Even if you know very little about intimacy and sex, you probably know one thing: women and men are very different when it comes to arousal and being “turned on.”
As you (hopefully) know, sex isn’t anything like it’s portrayed in adult entertainment. There are a lot more moving parts than is often shown. One piece that’s often overlooked? Female arousal.
Female sexual arousal is a complex topic. In this post, you’ll learn everything you need to know about female arousal and intimacy.
So if you want to be a master of female sexual arousal, then read on.
The Difference Between Male and Female Arousal
The arousal, or excitement, stage of the sexual response cycle is important for both men and women. It’s what gets them prepared for sex.
In both sexes, the arousal phase is characterized by:
- Increase in heart rate
- Increase in respiration (breathing rate)
- Rise in blood pressure
In men, the excitement phase is further characterized by the hardening of the penis. In women, vasocongestion (swelling of bodily tissues caused by increased blood flow) occurs so the genitals become engorged. This is also when self-lubrication of the vagina begins.
But what truly sets the arousal phase apart for men and women is the how.
It’s no surprise that men are more easily aroused by visual stimulation than women. Women are more sexually complex, though. This means they require different types of stimulation including “auditory, olfactory, touch, and emotionally relevant sexual stimulation.”
Even more interesting is the connection between physiological and emotional arousal. That is, do physical arousal indicators always match emotional arousal levels?
In men, the connection between physiological and emotional arousal appears to occur about 70 percent of the time. So if a man is erect, you can almost bet that he’s also emotionally prepared for a sexual encounter. The same isn’t true for women, though, as the connection between physiological and emotional arousal levels is there less than 30 percent of the time.
This tells us something very important about female arousal:
You’ll need to put the work in to get her emotionally or mentally aroused more than physically aroused. That’s not to say that physical arousal is unimportant. However, it’s just one piece of the puzzle.
Female Arousal Triggers
So what is it that women are looking for to create that physiological and mental arousal? Here are a few female arousal triggers that can often lead to both.
Everyone – male and female alike – likes to feel desirable. For women, however, desirability is a positive indicator of sexual desire.
Women need to feel desired. They need to feel attractive and mysterious. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at popular romance novels. These novels build upon female desirability as a way to keep their readership tuned in. It can also set some unrealistic expectations, but that’s a topic for another day.
Intimacy often stirs images of physical touch and closeness. While this is part of intimacy, what’s even more important for women is emotional intimacy.
Emotional intimacy occurs when her partner shows interest in her, her feelings, and her physical and emotional well-being. This form of intimacy makes the woman feel safe and cherished, both of which are important for attachment and bonding.
Affirmation is a form of emotional support or encouragement. When it comes to sex and intimacy, affirmation is often linked to desirability and ability. That is, women enjoy being encouraged in both their feelings of attractiveness and their ability to get their partner turned on.
Affirmation can and should come from within. That is, you should shape your own feelings and beliefs about yourself and who you are as a person. Even if it should be that way, it doesn’t mean women (and men) don’t crave external affirmation to also feel justified in their feelings.
When is the last time you wanted to do something for or with someone who rarely, if ever, shows effort in your relationship? The answer is probably never. That’s because humans see effort as an indicator of interest, and that’s not without good reason!
For women in long-term relationships, effort is a huge arousal trigger. If the man shows effort in other areas of the relationship, the woman is willing to show effort in the sexual arena. This includes physical effort, like carrying heavy bags for her or tending to chores.
However, as has been the pattern in previous triggers we’ve covered, an emotional effort is just as important. This looks more like taking initiative in understanding and addressing her emotional needs.
Last but not least, a common arousal trigger for women is attention.
Not only do women want to know you’re paying attention to what they’re saying, but they also want to see you paying attention to their presence.
When it comes to more abstract attention, this often looks like remembering small details she’s shared with you in the past or asking thoughtful questions during conversations. But physical attention can be just as powerful, especially in the moment. This means locking eyes with her, using your eyes to follow her around the room, and otherwise letting her know she’s the only thing you see.
Female Arousal Killers
To get your woman aroused, it’s just as important to understand female arousal killers as it is to understand female arousal triggers.
Male or female, stress is a common arousal killer. For women, though, stress can more easily seep into their sex and love lives. It can be more difficult for women to “shut it off,” and because of this, they may be unable to forget about it during sex.
As we’ll discuss more in-depth in our section on the “orgasmic potential massage,” women tend to hold stress within their body.
Feeling understood is an important part of a relationship for most people. Whether a friendship, a work relationship, or an intimate relationship, understanding can go a long way in making your counterpart feel secure.
