Having grown up with “The Golden Rule,” most of us naturally think we should touch our partner in the way that we would like to be touched. However, human evolution has lead to a physiological gender difference that is important to understand when it comes to physical intimacy. Treating others the way we want to be treated doesn’t always transfer to the bedroom—and there’s a scientific explanation as to why!
Traditionally, men have been the hunters, protectors, and warriors. Often this meant going into harsh conditions and exposing themselves to the elements on extended hunting expeditions or to stalk the enemy.
Without modern protective gear, men had to endure extreme weather conditions, insects, skin abrasions, bumps, bruises, and even more severe injuries. So nature toughened the male epidermis and underlying tissue, making it less sensitive to pain, thus less sensitive to sensation in general.
Women on the other hand, while certainly having to endure hardships, traditionally were more likely to spend their days raising the children and maintaining the home-front, remaining more sheltered from the elements. So their bodies retained greater sensitivity through years of evolution.
This is why when it’s time to get naked with your partner, you will generally find that men want and need much deeper and firmer touch to experience pleasure than women do. What to a woman may feel like a sensuous caress, a man may perceive as ticklish or annoying. Men often find they rarely get a touch from a woman that really feels firm enough.
A woman, on the other hand, may respond to the type of deeper muscle massage that a man may prefer with unconscious contraction and resistance, because it is actually too firm for her more delicate tissues. Women will generally enjoy long, slow, soft caresses. When massaging a woman, begin lightly and gradually go deeper as the muscles relax.
The most important lesson here is to not rely on the type of touch you prefer as a gauge of what your partner may find pleasurable, especially if he or she is of the opposite gender.
As always, elicit feedback, but don’t expect your partner to always tell you verbally. Pay attention to the non-verbal cues he or she gives, for example, through sound, trembling, relaxation or signs of arousal.