Research indicates that men are sexually active throughout their lives regardless of whether they are in a relationship. Women in relationships, in addition to never or rarely masturbating, only engage in sexual activity that is initiated by their partner. For the population as a whole, single women do not have intercourse as often or with as many partners as single men. Most women offer regular sex over the longer-term foremost as a consequence of their desire for a loving relationship with a supportive partner. [i]
For men, sex is generally risk-free. So naturally men are enthusiastic about any and every opportunity to engage in penetrative sex. A man can potentially impregnate a (different) woman with every ejaculation (or many hundreds of times in a lifetime). He never does this for two main reasons. Firstly, there are not nearly as many women willing take on the risk of a pregnancy as there are men able to ejaculate. Secondly, successful reproduction depends not only on impregnating a woman but also on having the necessary resources for the child’s survival. Men provide those resources.
In order to optimise their chances of successful reproduction (raising a child to maturity), women decide consciously whether to engage in sexual activity that exposes them to the life-threatening risks of pregnancy and childbirth. A man will only support a woman if he is offered regular intercourse and if he is confident that a child is his. This explains why society has always been less tolerant of female promiscuity. As long as a man continues to support the family, women often put up with male infidelity.
Any reproductive drive only makes sense if it involves a woman wanting to get pregnant. Sadly, this does not add up to wanting sex more than a relatively few times in a lifetime. Moreover, a woman cannot be impregnated every time she engages in intercourse. Once she is pregnant, a woman cannot produce any more offspring until after she has given birth. A biological drive is unconditional and operates regardless of the individual’s circumstances. A sex drive does not arise through conscious choice.
More liberal attitudes and improved policing create a safer society, in which women can behave provocatively but still make their own choices. Some men interpret such behaviour as a sexual come-on and in more primitive societies women risk being raped. Rather than repressing young women’s enjoyment of male admiration, society tries to protect young women from predatory men who view sex as a frivolous pleasure rather than a commitment to share in the consequences of heterosexual activity.
[i] … there is no … male sex drive that forces men to pressure women into intercourse. (Shere Hite)
Excerpt from Women’s Sexual Behaviours & Responses (ISBN 978-0956-894717)