On the flip side, not feeling understood or constantly feeling misunderstood can be a huge turn-off in any relationship. For women, it can also be a deal breaker when it comes to sexual intimacy.
Lack of Trust
Intimacy and sex are incredibly vulnerable times for a woman. She feels stripped bare, exposed. As such, she has to feel completely safe and secure with you in order to fully relax and enjoy the experience. That can only happen with trust.
A lack of trust can make it difficult for women to form a connection with their sexual partners. They may feel they have to close apart of themselves off, or even hide a piece of themselves during the experience.
As you can imagine, this lack of trust can make it difficult for women during the arousal phase as closeness and transparency is the name of the game.
Communication is critical for any healthy relationship. This is true in both sexual and non-sexual relationships.
When it comes to sexual relationships, though, poor communication can also be dangerous. It may even border on non-consent.
Poor communication runs deep. It’s indicative of a larger problem in the relationship. It may make a woman feel as if she’s not being heard. It can also make a woman feel as if you don’t respect her enough to communicate with her clearly.
There is a lot of shame surrounding sex, sensuality, and pleasure. This is true for both men and women.
While some people are able to overcome these feelings of shame, there are others who may hold onto this shame more deeply. If your partner is one of those people, it will take patience and understanding on your behalf to help her come out of her shell.
Men and women can experience trauma – sexual or otherwise – that closes apart of themselves off to future sexual partners. While they may be there as physical participants, they are unable to fully open themselves up to their partner emotionally. This can make many aspects of sex, especially arousal, difficult.
To truly enjoy the experience and feel closeness with their partner, they must work through that trauma in a healthy and safe way. This includes therapy with a trained professional.
You don’t need an in-depth course on female anatomy to know that women’s hormone levels vary throughout their lives. In fact, hormone levels can vary by age, by month, by the time of the month, and even by day.
Whether it’s natural hormonal changes (e.g. her cycle, perimenopause or menopause) or those caused by medical conditions or medicine, they can play a part in her ability to become aroused.
How to Arouse a Woman
Now that you know general arousal triggers and killers, here’s how to arouse your woman.
The last thing you want to do is rush into things. This will likely make your woman feel undesired which doesn’t exactly make it easy to get her “there.”
So start slow by first appealing to her mental and emotional state. How is she feeling? Is there anything on her mind? How was her day? Only once she feels emotionally satisfied should you move on to physical things.
Even then, check in with her frequently during foreplay and sex. The slower and more mindful you are, the better her experience.
An important part of starting slow is using foreplay to get her wet and ready.
Once you’ve tended to her emotional needs, it’s time to prepare her physically. This will make sex more enjoyable for both of you.
Foreplay doesn’t have to wait until you’re in the bedroom, either. You can start foreplay with your partner hours or even days before. Some ideas for early foreplay include:
- Sending her dirty texts
- Sending or asking for nudes
- Telling her exactly what you want to do to her
- Leaving her flowers and a naughty note
Once it’s time for the big event, you don’t want to jump right in. Instead, you want to work yourselves up so you’re both aroused and ready to go.
A few ideas to start with include:
Start with a steamy makeout session and slowly peel her clothes off piece by piece. Use your lips to kiss your way down her body, first her neck, then her breasts, then her stomach, her thighs, and her legs. Avoid the most sensitive parts (nipples and clitoris) to really get her going.
Only once she’s absolutely begging you for more should you proceed.
Dirty talk seems to be a lost art. If you’ve never done it before, though, don’t be worried. It can be a bit awkward to start, but once you get going you’ll find filthy things just rolling off your tongue.
So what kinds of things should you say?
If you’re feeling out of your depth, start with these simple templates:
- I like it when you…
- You look so sexy when you…
- You’re so good at…
- I want to do (blank) to you
- Remember when I…?
- I really want to try…
You may just be surprised what you say when finishing your statement!
Dirty talk doesn’t mean you have to be outright crude, either. While some women like crude, others prefer a more sensual and romantic touch. So ask your partner what she likes and experiment if she’s not sure.
Know Where to Touch
What spots turn her on? Which areas are off limits and which ones are her go-to?
This does vary from woman to woman, but there are also some common areas that are more sensitive to sensual touch than others.
These areas are known as the erogenous zones, or female hot spots. For one reason or another, they are more sensitive when stimulated and can lead to heightened arousal or even orgasm.
You probably know the most obvious of these spots, like the lips, the nipples, and the clitoris. Other erogenous zones include the:
- Inner arm
- Lower back
If you’re not sure where her most sensitive spots are, take the time to experiment. Use your fingertips and a light touch to caress her from head to toe. Take note of every twitch and every sigh.
You should spend time on these zones every time you make love. They’re a great addition to foreplay or even during sex.
