Do women like deepthroating? Can they handle a very big (or very small) penis? Circumcised or uncircumcised?

For years the question "What do women want?" has dropped unthinkingly from people's lips, so I thought it was time for an answer.

What Women Want

"Women," as a whole, cannot agree on exactly what we want in bed. We had a meeting, voted on various sexual acts from spanking to shower play and, unfortunately, not one of the votes was unanimous. I once met a woman who was very keen on enemas. Not receiving them, but giving them. She loved the control - and the humiliation - for her willing subject. She gave me an enema once, and reveled not just in my nervousness (it was my first), but in the way I trembled as she watched me stand in the corner of the room, facing the wall, and begging her to let me run to the bathroom.

One friend of mine enjoyed pain so much the men she was with had to make her take a time-out. She enjoyed not just the sexual thrill of being bent over, semi-naked and exposed, but the forceful stinging sensations of the thinnest and cruelest-looking implements: canes, slim whips, cable, wire coat hangers. It was a combination, she said, of the initial sting and the post-sting heat. The marks left afterward were, for her, a nice bonus - a reminder of the filthy things she'd done. (Read: Why Pain Makes Us Horny: The Process That Turns Pain Into Pleasure.)

Yet another woman I know enjoys gentle, soft, sex. Sex where you look into each other's eyes and whisper sweet, unfilthy nothings. When I first met the guy who is now her fiancé she told me that what she liked most about him was his sexual style.

"He makes love to me," she said, eyes wide with enthusiasm. "He actually makes love. I never knew what that was like until now."

Conversely, I thought my partner was perfect because he did the opposite. Grinning just as wide as she was, I told her, "Mine fucks me like he hates me. It's the best."

So the next time you (and I'm talking mainly to straight men here, although no doubt others wonder similar things occasionally) idly masturbating to some newfound fancy or urge, and the question "do women like this?" raises its head, please refrain from asking a woman (unless you want to be greeted with eye-rolls - or worse.)

What Women Really Want

The truth is, I could no more tell you whether women like butt plugs than I could tell you whether we like olives. I understand why you're asking the question: Years of sex advice columns and well-meaning but ultimately bad tips on "Guaranteed Ways To Please Your Woman In Bed" might have left you feeling that we're all reasonably similar when it comes to sexual tastes. But, I assure you, human tastes are as deliciously different in the bedroom as they are in a restaurant.

That's not to say you shouldn't be curious; you just need a slightly different question. Don't ask whether women like something. Instead try, "Do you like this?" That way, at least you can get an honest answer.