What Do Women Want? (article on female sex drive)

I read this article in the NY Times' Sunday magazine. It's about female sexuality, particularly the under-studied, apparently really complex/confusing physiology of female desire. (So it isn't just you, guys - even scientists agree that the female sex drive makes no sense!)

It's really interesting! I thought it might be something that our community might enjoy reading, so here's the permanent link to the article (tinyurl'd for convenience): http://tinyurl.com/dd6c93

Forums: 
Clare-Dragonfly's picture

Supplicant

I read it earlier today--totally fascinating, it rang true for me in several places, and I'm forcing my boyfriend to read it.

The part I found most interesting was the bit about physiological arousal as sort of a defense mechanism. It reminds me of a few years ago, when I was semi-active in Harry Potter fandom (I read a lot of fanfiction and roleplayed), and "non-con" was fairly popular as a feature in erotic fanfiction. After reading a few of those I stopped and refused to read them unless they were written by a friend; they consistently both disturbed me and aroused me, and the arousal made it just way too uncomfortable for me.

I also found the studies in the beginning interesting and unexpected--mostly the fact that only visual stimuli were used. I'd like to see a study comparing mental and physiological arousal when confronted with visual and written depictions of sex.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

you were conflicted by Emmae's story, no?

Clare-Dragonfly's picture

Supplicant

Conflicted, aroused, and totally hooked! It wasn't as problematic for me as a straight rape story would be, simply because Emmae had the conflict within herself. The same issues I had were right there explicitly in the story. I actually think I identify more with Emmae than with any other character in the story except Sedra.

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

Do you think this could be a general trait among women - which the study would seem to reflect - that we have been socialised to feel more inhibited and guilty in sexual matters?

Or are women just more inclined to shame naturally?

Clare-Dragonfly's picture

Supplicant

I'm not sure how your response relates to my comment; maybe you could clarify for me? I don't feel inhibited or ashamed, or if I do, I don't conceptualize it that way. I don't think that others would judge me for admitting to being turned on by rape--I'm sharing it publicly and have discussed it comfortably with my boyfriend and some friends! I'm conflicted because rape itself is a terrible act, I would never want it to happen to me (or to anyone), but it's still so erotic to me.

Paisleigh's picture

Devotee

I'm glad you posted this. I'm taking a general psych class this semester and have to options for "research experience"- participating in studies or reading journal articles on various studies and writing 1-2 page papers on them. This articles make me want to read other studies in this same vein and do papers in them(and I'm not much for writing papers). Now, back to reading the article (I'm 6 pages in and needed a break). Thanks again Smile

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

I don't find the devices that comparable - even though of course, male and female anatomies are not perfectly analagous, either - so I think that a clitoral plethysmograph would be a better idea, more like the penile device.

It seems that one glaringly clear result is that women are far more easily aroused, but again, this could be due to the difference in the testing technique. As a scientist, I also don't approve of the use of ONE man and ONE woman in the beach/calisthenics 'scenes'; I also think that strolling on a beach and doing calisthenics differ significantly in arousal potential.

*still reading, but those are my issues with the initial study discussed*

Andrea's picture

Supplicant

that something to measure clitoral (and possibly labial) swelling would be better than a device that measures lubrication. Besides, some of us don't produce much natural lube when we're aroused, and a lot of the time it varies for me depending on where I am in my cycle. Bah!

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

"Evolution’s legacy, according to this theory, is that women are prone to lubricate, if only protectively, to hints of sex in their surroundings."

At least they do address this, if obliquely. But I still don't like the study design.

eloriane's picture

Devotee

My FIRST response to a difference like that would be to ask, "Are we measuring the wrong things?" Especially since the reported arousal differed so drastically from the "measured" arousal. I mean, women are definitely taught to be ashamed of sex, and people actually think that women don't have sex drives at all, so I'd expect some difference between reported vs. measured arousal... but I'd quadruple-check by measuring the arousal in a lot of different ways. Try to find a way to measure the swelling of the clitoris, as well as the bloodflow in the penis, as well as the pulse and perspiration of both sexes, and any other indicators you can think of. Maybe not all of them on everyone, but get a bunch of groups together. Arousal is too subjective and variable to expect to hook up just one kind of machine and say, "yup, she's 7 aroused, even though she's only reporting 3."

