is where you are not satisfied with your sex life or when you are in the habit of getting in another person’s space when you are not invited.