What women need from a man before having sex · 8/12/2007

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Laws of the Jungle: Dating for Women Over 40 co-authors Gloria MacDonald and Thelma Beam interviewed midlife women and asked how they knew they wanted to have sex with a specific man. Filtering through the answers, they came up with some commonalities for the women’s description of chemistry, a term that seems elusive.


The components of chemistry for women boiled down to four things:



  1. Liking and respecting the man; his self-confidence and presentation; kindness, generosity, protectiveness, chivalry and other positive traits; personal acceptability in terms of status, income, personality, etc.

  2. The possibility that the relationship will continue; that some potential exists to make it permanent; that this man could be a suitable life partner for them and they can visualize what their future would be like.

  3. The man is willing to invest in her emotionally and materially, shown by cuddling, talking, kindness, acts of service, love talk, generally taking an interest in things that make her happy, gift-giving, paying for outings, having an adequate income. She could envision him willing to commit to a monogamous relationship; that his affections are not otherwise engaged by a former wife/girlfriend or current love interest.

  4. That there is at least some physical attraction on both side, or at least that there are no physical turn-offs.


Contrast that with what they learned from single midlife men about what they need to have sex with a woman:



  1. He finds her physically attractive.

  2. She is willing.


Women report that without many or all of the 4 criteria, sex is unfulfilling and pointless.


But you can see that women and men approach sex from different places. Only after having sex with a woman will many men decide whether to further invest in the relationship. They will expend time, energy, attention and money to get sex, and women misinterpret this as an investment in the relationship. Men would start a relationship with sex, for women sex is the point at which many other criteria have been met.


Before any male bashing and name calling, hold on. MacDonald and Beam explain the differences logically based on human evolution and it makes sense. From back to cave people’s time, women are wired to want to make sure a man will stick around if she has his children. And men are wired that this isn’t that important. Yes, modern men and women have evolved socially, intellectually, and emotionally. Yet, the authors argue, there are still some remnants of that old thinking that is just hard wired for both sexes.


What do you think of their findings? Do you agree with the four criteria they listed? Or do you have different criteria?

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