Men’s Pleasure Is More Important?

Peggy Orenstein, Girls & Sex

Peggy Orenstein, Girls & Sex

Many young women are now engaging in sex acts with men that prioritize the man’s pleasure, with little or no expectation of reciprocity.

So says cultural theorist Jackson Katz.

Sounds about right.

These young women are focused on how they look and what they do — and how their guys feel about how they look and what they do.

Some men like it that way and feel women should give them the porn star experience even if “his” heightened pleasure means “her” pain.

But other guys worry when gratification is one-way. Like this guy:

My girlfriend and I are pretty new to sexuality and when we began the sexual part of our relationship we learned what the other likes. But then things changed.

It seems she’s done research in pornography, and for the past couple of months she does things she thinks girls do all the time during sex. Like incredibly loud moaning from the second we start making out. It starts abruptly, so it doesn’t seem like a natural progression.

Long story short, she ignores her own desire and focuses on mine. I’m not even sure if she is even enjoying herself at all.

But it’s distracting. And it’s frankly a turnoff to feel that she’s not enjoying herself.

His girlfriend is not alone. Young women have seen so many orgasms portrayed on film that they can get distracted wondering, “Am I moaning right?”

When Peggy Orenstein interviewed young women for her book, Girls & Sex several told her that guys expected blow jobs but seldom reciprocated. More than one had heard this:

A hand job is a man job, a blow job is yo’ job.

Frustrated, she asked one woman how she would feel if a guy expected her to fetch a glass of water yet never offered to return the favor? She burst out laughing, “Well, I guess when you put it that way.”

When sociologist, Lisa Wade, studied hookup culture college women said things like this:

My sexuality was filled with anxiety and my need to please the guy instead of worrying about my own pleasure… Even if I was in charge I did not make sure I was being pleased.

Another woman hadn’t had a single orgasm after hooking up with 13 guys, explaining,

The guy kind of expects to get off, while the girl doesn’t expect anything.

Some felt like “masturbation toys.” Like these two:

I was just a warm body being used to make a guy have an orgasm

I feel like a “sex toy” with “three holes and two hands.

And a lot of guys don’t care much about women’s hookup pleasure says NYU sociologist, Paula England, who surveyed 24,000 students at 21 universities:

Guys don’t seem to care as much about women’s pleasure in the hookup, whereas they do seem to care quite a bit in the relationships.

(Yet women) seem to have this idea they’re supposed to be pleasing in both contexts.

Why do women think they must please men even if they aren’t pleasured?

Women are taught to be pleasers. I suspect that many are so out of touch with their own sexuality that they don’t expect satisfaction, and just do what they think is expected. Others believe that men must be serviced because they have such a strong sex drive — unlike themselves.

Sounds a lot like internalized patriarchy to me.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on August 15, 2016, in men, psychology, sex and sexuality, women and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. Mmm. It most definitely is. I suspect they’ll grow out if it though!

    • I suspect so, too.

      Luckily, in relationships men care very much about their partners pleasure.

      I think a lot of the problem is that due to sexual shaming of women, at least here in America, a lot of girls and women are out of touch with their sexuality, And that’s why they don’t focus on themselves — partly.

  2. I suspect internalized objectification – as you said, the patriarchy- has something to do with it. That’s why conversations about women’s bodies are so important. The more aware of what we are doing and why, the more we can break patterns. The desire to please the other without pleasing the self clearly does not satisfy anyone in the long run. We need to remember that pleasure in the body is a woman’s birthright.

    • Luckily, at least when it comes to relationships men tend to care very much that their partners are pleasured.

      I mentioned to Sarah that I think part of the problem is women not being in touch with their own sexuality — which tends to happen in cultures that shame women’s sexuality, and which our culture still does. Plus, women are taught to be pleasers. Plus, quite a few women try to learn about sex (what men want) from watching porn, Which is largely about women pleasing men.

      • Yeah women not being touch with their sexuality and thinking for themselves can be the problem. But I think the problem to this too and why there’s the distinction between hook ups or casual sex and men not pleasing the woman vs relationship sex. Is the way men can compartmentalize compared to women. From out culture probably, men don’t have to hope for more or even like the girl all that much, doesn’t have to have feelings, love, or emotions toward her to want sex with her. So it’s easier for him to not care and like differentiate with “banging girls” in the hook up sense and like an intimacy or making love or want that with a girlfriend, fiance, wife or significant other. Pretty much a man can pretty much see one girl who is sexy and just think about wanting sex with her….same guy can see another girl from same room, notices something, a smile, her sense of humor, and talks with her and something about her clicks with his personality and he likes her. He has feelings or thoughts pop up of her as a result of seeming like a girl he’d want to have as a girlfriend and relationship or something more from interaction and while there’s interest in sex with her, there’s relationship thoughts too or forefront.

