They just don?t want to be objectified or taken for granted
Photo by Guillaume M. on Unsplash
The sexiest thing in the world for me is the feeling of being truly desired. It turns me on like nothing else can ? the idea that an admirer or lover just can?t keep their eyes or their hands off of me is intoxicating. Apparently, I?m not alone in this. There is a growing body of research that indicates this is actually quite typical for women.
?Marta Meana, a researcher at the University of Nevada, has argued provocatively that the organizing principle of female sexuality is the desire to be desired. Female desire, according to Meana, is activated when a woman feels overwhelmingly desired, not rationally considered. Female erotic literature, including all those shades of gray, is built on this fantasy. Sexual desire in this view does not work according to our expectations and social values. Desire seeks the path of desire, not the path of righteousness. It thrives not on social order but on its negation. This is one reason all religions and societies try to control, contain, limit and re-direct it.?
For most of patriarchal history, women were considered to be distressingly carnal ? a constant temptation to men who were thought to be much more rational and moderate. It?s a relatively recent belief that men are more sexual than women, or that they are unable to control their sexual desires in ways that women can. This notion was no doubt brought about as a function of patriarchal norms that required a women?s sexuality to be only in the service of her husband, rather than a thing in and of itself ? an integral part of her humanity.
Patriarchal culture has demanded that women restrain their sexuality for so long that as a society we?ve started to believe that this is an easy and natural thing for them to do. Women have been socialized to put a lid on our sex box, but once the lid is removed and this socialization is deconstructed, it does reveal a fully sexual being.
Our prior beliefs about women and sexuality have also failed to take into account the way that female libido shuts down when it is not sufficiently engaged. Recent research reveals that women get bored with monogamy even before men do. Over-familiarization with a partner and desexualization kills female libido.
If a woman?s desire significantly decreases 2 or 3 years into a relationship, it?s quite likely because she is no longer being courted in the same way where she feels the heat and passion of being desired. She may become somewhat bored with the same old partner if their sexual intimacy has become routine and uninspired. This may look like a lost interest in sex, but what it really indicates is a loss of interest in that kind of sex. This boredom does not have to be managed by bringing in other partners. It can be addressed by employing variety and passion within the existing relationship.
Rosemary Basson, realized that spontaneous desire, the kind sexologists had measured for years, was only one type of relevant desire, and that responsive or triggered sexual response is much more important for women. Viagra does not work for women because biological sexual response alone is not enough to stimulate desire in the same way that it does for men. Female sexuality is much more complex and nuanced thing.
So if women crave being wanted and desired, why then do so many of them feel put off by catcalling? Isn?t that a form of admiration? Some women do indeed enjoy the attention and perceived appreciation of catcalling, but most women are uncomfortable with the other less desirable elements that are often in play as well.
Catcalling, also known as street harassment, not only conveys attraction, but it also conveys entitlement. It says, ?I believe that you are in the world for my pleasure and enjoyment,? and that is something that most women don?t enjoy because it?s objectifying. I am not an attractive toy here to please you and no, I will not smile for you because I look prettier when I smile. Catcalling is also a subconscious display of power and aggression, which tends to belie any flattering aspects. We know this is the case because street harassment escalates when men are in groups. Each man seeks to establish his place in the dominance hierarchy by out-harassing the woman.
In addition, catcalling sometimes precedes scary or dangerous things such as following, groping, or sexual assault. The woman in question has no way to know up front whether or not any of those will occur this time, so she has to be on alert for all possibilities. In the face of this, it becomes easier to see why this type of appreciation is not the type that most women want or value.
I?ve also heard women complain about their male mates inopportune interest in them. ?Why does he have to paw at me when I?m just trying to fold the laundry?? If women want to be desired, why wouldn?t they appreciate this kind of attention? I think it?s because it doesn?t feel like connection and it doesn?t feel personal. There?s no real courting going on. Women want to be seen and valued for themselves; they don?t want to be gawked at and groped as a disconnected body. My physical self is intrinsic to who I am. It cannot be separated. If you relate to me as only a body, that feels objectifying and unsexy.
The difference between being turned on and looking to a proximate woman as the easiest and most likely way of expressing those feelings and feeling turned on by her, in particular, cannot be overemphasized. That doesn?t mean that erotica, sexy scenes in movies or pornography, or other stimuli can?t be a part of the equation, but no woman wants to be a living sex doll. She wants to be wanted and desired in a personal way ? one that involves making an effort to gain her interest.
When men complain that their wives don?t respond to their amorous advances, chances are they are approaching them as husbands rather than as admirers. They make the mistake of thinking that a wife wants primarily to be loved, when in fact she principally wants to be desired, not just loved and taken care of. A husband who approaches a woman without wooing her is not likely to get much of a response, because he hasn?t addressed her core need.
~Rabbi Schmuley Boteach
Inside every woman is a sex goddess just waiting to be awakened and let out of her box. One of the ways to do this is to acknowledge and pay sufficient attention to her need to be sexually adored. As Rabbi Boteach has said, ?A woman wants to be wanted, needs to be needed, desires to be desired.?
Of course, men want to be wanted and desired as well, but their libido and sexual responsiveness does not seem to be tied to these feelings in the same way that women?s are. Let her know that you aren?t just hot and horny; you are hot and horny for her. Continue to woo her and bring variety and excitement into the relationship, and most of all let her know that she is safe. When a woman truly trusts her partner and can let her guard all the way down, that is when a sexually self-expressed goddess can truly come out to play.