I'll probably read the rest of it (when I have time...) but I'm not impressed at all by the first page.

Capriox's picture

Embodiment

I like your point - now that they're realizing just how confusing the field is, perhaps someone should go ask "if we've go this theory that lubrication happens as a safety mechanism in response to immediately perceived chance of penetration, what physiological signs indicate *purely* arousal in a woman?"

It seems to me that, while lubrication is a necessary part of a woman's arousal, the theory that 'wet = ready to go' is fed to us predominately by male sex drives (example A: porn advertising hot, WET, girls!). At least for me personally, 'wet = interested, persuade me further'. And as I type, I realize how very much that last sentence fits multiple points raised in the article. Intercourse still can be uncomfortable or unstimulating (or even painful!) for me even if I am somewhat wet, which I've had to explain to my poor husband. To really enjoy it, I need to get to the point that I think of as my body wanting it, which usually seems to be a combination of mental stimulation and vaginal dilation in addition to whatever physical stimulus is going on.

In the article, I believe they did measure blood flow to the vaginal muscle area in addition to lubrication, so they didn't totally rely on one measurement category. Given the enthusiasm of some of the researchers interviewed in the article, I bet they wouldn't mind running a bunch more studies, but probably lack time and funding (the bane of researchers every where, lol).

MeiLin's picture

Most High

1) I do think some of the difference can be attributed to suppression of female sexuality (one of my favorite topics, to no one's surprise).

2) I also agree that the measurement tools they're using for objective arousal are very probably not terribly accurate.

3) My own thought: I *do* think women get more turned on by a variety of things than men. I don't know if it's because we're so suppressed we have to "cover the piano legs" so to speak, or if it's inherent.

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

Quote:
When she peers into the giant forest, Chivers told me, she considers the possibility that along with what she called a “rudderless” system of reflexive physiological arousal, women’s system of desire, the cognitive domain of lust, is more receptive than aggressive. “One of the things I think about,” she said, “is the dyad formed by men and women. Certainly women are very sexual and have the capacity to be even more sexual than men, but one possibility is that instead of it being a go-out-there-and-get-it kind of sexuality, it’s more of a reactive process. If you have this dyad, and one part is pumped full of testosterone, is more interested in risk taking, is probably more aggressive, you’ve got a very strong motivational force. It wouldn’t make sense to have another similar force. You need something complementary. And I’ve often thought that there is something really powerful for women’s sexuality about being desired. That receptivity element. At some point I’d love to do a study that would look at that.

Now HERE's something I can really support; the idea of yin and yang (hell, this even relates to ML's Nerr/Neya). While I demand equality when it comes to opportunities, I think it's fundamentally wrong to approach male and female desire in the same manner. We even know that they spring from different parts of the brain. I'm sick of the silly social conception that women aren't as lusty as men - partly because women's sexuality is (still) repressed, partly because its expression is innately different (and perhaps even just less outward).

Maybe women are more readily aroused by a wider range of stimuli - if that's indeed the case - because we are more receptive by default. If we are sexual by being receptive, if that's how we feel sexual, then we would naturally be more open-minded. Whereas men in a more active role must form a more fixed sexuality in order to be able to project anything at all.

(Oh, and I see some of my thoughts echoed on page 5, after I wrote them!)

Quote:
“The female body,” [Meana] said, “looks the same whether aroused or not. The male, without an erection, is announcing a lack of arousal. The female body always holds the promise, the suggestion of sex” — a suggestion that sends a charge through both men and women."

This is pretty much physical support for the receptivity vs activity theory; it also ties in nicely with the fact that human females are sexually active throughout their menstrual cycle, unlike many other mammals and even other primates.

Quote:
For women, “being desired is the orgasm,” Meana said somewhat metaphorically — it is, in her vision, at once the thing craved and the spark of craving.

I hadn't consciously thought about female sexual narcissism, but I think there is real truth to this as well. I've thought before that what is, above all, most arousing to anyone regardless of gender is arousal in your partner. But maybe that's my *feminine* interpretation of being desired? And actually self-reflexive?

Quote:
[Meana] recalled a patient whose lover was thoroughly empathetic and asked frequently during lovemaking, “ ‘Is this O.K.?’ Which was very unarousing to her. It was loving, but there was no oomph” — no urgency emanating from the man, no sign that his craving of the patient was beyond control.

