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Ask the Resident (Sex) Advisor

The Resident Sex Advisor answers sex-related questions from college students

Dear RSA,
I can not understand how women say sex is still fulfilling even when they don't get off. However, if a guy gets blue balled, he's in a world of hurt. What’s up with this?
Ryan, West Point

Thanks for asking this question. This is one of the fundamental differences between men and women and the cause of much misunderstanding on both sides. What follows is an oversimplified explanation, but basically it boils down to the fact that there are big differences in male and female physiology and male and female sexual and emotional response.

From a physiological point of view, because of the way male sex organs are constructed, there is a physical imperative for a man to ejaculate once aroused. Once a guy gets close to coming, his penis is completely engorged with blood, his testes have started contracting in preparation for ejaculation, and the gateways of his internal plumbing have already started opening in anticipation of a flood of spunk. All kinds of stuff is happening internally in order to propel the sperm around the pipes and out into the world, which requires a lot of force. Your semen has to travel through about two feet of tubing just to get from your balls to the end of your cock. So a lot of pressure builds up in there. The next time you bust a nut, take a moment to marvel at the feat of physics and engineering that your body pulls off to produce the hydraulic spectacle of a cum geyser.

Female ejaculation aside, the mechanics of a woman’s orgasm are a lot different. When a woman cums, her orgasm produces internal, rhythmic muscular contractions of the uterus and vagina that, from a biological and procreative perspective, are meant to suck sperm up toward the ovaries so she can be inseminated. If a woman gets aroused to the point of almost coming, but doesn’t have an orgasm, the experience may feel physically unsatisfying to her, but it isn’t going to be physically uncomfortable the way it would be for a man.

So if a woman doesn’t have an orgasm, but says that sex is fulfilling to her, what the heck is she talking about? Well, the truth is that most of the time men and women want and expect different things from their sexual encounters. While both men and women enjoy the physical pleasure of sex, for most men the goal is primarily achieving a physical release, whereas for women, the goal is less straightforward. Women get more into the emotional aspects and implications of sex. For them, being physically intimate is a way of being emotionally intimate. Many women say that having sex makes them feel emotionally “bonded” to their partner. This also explains why men and women often behave quite differently and have different sets of expectations after having had sex, and why men are usually more comfortable with having casual sex or one-time encounters. Of course, this is a broad generalization - men can also be very emotionally engaged during sex, and sometimes some women just want to get off. But most of the time, most men and most women are coming from different places as far as sex is concerned. Understanding those differences can help you both get your respective needs met while avoiding confusion and hurt feelings.

If you feel brave and you have female friends or acquaintances who are open to talking about sex and will be real with you, try asking them honestly about this and other differences between men and women. You may not like hearing what they have to say, and vice versa, but you’ll learn a lot. And who knows – you may end up getting laid or finding out some valuable tips that will help you the next time.

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