        A man can place girls in different areas as far as interest depending on what he wants, notices and feels. So the same guy who can seem like such a d bag player and just banged and left a girl can, the next day, want or see a girl that he wants a relationship with or see her as a girlfriend as opposed to the previouse one. So one he wanted just sex from and nothing more, another one sparks feeling and romantic thoughts and more. Well some guys can just be callous and like that in general, but I think guys can be more complicated than that other than “he justs sees girls as sex toys”When that same guy could have secretly just teared up watching the notebook lol and yearned for a loving relationship and the next girl he has a relationship with. And when a guy is in just wanting sex mode, he’s more often could be in a selfish state of mind, because he just wants sex with her, why does her pleasure mean that much right? He;s not seeing her much more than that? Wherwas, well a girlfriend a guy does care for and should want to please someone he likes a lot and has feelings for, which is why you see that distinction. I think culture is to blame too, because unfortunately with girls slut shamed and then told not to pursue and be passive. Men have to do most of the approaching and risk taking and women are much more selective usually as far as who they want to date or have sex with.

        As a result, it creates a situation of men being opportunists and just caring about getting sex, and noting more as far as pleasuring a girl as they succeeded and got what they want after the previous rejections, $ spent on dates, etc. It also sets up like a competition amongst boys and men,so when that happens. You get what I call a “tunnel vision”, which means your interest is about doing what you want and keeping up with the jones so to speak. So when that happens men can be in a “quest” mode where it’s a mission of having sex with different women and that’s the main objective, women’s pleasure is not even falling into this zoned in focus of getting ass and filling this quota for whatever reasons. Whether to match up with other men’s numbers, or catch up with sowing your oats that you haven;t done and felt have missed out on or for his self and his own ego. If your a man with a big ego but not getting much sex or few partners in the past, that is not something more guys are fine with let alone one who feels highly about himself. It’s like a good basketball player who is a sharp shooter and talented and proud of his shooting skills, but is some shooting rut where he’s not shooting good at all for months. You know he’s going to on a quest to get his performance back. Unfortunatley out cultrue creates this competition and egos with men where women can end up “pawns” in men’s fixated quests and competitions to outdo others or stroking their own egos.

  3. Did I write too much again?

    • yes. Ill post so you can reword more briefly.

      • A man can place girls in different areas as far as interest depending on what he wants, notices and feels. So the same guy who can seem like such a d bag player and just banged and left a girl can, the next day, want or see a girl that he wants a relationship with or see her as a girlfriend as opposed to the previouse one. So one he wanted just sex from and nothing more, another one sparks feeling and romantic thoughts and more. Well some guys can just be callous and like that in general, but I think guys can be more complicated than that other than “he justs sees girls as sex toys”When that same guy could have secretly just teared up watching the notebook lol and yearned for a loving relationship and the next girl he has a relationship with. And when a guy is in just wanting sex mode, he’s more often could be in a selfish state of mind, because he just wants sex with her, why does her pleasure mean that much right?

        As a result, it creates a situation of men being opportunists and just caring about getting sex, and noting more as far as pleasuring a girl as they succeeded and got what they want after the previous rejections, $ spent on dates, etc. It also sets up like a competition amongst boys and men,so when that happens. You get what I call a “tunnel vision”, which means your interest is about doing what you want and keeping up with the jones so to speak. So when that happens men can be in a “quest” mode where it’s a mission of having sex with different women and that’s the main objective, women’s pleasure is not even falling into this zoned in focus of getting ass and filling this quota for whatever reasons. Whether to match up with other men’s numbers, or catch up with sowing your oats that you haven;t done and felt have missed out on or for his self and his own ego. This seems especially true if a man has a big ego but not getting much sex or few partners in the past, that is not something more guys are fine with let alone one who feels highly about himself.

      • What you say fits with some research by Andrew Smiler who has studied men’s sexual and romantic MOs. Most men seem to be romantics — wanting to love the woman they have sex with. About a quarter of men are Casanova’s — wanting a lot of random partners. But even the Casanovas often want relationships in addition. And I’m sure that what men want can shift with circumstances. I actually surveyed my students on this but haven’t gotten around to analyzing the results yet.

      • I agree with bob. What is incentive for a man to really care about her pleasure in a hookup? It’s the right thing to do, is the only thing that comes to mind.

      • Well, women tend to care about man’s pleasure whether it’s a hook up or a relationship. I suspect it’s because women are taught to be pleasing. Plus, they are often out of touch with their own sexuality so they do what’s expected I guess. Expected by society and the man, as they understand it.

  4. plpleasure is different regardless of gender I guess and what may work to pleasure somebody isn’t going to work for everyone I once had a friend ask me what turns me on and I didn’t have a clue how to answer that but that’s because I’ve never been in any potential relationships so couldn’t answer that

  5. “Men’s please is more important?” With this question, I wouldn’t like to think that way. But with the way women’s sexuality is shamed in our society, it tends to be. I agree that with women worrying about how they look and what they are doing to please their guy, it interferes with their own sexual satisfaction. Maybe if it how they looked were not on their mind, their own satisfaction/pleasure would be more of a priority.
    While it is common for women to not expect the same sexual satisfaction in return, I have found myself surrounded by such sexually confident/aware women in my life that I personally do not hear stories like this. In the few women that I do know that do more to please their guy than get please, one was shocked when their guy did more for them. It made me sad to think that women are genuinely shocked when the guy they are with actually care about their satisfaction. I think it should start to be a norm for woman rather than a shock for them.

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