Hmmm. It does seem stereotypical that males are urgent, women more...nebulous (hesitant isn't quite right), but maybe this dichotomy is based in some truth, too. Either way, a man lacking apparent arousal turns off a woman! I also find this personally very, very amusing because my most recent ex (with whom sex was not very satisfying) would often ask during sex 'Do you like how I fuck you?' and I found it to be MASSIVELY, actively unappealing. I interpreted it as insecurity - never an attractive trait - and maybe confidence in a man is more essential than it is in a woman.

Quote:
"What women want is a real dilemma,” [Meana] said.... “Women want to be thrown up against a wall but not truly endangered [I would reword this as 'truly harmed']. Women want a caveman and caring."

THIS IS MY FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEM! It's the Harsin/Brinnid issue I've talked about; how I want an aggressive man sexually, but an accommodating one otherwise. *tears at hair in frustration*

Then there's talk about rape fantasies - which are near and dear to me - and I really dig Meana's perspective on them:

Quote:
The appeal is, above all, paradoxical, Meana pointed out: rape means having no control, while fantasy is a domain manipulated by the self. She stressed the vast difference between the pleasures of the imagined and the terrors of the real. “I hate the term ‘rape fantasies,’ ” she went on. “They’re really fantasies of submission.” She spoke about the thrill of being wanted so much that the aggressor is willing to overpower, to take. “But ‘aggression,’ ‘dominance,’ I have to find better words. ‘Submission’ isn’t even a good word” — it didn’t reflect the woman’s imagining of an ultimately willing surrender."

Agreed x infinity. WILLING SURRENDER. Thank you! Also, why must I adore and pursue and be consumed by paradoxes? *sigh*

Quote:
“It’s the wish to be beyond will, beyond thought,” Chivers said about rape fantasies. “To be all in the midbrain.”

While this is true, and I think good sex for both genders requires as much dispension of reason and cortical activity as possible, I think rape fantasies are also about power, which is where the activity/receptivity dichotomy comes into play.

[Note: I apologise if any of my statements above appear to be speaking for all or even most women, and must disclaim that my own strongly submissive sexually tendencies may bias my opinions.]

MeiLin's picture

Most High

I love this thread so hard.

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

So much a part of why I love you and your story! *identification like whoa*

magalicious's picture

Postulant

THIS IS MY FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEM! It's the Harsin/Brinnid issue I've talked about; how I want an aggressive man sexually, but an accommodating one otherwise. *tears at hair in frustration*

To trust your partner enough to submit, to know that they will take the best care of you possible, but to know that what they want may not be what you thought you wanted, and then to accept that ... I can only say I understand the quandary. The pursuit of the midbrain, the subspace, is not easy; and paradoxically, involves giving up the pursuit altogether. My brain is spinning just trying to *write* about it.
But then, perhaps, the point is to stop trying. Wink
Love!

- Mags

A's picture

Postulant

yes.

yes.

exactly.

Ciega's picture

I also find myself agreeing with the parts about paradoxes. For myself, I explain this as wanting to be equal with the other person-- being able to admit my weaknesses and have them take charge and take care of me, and for them to be able to do the same.
I don't have any experience to say whether the other person asking "Is this okay?" would annoy me or not.... I'm not sure.
More perhaps when I don't have a rehearsal to get to...

A's picture

Postulant

When you want to be powerless, you want THEM to make the decisions. The dom asking you "is this OK" takes the sub out of submissive, IMO. If I'm wrong, Sir, let me know. If it's an overpowering that you want to enjoy and have asked for, you don't get a say once you've started, save for any safewords you have agreed upon. This also supposes that you are somewhat familiar with the operating principles of the D in BDSM, and if you yearn for sexual submission, I highly recommend becoming aquainted with them if you're not already.

It can depend on what exactly you want to get out of the experience, tho. do you want to feel "used"? Do you want to feel "forced"? Do you want to be "bossed"? "owned/possessed"? Even though these all revolve around the sub's loss of control (huge turn on for some) each is different and each one carries a different set of expectations from the dom and sub, subtle tho they may be. In none of those scenes can I think of the dom asking if s/he's pleasing the sub being feasible, during the play at least.

