What do women really want in bed? It’s a good question. So good I put it to women and men in a survey and the results were revealing in unexpected and often hilarious ways.
Take, for instance, the respondent who insists that what women really want from a sexual encounter is some ‘ooga booga’. No, I still don’t know what it is, but boy do I want some. Then there are the variations on the theme of this answer:
‘An orgasm would be nice… *sigh* [not in a good way]’.
As well as genuine pleas for fun, variety, closeness and ‘feeling like a woman’.
When it came to what women least want, things got even more interesting. Men who favour the cross-channel ferry approach (roll on and roll off) take note. Again, there were some side-splitting responses among the mind, and often eye-opening, requests for attention to particular needs. Or even just attention. These included the frank:
‘Anything less than $50… and/or a phone call from his wife’.
And the frankly terrifying:
‘To be strangled’.
But these are not the most revealing sections of the survey, at least not for me. I approached this keen to understand why there is still such a gulf between the common perceptions of what women want in bed and the reality. I know from talking to women of all ages and backgrounds that this misunderstanding leaves them frustrated, unfulfilled and far worse. And the clue to all of that lies in their number one need when it comes to their sexual relationships.
No, it’s not commitment or love or even lust (although that scored higher than love). It’s not the thrill of adventure or that old favourite of erotic fiction and 70s porn, the ‘spontaneous’ encounter. I’m not going to reveal it here because responses are still coming in thick and fast – two more things women don’t necessarily want. Instead, I’d like you to think long and hard about it. Yep, they don’t make the top spots either.
In case you’re groaning at my entirely intentional puns, consider that fun, laughter and joy all scored highly. Which puts to bed the myth that women want declarations of true luuurve and commitment followed by hours of earnest lovemaking interspersed with a little light poetry. We’d rather have a good giggle, thank you very much. Along with the kind of good time that suits us as individuals.
That’s the thing that strikes me so strongly. All those articles and books laying out step by step approaches to thigh-juddering orgasms have got it wrong. Sure, we like a good thigh-judder and an orgasm is often missing in action but, above all, women want to be treated as individuals. Which means what has one woman writhing leaves another running through her shopping list in her head or feeling cheated yet again of what should be a mutually pleasurable encounter.
That leads me to utter the words that can freeze hearts and loins: we need to talk. We really do. We need to talk about what we really want and share that with our sexual partners as well as the wider world. And we need to do that in a safe and respectful way that unites rather than polarises us and leads to far more cries of ecstasy than groans of despair.
The split of respondents now stands at 56% women and 44% men. Yes, the survey is ongoing, entirely anonymous and you can join in with your opinions here:
You can also join in the conversation at the Union in Soho on 24th June when I will be putting this question to ‘international sexual development companion’, Madison James, and journalist and author Sophia Money-Coutts.
Come and have your say or simply listen and learn: