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Women Crave Sex Less Than Men?

Do women crave sex less than men?

Do women crave sex less than men?

Is it sexist to say that women crave sex less than men?

Some think so. Like this woman:

Why do people still believe this crap? It makes you feel abnormal if you are a woman with a high sex drive or a man with a lower one.

She’s got a point: some women do have a higher sex drive than some men.

But crunch the numbers and men are generally more interested: Read the rest of this entry

Do Men & Women Have Wild or Romantic Fantasies?

Romantic fantasies are popular for both men and women.

Romantic fantasies are popular for both men and women.

Whose fantasies are more romantic? Women’s or men’s?

Who is more likely to fantasize about sex with strangers?

Or multiple partners?

Or simply someone who isn’t your spouse? Read the rest of this entry

Non-Sex Reasons For First Sex

Freud may have named sex drive the primary motivational force among humans, but sometimes you gotta wonder. Because sex serves other aims an awful lot of the time.

How about first sex? According to a 2011 study by Laura M. Carpenter, PhD, many see virginity as a gift to give to someone special, with the goal of strengthening the relationship. Women were more likely than men to have this purpose in mind, though some men did, too.

Men were more likely to have sex to shed the stigma of virginity. Not surprisingly, women were much less likely to state that reason, though some did. But for men, especially, it can be embarrassing to be a virgin.

About one third of those in Carpenter’s study saw losing virginity as a rite of passage, a step toward growing up. By the way, this group was the most satisfied with the experience, perhaps having lower expectations. They typically planned for the moment, complete with birth control, and they could more easily take a bad first experience in stride.

Looking at a 1994 study, by comparison, half of women said they had sex for the first time out of affection, which fits well with social expectations that women will have sex out of love — or “strengthening a relationship” as cited in the 2011 survey. Meanwhile, 51% of men had sex for the first time out of curiosity or because they felt ready. This fits well with a focus on achieving manhood (“ready” to be men).

Interestingly, only 12% of men and 3% of women said they had sex for pleasure their first
time, in the 1994 survey. Carpenter didn’t separate out “pleasure” as a separate category, and said it was most often attached to “ridding self of stigma” in her study.

By the way, the 2011 survey found that women and men were more alike than expected. “The idea we have from TV and movies is that for women it’s all about love and for men it’s all about getting it over with,” Carpenter related. “If men and women shared metaphors, the choices they made and the kinds of experiences they had were pretty similar. That’s something that hasn’t been noticed that much.”

Carpenter also noted that gays and straights were similar in their experiences.

All in all, it’s interesting to see how often pleasure takes a back seat to other concerns when it comes to sex. I’ll discuss this in a variety of other contexts to come.

Popular Posts on BroadBlogs
Lose Virginity, Lose Self-Esteem?
Sex Objects Who Don’t Enjoy Sex|
Women Want Casual Sex? Yes and No

Men Prefer Great Hair Over Big Breasts?

Sixty percent of men would rather date a woman with great hair than big breasts. Fabulous hair also topped low-cut blouses when it came to alluring men in bars. So says a recent survey reported in Glamour.

Do keep in mind that 40% chose breasts over hair. So if you’re well-endowed, not to worry.

Is this true? Some wonder. After all, Pantene commissioned the study.

The research has been picked up and widely reported. Here are a few comments from men on the topic.

  • On my list of attributes I wanted, “hair longer than mine” ranked well above “a chest larger than mine.”
  • The face/hair falls #1 on the thing my friends and I notice first about attractive ladies. It’s not that we ignore the other blessings bestowed upon a beautiful woman, but what’s above the neckline determines approachability and friendliness and gives a much better sense of the person than cleavage. I have no friends who discriminate based on cup size, and bras today can make Betty White’s breasts appear firm. (NOTE: Admittedly, I’m almost 40. So maybe we older dudes judge by different standards.)
  • We would notice your curves first, ass, chest, legs and the way you stand. But your head will become our primary focus after that. Your face, your hair, your smile is what charm us. We really notice your hairstyle, especially if it’s a nice cut. It’s also a mirror of your personality, of how you can take care of yourself, it’s feminine and sexy.

The survey results make some sense. Keira Knightley and Paris Hilton have both landed on FHM’s “sexiest women” list. They both have great hair, but little cleavage. A past roommate of mine had gorgeous hair and face but very little “up top,” as they say, yet men went nuts for her.

