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How is emotion related to a woman’s sexual arousal?

Ian Kerner, PhD
Sexual Health
Generally, before a woman can get aroused, she has to experience desire. In this way, female sexuality is different than male sexuality. For most men, all it takes is a little visual stimulation to get us in the mood for sex. That’s why men are the predominant consumers of porn and why something like Viagra works so well for men, but not for women. According to University of British Columbia psychiatrist Rosemary Basson, MD, many women are unaware of their physical arousal (increased blood flow to the genitals). Men are more easily aroused, and arousal is more directly linked to desire. Female sexuality is a little more complex. In fact, one of the main differences between male and female sexuality is that guys don’t need to feel emotionally connected to the person we’re having sex with in order to want to have sex. There’s actually scientific research to support the observation that women tend to feel sexual desire towards those men for whom they feel an emotional connection. It could be a function of evolution. Men have a virtually unlimited supply of sperm to propagate, but women have precious few eggs to be fertilized. So they’re going to be choosier about whom they have sex with, and part of that choosiness is the need to feel emotionally connected.

These days, of course, not every woman wants you to fertilize her eggs and many couples use some sort of birth control. But for many women, the need for an emotional connection hasn’t ebbed. This means the #1 thing you can do to get a woman in the mood for sex is to make a strong emotional connection outside the bedroom.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.