[Notes from Sheikh Yasir Qadhi’s “Like A Garment” series. All goodness is from Allah ta’ala, all errors are mine]
Primary differences between men and women when it comes to intimacy:
1. Allah says in the Qur’an: The man is not like the woman. They’re different in every way: physically, psychologically, intellectually, biologically, and also sexually.
2. Men want and crave the physical act of sex. Women want and crave the attention and emotional aspect of being in a relationship, also known as romance. Generally speaking men want to show their love by taking care of the woman and wants to receive the love in terms of sex. Woman want to receive that love primarily through quality time while they want to return it by household activities.
The Islamic Shariah guarantees that the woman must have the stability of having the security of being taken care of financially while it guarantees that the man must have his sexual needs met through his wife.
There are so many hadith of the Prophet where the wife must never say no to the husband’s request for sexual intimacy. “If a man tells his wife to come for the act and he remains angry, then even the angels in the skies curse her because she refused without a legitimate reason”.
Quick overview of the differences:
1. Arousal: For men, arousal is visual, i.e. seeing nakedness. For women, arousal is emotional. So this is why the pornography industry is geared towards men, while the romance novels and movies are geared towards women.
2. A man needs sex in order to open up his heart for love. A woman needs to be loved to open up for sex. Many times a man will feel like bringing flowers for his wife the night after a passionate encounter. For women, had he done all of this before the intimacy, he would have had a better time.
Based on this, if a man is continually is rejected for sex, the man will feel she doesn’t love him. In contrast, if a woman is always called upon for sex without her emotional needs being met, she will feel misused and abused.
3. Men can generally be aroused at any time of the day, testosterone is generally pretty consistent. Main factor for arousal for a man is how long it has been since he has climaxed. Women are very different, women’s arousal has not been understood very well, and can be affected by their cycles, their hormones, the biological clock, emotional issues. One night the woman may be extremely passionate because it’s that time of the month and easily aroused and the next night she couldn’t care less. The man has to realize that it’s not his fault or hers, it’s outside their control. Men need to realize and accept this.
4. For men, sex is all about climaxing, the release. So they’re not concerned about the buildup, they just want to get to the end. For women, it’s all about the buildup, which is something that men need to understand. They feel happy without necessarily climaxing. So for women it’s mainly the foreplay.
5. Men, generally speaking, can climax within 2-7 minutes of actual intercourse. Women will not even get aroused in less than 20 minutes. “Men are microwaves and women are ovens”.
6. When a man comes to his wife for sex, he’s already interested so it’ll probably take him a couple of minutes to climax while a woman won’t even be aroused. So it’s the man’s job to create the ambience to make it happen. If you want a good evening, have a good day with your wife, talk with her, help her out.
7. Men’s sexual desires are concentrated on one body part, i.e. their private part. For women, they want their entire bodies to be appreciated, this is because of oxytocin. So women prefer gradual stimulation and any sudden groping will only turn her off even though it is a gesture of intimacy on the husband’s part.
8. Men measure success in sex by the climax while women measure success in feeling fulfilled. One of the biggest mistakes that men fall into is they try too hard to make the woman climax, but the most important thing to a woman is to have a good time romantically.
Therefore, both of them are different fundamentally: one (usually) focuses on the ending while the other (usually) focuses on the journey.