Related research shows that men usually rank face over body in some circumstances too. Surprising? Given a choice between seeing a woman’s face or body, 75% of men preferred to see face for long-term relationships, compared with 51% who wanted to see body for a short fling.

Overall, I would call this good news. First, maintaining beautiful hair is not dangerous, unlike going under a knife for implants.

And, I appreciate the sense that face and hair reveal personality and give a sense of who the woman is, while cleavage does not. Men caring more about women as people than objects. Who knew?

Popular Posts on BroadBlogs
Men Aren’t Hard Wired To Find Breasts Attractive
Men Watch Porn, Women Read Romance. Why?
Keep Your Boobs, Get Better Guys


Sex: From Casual Pleasures to Deep Connection. Readers Discuss

Below are comments on how women and men experience themselves, and how they think sex is best, based on earlier posts: “Are Women Naturally Monogamous?” and “Are Women Culturally Monogamous?” They’re edited for brevity and clarity. I’ve organized comments and added my own in italics. The comments typically revolve around the advantages of casual pleasures versus deep connection.

Polygamous women

  • Divorced at age 33, I experienced a natural heightening of sexual interest and there were a number of men with whom I had sex during the next 7-8 years. I enjoyed it all tremendously and learned a lot about men and about myself. During that time, I met only one man I would have considered as a life partner. Now I realize that the relationship was great because the sex was great.
  • If women were paid equally and had equal opportunity in the job market, I think that monogamy would be weakened.  When I earned more than my husband, and could survive financially on my own, my sexual behavior changed as well.
  • I seem to be different than the study (enjoying a variety of partners), but then so are most males I know (more monogamous).

Polygamous men

  • Sex is so pleasurable. Why limit yourself from pleasure so long as everyone knows the ground rules – that this is about pleasure and not about commitment or love.
  • Sex is magical. I would like to have sex with as many women as possible. But I always thought women experienced sex the same as I do.  It hadn’t occurred to me that they might not.

Research suggests that women, on average, don’t enjoy sex as much as men do. U.S. women enjoy sex less than women in some cultures, but more than women in others. I’ll explore why later. The difference in enjoyment is not based on biology, but culture.

Jealousy and not loving equally

Women who are interested in polygamous sex can discover difficulties:

  • As a lesbian I have a perspective that is completely woman oriented.  I personally have had more than one lover at a time and found it difficult since I was always trying to explain why I was leaving to visit someone else.  One always seems to love one more than the other.

Having sex because you’re expected to

  • Here is my confession – two or three times I allowed myself to be picked up at a party or a bar. I am still so ashamed of those incidents. Remembering them makes me feel so dirty! I thought it was expected.  You know – times were changing.  Everybody did it. I now believe I let myself be used by men who were only after a little fun and had no serious intentions.
  • I let myself be used by men who were only looking for fun… then I felt ashamed! Many women were brainwashed into believing they would enjoy it as much as men only to realize they were no more than a toilet bowl or conquest.  I am sorry to disappoint but sex ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. Many may hide the shame and humiliation they feel by saying they liked it.

Women are punished for sex
Some women may feel pressured to have sex, but women are also punished when they have it, labeled “sluts”:

  • The stigma attached to women likely keeps the number (of lovers they report) low
  • (At least men) seem to have each others’ backs. Women don’t. They’re often quick to stab each other in the back.

Meeting social expectations: Men

  • Men might be lying too since the cultural expectation for them seems to be quantity rather than quality.
  • Men also have cultural expectations to live up to: amass notches on their belts.
  • I wanted to have threesomes for the longest time. Then I realized it was largely about feeling left out of something I thought everyone else was doing.

Agreed. There are plenty of pressures on men, too. Women claim 5 lovers and men claim 12. Women must be underestimating and men exaggerating. The real number for both is likely in between: 8 or 9. Men also watch porn, think it’s an accurate portrayal of womens sexuality, and end up thinking they are missing out on a lot of action (that no one else is getting, either).

Meeting social expectations: Women and men

  • I think you hit the nail on the head when you stated “Western women are much more monogamous than our Tahitian or American Indian sisters were before European contact.” I don’t think any of us are pre-wired to remain with one person all 80 plus years that we walk this earth. Man or woman. As humans we make that CHOICE to do so. What it comes down to is one having their own mind. Neither man nor woman should continue to be concerned with what current society dictates.

