What Women Want

Speeches. Heartfelt declarations of love.

Every rom-com, every chick flick, every Harlequin romance builds to exactly the same moment: when the hero Makes. A. Speech.

Confesses his love. Pours his heart out. Preferrably in the rain or in front of a crowd, or, why not, an entire stadium full of people.

(If only life was a Taylor Swift song.)

(Sometimes it is. Alas.)

And then every woman in the audience goes home and looks at her guy who says something like, “How was the movie?” and in so doing damns himself.

Because, to make an analogy, if romance novel and movies are porn, he’s not delivering the money shot.

The “money shot” in these novels typically isn’t a geyser of bodily fluids but rather a declaration of love, or a man on bended knee. “In the world of male fantasy — and male desire — the goal is orgasm,” write Ogas and Gaddam. “The story ends with a man’s climax, what masseuses call a ‘happy ending.’ In romance, the happy ending (known as an HEA or Happily-Ever-After) is always a long-term monogamous relationship, usually marriage.” It isn’t that orgasm is irrelevant in these books, but “it’s never the final scene.” The female conquest here is for the heart of the alpha male.

– Tracy Clark-Flory, “So What If Romance Novels Are Porn?”

But it’s not just his heart we want. It’s his words. Speeches. Women want to hear the words.

There’s a fascinating parallel between what may be the greatest sexual self-delusion in men, and the greatest sexual self-delusion in women. Men are quite prone to believing they are inducing feelings of erotic ecstasy in their partner through their own sexual prowess,” they write. “Women, on the other hand, are more easily manipulated by expressions of love.”

– Tracy Clark-Flory, “So What If Romance Novels Are Porn?”

So we’re looking for those expressions of love and most often finding them in cinemas rather than at home.

But it’s not just our men or men in general who are uncomfortable with dramatic confessions. (“In the same way that women often find the breathless gasping and moaning of female porn stars to be absurdly inauthentic,” write Ogas and Gaddam, “male readers of romances might find the emotional confessions of romance heroes to be strangely unfamiliar.”) Arguably, we’re all uncomfortable with The Art of Emotional Speeches.

In regular ol’ unromantic life, most of us are not given to monologues.

But maybe we should be. Maybe we should make more sincere speeches: to our lovers, our mothers, our children, our children’s teachers. Because we’re all hungry for meaning and knowing that we mean something to someone means everything.

I know it’s one of the reasons Loverloverman and I are both so damn satisfied. Every day we write each other a loveletter, aloud. We have to because he works away three quarters of the time (or more) and words are the way we stay connected.

But it works when we’re home, too. I never ever tire of hearing that I’m his world, that he loves me like cooked food, that he’s so glad I’m a persistent bitch and fought for this relationship because he loves me, he loves us, he loves our baby, he loves our life together.

And I love his speeches. They keep me happy escstatic and they keep us together.

As does the porn-star sex.

About the author

Kelly Diels I'm Kelly Diels. I'm a writer. I've written for Salon, Jezebel, XO Jane, Problogger, Write to Done and more. I'm currently working on a book about The Female Lifestyle Empowerment Brand. Interested? Please subscribe to my newsletter and I'll share more thoughts and chapters with you as I write them. You can also find me on Facebook and yes please, please do.