It's been widely concluded that it's harder for women to get aroused than men, and that it takes longer. That some women lose interest in sex. That some women have a lower libido overall than most men.
The thing is with (straight) men, a glimpse of bosom or derrière seems to be able to do it. It can fill them with instant desiring and lust. Or horniness to be precise. I found the clock diagram below in an interesting blog post called Sexual Desire - Differences Between Men and Women by John Walter Hamilton. Here the author claims that "there is one major disparity between the sexual motivations for men and women. Men are primarily influenced by visual stimuli whereas women tend to enjoy the emotional and romantic side of sex more."
Modern men are definitely keen on their partners being aroused, and many an advertisement has claimed a product can provide men with the know-how to drive their women wild with desire. I recall a few years back seeing one of those online courses for sale for only three easy payments of $999.99 which was guaranteed to cause ones wife to lead one straight to the bedroom on returning home from work, with a simple series of text messages that no woman could resist. These text messages were to be sent during the day strategically. Glad-faced men gave testimonial after testimonial on video saying how their wives were suggesting sexual activities beyond their wildest dreams, as if a beautiful monster had finally been unleashed, or even leashed depending on her fantasy.
So for a woman does there almost need to be some kind of story attached to an encounter to cause her to be aroused? Nothing complicated of course, just something that has piqued her emotions?
Funnily enough, women are getting back to erotica in record numbers and it's doing wonders for our sex lives. Back? Yes, back. First there was Mills and Boon, admittedly not quite the genre of erotica as romance was more socially acceptable for women to read at that time. I remember visiting relatives who were big fans. Stacks of dogeared books with similar covers and scenarios were shared around. Even I was allowed to pick up a copy as a virgin teenager because there was absolutely no sex. That was left to our imaginations. Just a story and a hint. We filled in the rest. Of course we were helped along with cover images of women in states of about to be fucked by handsome dudes and with suggestive titles such as Fire and Sword, Glass Slippers and Unicorn and the rather naughty A Marriage Betrayed.
Even young teenage girls with their crushes on pop idols are entertaining romantic/erotic ideas as part of their developing sexuality which depends to a degree on their imaginations. Old photos show emotion overload as beauties in front row seats at the Beatles and Elvis concerts screamed and cried almost uncontrollably in the presence of their adored ones. It's not that Elvis or the Beatles or the pop star of the day had personally had anything to do with us, but those loving lyrics of their music was surely meant just for us, and these were sophisticated men who clearly understood us and knew what we wanted to hear, unlike the awkward and innocent we were subjected to at co-ed schools or church events, if we ever attended these.
My first crush in my youth was the completely wholesome Donny Osmond (who was usurped by the Bay City Rollers but I'd given up on pop crushes by the time Duran Duran came along, much to the disgust of my best friend who was still besotted with Simon Le Bon). My best friend and I spent many hours playing their songs, and when we were older we imagined together how wonderful it would be if these perfect lovers were serenading us in person. We concocted ways that we would sneak them into our bedrooms while our protective fathers slept, so that these beautiful men could smother us in kisses of course, for our life experience at that point did not allow for raunchier fantasies. For this reason, we always made sure we each had a different band member to fantasise about, since our fantasies often involved double dates and the pleasures of threesomes had not yet been considered.
Many of the young girls with vivid imaginations from back in the day are now ladies who have grown up and moved on to Fifty Shades of Gray - it was a best-seller so despite the mocking, someone must have been buying it. I found that exciting to think that ladies of my generation are considering that our arousal is worth investing in.
This is one of the reasons I started with my erotica for Amazon. It's not that I claim my writing is high end literature and erotica is not even a genre I think that I am especially good at. Neither do I expect that the adventures of Amber O'Hara are especially arousing for the average woman, since Amber is a working girl. (I'm just writing about what I know.) I mention 50 year old office lady non-Amber a lot though. So maybe other ladies with secret fantasy lives can find the idea of another lady leading a double life intriguing.
So clearly for women, arousal is a mental thing. A woman's largest erogenous zone has long been thought to be her mind. I particularly find intelligent men who can make my brain dance very sexy. Interestingly, I read that more emotionally intelligent women have better orgasms, actually they claim that more sex is good for women's brains: "Enhancing oestrogen levels through regular sexual activity increases overall brain activity." This is a fascinating theory, I recommend reading more.
I haven't exactly gone into the specifics of women getting off, but in most of us, it is a two step process, being aroused most definitely being the first step. The mechanics of getting off once aroused is a separate blog post. They go together like a horse and carriage, with arousal definitely the horse.