Women desiring depth, connection

  • Women prefer depth, romance, quality in a relationship. They know that the closer one is in spirituality, emotions, the better the sex. Women need that depth to be fulfilled.
  • A purely physical relationship requires little work. You don’t have to concern yourself with messy thoughts or feelings beyond the immediate moment. It’s shallow and one dimensional. Real relationship takes depth: looking at someone’s worth beyond pretty eyes, nice butt, and teeth.
  • I have heard some women say they enjoy casual sex – but in 62 years I have heard far more say they haven’t enjoyed any sex let alone casual – meaningless sex. It’s intimacy we want!  But I am still waiting for the rush of women who can honestly tell us about all the hot meaningless sex we have been missing! I’m all ears?

Men desiring depth, connection

     A woman’s perspective

  • I met both kinds of guys when I was dating. I met guys who seemed downright anxious to connect on a deeper level and guys who would lie in a NY minute if they thought it would get them into my pants faster.

     A man’s perspective

  • Our sexuality and the expression of it before and during (and after) marriage is, I am convinced, one of the more complicated aspects of what it means to be human. One could argue that God created men and women different sexually (in all the ways!) because to come together in meaningful intimacy (erotic or sexual) requires the development and expression of our deepest and highest virtues—sacrifice, humility, and kindness (even long-suffering at times!), and especially love. It is among the most meaningful and challenging dances we do.

And, don’t forget the men in men’s studies.  Both Michael Kimmel and John Stoltenberg recommend men do sex from a place of love and commitment, and they say that is where they come from, themselves.

SOURCES: Comments from:
Blogs: BroadBlogs, BroadBlogs, and FreeMeNow
My Facebook site
Various lists responded either to the list, or to me via email
Student discussions

A version of this post was originally published August 23, 2010 as “Readers Discuss: Are Women Polygamous?”

Men: Climax More Likely in Relationship Sex

Indiana University’s recent sex survey found that men were more likely to climax if they were in a relationship. But women had more difficulty with arousal when they were in one.

Surprising! What’s up?

Today we’ll explore men. (A past post explored women.)

On the one hand, men say they’d like a lot of partners. According to The Male Brain, men report wanting 14 partners, lifetime, while women say they want only one or two. In my women’s studies classes many men felt that their friends would like to have sex with as many women as possible. Researchers at the University of Texas found that men were far less picky than women, and were more likely to have sex simply because the opportunity presented itself. An awful lot of porn (men’s fantasies on screen) revolves around sex with lots of random women, too.

So the Indiana University study doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. You’d expect that men would be more sexually satisfied with a lot of casual partners.

But that’s not what the data showed. Researchers asked men and women about the last time they had sex: Were you with a relationship partner or not? What activities did you engage in? Did you have an orgasm? How much did you enjoy the sexual experience?

When controlling for age and health, men aged 18 to 59 were more likely to enjoy sex and achieve orgasm when they were in a relationship than when they were with a new partner. They indicated greater arousal, greater pleasure, less pain, fewer problems with erectile dysfunction, and greater chance of orgasm.

So what’s up?

Imagination versus reality: Fantasy may seek novelty and variety, but men feel more comfortable and relaxed with their partners, who show patience and give reassurance if there are problems, leaving men with less performance anxiety. Partners who have been together a while may have honed their techniques, too.

Sure, men can feel relaxed with dream partners. Reality can be different.

Something deeper may be at play, too. Women often say sex is best in a context of love and connection. Men don’t talk about this as much, but sex can take on a deepness and richness in relationship that casual sex can’t match, whether you are male or female.

Popular culture sees women as out to trap men, becoming the old “ball and chain” when they succeed. But men need companionship. They rarely leave their partners unless they’ve got someone else lined up. After a death or divorce men are much quicker than women to remarry, forgoing an unfettered sex life. Partly because women care for men, support them, and create emotional closeness.

But relationship may also bring men better sex.

