Women’s Sexuality Is Like Men’s?
Women’s and men’s sexuality are pretty much the same, says Dan Slater in a recent New York Times piece.
He goes on to critique evolutionary psych, which says otherwise: Since women have a small number of eggs they best reproduce by putting great time and effort into each child – and by making sure a dependable dad sticks around to provide resources; hence, women are genetically primed for monogamy. But men are promiscuous because, with lots of sperm, they best reproduce by “spreading their seed,” willy-nilly.
But, says Slater, if kids need a dad to provide resources then “loving and leaving” their mothers is counterproductive. Plus, men can’t be promiscuous if women are monogamous. And, women in tribal societies enjoy many partners. I could go on.
Culture must not create differences in sexuality, either, he says, since men and women behave similarly.
For instance, women claim they want fewer partners than men. But when hooked up to a (fake) lie detector, women and men report the same number of actual partners.
Or, in speed dating women are pickier than men. But when the tables are turned with women approaching men, men become the more selective sex.
Finally, early research had found women — but not men — rejecting sex with both friends and strangers. But when that stranger was Johnny Depp, or when the friend was said to be good in bed, women were just as interested in casual sex as men. (No flesh and blood movie stars were involved in this study.)
So neither evolution nor cultural norms seem to be having an effect, leaving men and women just the same.
I agree that women’s sexuality is like men’s in its natural state. In many tribal societies it seems to be.
But can women be untouched by a culture that celebrates women’s bodies — or bodies that very few women actually have — while ignoring men’s? Or that applauds men’s sexuality while repressing their own? Is women’s sexuality untouched by a society that rapes so many?
We are bombarded by “sexy women” but not “sexy men” on billboards, in movies, on Dancing With The Stars… Even women’s everyday clothing shows off their curves while men stay covered up. Amanda Marcotte says “straight women don’t get nearly the provocation on a daily basis.”
No part of the male body is fetishized, either. Men stare at breasts and butts. What are we supposed to look at?
Meanwhile, the “perfect” images that our partners consume can make women feel bad about themselves — a libido killer as women become obsessed by their “flaws” in bed instead of enjoying sex.
The double standard is loosening but sexual women may still be called: slut, ho’, tramp, skank… the list goes on.
Sexual violence also takes a toll, leaving many women fearful or uninterested in sex.
All that has no effect?
Actually, in his evidence for similarity Slater leaves things out.
When it comes to casual sex, men are very interested in their lady friends. But women will only romp with those rumored to be great lovers. Otherwise, why bother?
On sex with strangers, only gorgeous celebs interest women. They seem safe (no reports of rape) and are mega-attractive, charismatic and sexy. Women expect they’ll be great in bed. Plus, sex with a star sounds heavenly, tantamount to intercourse with the gods — or rock gods. So nabbing a guy like that tells her something pretty great about herself.
Turning to speed dating, when things switch around maybe women begin to fear rejection and want to “win” now that the setup feels like a contest. Research in cognitive dissonance suggests that if you try to get someone to like you, you like them more.
Finally, most women say that ideally they would like just one or two partners, lifetime, but Slater thinks they’re lying since they admit to four real partners under duress of lie detection. With or without a lie detector I would say that I have had 5 partners in real life, but ideally I would like just one true love. And a lot of us women need a strong emotional connection to even get aroused.
While women’s natural sexuality is likely much like men’s, our differing experiences unfortunately pull us apart. And the root cause appears to be sexism, not nature.
Posted on March 4, 2013, in feminism, gender, men, psychology, relationships, sex and sexuality, sexism, women and tagged feminism, gender, men, psychology, relationships, sex and sexuality, sexism, women. Bookmark the permalink. 25 Comments.