This may require extensive un-romantic negotiation and communication before play begins, but it's worth it. It is sooooo worth it.

Clare-Dragonfly's picture

Supplicant

'Do you like how I fuck you?' - Being asked that question during sex sounds arousing to me, but I suspect it's all in the tone of voice. I imagine it as being a confident sort of "I know you like it, but I want to hear you say it," which then falls into the realm of dirty talk. I guess in a different tone of voice it would sound weak and passionless.

Other than that, well... like so many others have said, sing it, sister!

Ely's picture

Petitioner

I remember falling into the History in the middle of Emma's story, and feeling exactly as confused/aroused/frigthened/thoughtful as Temmin seemed to be. And then going "aww" in understanding during the first chapters of Temple lessons....

It took me years of guilty interrogations, and a few mistakes, to come to terms with my own paradox about "willing surrender" (oh, how I like this expresion). I believe Book One played a part, with all the sudden light cast on my doubts ("which one were you ?", is asked Temmin at some point)... That, and these soul-deep discussions you can have with a new lover. Giving him the control meant explaining myself to him; and I found out that I had been in two minds about submission because it was really two different things to me. One is a mask for old demons: providing relief without peace. The other is light and playful and is an expression of love. Whenever I'm not sure which one it is, we stick to vanilla sex (which is no loss whatsoever), and that's the biggest and best change in my sex life since... well, since I started having one, I think.
But how to get this light-and-fun feeling ? Why, with self-confidence... And feeling his desire, seeing his doubletakes when seeing me naked, his arousal, often gives me enough self-confidence to surrender safely. I love him for understanding this, and being his assertive and supportive self about it Smile

Ooh, how I miss him; and reading the History's latest chapters is not helping on the frustation side! He'll probably have MeiLin to thank for the next weekend I'll spend with him Wink

Saramander's picture

Petitioner

All of these passages you've quoted had resonance with me. I of course take all the studies with a grain of salt because the study doesn't seem to be one with many controls, but I also think that there is a lot of value in what they gleaned from them. As far as the "rape" fantasies go, I have not talked to a single woman who hasn't expressed something similar to that. I feel like though much of it may have something to do with the desire for willing surrender, part of it may also be social conditioning. Prince Charming grabs the princess, dipping her back in to a kiss that leaves her breathless. Time and time again in movies for both children and adults, women run, men chase, and often women are overpowered (be it gently and lovingly of forcefully and passionately). I would be interested to hear the opinions of women who grew up with more gender neutral (or reversed) stimuli (not that that's going to happen. Where are the Amazons when you need them? ;)) For me personally, though, I like the feeling of being so badly wanted. I don't, however, like to just submit. therein lies the complications in my sex life. I had a boyfriend who would pin me down by the wrists, bite me, etc, and when I fought to pin him, he threw me down again. It was AMAZING. The struggle for dominance just fed our fire till it was white hot. My now boyfriend, however, is VERY VERY gentle and doesn't like to hurt people and especially doesn't like to be hurt himself. Its taken some adjusting to go from claws and teeth to kid gloves and hesitancy. It actually drove my sex drive way down for awhile and I'm still trying to find a way to remedy the loss.

The point about lubrication being a safety mechanism makes a great deal of sense to me. If your ancestors have been having sex forced on them for millennia, it would make sense that your body would develop a way to protect you from injury over time, especially since rape can cause some really awful internal injuries that can lead to infection and death.

Female sexuality is really complex and I'm glad these people are studying it. I would also like to point out, though, that even for men hard does not necessarily equal ready just like wet does not necessarily equal ready and men have their own complexities (just maybe not as convoluted as those of women ;))

imri's picture

Devotee

While I might be the wrong gender for the article, I do find it's contents to be infinitely interesting. (Probably because my poor male mind is so often confuzzled by the actions of women. Blum 3 ) If I was one of the males in one of those studies, I might have skewed the data a little bit. I have been aware of several times of something being a turn on for me, but that doesn't mean that I start getting an erection from it. And then there are the times for reasons I'm not quite sure of I might get a little hard. Shrug My personal theory as to that is that my brain gets in the way, and I tend to keep a hard form of self-control.
Anyways, I think that I digressed again...and I'm not sure what my point was for my comments anymore. *chuckle* I did find agreement with the quote unquote rape fantasies though, where that type of willing surrender/hungry taking is something I find very...appealing and appetite wheting. Shrug It's not easy being me. *laugh* Thanks for bringing this article to our attention! Smile

