Male sexuality, arousal and orgasm

Sex Drive

Men and women have different attitudes to sexAs if we didn't already know, our ever-ready penises would tell us that men's sex drive is usually more powerful than women's. A common complaint made by men is that women do not understand how much men want sex.

If you look at the photo, you could imagine that she's wondering - "Does he love me?" while he's thinking - "I wonder if she's up for sex tonight?"

Twice as many men as women masturbate, and they masturbate more often.

And this difference in sexual drive, or libido, is caused by different levels of testosterone in men and women.

Testosterone provides the potential for assertiveness, a high sex drive, and growth of male secondary sexual characteristics.

But although testosterone is the main male hormone, responsible for the development of the penis and testicles, it is also produced in small amounts in a woman's body as well.

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Other Pages On Male Sexuality

Male arousal and desire
Andropause: low testosterone
Orgasm and ejaculation
Male initiation: rites of passage
All about semen
The testicles and scrotum
Mature masculinity
How to have better sex
Penile and genital piercing
Causes & Cures: Premature Ejaculation

Women who are given testosterone supplements develop a much higher level of sexual desire.

And men with low levels of testosterone need much greater sexual stimulation to become aroused than men with higher levels of testosterone.

But do we men really have a stronger libido, higher sex drive than women?

Well, yes, we do. Study after study shows men's sex drive is both stronger than women's and much easier to stimulate. Women's libido is much more difficult to explain.

We know women put more value on emotional connection and affection, but women also appear to be influenced by the social and cultural context of their relationships. "Sexual desire in women is sensitive to environment," reports Edward Laumann, professor of sociology at Chicago University of Chicago, and supervisor of "The Social Organization of Sexuality".

So below the video you can see some of his, and other researchers, conclusions:

Video - sex drive

1 Men think more about sex than women

No surprise there, I guess. But far from thinking about it every few minutes, most adult men under the age of 60 think about sex - well, how often would you guess? The answer is - at least once a day. Ho hum. Surprising, isn't it?

Even so, women think abut sex one quarter as often. In other words, hardly at all....... but if this were true, the laws governing attraction (men do the chasing, for example) would hardly have any basis on which to exist.

man and woman making loveI think the power of sexual attraction is so strong that laws governing attraction between the sexes has to be based on the power of male testosterone.... because we all know men are sexier than women - as an average manifest reality.

Find out more about this whole subject at an excellent new site which has been recommended to me - I think it may offer great hope for men whose partners claim not to be in interested in sex or who have a low orgasmic potential.

It seems to me that anything which equalizes the sex drive of the man and woman in a couple can only be a good thing.

One interesting question is whether or not men and women have different propensities to feel love, or at least different drives to see sex as part of love.

There's an old saying that men want sex and then feel loving, whereas women want love before they feel sexy. There's plenty of information on ways to make a man fall in love with you (for women) here.

2 Men seek sex more actively

mand and woman with different sex drivesIn a study comparing male and female libido, social psychologist They are also more willing to engage in, and more interested in, casual sex than women - and that's true even when there are incentives against such sex (e.g. legal consequences, family break up, disease, etc, etc).

Unsurprisingly, most men masturbate, compared to 40% of women; the women also masturbate less often than men.

And supposedly celibate clergy show the same gender traits: so while 62% of priests admit to sexual activity, only 49% of nuns do. Quite what that shows is open to interpretation, but you get the idea, I'm sure.

3 Women are more complicated sexual creatures than men

What turns women on? By showing women erotic films and measuring vaginal lubrication, you get an idea of what turns them on physically. And by seeing if men get an erection you can judge how turned they are in response to the same kind of films.

But oddly, though men are predictably turned on by heterosexual and lesbian porn, women were turned on by heterosexual, gay and lesbian material alike - at least as measured by vaginal lubrication. (Of course, they may not have been turned on emotionally.)

two women in sexual situationBut even so, women are possibly more open to same-sex relationships than men because their sex drive is less specific and focused. In other words, women are more able to fall in love with, and have sex with, women - if they want to - than men are to fall in love with men.

Studies suggest "being gay" is less rigid in women than men: a higher percentage of lesbians report having recent sex with men than gay men with women. And the word "bisexual" is used far more often by women than men about themselves.

4 A Woman's sex drive varies with many factors

Baumeister found that women's sexual attitudes, practices and sexual desires were more influenced by the social context than men's. So, for example:

  • Women's sexual preferences change over time much more than men's.
  • Women who attend church on a regular basis are unlikely to have a permissive attitude towards sex. (There is no correlation like this for men.)
  • Women are very influenced by their frinds and social group in their attitudes to sex.
  • More educated women have engaged in many more sexual practices (such as oral sex). (The correlation for men is much weaker.)

