Sex: Should women be more like men?
December 9th, 2010
09:21 AM ET

Sex: Should women be more like men?

In the very first episode of "Sex and the City," Carrie poses the question,  “In an age where women enjoy the same successes as men, why shouldn’t they also be able enjoy sex like men?” She was, of course, referring to the male ability to indulge in sex casually, freely, and without a sense of emotional attachment: sex for the sake of sex. And clearly, the phenomenon of the TV series itself, as well as the culture of hooking up of which it was part and parcel, has answered its own question: Yes, a woman can have sex like a man—and then some!

But maybe the real question isn’t whether a woman can have sex like a man, but if she should. At Good in Bed, our experts are debating this topic and we don’t always agree.

Many years before Candace Bushnell put pen to paper, Nobel Prize-winning author Doris Lessing wrote, on the subject of sexual freedom, "Men get erections when they're with a woman they don't give a damn about, but we don't have an orgasm unless we love him. What's free about that?" Or as Carrie’s gal-pal, Charlotte, puts it after hooking up with a guy, "Did the last four-and-a-half hours mean nothing to you?"

Sometimes we treat sex lightly, but sex doesn’t always treat us lightly in return. In biological terms, the female orgasm releases a burst of oxytocin, also known as the cuddle hormone. Oxytocin helps facilitate a sense of attachment. But if there's nothing to attach to, if there's no deeper emotional content or meaningfulness, orgasm could become a regretful reminder of the hollowness of the sex that preceded it. Some sexolgists call this phenomenon post-orgasm regret, and it typically manifests itself in the form of sadness or anger.

This was brought home to me in a recent editorial in the New York Times titled “Sex and Depression.” in which Richard A. Friedman, M.D., writes of a female patient, “She was a 32-year-old woman who experienced a four- to six-hour period of intense depression and irritability after an orgasm, either alone or with a partner. It was so unpleasant that she was starting to avoid sex.” And in her book, "The Good in Bed Guide to Female Orgasms," sex educator Emily Nagoski explains, “A woman is less likely to have orgasms early in a relationship. Her body needs time to adapt to the new partner, to learn to trust him or her, and to relax into the knowledge that her partner accepts and appreciates her body.” But is this period of adaptation just that—a period—or does it point to a more fundamental difference between male and female sexuality?

In 1966, Masters and Johnson published their classic book, “Human Sexual Response,” and proposed a linear model of sexual response for both men and women that included four stages: arousal, plateau, orgasm, and resolution (the time where many men roll over and start snoring). But over the years experts have questioned this model, as it assumes that men and women are more similar than different. More recently, sex researcher Rosemarie Basson has proposed a new framework for thinking about female sexual response, one that places the importance of emotional intimacy and relationship satisfaction at its center. Basson’s framework contends that female sexual arousal is more complex than a male’s and depends more intensely on factors such as relationship satisfaction, self-esteem and previous sexual experiences—pretty important stuff in maintaining a long-term committed relationship, regardless of whether you’re a man or a woman.

So let’s rephrase that question one more time, shall we? It’s not a question of can, or even should, a woman have sex like a man. The real question is, Should a man have sex like a woman?

And remember, if you’d like more help navigating this life-change years, check out our free download of the Good in Bed Guide to Sex and the Baby Years.

Ian Kerner is a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, blogs on Thursdays on The Chart. Read more from him at his website,GoodInBed.

soundoff (844 Responses)
  1. travel trailer remodeling companies

    There's certainly a great deal to know about this subject. I really like all the points you made.


    June 4, 2021 at 03:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. citibank near me


    June 4, 2021 at 03:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Sprinter Climate Control Repair


    June 4, 2021 at 03:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Sprinter Van Repair San Diego


    June 4, 2021 at 05:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. 2006 Sprinter 3500 Repair Near Me


    June 4, 2021 at 10:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. camper inspection near me

    When I originally commented I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on every time a comment is added I recieve 4 emails with the exact same comment. Is there a way you can remove me from that service? Kudos!


    June 4, 2021 at 14:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. culver's near me


    June 4, 2021 at 14:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Frightliner Sprinter Repair Shop

    This is the perfect blog for anyone who would like to find out about this topic. You know so much its almost tough to argue with you (not that I personally will need toÖHaHa). You definitely put a brand new spin on a subject that has been written about for ages. Great stuff, just wonderful!


    June 4, 2021 at 14:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Mercedes Sprinter Cowel Panel Rust Repair

    Excellent blog you've got here.. Itís hard to find high quality writing like yours these days. I honestly appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!


    June 4, 2021 at 15:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. trailer service near me

    bookmarked!!, I really like your web site!


    June 4, 2021 at 18:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. SEO Marketing Companies Near Me


    June 5, 2021 at 03:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Mercedes Benz Sprinter Authorized Repair Shop

    Everyone loves it when individuals come together and share views. Great blog, keep it up!