Capriox's picture

Embodiment

I would think that we gals could only benefit from having guys read the article! If nothing else, it gives us a new excuse to use: "No, honey, not tonight. No, I don't have a headache, it's just that my understudied libido isn't kicking in tonight for complex, opaque reasons." ;-D

And I'm curious, although if you consider this too nosy to answer, just say so, but - I mentioned finding "rape" fantasies appealing. Since you're a guy, I was wondering if you found it appealing in the same way that some women do, as the victim of that "overwhelming desire", or did you mean it's appealing to you in the role of the aggressor? I haven't yet heard of a -guy- who was turned on by the fantasy of being raped, but considering the variety of kinks and quirks out there, I should know better!

imri's picture

Devotee

...I seem to be an uncommon male in many ways. When it comes to a D/S thing, I consider myself a bit of a switch, if that's the proper term, in that I can go either way. From a dominant standpoint, I greatly enjoy the thought of pouncing on a woman and having her willingly submit (cannot emphasize willingly enough) to me, holding her down and taking for my pleasure, and her crying out and loving every minute of it...excuse me a second. *bites arm to calm down* And from a more submissive stand point, the thought of a woman pouncing on me and saying, "Give it up. Now.", is incredibly hot too.

So to summarize, I see and like the appeal in both ways. And being single sucks.

Gudy's picture

Embodiment

For one thing, I am pretty much the same - as far as that goes, I consider myself a switch with submissive tendencies (which incidently makes looking at BDSM porn an occasionally interesting exercise at watching my two desires battle it out as to which of the characters I get to identify with today }:) ).

Also, submissive males are, AFAIK, by far the biggest category of kinksters, running somewhat counter to the common perception of male=agressor, female=victim.

So yes, rape fantasies can be hot for me, from either side of the fence as the mood strikes.

Marx's picture

Petitioner

Yeah, rape fantasies can definitely be hot. And as people reading my previous comment already might've guessed, I'm part submissive. Or, to put it bluntly, a switch. I wouldn't be surprised to read a study claiming that the vast majority of people already entertained D/s fantasies at least once, if not more frequently.

Capriox's picture

Embodiment

I suspect the percentage would depend a lot on how tightly or loosely you defined D/s versus more vanilla versions (call it seducer/seduced). Wink

@Gudy - really? I would've said 50/50 gender for both subs and Doms, or if anything slightly more than 50% female for subs. I'm probably biased, though - what exposure to BDSM discussion I have comes almost exclusively thru internet communities, and I seem to end up spending the most time in predominately female groups.

While we're on the subject, I was also under the impression that subs are noticeably more common than Doms. For those of you who have more experience in that area than me, what do you think? Turth/fiction/favorite theories?

Gudy's picture

Embodiment

As Laurelil mentioned, many submissive women might very well find what they seek in a traditional relationship and therefor not end up in a kink community. Also, the kink community in general tends to be predominantly male, or at least have more males than females, which leads to the result that most visible kinksters are submissive males. And how are we to count the invisible ones? Smile

Generally speaking, though, as MeiLin said, it seems that the ratio is 80/20 or even 90/10 sub/dom regardless of gender when you also look outside the kink community. I.e. the sub/dom distribution is probably not heavily influenced by gender. Also, I wouldn't be surprised if what difference there is is attributable to cultural influences.

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

Most dyadic personality traits have a close to 50/50 ratio across genders and populations..such as extroversion/introversion, aggressive/passive, etc. So WHY, if it's the case as you and ML suggest (and you both seem more knowledgeable in this area than I, though I will agree that in straight women at least an overwhelming majority are sub), is sexuality so heavily weighted towards subs?

What a terrible design flaw, God/nature/chaos!

"As Laurelil mentioned, many submissive women might very well find what they seek in a traditional relationship and therefor not end up in a kink community."