Do women have a weaker and more fluid sex drive? If they do, maybe it's becausey men have more testosterone, and that must be a major factor.

But - biologically - men can potentially leave most offspring by having as much sex as possible, while women can leave more offspring by choosing a partner carefully - one who will stick around and look after the kids.

We are, it seems, hard-wired genetically to behave in certain sex-specific ways, though we have a conscious choice to do things differently, for example, we can choose to mate for life, a decision arguably better suited to our society and our children's welfare.

5 Women's route to sexual satisfaction is longer and more complicated

Men and women experience sexual desire differently. Romance for women may be more about anticipation, how they get to wanting a man sexually; the longing for romance, connection and affection is the fuel for desire.

two women loving each otherWomen's desire is more subjective, more based on emotion, while men don't need as much imagination. They are turned on more easily and quickly, and sex is more straightforward.

Giving a woman what she needs sexually is not just a matter of knowing the right moves - it's about establishing intimacy and connection with her.

man and woman loving each otherBut men want intimacy, love, and connection just like women.

So what can a man do for greater satisfaction?

"Women want to talk first, connect first, then have sex," psychotherapist Laura Perels explains. And, as we know, men would like to have sex first: for them, it expresses their tender and vulnerable side. Sex is how men are intimate with women.

6 Women's orgasms feel different to men's

Men take four minutes from penetration to ejaculation on average. Most women don't reach sex through intercourse alone - they need additional clitoral stimulation.

But even when stimulated appropriately, they take about ten times as long as men to reach orgasm. (Say, two minutes for a man masturbating, compared to twenty for a woman.)

And even in an established couple, 75% of men report that they always have an orgasm during sex, while only 26% of the women do so.

Unfortunately a lot of the women are faking: about 50% of men think their partners have an orgasm during sex!

7 Women's libidos are less dependent on hormones than men's

Although testosterone seems to play a part in sex drive in both men and women, it's a lot easier to restore a man's sex drive after the andropause than it is to restore a woman's.

Endocrinologist Glenn Braunstein, an expert on testosterone treatments in women says that hormonal treatment is not as effective in women as in men.

Braunstein observes: "There is a hormonal factor in libido, but it is much more important in men than women." The implication is that a woman's sex drive is much more multi-factorial than a man's.

Arousal and desire

Male sexual arousal begins when a man is stimulated by something that provokes his sexual interest.

Men who are impotent will still experience the psychological side of being a man - things like making a quick assessment of what a woman might look like if she was naked, or what sex with her might be like - but they may not get an erection.

Most men, however, if they're feeling randy or sexually turned on, will soon begin to get physically aroused. (The first sign of which is that their penis becomes erect.)

A man's childhood and adolescent sexual experiences have a powerful effect on what he finds sexually arousing as an adult.

Of course, most men enjoy the feeling of increasing sexual excitement when they are with a lover or a sexual partner. The subtlety of male arousal is such that even a glance, the touch of a lover's hand, the smell of a lover's hair, the sight or scent of their clothes (especially fresh off their body), can stir a man's sexual interest.

That, I think, is one of most exciting aspects of being a man - that sudden sexual excitement, the spontaneous erection, the surge of desire that takes one by surprise, the sheer urgent, sexiness of it all, and the wonderful experience of sex in a loving relationship.

Sidebar: The fundamental principles of establishing and developing a relationship between men and women are explained here.

Erection, orgasm and ejaculation

This is not about sex positions, but more about what happens in a man's body during sexual excitement and arousal.

To understand this we need to look at the sexual response cycle. This is a name for the phases of arousal which we go through on the way to orgasm. There are four phases of sexual arousal: excitement, plateau, orgasm and resolution.

Fortunately, premature ejaculation is not difficult to control but doing so does require a degree of discipline on your part.

However with the right premature ejaculation treatment techniques and information on how to cure premature ejaculation, a reliable source of information that will cure your premature ejaculation within weeks.

The reason few men do cure PE is because they haven't got the right advice on controlling orgasm and ejaculation - or they don't bother to use the advice when they get it.


Sexual excitement may last for a few minutes or for hours. In men, there may be an increase in muscle tension, flushing of the skin, erection of the nipples, and of course erection of the penis, or a "hard-on".

