Lust in Translation: Every Woman Is Horny in Her Own Way

This is a response to Noah Brand’s “The Myth: Men Are Horny, Women Are Not.”

Men and women are wonderfully different. In fact, the more variety of strengths, interests, and other characteristics that accompany the two sexes, the more ground we cover as a people.

Many people, though, have let the history of female oppression dictate that any double standard that exists is rooted in bigotry. Thus, they try and stamp it out as such and in the process neglect the truth and benefits behind our differences.

The article, The Myth: Men Are Horny, Women Are Not, tries to cover up these differences. It over-compensates for a history of female sexual repression by saying that men and women have the same sexual needs.

But this is plain false. What’s more, it’s demeaning.

It’s demeaning to the majority of women whose sexual needs are unique to men’s and whose needs deserve recognition and respect.

But people are so fearful of stereotypes that they try to dismiss any differences that lead to them.  

It’s great that this article defends the high libido women who have a sexual lifestyle not like most others. But in trying to liberate these women, the article speaks for all women. It grossly overlooks the fact that feminine sexual needs are a unique and vital part of what makes our species thrive. Thus, it makes the mistake many good-intentioned people commit in the fight for women’s rights: it doesn’t honor feminine sexuality; it tries to pull it over to the masculine side of things.

The Myth presents a treadmill argument that can be made indefinitely: that there is a harmful double standard that suggests women don’t want sex like men do. I say “treadmill argument” because it can always be made, round and round. And it can because people continue to struggle with this truth that most any man or woman will tell you: men and women, for the most part, are wired for different sexual needs.

And it’s a damn good thing they are.

Good Men fight for equal rights. But Good Men also don’t get lost in arguments in the name of equality that come at the expense of having a conversation that breaks ground toward a better understanding of one another.

—Photo Come As You Are Co-operative/Flickr

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About Brandon Ferdig

Brandon Ferdig is writer from Minneapolis, MN. He shares his personal growth pieces, human interest stories, and commentary at his blog. He is currently writing a book titled New Plateaus in China, a compilation of travelogue, personal experience, human interest, and social observations from China. You can follow Brandon on Twitter @brandonferdig.

Comments

  1. Okay then… so in what specific ways are the sexual needs of women different from those of men? In what specific ways are the sexual needs of either one unique? I can’t think of any examples.

    • I second these questions.

    • I think (and because I am not him, can’t know for sure) he is alluding to the fact that libido, sexual expectations, and perception of sexual acts can be different for men and women in specific situations. I don’t know why he was so keen on pointing out these difference however- every woman is horny in her own way, and so is any man. I think there are a lot of sexual partners who can attest to that- few males live up to the “all horny all the time stereotype” and many females don’t need to be “put in the mood” to get it on. It was a good point by the end- feminizing or masculinity sexual experiences to try and “level the sexual field” when it comes to how often we want it is not beneficial for either partner. It’s important to know that women CAN be horny, but they don’t have to be. Neither do guys.

  2. I find (speaking for myself, of course, but also listening to both male and female friends when they talk about sex) that women need emotional intimacy as well as physical. Many of the men I speak to (who will speak honestly) also want both, but will be super happy with just physical. They can turn off the emotional part far more easily than a woman. Of course this is also a generalization, but one that I have found based on what and who I know. For example, I was, in my last relationship, a 3X a day kinda girl. Now I’m celibate. I wanted sex with my lover NOT because he was the best I’d ever had (he wasn’t) but because I loved, loved, loved him, and we had amazing chemistry. We didn’t actually have much real intimacy other than sexual, but my emotions kept me in that game for five years. (and that “horny” pretty much the whole time.) Now I am waiting to be in love again because one-night stands and friends with benefit relationships were just not cutting it for me. I dream about sex almost every night, but I’m not having any. See what I mean – the emotional needs have dictated control of the physical. Many men would not be able – or willing – to do that if they had the option to NOT do it. (I’m in no shortage of men who would just love to f*ck me, but I am choosing to not at this time.) THAT, I think, is the main difference. – Alexa

    • So, for clarification, you are waiting for great chemistry or someone to be emotionally intimate with?

      • I’m waiting for ALL of it! And since I am traveling at the moment, I’m waiting to get “home” to begin an authentic search. But even if I met someone pretty great, I like being horny and sexual and adventurous, and without the chemistry I think that part fades quickly (leaving the guy to ask “what happened?”)

  3. i’m glad i read this article, but only because it provided the link to noah brand’s in fact far, far better original article. brand’s article is in no way demeaning to non- “high libido” women, nor does he try to “cover up differences”; his whole point is that we should be supportive of the fact that people come in ALL sexual shapes and sizes: some are high libido, some are low, some are middle, and it’s all okay, neither is right nor wrong. what he takes issue with is not the fact that some men have different sexual needs than some women, but rather the fact that our society places so much judgment on people of either gender based on cultural assumptions about what their sex needs “should” look like.

    as he writes: “The way we think about libido in our culture now is deeply broken. It involves denying the experience of damn near every person alive, everyone who doesn’t fit into a binary men-horny/women-not framework, and since human experience falls into a spectrum far more subtle and complex than that, that’s everyone. ”

    brand also very carefully shows that the idea of what constitutes “feminine sexual needs” has changed over time and across cultures. it is bizarre to me that you would then respond to his article by using this category in such a totally undefined/static way.

    • Brandon Ferdig says:

      The problem with Brand’s piece is that he premises it based on a myth that doesn’t exist. He says society says women don’t like sex. This is false. Ask ten people on the street this question and nine will say, “Sure, women like sex. Duh.”

