Groundbreaking News: Women Like Sex (part 1, 2) (articles)
Conservative Christians, men especially, keep assuming and teaching that men are “visually oriented” and want sex, while women are not “visually oriented” and that women hate sex and prefer “emotional intimacy.” I dispute both claims and stereotypes.
Below are some links to articles about the topic, where some researchers polled a bunch of men and women and found that some stereotypes about female sexuality are wrong.
At least two of these articles are written by a guy who seems perturbed by these findings for some reason I don’t quite understand, but I post them here just to provide information about the studies. I have also posted a few other related articles.
(Link): UPDATE: Women Like Sex (part 2)
(Link): (written by a guy): Are Women Turned on by Pictures of Naked Men? Well, the Better I Look, the More They Notice Me.
Part 1. Groundbreaking News: Women Like Sex
A new study reveals that women, like men, enjoy sex. Here’s why this is dumb.
May 8, 2013 • By Ryan O’Hanlon •
Hold onto your codpieces, y’all. You’re not gonna believe the news coming out of Australia. I am currently shivering in a corner, feebly pecking away at a keyboard with my mouth, trying to finish up this post while I attempt to process all of this.
Here is the lede:
It’s a myth that men want sex and women want relationships, says a Sydney professor, as a long-simmering gender spat reaches Australia.
I am dead—and there’s still more:
It is not true that men are focused only on sex and women only want relationships, she says.
But. But. But. But. But how could she know?
Richters, an associate professor at the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at the University of New South Wales, uses data collected over 10 years from more than 25,000 Australians to make her case.
UPDATE: Women Like Sex A new book looks at why that isn’t totally obvious. (part 2)
- June 4, 2013 • By Ryan O’Hanlon •
Early last month we wrote about a decidedly not-fascinating study, which said: Women like sex.
… Over at Slate, Amanda Hess has a great piece on the topic, stemming from spending some time at a Playboy party—in which the editor-in-chief tells her, “We used to have a pickle shot now and again. Not anymore.” —and a book (Daniel Bergner’s What Do Women Want?) that’s out today. Bergner’s book, Hess writes, breaks down all the modern female stereotypes: “That women are not visual creatures; that their sex drive is lower than men’s; that they’re aroused by love, not sex; and that they’re naturally fitted to be sexual objects, not agents.”
More from Hess:
If society didn’t realize all of that before, Bergner writes, it’s because the men who run it didn’t want to. “Women’s desire—its inherent range and innate power—is an underestimated and constrained force,” he concludes.
In the Middle Ages, it was constrained by the idea that “lust-drunk witches … left men ‘smooth,’ devoid of their genitals.” In the last century, it was constrained by Freud’s theory that women have “a weaker sexual instinct” than men.
Now, it’s constrained by modern evolutionary psychology that says that “women are rigged by their genes to seek the comfort of relationships.”
Across culture, Bergner writes, “with scientific or God-given confidence, girls and women are told how they should feel.” Mostly, they should feel comfortable sexualizing themselves, but not men.
So, basically, Bergner’s book looks at a number of people studying why “women” behave a certain way—rather than just, you know, telling us what’s happening and lazily adding to whatever We Already Think. The main takeaway: women, when outside factors/biases are stripped away, are manly in their sexual desires—and men, womanly in their desires—because there’s not really much of a difference. Women like sex, too! A male-dominated society just made that more difficult to realize.
What does a post-male-dominated society look like, then? According to Dr. Jim Pfaus: “more women picking up men, more women getting laid and leaving, having sex without waiting to bond, more girls up in their rooms at their computers clicking on porn and masturbating before they get started on their homework.”
From Women And Sex The Myth Buster – Zoe Williams talks to Daniel Bergner, the American author of What Do Women Want?, an explosive new book about female desire
by Zoe Williams
The Guardian, 5 July 2013
I was on the Victoria line with my boyfriend, telling him about a new book by the American author Daniel Bergner, called What Do Women Want? Its headline, traffic-stopping message is that women, routinely portrayed as the monogamous sex, are actually not very well-suited to monogamy.
In fact, far from being more faithful than men, we may actually be more naturally promiscuous – more bored by habituation, more voracious, more predatory, more likely to objectify a mate. The expectation upon us not to feel, still less exhibit, any of these traits causes us to bury them, Bergner argues, giving rise to two phenomena.
First, women experience a loss of interest in sex within a marriage – commonly ascribed to low libido, but actually more a thwarted libido.
Bergner interviewed a number of women in long-term relationships, many of whom elaborated on this waning desire.
One woman said of her husband, “We did have sex maybe once a week, but it didn’t reach me. My body would respond, but the pleasure was like the pleasure of returning library books. And the thing about being repulsed by him was, I felt my body was a room that I didn’t want to mess up. Unlike that openness at the beginning, when my body was a room and I didn’t mind if he came in with his shoes on.”
The second, and perhaps more surprising phenomenon, is that all this thwarted sexual energy, like anything suppressed, has its power redoubled, to become something violent and alarming, if for any reason the brakes come off.
….When people critique the book [50 Shades of Grey, erotica novel] on literary grounds, or on the basis that it legitimises domestic abuse, they are wilfully stopping their ears to 10.6 million women’s indomitable horniness. It makes them feel uncomfortable, squeamish. They could say, “Female sexuality makes me uncomfortable” but they don’t. Instead, there is a snotty remark, a raised eyebrow.