I also don't think this is necessarily true. I think it's likely that many women are satisfied enough with other aspects of the relationship to 'suck up' the sexual dissatisfaction. But that could just from what I've seen. It may also be that men have more impetus (social or otherwise) to seek out kink communities, whereas women may internalise it or read erotica, etc. Just some thoughts.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

You gotta serve somebody. I strongly believe the "servant" reflex exists. I know I always did better as a #2 at work, but I had to have someone worth serving. When I did, I'd do just about anything for that person (and I'm speaking strictly in a nonsexual way). I don't have much to base it on other than observation of the human condition, but it seems to me that most people are not leaders; most are followers. We have a pack mentality. If half of all the men were alpha we'd be in a bigger mess than we already are.

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

yes, I do agree that more people are followers than leaders and if half of us were leaders that would not work out well at all. But I don't see why that must be so linked to sexuality? There are so many ways to serve, and it doesn't make sense that to me that such a majority would want to serve sexually, specifically.

Maybe it's just ME. I'm a leader everywhere except the bedroom. In a sense I'm the ultimate switch, because I have a very dominant overall personality, though I'm utterly submissive sexually (but ONLY then). This creates a lot of confusion as I naturally tend to be drawn towards laid-back men and they to me, but then they're always submissive through and through! And they *expect* me to take charge in the bedroom, which I find incredibly frustrating.

But aren't there a lot of people like me? Who are one way 'on the outside', another way sexually?

Gudy's picture

Embodiment

While the upper manager who is a sexual submissive is almost a cliché, I think most people more or less follow their type throughout. So dominant people tend to be dominant in bed and the other way round. And while there certainly are many people who go counter to their normal type in bed, it seems like there are not enough of them to significantly impact the overall ratio. More specifically, the sexually submissive manager seems relatively more common than the meek office worker who turns into a handcuff-wielding, whip-swinging tiger at night.

Nye's picture

Supplicant

I am a leader, a boss, a person in control, willing to give advice, and make difficult decisions. I'm happy to be under a competent leader, but if the person leading isn't competent, watch me take over.

When it comes to sex, I'm primarily Domme, more by necessity than choice, though. People around me turn into submissives, and I am good at hitting all those switches and making them feel good. It's just natural, and something in people who have never had a submissive bone in their body just resonates in my presence and comes to the fore. It generally doesn't do a whole lot for me, though. That's why I've mostly gotten out of that lifestyle in the last years.

I prefer to be sexually submissive. However, I've only met a couple of men in my life that I'm willing to submit to. I can bottom for a demonstration or something, but actually submitting... I'm too choosy. I had one Master for several years. He's still a good friend.

Laureril's picture

Supplicant

That might be because male submissives is still considered deviant by the population at large, and therefore kinky. I'm sure there's a ton of submissive females that have never identified with the BDSM community because they found what they needed in a dominant male through an otherwise mainstream vanilla relationship. When it's a social norm, there is no reason to identify one's self as "kinky" in order to find a mate.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

is that across the sexes and orientations, there are way more submissives than dominants, period. I'd say it's 90/10 weighted to the submissives. Doms have a choice of partners--well, if they're decent. Subs, especially straight male subs looking for a female dom, have the hardest time. That's just in my experience, though.

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

I've always thought there were wayyyyy more female subs than doms, at least 75% of the female pop being on that side of the line, if one must be drawn on a spectrum. Possibly for social reasons, possibly biological, or a combo.

And then I thought males were about 50/50, from what I've been able to determine. But you don't think there is a significant difference in male vs female sub/dom ratios? That's the first I've ever thought or heard of that.

Also, I feel like a lot of people are just lazy regardless of gender, and think dom = doing all the work, sub = laying back and doing nothing, which is obviously far from true, though I do think there is by definition more effort required to dominate.

Either way, there's not enough dom males to go around for sub females. Sad

(Oh, and all of the above refers to primarily straight men and women as I don't have enough experience/knowledge to really gauge for other groups.)

MeiLin's picture

Most High

tends to be a little more male than female in my experience, but both genders do it. Properly dealt with, it can be stopped. It's more of a "testing the dom" phenomenon than actual dominance itself. Dogs always check to see if The Boss knows what he's doing, and if the dog thinks he's not, then he thinks he has to take over. Same thing with pushy bottoms.

Nye's picture

Supplicant

While I agree that subs outweigh doms by a large margin, I might not go as far as 90 / 10. There are certainly a lot more submissive men than people assume, or than admit it.