Listen to Her Body
Do you know how to read your partner’s body language? If you want to really get her going, then knowing what she likes based on her physical response is important.
There are two forms of communication: verbal and nonverbal.
Verbal communication includes words, but also signs, moans, and grunts. It’s usually easy to tell when these are positive. But what about nonverbal communication? Nonverbal communication can be more difficult to distinguish, but not impossible.
Examples of nonverbal communication, or body language, during sex include changes in respiration, muscle twitches, grinding hips, and moving closer to you. These are all signs that your partner is enjoying whatever it’s you’re doing.
You can also use nonverbal communication to determine if you should change your course of action. For example, if she pulls away or stiffens.
You can always verify with your partner verbally if she’s having a good time, but being able to read her body language will go a long way in arousing and pleasuring her.
Give Without Receiving
How many times have you begun a sexual encounter with your partner without the expectation of receiving pleasure in return?
It seems counterintuitive, right? After all, sex is pleasure.
But what I mean is that sex is just as much about giving pleasure as it is receiving it. If you’re only focused on receiving it as is the case with most people, then how much thought can you really put into giving it?
Being a giver is also a huge turn-on for women. When they know their man will take care of them, they’re more open to sexual input. They’re also more likely to want to give in return.
I know what you’re thinking… should I give without receiving every time?
The thing to remember here is that love should never be a tit-for-tat. It’s true that you should feel sexually fulfilled in your relationship too. If you feel like you’re always giving and never receiving, that’s certainly worth a conversation with your partner.
However, you should try to see every encounter within its own bubble. This means you should always go into your encounters with the intent to give without any expectation of pleasure in return. It’s very, very likely you’ll also receive from your partner. But that’s not the ultimate point.
Advanced Technique: Orgasmic Potential Massage
The above techniques are useful for one-off sexual encounters. What if you want to help your partner increase her arousal potential for the future? You can with orgasmic potential massage.
The orgasmic potential massage is a series of massage sessions that increases your partner’s potential for arousal and sexual pleasure. The end goal is to increase the sexual energy flow throughout her body to increase her ‘orgasmic potential.’
How do you do this? By targeting high-tension areas to release stress and tension.
The fact is that women hold a lot of tension in their bodies. This physical tension must be released in order to make room for sensual release.
With a series of massages, you can reduce her tension and increase her potential. This does take time – anywhere from 10 to 15 two-hour sessions. But the outcome is absolutely worth it.
Women hold tension in different places, but the most common are as follows:
On her front:
- Shoulders and neck
- Under the shoulder blade (as she exhales deeply)
- Down the back
- On the top of the buttocks (she will give you feedback about the exact location on her buttocks)
On her back:
- Just below the collar bone (as she exhales)
- At the top of the breast
- On the bottom of the breast
- Under the bottom of the rib cage
- The V at the top of the pubic bone
- Along the inside of the upper thigh in line with the vagina
You can use different massage techniques to target these tension zones and release the physical and emotional pressure.
Frequently Asked Questions About Female Arousal
Do you have more questions about female arousal and how to arouse a woman? The answers to the below most frequently asked questions should help.
What is the fastest way to arouse a woman?
There is no shortcut to true sexual arousal. This means that the emotional elements of arousal are crucial, and those can take time. If you want to speed up the process after the emotional element, though, then learning the erogenous zones and which ones your partner likes stimulated is important.
What are the tell-tale signs of female arousal?
There are a few ways to tell when your partner is aroused. The first signs of arousal include an increase in heart rate and an increase in breathing rate. You may also notice a sexual flush, which is reddening of the skin (often the cheeks or chest), during periods of high arousal. Finally, your partner’s genitals will engorge and self-lubricant will be in abundance.
Can I make sex more enjoyable for my partner?
If your partner seems less than enthusiastic about sex, there are a few steps you can take to ensure she’s comfortable and getting what she needs. First, ensure you’re fulfilling the female sexual triggers mentioned above. Second, ask your partner what she likes and doesn’t like and put an honest effort into making her experience more enjoyable.
When it comes to arousing your woman, there are numerous arousal killers and arousal triggers to keep in mind. While balancing those can be a lot at first, a bit of practice can go a long way.
Once you have an understanding of what does and doesn’t turn her on, it’s time to implement our arousal techniques. These include:
- Starting slow
- Using foreplay
- Talking dirty
- Knowing where to touch
- Listening to her body
- Giving without receiving
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you may even delve into the orgasmic potential massage.
Remember that the most important piece of all is that every woman is different. You need to have clear and honest communication with your partner throughout each stage of your seduction. Only then can you ensure you’re really pushing all of her buttons.