Men and women are different in oh so many ways! That is what attracts us and yes, also challenges us! Let’s get to the basics: sexuality, emotional intimacy, and interests, tastes and sensibilities. So totally different!
As a family counselor for over 29 years I have heard countless stories from men and women, separately and together, about sex. Men most often prefer a direct approach, while women typically want a romantic setting, music, candlelight, massage, and kissing to set the scene.
Men generally don’t want to talk about feelings as much as women do and seem to shy away from their feelings, accessing anger or happiness more easily than pain and fear. In many sessions I have heard a man say to his partner, “Just get to the point.”
3. Tastes, sensibilities, and interests.
Women are commonly more interested in aesthetics, beauty, fashion, interior design, art, and theater. Men are often more interested in sports, politics, business, and the stock market. Of course these are generalizations, yet they frequently hold true.
So how is it possible to satisfy both men and women? Some thoughts come to mind:
Communication: Defining our similarities and differences (and expressing the feelings they evoke) contributes to happy relationship. Not in the heat of frustration or disappointment, but in a neutral time set aside weekly for “How are we doing?” check-ins. Learning how to express desires, requests, and feelings on a regular basis goes a long way toward creating harmony and preventing built-up resentment.
Satisfy some of our individual preferences on our own and with our friends. Our intimate partners cannot be expected to fill all of our needs. Taking personal time for reflection to connect with our genuine selves is essential. Friendships we find interesting and fun add to our satisfaction and to our intimate relationships.
Prioritizing pleasure: Although most of our daily lives are filled with work, family needs, and many other responsibilities that sometimes feel stressful, we all need to laugh and play, dance and sing, relax and have fun. We need to keep ourselves happy. Schedule at least one thing every day that you enjoy. Pleasured people bring pleasure to others.
Deep within, we all want the same thing — happiness. We want trust, respect, sex, fun, attention, affection, and support.
Our capacity to give that to each other rests on nourishing our genuine selves. Men and women who are willing to share their strengths, accept their vulnerabilities, and prioritize pleasure have the tools to turn their relationship into a beautiful dance.