Turning on the Sex Goddess

Naomi Wolf wants women to have better sex lives, and more empowered lives generally. Vagina: A New Biography seeks to light the way.

Wolf began researching this book after she regained her sexual desire, creativity and passion for life — much to her surprise — when her spinal cord was repaired.

I’ll discuss the larger life issues later. For now, let’s look at how her somewhat controversial book might benefit women with low libido, and the partners who love them.  

Something she calls “the Goddess Array” consists of “a set of behaviors that activate the autonomic nervous system in women” and turns them on. She describes these as “the-things-that-women-need-that-men-don’t-need,” quoting sex educator Liz Topp, who coined the obese phrase.

So, women need certain things to spark desire that men don’t. And these behaviors actually have biological effects.

As she explained to the Huffington Post, women need to be relaxed and free from bad stress so that heart rate and respiration can increase, engorging what needs to be engorged and lubricating what needs to be lubricated. These processes are heightened when women lie in their lover’s arms and when they are romanced. In fact, dancing is actually seductive, she says.

On the other hand, these arousing physical processes can be interrupted if her lover snaps at her or flirts with someone else.

So foreplay begins way before bed. But we all know that, right?

True, she says, but what’s new is that science actually backs this up.

Plus, she points out that porn — so prevalent today — leads us away from this knowledge. Porn is a sex educator (a poor one) — even if neither men nor pornographers look at it that way. Men go there to get turned on, but then believe what they see: women see a huge penis, quickly get aroused and climax after a very few minutes of friction. Context doesn’t matter.

Even Masters and Johnson can throw us off. Wolf adds,

We’ve got this model from Masters and Johnson that male and female sexual response is kind of the same — there’s arousal, plateau, climax and resolution — and the Cosmo model is that everyone should be racing to the goal together, trying to get there together. This as a model of sexual response (for women) is not true.

And for women and men who do know better, we too often forget or don’t take the time to nurture the good energy that women need for arousal.

This is especially important in long-term relationships. When love is new, “feel-good” oxytocin levels skyrocket. But then they drop. Women also get turned on by feeling chosen, but after being married awhile a woman may feel less like she’s chosen and more like her partner simply has no other choice but her. Wolf continues:

Once you’re in a relationship, you don’t have to woo her, you don’t have to bring her flowers, you don’t have to take her dancing, you don’t have to tell her she’s beautiful, you just cut to the chase. That is a killer for passion for women in long-term relationships, and it’s not a psychological thing, it’s physiological, and a mind-body connection.

Marta Meana, a UNLV psychology professor, would seem to agree. She says women have a lower sex drive (culturally influenced) and need a bigger jolt to spark their libido. As she told a New York Times reporter,

If I don’t love cake as much as you, my cake better be kick-butt to get me excited to eat it.

Turning on the sex goddess, the gospel according to Naomi Wolf. It may be worth a read.

A rerun for the holidays.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on December 19, 2016, in relationships, sex and sexuality and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. That’s great. Probably not applicable to all women, but anything that helps empower a woman to get her jollies I’m all for 😉

    • Yes, the book is somewhat controversial, maybe in part for that reason. But it fits with a lot of social science research which looks a patterned behavior (which always involves those who deviate from the pattern).

  2. Thanks for your input, Georgia. I will check out on the read. Wishing you happy hols and happier days ahead…

  3. you have very amazing post. “A woman has to have regular doses of this “good stuff” to counteract her stress hormones–the one’s that make her feel overwhelmed, brittle, tapped-out, bitchy and decidedly NOT sexy.”

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