Ladies, if any of you still believe that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, then you have a lot to figure out about men. Men can easily feed themselves. But they’re not so crazy about taking care of some of their other needs by themselves — and I’m not talking about sewing on buttons. So, pay attention to the tips here if you want to get the most from your relationship and find out what men find sexy.

See "Dr. Ruth: 10 Things Women Wish Men Knew about Sex" for the opposite sex's viewpoint.

Be aware of mixed signals

Fact: Your man finds it exciting to look at your body. Sometimes you’re well aware of this trait, and you’ll don a sexy nightgown. Other times, you’re not thinking about his reaction, but you’re hot and tear your clothes off in front of him. Then you expect him to be a mind reader and understand the difference. This might be an intellectual exercise he could accomplish, but when it comes to how his penis reacts, his control is lacking.

If you’re parading around naked and you notice his tongue is hanging out by his navel, but you have absolutely no desire/time/inclination to have sex, here’s what I suggest you do: throw out a time. This way you’re not really turning him down, just delaying his gratification.

If you spend a lot of time together, mixed signals are just a natural occurrence. Just bear in mind that in the sexual arena, you have two audiences, his mind and his penis, which at times have been known to get their own signals crossed.

Lack of sex really can hurt

The term is blue balls, and whether a man’s testicles actually turn any colors I don’t know, but they can absolutely ache from the need for sexual release. Now, the pain isn’t so acute that a man can’t stand it, and, if no one else is around, all he has to do is masturbate to bring needed relief. But he’s also not putting you on when he says that his testicles hurt.

If you get a man that excited and then change your mind about giving him sexual release, he won’t be pleased. Not only does his ego suffer, but his testicles do as well.

Sometimes wasting electricity is okay

Men get turned on visually, which is why they’d really appreciate it if you would cover up a bit less when the time comes to make love. I know that you like to cuddle and be cozy, and that a dark room with the covers drawn up to your chin helps you feel safe enough to get aroused, but for the sake of your man, how about leaving the lights on once in a while?

Now, I’m not asking you to cover your room with mirrors because I understand that you have to be able to look your mother-in-law in the eye when she visits. But as long as the room temperature is warm enough not to cause goose bumps, give your man the visual stimuli he desires.

Teamwork is important

So many of you women are sick of sports. Having your man spend Sunday afternoons watching other men hitting each other may seem boring, but I believe sports can teach you a lesson about sex.

To you women, verbal communication is very important. Because men, in general, don’t talk as much — especially the strong, silent type — it seems as if they don’t communicate to each other. But many men prefer to bond not by talking but by doing something together, as a team. Having played sports as young men and discovered how to appreciate the benefits of teamwork, men find that watching sports has a great attraction.

So how does this idea affect your love life? For one thing, the more teamwork you have in your sex life, the more communication you’ll have between the two of you, and the happier you’ll both be. Here are some suggestions to get the action started:

  • The simplest thing you can do is to initiate sex once in a while if you tend to leave that task to him.
  • Buy some sex toys, edible underwear for example, and present them to him one night.
  • Suggest writing up a game plan for the night’s sexual activities. Include starting time, which positions, and which room of the house.
  • Buy a team uniform, maybe matching T-shirts, that can serve as a secret signal between the two of you that — if you’re both wearing them — then that night, or that afternoon, is reserved for sex.
Take an active part in sex and score some points that put you right at the top of his standings.

Celebrities’ bodies are not a threat

Kim Kardashian was said to have “broken” the Internet when she appeared nude in a photo spread. Did your man see those pictures? Probably. Should your self-esteem take a hit because your body doesn’t quite match hers? Definitely not.

I know there are women who feel badly that their body doesn’t resemble that of a supermodel. Some actually visit plastic surgeons in order to make up for what they perceive to be deficiencies. But let me be clear, you’re not in competition with these celebrity bodies.

Yes, your man may enjoy looking at the Sports Illustrated swimsuit models. He even may fantasize about spending some time with one or more of them on a desert island. But that in no way detracts from the appeal of the body he actually shares a bed with. That body — your body — is attached to the woman he loves and so is special.