I think a lot of people are situationally submissive, and not as many are naturally dominant... at least when it comes to sex.

annekat's picture

Petitioner

thank you very much for posting this article, i found in incredibly interesting and although it made me very sad to be single again.
I found that I agreed with many of the topics discussed including women being aroused by many things as well as the "rape" fantasies discussed.

I also enjoyed the comparison to a huge forest, maybe I would add that it was a foggy forest so you couldn't even see how tall the trees are let alone how many of them.

Tethnak's picture

or measurements of arousal are not the same as arousal, and as I read it, that was part of the findings of the study. As usual, I find myself wanting toread the actual study to cut through the bs of the journalism of reporting it. The story does not always match the actual study.

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

Much later in the article this issue is addressed. By the next step of reasoning, if women's minds and bodies fail to agree (and not just on a subjective level, but also literally the brain and body disagree) - then that would also explain the study results. Women may exhibit physical changes commonly associated with arousal in response to all stimuli, but if the actual arousal is only in the brain for women, then the actual results showed nothing about what women vs men find arousing. Or we simply accept the more logical, expected subjective responses.

I agree that it's always frustrating to read articles ABOUT studies without actually seeing all the data.

sherinik's picture

Postulant

There's the hot flash in response to purely visual stimulus (think seeing a hot bod walking past you on the street), the somehow more satisfying (familiar/possessive?) version when it's your own main squeeze you see walking in the distance and s/he looks fine, the unbearable tingling itch of knowing nothing will happen -yet- because you're in public and you can play just a bit, the instant my-insides-are-melting when s/he says something just right, the my-knees-are-melting when the heat is turned up, the long slow warm up when skin-to-skin cuddling at night, the almost painfully sensitive, cracked crystal heat after an emotional catharsis...just how can all that be measured and compared? What works one day might not work the next. Some of it is mostly physical, some of it is hardly physical at all. And sometimes, it's just...not. No reason, no rhyme. And of course, because we're all such well-balanced people, sometimes it's hot as Hades with no satisfaction in sight!

I blame MLM for that state of affairs, personally. Wink

Marx's picture

Petitioner

But it's interesting to read here in the comments that, according to the article, men's sexuality is the aggressive one, while women's sexuality is receptive. Of course, being the human and slightly narcisstic being that I am, I have to reflect how that idea applies to me. Maybe some time later today, since it's still very early in the morning, I still want to sleep an hour or so, and honestly, I'm not that willing to go to university with a raging boner because I thought too much about sex....
One thing I can say, though, is, that the very idea of being overwhelmed and dominated appeals to me, too - if the person doing so has the right characteristics, also physically.

Vandole's picture

Postulant

My psych prof mentioned that he had read a study trying to determine what smells commonly cause arousal (measured, again, by vaginal blood flow and penis swelling, so it may have the same issues as this study). According to this study, women are turned on most commonly by a combination of licorice and cucumber, followed by lavender and pumpkin pie (together). They are turned off by the smell of cherries, barbecue charcoal and men's cologne. Men, on the other hand, were turned on by another combination involving black licorice, I think with lilac. However, the prof was skeptical and suggested we take the results with a grain of salt, so I doubt the results are that valid.

GreenGlass's picture

Supplicant

This article inspired a lot of mixed theories for me, but I have to say I think they're working hard to get at a very complex subject. There's got to be a general model in there somewhere, but there will ALWAYS be the people who don't fit models. I was very interested in the whole "sex as receptive" characterization. Maybe that doesn't explain a lot of my sex life, but it sure explains some.

I really appreciated the "Arousal does NOT equal consent!" message. Was that the quote? Meh. Close enough. Blum 3

Nye's picture

Supplicant

There really aren't any easy answers. A lot of people had good comments. One thing that struck me is that many women may not be as in touch with what turns them on as men are.

Socially, men are a lot more open with what turns them on. They don't have a lot of shame about it. They celebrate it. They are expected to explore and talk about their preferences and turn-ons.

Women, though, may not be as willing to admit, even to themselves, let alone to others, what they respond to sexually. Yes, women are probably aroused by more things. I don't know that they'd tend to admit that, which is why there might be such a disconnect between the objective and subjective responses.

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