Georgia Platts

Popular Posts on BroadBlogs
Surprises in Indiana University Sex Survey
Women: Climax Less Likely in Relationship Sex
Orgasm: It’s All in the Mind
Sex Lessons from Mom and Dad

Women: Climax Less Likely in Relationship Sex

Researchers at Indiana University recently released the most comprehensive sex survey since 1994. They made some surprising discoveries. Among them: men are more likely to enjoy sex and reach orgasm if they are in a relationship than if they are not. But women have more difficulty with arousal and bodily response when they are in a relationship.

This goes completely against stereotype. It also goes against what women and men report about their preferences.

What’s going on?

Today let’s explore women. We’ll look at men in an upcoming post. 

When I’ve asked who likes sex better, males or females, I repeatedly get the same response from women. It begins with “Women enjoy sex as much as men, but…”

          Some of us prefer to be with someone we love and who loves us back rather
          than some crazy one night romp with a random person.

          Women place more emphasis on the emotional aspects of sex.

          Women like sex more when it has depth and meaning. It is much more intense
          and romancing to women when they are in a relationship.

Researchers at University of Texas, Austin concluded that for women, sexuality is more linked to love, emotional bonding and connection. 

Yet recent data suggest something different.

Indiana University researchers asked women and men about the last time they had sex: Were you with a relationship partner or not? What activities did you engage in? Did you have an orgasm? How much did you enjoy the sexual experience?  

Finding: Women were less likely to climax when they were in relationships.

What’s going on? Here are some possibilities.

Women who really love sexuality may be more likely to have sex with different partners, affecting the average.

What about more typical women? Women need to feel sexy and desired to get aroused. They want to feel chosen. With a new partner, a woman will feel she’s been chosen because she’s so attractive. But in committed relationships it can seem that her partner is simply trapped into having sex with her. Not a big turn-on.

Men also seem to experience a slight drop in interest over time with long-term partners, and women may sense that, leading to an even bigger drop in their own libido.

Why a bigger drop for women? Marta Meana, a psychology professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, says women have a lower sex drive (influenced by a culture that represses women’s sexuality) and need a bigger jolt to turn on libido. “If I don’t love cake as much as you,” she told a New York Times reporter, “my cake better be kick-butt to get me excited to eat it.” Something for men to think about.

At the same time relationship is helpful because women (and men alike) need to feel relaxed in order to climax. The Indiana University data isn’t clear on whether the more-aroused women were having sex with men whom they saw as potential committed partners – the beginning of relationship. In that case they might have felt an excitement at feeling chosen, but also safe enough to create the necessary comfort to climax.

But sex isn’t just about orgasm. The emotional component of feeling loved and connected creates a rich, multidimensional experience which may be what so many refer to when they say they want more than a quick roll in the hay.

Meanwhile, some advice for men: let your lady know she’s desired and chosen.

Georgia Platts

Popular Posts on BroadBlogs
Surprises in Indiana University Sex Survey
Why Don’t Women Like Sex As Much As Men?
DO Women Like Sex Less Than Men?
Sex Lessons from Mom and Dad

Stephen Fry: Only Men Truly Like Sex

British actor, Stephen Fry, has created controversy with a claim that women don’t like sex as much as men, in a recent interview with Attitude Magazine. He feels sorry for straight men because women only have sex with them as the “price they are willing to pay for a relationship.” More proof of women’s sexual disinterest: they don’t go off having random sex in churchyards and restrooms, like he apparently does, to “get my f’ing rocks off.”

One woman questioned equating sexual enjoyment with random restroom meetings, “Most of us prefer intimacy with men who understand trust and respect, and give time to the art of seduction. And the men who want us are not dupes or dogs on heat. Trust me — more erotic pleasure and excitement is experienced with a true love on clean sheets than a quick one with some sad, unwashed, unnamed bloke on a gravestone.”

Meanwhile, British feminists like Germaine Greer have publicly denounced him.

At the same time, anyone who looks at social research will know that there is a kernel of truth to what Frye says. On average, women do report liking sex less.

 Cross-cultural research and survey data suggest that while women have the capacity to be extremely sexual and sexually interested – probably more so than men with their capability for multiple orgasms – our culture does dampen women’s sexuality.

Frye feels sorry for men, but it’s a patriarchal culture that has created this situation.

Sex isn’t so appealing when society and religion send signals that women’s sexuality is sinful, or when women are slut-shamed and seen as devaluing themselves when they “give it up,” and blamed for not controlling men’s sexuality. On some college campuses men take the walk of fame Sunday morning, while women take the walk of shame.  

