Freud called female sexuality "the dark continent"; if that's true, male sexuality could qualify as the dark planet. But when it comes to sex, guys are simple, right? Not true. The bedroom is one of the great stages of male performance, and as such, what you see and hear is typically the role, not the reality. It's no wonder, in trying to please the actor, a woman loses sight of a guy's true identity. Here are 10 "unmasking" facts you may want to know:
We Respond to Praise
It's believed that men are so consumed by our libido that we have no self-consciousness surrounding sex. But men are no different from women when it comes to compliments as catalysts for sexual confidence. This praise can be delivered before reaching the bedroom (give us the once-over and tell us how buff we look), and after (give us the once-over and tell us how buff we look naked). Along those lines, men worry about the size of their guts (and other measurable organs), their hair (or lack thereof) and other attributes. Try to be extra affirming about those sensitivities.
We Fear Intimacy…
…but not for the reason you think! Studies have shown that boys are more affectionate, even more expressive, than girls until they reach school age. At that time, social repression begins—of words, thoughts, feelings—and our desire for human connection goes underground. So taboo is this desire for intimacy that its possibility can terrify men—not because it's smothering, but because we realise how desperate we are for it. What's a woman to do? First, understand that your guy's hasty retreat post-sex may be about his own shock at how much he craves a connection with you (and how much he's denied it in life). Then, retreat a little yourself. This gives him time to see that his boyhood habits are, in fact, perfectly manly.
We Appreciate Sex for Sex's Sake
Having said that about intimacy, sometimes a little "throw-me-down sex" is the right medicine. According to Joe Kort, PhD, a psychotherapist and sexologist, "Men want their wives to enjoy raw sex, not just endure it or take it personally. For men, it's not about dominating a woman, but ravishing her." On occasion, try letting him ravish you.
We Are Not Just Our…
The penis gets all the press, but men have "many erogenous zones," says psychologist Melodie Schaefer, PsyD. "Men tend not to correct women because they're afraid women will shut down and not touch them at all. But there are many places a woman should touch." Like the chest, the inner thighs and face.
We Encourage Fantasies
"Men want to share their fantasies but worry their wives will shame or judge them," says Dr Kort. Similarly, Dr Schaefer reports that men wish women would reveal their imaginings. Want to open yourself to these possibilities? Try making a game of it. First, and most important, promise not to judge the other; then, privately write out scenarios that have tantalised you and place them in a box. When you are next intimate, pull one out. If you're both comfortable, give it a shot. If not, Dr Kort recommends asking the author a key question: What about this fantasy do you like? Sometimes, its themes can be addressed in different, more comfortable scenarios.
We Enjoy the Dance
Men like a good quest; unfortunately, these days, there are so few. But romance earns that distinction. Allow us to court you; make us deserve your desire. Dr Kort makes an additional point: "Emotional intimacy is about closeness, but sustaining sexual desire demands a certain amount of distance."