Although you might not be aware of it, your testicles swell up, your scrotum tightens, and your penis begins to seep a lubricating fluid which is designed to lubricate the movement of the foreskin over the glans: this is the liquid known as "pre-come" (or pre-cum). It's similar to the lubrication which a woman produces in her vagina when she is becoming sexually aroused.

An erection is produced when the brain sends a message down the nerve cells to the penis and stimulates the release of nitric oxide, a chemical that dilates the vessels that supply blood to the penis.

As a result, the central chambers of spongy tissue in the penis (the corpora cavernosa) fill with blood, which in turn constricts the veins that allow blood to leave the penis.

The increased flow of blood to the penile chambers cannot escape, which causes the spongy tissue in the middle of the penis to swell up even more and makes the penis into a rigid rod.

There are a number of things that can go wrong with this process: for example, stress at home or in the job, anxiety about sex, illness, and so on, can all reduce a man's ability to achieve erection.

Assuming that your penis is engorged with blood, and your erection is hard and firm (or if you are middle-aged or older, perhaps slightly less firm than it once was), you are well into the phase of sexual excitement.

This can last for a long time, although a man who is excited but does not have an orgasm will lose his erection after some time.

The time during which a man is sexually aroused but orgasm does not take place is known as the plateau phase. In men, particularly young men, it is possible that arousal or excitement becomes so intense that a spontaneous ejaculation takes place.

The excitement phase feels good because a man's brain will produce natural endorphins which are the body's own natural pleasure chemicals. In addition, of course, the feeling of an erection can be pleasant, as it puts pressure on the sensitive parts of the penis.

The longer the excitement phase goes on, the more intense the man's orgasm will be when he finally comes. In fact it is worth sacrificing the quick pleasure of a rapid orgasm for the greater pleasure of one achieved after an hour or two's arousal.

The reason for this is that the longer the excitement phase the greater the volume of seminal fluid which will later be ejaculated, because the prostate and other glands of the male reproductive system have longer to produce their fluids.

Then, when ejaculation takes place, the greater volume of fluid will produce more intense and pleasurable contractions - as well as an impressive shower of ejaculate.

An hour or two spent on foreplay will actually make things better for the man as well as the woman (who generally needs much more sexual foreplay to get to the same level of arousal as her man anyway).

This is because, as well as producing a much more intense orgasm, the volume of fluid ejaculated will be much greater. Greater volume of semen always produces a more satisfying ejaculation.

Further, despite my saying this was not about sexual positions, the fact is that if you find the things that excite you most, and you incorporate them into your lovemaking, you will be more aroused, and you will enjoy better orgasms.

That includes using the best sex positions for you and your partner (for which read "most exciting" sex positions), and taking things slowly so that you enjoy extended foreplay - perhaps one of the best methods of increasing your level of sexual arousal.


The next phase of sexual arousal is orgasm, which is usually accompanied by ejaculation for a man. Is there a difference between orgasm and ejaculation?

Even though we always think of them as more or less the same thing, in fact a man can experience an orgasm without any ejaculation. For the moment, though, let's assume they are the same thing.

Ejaculation cannot be stopped once it has started, for it is an involuntary process of muscular contraction and release of tension. But a man can control how soon he ejaculates during sex in a variety of ways.

He can increase the pressure on his penis by making deeper or harder thrusts during intercourse, or by more vigorous hand movements during masturbation, or by having his partner massage his prostate through the perineum or through the internal wall of the rectum via a finger inserted through the anus.

Another way is to contract the internal muscles which run through from his pelvic bone to his penis, a movement which will both speed up ejaculation and make it more intense. Learning to contract and therefore strengthen these muscles will result in much more intense orgasms and a much more powerful ejaculation.

Once the level of stimulation has reached such a point that the final phase of sexual arousal begins, your body prepares itself for orgasm in all kinds of ways.

Your blood pressure goes up, your heart rate rises, your breathing becomes deeper and heavier, and there are involuntary contractions of muscles throughout your body, producing a desire to thrust deeper into your partner, thereby increasing the likelihood that your semen will be deposited successfully inside her.

Immediately prior to ejaculation itself, seminal fluid builds up in the prostate gland. This produces that familiar sense of impending ejaculation - that moment where you just know you are going to ejaculate and nothing will stop it.

Then, at the moment of ejaculation, your testicles are drawn up close to your body, the urinary tract to your bladder closes so that your semen will spurt out of your penis rather than being passed back into your bladder, and the muscular contractions of your ejaculation take place.

These contractions involve the muscles at the base of the penis, the muscles of the penis shaft, the muscles around the anal sphincter, the pubococcygeus muscle, and the muscles of the rectum.