    June 5, 2021 at 03:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Van Wheelchair Lift Repair Near Me

    Pretty! This was an incredibly wonderful article. Thanks for supplying these details.


    June 5, 2021 at 03:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. tv repair near me

    Very good post! We are linking to this particularly great article on our site. Keep up the great writing.


    June 5, 2021 at 03:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. oc repair

    I blog often and I genuinely appreciate your content. The article has really peaked my interest. I am going to bookmark your website and keep checking for new information about once a week. I opted in for your RSS feed as well.


    June 5, 2021 at 03:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Repair Shops Near Me

    This is the perfect blog for anyone who wishes to find out about this topic. You realize so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I personally will need toÖHaHa). You definitely put a brand new spin on a topic that's been discussed for decades. Wonderful stuff, just wonderful!


    June 5, 2021 at 05:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Mercedes Sprinter Repair Near Me

    I couldnít refrain from commenting. Very well written!


    June 5, 2021 at 21:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Sprinter Truck Repair


    June 5, 2021 at 22:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. national parks near me


    June 6, 2021 at 01:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Sprinter Mercedes Service

    Next time I read a blog, I hope that it does not disappoint me as much as this particular one. I mean, Yes, it was my choice to read, but I really thought you would probably have something interesting to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of moaning about something you could possibly fix if you were not too busy searching for attention.


    June 6, 2021 at 06:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. repair shops near me


    June 6, 2021 at 22:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. slotxo


    June 7, 2021 at 01:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. store xnxx


    June 7, 2021 at 04:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Sprinter Van Side Repair Price


    June 7, 2021 at 05:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. vans store orange county


    June 7, 2021 at 22:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. perris collision


    June 7, 2021 at 23:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. rv parts indio


    June 7, 2021 at 23:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. RV Washing Riverside


    June 7, 2021 at 23:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. rv interior remodeling near me

    This is a very good tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere. Simple but very accurate infoÖ Thank you for sharing this one. A must read post!


    June 8, 2021 at 14:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. RV Storage Riverside

    I was more than happy to find this web site. I wanted to thank you for ones time for this fantastic read!! I definitely appreciated every part of it and i also have you book marked to check out new stuff on your site.


    June 8, 2021 at 18:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. rv decal repair


    June 8, 2021 at 19:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Internet Marketing Experts Near Me

    You have made some decent points there. I checked on the internet to find out more about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this website.


    June 9, 2021 at 05:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. road review mclaren gt

    My friend is making amazing car videos please make
    him famous he is the best youtuber

    June 9, 2021 at 09:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Douglas Koerner

    I could not refrain from commenting. Perfectly written!


    June 9, 2021 at 11:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Mi Hellinger

    Hello there! This article couldnít be written any better! Reading through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept talking about this. I'll forward this article to him. Fairly certain he'll have a great read. Thank you for sharing!


    June 9, 2021 at 12:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Earnest Krakowski

    Having read this I believed it was extremely enlightening. I appreciate you spending some time and energy to put this information together. I once again find myself spending a significant amount of time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!

    June 9, 2021 at 12:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Digital Marketing Company

    Can I just say what a relief to find someone who actually knows what they are discussing on the internet. You definitely realize how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More people need to check this out and understand this side of the story. It's surprising you're not more popular since you surely have the gift.


    June 9, 2021 at 17:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Tamisha Shaker


    June 9, 2021 at 19:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Winford Alnutt


    June 9, 2021 at 23:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Timothy Cima

    Right here is the right site for everyone who would like to understand this topic. You know a whole lot its almost hard to argue with you (not that I personally would want toÖHaHa). You certainly put a brand new spin on a topic that has been written about for a long time. Excellent stuff, just wonderful!

    June 9, 2021 at 23:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Vincent Wolpert


    June 9, 2021 at 23:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. rv repair near me now

    Good day! I simply wish to offer you a big thumbs up for your great info you have right here on this post. I will be coming back to your blog for more soon.


    June 10, 2021 at 00:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Jill Martich


    June 10, 2021 at 02:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Lucilla Breakey


    June 10, 2021 at 09:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Carmela Pitek

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you penning this write-up plus the rest of the website is also really good.


    June 10, 2021 at 10:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. rv repair shops near me

    Hello there! I could have sworn Iíve been to your blog before but after going through a few of the articles I realized itís new to me. Regardless, Iím certainly delighted I stumbled upon it and Iíll be bookmarking it and checking back regularly!


    June 10, 2021 at 10:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Neil Viniegra

    Hi, I do think this is an excellent site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I may return yet again since i have book marked it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to help others.


    June 10, 2021 at 10:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Hong Ashton

    Saved as a favorite, I love your web site!


    June 10, 2021 at 10:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Branden Galligan


    June 10, 2021 at 17:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. rv repair shops


    June 10, 2021 at 19:27 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.