And who gets screwed, f’d, banged, nailed (the list goes on)?

Meanwhile, a cock is proud. But “down there” is shameful.

Rape and incest also dampen women’s sexuality. As one of my students related, “I was molested by a family member for seven years of my life before I could tell anyone, and it repressed me to the core. I didn’t want to be touched by anyone, and I wanted to look ugly. I still fight some of these battles today.” Rape and incest are higher in patriarchal societies. In cultures where men value women, there is little violence against them.

Surveys show that women who don’t feel sexy can also have a harder time enjoying sex. With narrow notions of what sexy is, a lot of women find the bedroom something less than fun.

With all of these negative forces in play, it’s no wonder women are so often repressed.

For women to fully engage and enjoy their sexuality, we as a culture must start loving women.

Georgia Platts

DO Women Like Sex Less Than Men?

Responses to my post asking why women like sex less than men included:

  • Says who?
  • I think it’s the opposite – I think women like it more
  • I don’t think anyone can know who likes sex better

Or as one man put it, “The overwhelming majority of men and women get their attitudes and desires for sex primarily through the natural, healthy desire to have sex… Women are equal to men and thus capable of every form of behavior that men engage in.”

To which I respond: no and yes.

Women are certainly capable of enjoying sex immensely. As much as men. Given their ability for multiple orgasm, possibly more. In some societies women are highly orgasmic and inclined to engage in sex with great frequency, as with Tahitians and American Indians before contact with Europeans.

But highly orgasmic women in America? Not so much – at least not by comparison. 30-40% suffer sexual dysfunction. That is very different from sex-positive cultures.

Of course women are capable of having great sex. But the extent to which they actually do depends on factors other than just what nature brings them. Repression plays a role, and so do sexual objectification and male dominance (all will be explored later).

Do women like sex less? Consider this research on sexuality in America:

On the orgasm front three-quarters of men say they “always” have an orgasm, but just 30% of women do. One quarter of women don’t usually have orgasms. In the casual sex of hook-ups the rate is lower, especially for women. Sociologist Michael Kimmel (Guyland) surveyed college students on their most recent hookup. Only 44% of the men reported having an orgasm, and only 19% of the women did.

The more orgasmic a person is, the more they report enjoying sex. Not surprisingly, women report liking sex less than men do. A Chicago University study found that men have more interest in sex at all ages. And an ABC News Primetime Live survey found that 83% of men “enjoy sex a great deal,” while only 59% of women do. That same study found that while 70% of men think about sex every day, only 34% of women do (and they do so less often during the day).  

Women also experience weaker sexual drive, compared with men, with more than one quarter of young women feeling weak desire according to the Archives of Internal Medicine. Research at the University of Chicago found that 32% of women (but only 15 -17% of men) have low libidos. Added to difficulties with orgasm, women experience more sexual dysfunction than men. 

Not surprisingly, 40% of men say they would like to have more sex than they do now, but only 28% of women feel the same way.

For more evidence of gender difference in sexual interest that arises in broad patterns of social behavior, see my post: Sex Research: It Doesn’t Fit Me, It Must Be Wrong

I wonder if men ever sit around confiding to friends that sex ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. I’ve listened to these kinds of conversations with many groups of women, yet it’s hard to imagine men doing the same thing.

The difference in the male and female experience is due mostly to cultural forces. The difference in the female experience between modern Americans and ancient Tahitians is entirely due to culture.

Yet many people think our society has no negative effects on women’s sexuality.

Maybe that’s why we don’t do anything to create change.

Georgia Platts

Popular Posts on BroadBlogs
Surprises in Indiana University Sex Survey
Men Have Higher Sex Drive. Why?
Orgasm: It’s All in the Mind
Sex Objects Who Don’t Enjoy Sex

Readers Discuss: Are Women Polygamous?

Below are comments on the question: Are women naturally, or culturally, monogamous? They’re edited for brevity and clarity. I’ve organized them and added my comments in italics.

