What Women Want …

What women need …

This article has been beautifully written by a colleague to share in the hope of helping change the course for the next generation and those who follow.

Please read through her questions at the end


Diary of a 60 year old woman

Let’s go back to my teenage self.

I saw my value only in how much I was loved by other people. I was a very shy person and didn’t like myself very much. I wanted to have bigger breasts, so that boys would want me. I didn’t know what I wanted from boys though. My main aim was to get a boyfriend, because that meant I was wanted or lovable.

Fast forward onto the first time I had sex. We had been leading in to it for a while. I still didn’t feel ready, but everyone else my age had done it (so I thought). He would leave me if I didn’t do it soon, wouldn’t he? There was a bit of kissing, but then into it. Once he was done, that was it. What was in it for me?

I married him. He loved me. He wanted me. I did everything I knew to make/keep him happy. I didn’t consider it important or even possible to enjoy sex. I felt inadequate, because I only knew the basics. My parents didn’t tell me anything. The only information my mum gave me was how to use a menstrual pad. That was the only personal conversation we had. Well, it wasn’t really a conversation – it was just an instruction. It was up to us to muddle through and learn from each other. As far as anyone else was concerned, we must have been doing it right, because we produced children.

I taught my partner that I didn’t need much and that I would comply. I take full responsibility for letting him think that. When he wanted sex, he got it. I didn’t feel like I could reject him. I may have hurt his feelings, and men needed sex, right? I felt that I needed to keep him happy and keep myself as attractive as I could.

I felt sadly lacking most of the time, but especially after I had my babies, as my body was not bouncing back. He wanted sex after a couple of weeks. I had torn during childbirth and was far from healed. I still felt the pressure to be intimate, so I agreed before I was ready. I felt guilty because I was not healing fast enough. I was sore after each time, but still complied.

He was as ignorant as me. I’ve got to assume that his sex education was only schoolyard level. We never talked about it. It wasn’t something that people discussed. You just did it.

Do men just assume that women always enjoy sex? Even with little or no foreplay? I didn’t even know back then that it was possible to enjoy it. It was just wham, bang, thank you maam. What about that is enjoyable? He was just altogether ignorant to a woman’s needs. Maybe we’ve come a long way since caveman times, but it didn’t feel like it.  To be fair, I didn’t even know my own needs back then.

My partner had a pattern. That’s how I knew that it was on. I may not have wanted it or even wanted to be awake, but I thought he would be offended if I didn’t respond appropriately. He thought what he was doing was keeping me happy.  I know that I was responsible for telling him if I wasn’t happy. I had tried steering him in the right direction. I needed to be more persistent. He didn’t understand what I needed before I was fully ready. Sometimes, I was just not going to enjoy it, no matter what, so I’d rather not start.

Assumption of consent – that’s a huge thing.

Is a man entitled to have sex as often as he needs, with his partner?

If we say nothing, should consent be assumed?

Can his partner say no, without him being offended or feeling like he’s denied his rights?

If they have needs, and I have different needs, shouldn’t we both work to reach a compromise?

What do I need?

I need my partner to be nice to me all the time, not just when they want sex.

I need to receive some sort of positive attention and affection before we get to the bedroom. That might be an ordinary conversation, where he actually listens to me. It might be making me a drink, or sharing the cooking duties. We may have been out for the day at a place that I enjoyed, or with friends. It might be just sitting with me and being affectionate (Although, if he does this after being emotionally or physically absent all day, it is just going to have the opposite effect).

I need to be relaxed and feeling a connection beforehand.

The questions are:

Can we explain our needs in a way that they will understand and won’t take it as an insult? 

If you choose no sex, are you still eligible to have a loving, affectionate relationship?

Are you eligible to have any relationship at all?

What needs to change in order for our grandchildren to understand fully the right of females to say no or to be asked what they want?

Do we all need a different style of sex education when we’re young?