They contract about eight times, maybe slightly more or less, at 0.8 second intervals, and as they do so the seminal fluid containing sperm is expelled.

These contractions may lead to semen shooting out or just dribbling from the tip of your penis, depending on the condition of the muscles, how long it is since you last ejaculated, and the volume of fluid which has accumulated during the earlier phases of your sexual arousal.

Orgasm is the sensation that accompanies the ejaculatory contractions. It can be an energy flow, a sense of muscular contraction, an overall feeling of well-being. But not all orgasm are earth-shattering events! There are many reasons why they aren't all as good as each other, of course.

Simple things like tiredness, fatigue, relaxation and stress will all have an impact on the intensity of your orgasm. Obviously, how aroused or sexually excited you are feeling will also have an impact on the intensity of your orgasm and ejaculation.

Many men (and women) find that their facial muscles contract uncontrollably or they make loud involuntary noises as they reach orgasm.

If you happen to be having difficulty reaching orgasm and ejaculating during sex, you may be experiencing retarded ejaculation and need treatment. Of course, this is much less common than premature ejaculation.

What is semen? A few facts about ejaculation

Semen is a mixture of sperm, secretions from the seminal vesicles, and fluid from the prostate. The prostate secretions include prostaglandin, sugar, water and minerals including zinc and calcium to keep the sperm moving as they swim towards the egg.

Often the components of semen are not well-mixed, and there may be jelly-like threads among the liquid secretions of the prostate; after a while semen liquefies and becomes much more uniform in texture.

(By the way, if you don't already know, it is an intense irritant to the eyes, and produces the most unspeakable burning sensation if it gets near them. We discovered this perhaps well-known but unspoken fact as teenagers when one of my friends was in the back of his car with his girlfriend, while she masturbated him.

Such is the vigor of youth, he ejaculated into his own eye and then spent an agonized few minutes while she washed the semen off his face. I'm rather sorry to say we all thought this very funny when he told us afterwards.)

Men may produce much or little semen: the average volume between 2 and 5 ml, the latter figure being about a level teaspoonful. Many men seem very concerned that they are producing too little fluid, when they are in fact producing the average amount. As I mentioned above, if you want to produce more, all you have to do is to extend the early phases of sexual excitement for a longer time.

Most teenage boys will masturbate to orgasm with great regularity, perhaps twice a day. Others masturbate much more rarely. I think the thing to grasp is that whatever you are comfortable with is right for you.

On average at age 40 a man will ejaculate about two or three times a week. By age 60 he will probably be experiencing this pleasure about 35 times a year.

Wet dreams

When I was writing this I received an e-mail from a young woman who seemed distressed because her equally young husband (twenty years old) had ejaculated in bed while asleep and had refused to talk to her about it. Could I, she asked, explain what had happened?

She was wondering if this meant that he had been dreaming about someone other than her. Well, as you know, wet dreams or nocturnal emissions are common in the teen years, but they can occur at all stages of a man's life. But what's a wet dream for?

It releases semen, sure, but most teenagers masturbate, so it's hardly likely to be an overflow mechanism. In fact, wet dreams seem to be closely related to testosterone levels, which are at their highest in young men, and decline steadily from the age of 21 onwards.

And the young woman above was probably right to imagine that her man had been dreaming of someone else. The most peculiar images can come to mind in a wet dream, and can even induce a lot of guilt.

Dreams about sex with close relatives are not uncommon: sons, for example, may dream of sex with their mothers or fathers, and feel very guilty about it. Many men report dreaming about sex with their mothers at some time in their lives. Don't worry about this, just accept it as part of the mystery of being human. Fantasy is just that. It doesn't have to be acted on, and it can be kept private.

Night-time erections are a normal part of all men's lives, unless they're impotent, of course. Most erections during sleep occur in the early hours of the morning when the testosterone levels in our blood is highest.

Multiple orgasms and ejaculation in men

Can a man orgasm several times on the trot with or without ejaculating? What about Tantric sex, of which we hear so much nowadays, where a man can prolong his pleasure indefinitely?

Well, there is no doubt that multiple orgasms are possible for a woman. A woman's sexual arousal declines much more slowly than a man's, even after orgasm. She maintains a level of arousal from which it is possible to reach another orgasm several times in rapid succession.

But the interesting thing is that men can do this as well, provided they don't ejaculate. If you do ejaculate, you can't get an erection again for a few minutes - or even longer - and this stops you having another orgasm. If you don't ejaculate, you can learn to have as many orgasms as you want.