Polygamous women

  • I seem to be different than the study, but then so are most males I know.
  • Divorced at age 33, I experienced a natural heightening of sexual interest and there were a number of men with whom I had sex during the next 7-8 years. I enjoyed it all tremendously and learned at lot about men and about myself. During that time, I met only one man I would have considered as a life partner. Now I realize that the relationship was great because the sex was great.
  • If women were paid equally and had equal opportunity in the job market, I think that monogamy would be weakened.  When I earned more my husband, and could survive financially on my own, my sexual behavior changed as well.

Polygamous men

  • Sex is so pleasurable. Why limit yourself from pleasure so long as everyone knows the ground rules – that this is about pleasure and not about commitment or love.
  • Sex is magical. I would like to have sex with as many women as possible. But I always thought women experienced sex the same as I do.  It hadn’t occurred to me that they might not.

Research suggests that women, on average, don’t enjoy sex as much as men do. U.S. women enjoy sex less than women in some cultures, but more than women in others. I’ll explore why later.

Jealousy and not loving equally

Women who are interested in polygamous sex can discover difficulties:

  • As a lesbian I have a perspective that is completely woman oriented.  I personally have had more than one lover at a time and found it difficult since I was always trying to explain why I was leaving to visit someone else.  One always seems to love one more than the other.

Meeting social expectations: Women

  • Here is my confession – two or three times I allowed myself to be picked up at a party or a bar. I am still so ashamed of those incidents. Remembering them makes me feel so dirty! I thought it was expected.  You know – times were changing.  Everybody did it. I now believe I let myself be used by men who were only after a little fun and had no serious intentions.
  • I let myself be used by men who were only looking for fun… then I felt ashamed! Many women were brainwashed into believing they would enjoy it as much as men only to realize they were no more than a toilet bowl or conquest.  I am sorry to disappoint but sex ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. Many may hide the shame and humiliation they feel by saying they liked it.

Women are punished for sex
Some women feel pressured to have sex, but they are also punished when they have it, labeled “sluts”:

  • The stigma attached to women likely keeps the number (of lovers they report) low
  • (At least men) seem to have each others’ backs. Women don’t. They’re often quick to stab each other in the back.

Meeting social expectations: Men

  • Men might be lying too since the cultural expectation for them seems to be quantity rather than quality.
  • Men also have cultural expectations to live up to: amass notches on their belts.

Agreed. Women claim 5 lovers and men claim 12. Women must be underestimating and men exaggerating. The real number for both is likely in between: 8 or 9.

A man’s view:

  • I wanted to have threesomes for the longest time. Then I realized it was largely about feeling left out of something I thought everyone else was doing.

There’s also plenty of research on how men feel pressured to notch up “conquests” in order to be valued by other men.

Shallow, one-dimensional vs deep, connected relationship

  • Women prefer depth, romance, quality in a relationship. They know that the closer one is in spirituality, emotions, the better the sex. Women need that depth to be fulfilled.
  • A purely physical relationship requires little work. You don’t have to concern yourself with messy thoughts or feelings beyond the immediate moment. It’s shallow and one dimensional. Real relationship takes depth: looking at someone’s worth beyond pretty eyes, nice butt, and teeth.
  • I have heard some women say they enjoy casual sex – but in 62 years I have heard far more say they haven’t enjoyed any sex let alone casual – meaningless sex. It’s intimacy we want!  But I am still waiting for the rush of women who can honestly tell us about all the hot meaningless sex we have been missing! I’m all ears?

Men desiring depth, connection too:

A woman’s perspective

  • I met both kinds of guys when I was dating. I met guys who seemed downright anxious to connect on a deeper level and guys who would lie in a NY minute if they thought it would get them into my pants faster.

A man’s perspective

  • Our sexuality and the expression of it before and during (and after) marriage is, I am convinced, one of the more complicated aspects of what it means to be human. One could argue that God created men and women different sexually (in all the ways!) because to come together in meaningful intimacy (erotic or sexual) requires the development and expression of our deepest and highest virtues—sacrifice, humility, and kindness (even long-suffering at times!), and especially love. It is among the most meaningful and challenging dances we do.

And, don’t forget the men in men’s studies.  Both Michael Kimmel and John Stoltenberg recommend men do sex from a place of love and commitment, and they say that is where the come from, themselves.

SOURCES: Comments from:
Blogs: BroadBlogs and FreeMeNow
Facebook
Various lists responded either to the list, or to me via email
Student discussions

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