If your man exaggerates and does nothing but stare at long-legged buxom women all day, you can say something, but don’t act jealous over his occasional ogling of the latest bombshell. The Bible may have said not to covet your neighbor’s wife, but in those days of stone tablets admiring women worlds away wasn’t even an imagined possibility. Today such images are all around us, and better not to spoil your relationship by trying to make your partner feel guilty for partaking every now and then.

A little tact, please

Men are not in full control of their erections. Sometimes they show up when they’re not wanted; other times, they refuse to board the bus no matter how desperately the driver begs. If a man’s having difficulties obtaining or maintaining his erection, the last thing he, or his penis, needs is a snide comment from you.

You can perhaps be helpful by some physical gesture with your hand or mouth. You don’t have to pretend that it’s sticking straight up when it’s hanging there pointed at the ground. But be aware that the wrong comment can make the situation worse. The more understanding you are, the better his chances of turning the situation around.

If you really loved me, you’d . . .

I admit I felt a little prudish about putting what this tip is about right in the title, though most of you ladies can guess what I’m talking about. And, certainly, many of you keep your man happy by performing that certain act.

Right, the topic here is fellatio — oral sex on a man.

Now, although I’m speaking on behalf of men here, I must state categorically that I absolutely do not want any woman to do anything that really repulses her. But before you ignore this section, ask yourself: Is oral sex really that repulsive? I’m not saying that you have to necessarily swallow his semen, but is just kissing and licking his penis that big of a deal?

If you’re concerned about cleanliness, then go get a washcloth and clean his penis. He won’t object, unless you use cold water.

I really do not believe that men who crave this sex act see it as degrading to women. Rather, they want it because they enjoy the sensations. And maybe you do, too, when he does it to you. Even if fellatio never becomes a regular part of your sexual repertoire, you can at least make his birthday special.

The way to a man’s heart is not through his stomach

I don’t know where that saying that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach started, but unless you only asked men living in a retirement community, I don’t think you’ll find the majority in agreement. And I’m not sure that even the seniors would give their vote.

Men like to eat, but if they have to do something for themselves, they’d prefer to feed themselves. Some women, after a few years or a few kids, seem to withdraw from sex. A wife may think that as long as she feeds her husband and maybe irons his shirts, that’s all he really needs from her.

That idea may work for a while, but then he’ll get a new secretary, or go to a convention in Las Vegas, or just look differently at the neighbor’s wife, and all of a sudden, his attention is permanently drawn elsewhere.

As a man ages, his sexual urges may come further apart, but they’re still there. If, for some reason, you seem to have lost your sexual desire, don’t just assume it happens because you’re a woman. That’s nonsense. Loss of sexual appetite is almost always caused by something specific, so find a specialist — a sex therapist or marital therapist — who can help you overcome this problem.

It might just be sex

I don’t want to make any excuses for men who fool around, especially in these days when he can catch a serious disease and then infect his innocent wife. But in general, men and women are different when it comes to sex. Most women need romance to become aroused, which means that their emotions are almost always involved, but most men can have sex without the act triggering an emotional response in them.

This is the reason that prostitutes have always been doing business with men on a quickie basis, while the few gigolos (male prostitutes for women) that exist almost always perform for a long term.

You need to understand this fact because if you ever catch your man having had sex with another woman, you shouldn’t throw away a long-term relationship without doing a careful evaluation. If it really looks like he was only in it for the sex, and if you both love each other, you may be able to save your relationship. I’m certainly not advocating sticking around with a philanderer, the guy who does it over and over again. But in some instances, you’d be better off forgiving and forgetting (although you can never totally forget). If you need help with this, seek out a marital counselor.

The older a man gets, the more help he needs

Not every man knows that, at some point in his life, he loses the ability to have a psychogenic erection — an erection that comes by itself, without any physical manipulation — but it’s a fact. This problem doesn’t signal the end of your love life; instead, it means that your partner now needs foreplay as much as you do.

Some of you women may decide that this is the moment to pay him back for all the times that he didn’t give you enough foreplay, but I’m telling you not to play those games. When this change first starts to happen to a man, he gets pretty upset about it. The first few times he runs across a situation where his penis used to take off for the races by itself and now just lies there can be downright scary. So have mercy on him and don’t add to his plight.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer is America's favorite sex therapist. Author of over 40 books and host of several TV shows on human sexual- ity, she frequently lectures around the world. Pierre A. Lehu has worked with Dr. Ruth for decades as publicist, writer, and friend.

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