07 Oct Sex or Affection?
Sex or affection? Which do you want more? As a man or a woman, have you ever felt like you were really 180 degrees different than your opposite sex partner? Even I sometimes think so! And, I know the real truth. We are incredible complements to each other and without our diverse differences, we couldn’t create the magical love and ecstasy we do.
This idea of sex vs. affection popped up in my conversation with Tamara earlier today as we prepared our section on Sexual Needs and Differences for the Conscious Sexuality workshop next weekend. It struck such a cord, I heard the topic calling me to write about it in this week’s article. These numerous differences, although essential for our chemistry and survival, can create the most frustration and conflict in a relationship (except for maybe money issues, but we’ll save that topic for another day!) Or, they stop creating frustration because we just give up on sex and physical intimacy and settle for friendship.
What if we could really understand our true differences, see their value, learn how to embrace them, and even benefit from them? Although, Tamara and I had many differences on our list, let’s really explore this…
Men want sex and Women want affection.
As a matter of fact, Willard Harley Jr in his book, His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage, lists sex as the number one need for men and affection as the number one need for women.
Last weekend, I spontaneously explored this topic with the men and women participating in the Conscious Relating workshop. I pointedly asked the women, “If you HAD to give up one or the other – sex or affection – which would you give up?” All the women answered, “sex”. I asked the men the same question, and although they felt a bit bad admitting it, they would definitely give up affection. Hmmm… Of course, I knew this difference existed in our physiology and really seeing the hands go up and having it confirmed by a group made me stop and think.
You might ask, how can that be? How could the world be that unkind?
It goes back to our survival instincts and needs. We need to procreate to survive and… could you imagine if both sexes had the same level of sexual desire as the average man all the time (i.e. we both thought about sex many times an hour)? Similar to the early weeks and months of a relationship, we’d lose site of other needs or responsibilities in life and spend all our time in bed together. We’d never get anything done! Who would get food or watch for the enemy? Or, on the flipside, can you imagine if both sexes had the generally lower sex drive of a woman? With a little stress, which was common in the hunter and gatherer days, we might have given up procreating all together.
In addition, since women are the “bonders” of the species, their instinctual desire for affection supports their need to connect with other human beings and create communities where we can support and love each other with less effort and more harmony.
There are more instinctual reasons for our different desires and let’s let these suffice for now. How do we benefit from these differences? First, you benefit because you are here! Without things exactly as they are, you might not exist! Beyond that, men, you can receive more of what you most want by simply offering loving words or compliments, loving touch, gestures of kindness, or anything else the woman-in-your-life considers affectionate. (Ask her what affection means to her. She’ll tell you and you’ll have all the info you need to bring you both closer together!)
Here’s a hint men: Many women consider compliments an aphrodisiac!
Men, how difficult is giving a compliment to a woman you love and adore? Do it! She just may start bringing her body much closer to yours!
Women, this is a broad and deep topic that I cannot do full justice to in this short article. We’ll explore it in the workshop and, in the meantime, it’s important to recognize that although we as woman want to bond, this is not the natural instinct of a man. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true. With the chemicals and energy released during sex, men are typically able to connect more deeply to their hearts and to us. Have you ever noticed that men are often more affectionate and loving after sex (and a bit of sleep!) It’s a hint for you women!
I never suggest being sexual when you don’t want to be. And, if you do feel the love between you, women you might remember that men are wired differently and that when you share your gift of physical intimacy it can awaken a man’s gift of affection. There is no right or wrong here, just recognize that although most of us want partnership, we are truly different and we have to dance with those differences if we truly want passion.
Make conscious choices that honor you, your partner, and your relationship.
If you’ve been frustrated or challenged sexually or you want to take your love-making to an entirely new orgasmic state, join us for Conscious Sexuality on October 15-17 in Denver!