With some simple and extremely effective ejaculation control techniques, you'll soon develop what we call "ejaculation mastery" - complete control over the timing of your ejaculation. With the ability to choose when you ejaculate during sex, you can not only impress your partner but also give her complete sexual satisfaction.

Tantric sex and multiple orgasms

There are several ways to have an orgasm without an ejaculation.

The first is to forcefully contract the muscles around your prostate, which stops your ejaculation. If timed wrongly, this will lead to semen being forced up into the bladder. There isn't anything harmful about this, but this is not something that enhances pleasure.

If timed correctly, this technique can allow the man to hover on the brink of orgasm for a long time before he finally comes, and is said to produce intense orgasms.

The next technique is to carry on thrusting in your partner after you have ejaculated. I have tried this, and while my glans is initially a bit sensitive after I have ejaculated, if I keep thrusting, my orgasm continues for several minutes.

Tantric Sex is about enhancing sexual energy flow through the body. Such energy flow activates the orgasmic responses of the body quite independently of the ejaculatory reflex. Tantra depends on high arousal and extended foreplay.

Ejaculation facts

Distance of ejaculation

Some men do not shoot at all; they just dribble out at the moment of orgasm. This depends on the power and fitness of the muscles responsible for orgasm. You can actually strengthen these muscles, with the result that your ejaculation goes further and the sensations are much stronger.

The data for how far men shoot during masturbation (figures taken from Jackin'World site) are:

Semen dribbles out or shoots less than 2.5 cm - 5% of men

From 2.5 cm to 15 cm - 27% of men

From 15 cm to 37 cm - 37% of men

More than than 37 cm - 31% of men

Quantity of ejaculate

The average volume of semen ejaculated is between 2 and 5 milliliters. This is not a lot. Less, in fact, than a teaspoonful. If you want more (to impress someone?) then you can easily get it by having a long session of intimate foreplay before you ejaculate.

If you are aroused - even a little - for an hour or two before you have sex, you may surprise yourself when you see how much semen you produce.

Number of orgasms

The average number of orgasms among teenage boys is once a day during masturbation. Among twenty to thirty year olds, the number of orgasms ranges from once a day to once a week, with an average of once every two days.

In the thirties, the frequency of male orgasms begins to decline a bit, but the average reported by readers of this site is still three to four times a week.

Ways to approach the highest pleasure - with or without multiple orgasm

There are many things you can do to enhance pleasure even if you are not interested in multiple orgasms.

1 Tone up your pubococcygeus (PC) muscle - perhaps more than anything else, this is the key to powerful, pleasurable, forceful orgasms and ejaculation. Men who have always just dribbled at the moment of orgasm find that after they have toned up this muscle they shoot semen out with great force.

You can tone up your PC muscle by learning to contract the muscle by stopping the flow of your urine in mid-stream: this will show you what it feels like when you contract the muscle. Then, you can contract it anywhere, anyplace, anytime - sitting at your desk, driving your car, wherever.

After a while you will find that you can hold the contractions for longer, do more of them, and that they become more powerful.

This is a great technique for improving the quality of your orgasms. And stronger PC muscles may allow you to retain an erection after you have ejaculated, and to continue thrusting. This may lead to multiple or extended orgasms.

From the book Sex, a Man's Guide by Stefan Bechtel. The PC, or pubococcygeal muscle, is shown above.

2 Celebrate sex

By which I mean introduce a little ritual into your sexual time.

Honor your love-making with soft lights, sweet music, candles, massage, flowers, perfume - that kind of thing.

Concentrate on what you're doing - i.e. pay attention to sex and devote your time to it, not to the television or household distractions.

Communicate with your partner through poetry, readings or verse, or something that you have written especially for her. Or him.

These techniques are about the human soul, and whatever gender the two people having sex actually are, they both have a soul that is crying out for communication and contact with the soul of another human being. Synchronized breathing helps to establish the connection that I mentioned above. It works well when the two partners are close together physically, perhaps massaging and touching.

There is a whole body of thought devoted to the idea that close and intimate sexual contact can be healing to the spirit and overcome problems of emotional disturbance, anxiety, and depression. You can establish great intimacy by letting your breathing come into the same rhythm as that of your partner's, and by focusing on her body as you do so.

4 Enter her vagina and then lie still

A true Tantric technique. This can be very spiritual when it is combined with the visualization of energy flow between partners.

5 Establish and maintain eye contact with your partner for long periods during love-making.

However awkward this may seem at first, it really does help to establish a bond between lovers.