And this denial brings home the striking truth of Bergner’s thesis: the shame that still attaches itself to female sexuality. These two hand grenades of his – that female sexuality is rigorously denied whenever it crops up; and that female sexual urges might be even more potent than men’s – will not land lightly on this terrain.
… I’m aware, nevertheless, of the asymmetry of expectation within a marriage, that husbands are meant to chafe at the bit, while wives are supposed not to notice it. It seems so obvious that this convention has built up to soothe male anxiety, I’m amazed by how surprised men are to find that it might not be true.
“Just a few days ago,” Bergner tells me, “I had a male radio interviewer yelling at me on air. And when I finally had a finished manuscript, I gave it to a couple of married male friends, one of whom said, ‘This is a cause for deep concern’ and the other said, ‘This scares the bejesus out of me.'”
Well, yes; it is a little confronting, the idea that fidelity has no natural defender. “The level of self-delusion that we are capable of, here, especially men, is astonishing,” the author laughs. I imagine it’s like meeting your wife at 4am in the saloon bar of life. If you’re here, who’s minding the farm?
Bergner admits laconically, “There have been moments when I’ve looked over at my long-term girlfriend and thought, ‘For how much longer am I going to be the recipient of your desire?'”
… There are obvious reasons for these choices, however: as Bergner points out, we are attached to monogamy as a way to hold families together, and women have become the main defenders of this social contract.
“We are invested in women as mothers, and we value them as the backbone of our social structure. The maternal ideal is this indomitable force of stability that we can lean on. You know, it’s the New York mayoral race at the moment. Anthony Weiner, who was busy a year or so ago texting naked pictures of himself to women, had his career destroyed and is now back as the true challenger. We’re not threatened by his anarchic, out-of-control sexuality. We can still conceive of him as a leader. But it’s hard to imagine a woman having gone through that being able to make a comeback so quickly. The comparable woman we can’t be happy with, because of that idea of woman as backbone, woman as someone to lean on and, finally, woman as mother.”
Women have collaborated with, even driven, this narrative. Speaking personally, femininity has never held any interest for me; I have never wanted to be restrained, or discerning, or sober, or conciliatory, or mysterious, or small. But if anyone assumed that I would put my sexual gratification before my children, that I would do any of those things that men do – leave my family and start a new one – I would be mortified. Furious.
It is not easy to take apart or let go of that central maternal idea, in which women subordinate themselves entirely to their children; you can’t just fit into this picture a sexual appetite as potent and heedless and devil-may-care as a man’s. You have to rip up the whole picture and start again.
The funny thing is, in every conversation I’ve had with friends about sex, every woman I know has said, not proudly but quizzically, “I think I’m more like a man” or some variation of this.
I don’t think any of them would buy for a second the idea that women need more emotional connection to have sex, or that women don’t objectify people’s bodies, or that women wouldn’t want a one-night stand.
But, on some level, we have been conditioned to believe that the “try anything once” gene – the urge to sleep with everyone, just to see what happens – doesn’t exist for women.
This idea of women as innately discriminating, not necessarily averse to sex with strangers, but surely too picky to choose a stranger purely for his or her unfamiliarity, this idea of the female as the gender that doesn’t think about sex every seven minutes, has permeated the cultural groundwater completely.
It’s plainly rubbish, but it’s tenacious, because women who don’t conform to expectations of womanly choosiness, who are rapacious, assume they have some male trait they weren’t supposed to have. It blows my mind a little bit that we never said, “Hang on, if you’re like a man, and I’m like a man, is it possible that we’re all just like men?”
by BY ANN FRIEDMAN 2013
We expect boys to start playing with themselves while they’re still in utero and continue until they’re old men. But decades after the sexual revolution, in our supposedly post-feminist era, cultural ideas about women and masturbation remain much more complex.
On the one hand (er, “with one hand?”), a full 92 percent of women say they’ve touched themselves.
On the other, I know some adult (feminist!) women who never masturbate or claim they don’t enjoy it. Yet, vibrator sales have soared, with the devices now mass-marketed by condom companies.
Trojan’s fingertip massager and Durex’s vibrating bullet are both available at that bastion of mainstream American values, Walmart. Still, apparently it’s still taboo enough that women need a new app to encourage them not to be grossed out by their own genitalia.
… These days a Google search for “porn for women” is as likely to return jokes about men cleaning the bathroom as it is pictures of them naked, and a Christian group called Dirty Girl Ministries crusades against “the evils of female masturbation.”
This backlash against onanism is odd, because research says that, overall, women are more likely than men to discuss sex — but not self-sex. When it comes to talking about masturbation, it’s more acceptable in certain liberal, educated circles to make jokes about women getting themselves off. Male jack-off jokes? Kind of gross. Or juvenile. But my female friends and I still text each other things like, “Have fun at Sarah’s party. I’m staying in to give myself a HJ.”
…After reading Daniel Bergner’s new book on female desire a few weeks ago, one idea has stuck in mind: The notion that women enjoy sex has not yet achieved scientific or cultural acceptance. To social conservatives, it seems downright dangerous.
What’s left to hold our society and nuclear family structure together if even women like sex more than they like babies? There’s no purer example of this than a woman enjoying the pleasure of her own company. And so it remains taboo.
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