Building Bridges

Issue # 10 of 43 

David LeClaire
By: David LeClaire

Sex & Intimacy: What Men Want

Men often say they wish that relationships were easier. Working at a relationship seems like just that, more work.

Their expectations are different as a group, and they often would like being in a relationship to mean more fun. Since men can often survive on less intimacy (see When Men are Emotional Camels) than their female counterparts, they crave more of the pleasure and enjoyment that sex brings them. Thus it makes sense that quite a large number of men report that they'd like to have more sex.

Yet men don't just want more sex if it will end up being boring. Many men feel their partner is passive sexually. If men have to convince their partner to make love, or she appears apathetic about it, sex loses much of its appeal. Women may crave passion, but so do men. Yet men often aren't as concerned about the experience being an exchange of love as they are excited by a woman's sexual intensity and assertiveness.

What men want more of in the arena of sex and intimacy is very diverse and individual. Yet what I hear the most often from men is their partner is not assertive enough sexually. Since this is something obviously quite a few men desire but don't experience, to them it is intriguing.

Men often fantasize about a woman who loves sex and would love to have sex with him, and being with a woman who knows what she likes and is assertive about experiencing sexual pleasure.

That explains why a sensual or sexy woman captures the interest of so many men compared to the average woman who does not exude any sexual energy. Why are so many men attracted to women who wear mini-skirts, sheer blouses, tight leather pants, or low cut tops? Because men interpret a woman's choice of this type of clothing as a sign that she likes to be sensual and sexual. While this may or may not be true, they imagine that she's probably very sexual by nature. Even if her body is comparable to another woman, some men believe that her attitude would probably make her a lot more fun. While this is certainly not always accurate, it's simply an assumption that many men make.

The majority of men I've talked to say the woman in their life is either shy, reserved, waits for direction, or let's him make love to her. Men don't want to make love to their partner, they want it to be more of an exchange. Sometimes women just focus on their partner's pleasure, afraid to do whatever feels good to her. If you are the man and you wish your partner was more outgoing sexually - then it's time to SPEAK UP! Don't make your partner feel wrong for the way she's been in the past - just mention that you'd like to try something new, and what that would be.

If you are a woman who has been a little shy intimately, simply tell your man that you'd like to try being more assertive. Many men would appreciate the fact that their partner felt so safe, comfortable, and aroused that she was assertively passionate, and experiencing great pleasure, as a result of being with him. To be fair, both partners can usually become much more involved and assertive.

Sometimes women say they are afraid to do what they want because it will make them look too experienced.

Instead of worrying about what your partner might think, couples would do well to talk about what they each would like more and less of, which we'll discuss more in the upcoming chapters.

Lovemaking can be very much like dancing with someone. There can be more of a synchronicity with an appreciation of each other's interests and needs. With this kind of a spirit, you don't step on each other's toes, and instead find a rhythm that works for both of you.

Some couples become stuck in the rut of I don't want to give you what you want because I'm not getting what I need. I know men who resent their wife's lack of interest or willingness to be sexual with them. I also know women who are not interested in being sexual with their husband because they aren't intimate enough and the desire just isn't there as a result. Sometimes these people are married to each other, and the solution seems clear enough to everyone except for the couple who's in the middle of it!

Whatever it is that you or your partner want in regards to your sexual relationship is what really counts, not what other couples or the majority want. By communicating your interests and desires, the two of you can begin making more of an effort to make sure you're both taken care of.

Couples will benefit when both partners see each others needs as valid and important. Regardless of which partner you are and whether you want more sex, more intimacy, or both; as a couple you should both be able to have what you each want and desire. Take your partner's interests seriously. Remember that sex and intimacy are in fact different even though they can be related. One does not replace the other, and both are just as important to keeping the passion alive in your relationship.

David LeClaire has spent much of his time teaching at community college and private school, and lead communications training for Fortune 500 companies. Now a popular and active Seattle area sommelier, this graduate of Central Michigan University led seminars for a wide variety of organizations. LeClaire is the author of "Bridges To A Passionate Partnership." He can be reached at

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Text © 1998, David LeClaire. Part of the original Sideroad.
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