      His invention of this myth is evidence, as I said. that “people are so fearful of stereotypes that they try to dismiss any differences that lead to them.” Brand doesn’t dismiss differences, but his fear of this stereotype was extreme enough for him to suggest that rape is committed because of it.

      Stereotypes arise from crude distinctions, yes. They’re not perfect and are often very wrong. I like that Brand makes clear that there are low libido men and high libido women. I like how he stands up for them and wishes them to be freer to be themselves. But it’s one thing to do that and another to disparage the stereotypes and anything they stand for, such as the plain and simple truth that 9/10 women have very different sexual needs than 9/10 men.

      My concern is that these very real, important, and beautiful differences are ignored and under-appreciated.

      And in response to the above commenters, I’ll echo what nature has been echoing for millions of years of mammalian evolution: feminine sexual needs, at their base, call for security and closeness and monogamy; masculine sexual needs, at their base, will seek sex for sex sake. This doesn’t mean women don’t like sex; it doesn’t mean men don’t seek security. It means that feminine sexual needs are different than masculine ones.

      I know I get a lot of flack for saying this on this site, but I will not deny such a glaring and obvious truth. For it denies us a truth of who we are.

      • so…it’s okay with you if those 1/10 men seek security, but that doesn’t change the fact that such a desire is “unnatural” for a man and is “feminine” in nature? just trying to follow the logic here.

        also, why exactly IS it important to call some things “masculine” and some things “feminine”? does that really improve our day to day lives? at base it just seems unnecessary, and can also be dehumanizing. there is nothing more frustrating, for example, then having someone dismiss your argument/point of view by rolling their eyes and saying “typical man.” it’s much more enjoyable to be treated as individuals, in my opinion.

        • I agree with pretty much everything you said.

        • Brandon Ferdig says:

          “Typical man” is probably what some people say when they read my article. Look, I’ll say again that stereotypes are crude, but it’s also foolish to sway so far away from them that you throw out any truth that leans in their direction. Masculine and Feminine labels are useful in the same sense any labels are useful. (Let me be clear, too, that I don’t tie them to male and female.) We divide the color spectrum into red and blue and yellow; we divide people all the time into poor and middle class and rich. They’re all crude, but does that mean we should eliminate them?

          Finally, no. I never said anything about men seeking security as being unnatural.

          • “Masculine and Feminine labels are useful in the same sense any labels are useful. (Let me be clear, too, that I don’t tie them to male and female.)”

            Hang on, Hang on. Really? I think, personally, that your article is far too short and generalized to have made your opinion clear. Because from where I sit…your article is suggesting that it’s all about biology. When, in one of your comments, you say something about men wanting sex for sex and women wanting it for security….that sounds an awful lot like equating masculine with men and feminine with women.

            • Brandon Ferdig says:

              Yeah, from reading the comments I must be guilty of not being clear. I hope to use the comments to be more precise.

              Indeed, there is an enormous correlation between femininity/women and masculinity/men. But they aren’t the same. Whereas whether one is a male or female is almost always clearly distinguished, I find masculinity and femininity, though, a continuum that has strong tendencies toward either sex, but to be sure, there are feminine men and masculine women.

              Certainly, it’s not all about biology, but it’s a huge factor.

      • The problem I’m seeing with this is that you’re not seeing that the myth does exist. I’m a high libido woman, and as I said in the other article, I am judged by it. I don’t hide it, because what person should? I am a sexual being. But people DO make comments to my boyfriend about it behind my back. I feel I am seen as a whore simply because I don’t hide the fact that I enjoy sex.

        Yes, emotional intimacy is great, and I love it with my boyfriend. It adds a dimension to sex that you can’t get from something more casual. But sometimes I just want to get ****ed. Sometimes I want it to be slow and to gaze into each other’s eyes and all that. Other times I watch porn and enjoy it. I love a soft caress, and a deep kiss. But I like a spank here and there when we’re caught up in the moment. My point here is that I like variety. It’s not always about love and security, but it’s not always about mindless sex either.

        Evolutionary Biology doesn’t really take that into account. It helps explain some behavior, but not all. It’s a way to measure humans, but humans aren’t linear beings and cannot be put into a box, even if that box is labeled biology. I used to follow evolutionary biology extensively until I realized that it doesn’t rule everything with an iron fist. Why else would women love their toys to death if they didn’t enjoy sex for the sake of sex?

        • Brandon Ferdig says:

          I acknowledge that high libido women are discriminated, and I applaud Brand for standing up to this. I’m sorry you have to endure it.

          But Brand states the myth as being that “women don’t like sex”. Who believes this? Practically no one.

          And in stating the myth as such he glosses over the reality that men and women, for the most part–though not always, have real sexual differences. I, too, acknowledge that biology isn’t everything, but it’s significant. If you disagree with me on that point, we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

          • My friends believe it. I have been considered an anomaly by many people I have talked to throughout the course of my life because I enjoy sex. If my orgasm and enjoyment is dependent on being in a monogamous relationship, then why do I enjoy watching porn? Or why I find other men attractive?

            I believe the major differences start and end at the fact that most women need more physically than just PIV intercourse to get off. Men in relationships tend to be more giving. An emotional connection is not required though. It makes things better sometimes, but that’s not something the genders disagree on.

            Futhermore, biology doesn’t account for people who are bi, gay, trans… Sexuality is on a spectrum. So enforcing that “this sexuality is feminine” and “this sexuality is masculine” doesn’t make much sense.

            • “I believe the major differences start and end at the fact that most women need more physically than just PIV intercourse to get off. Men in relationships tend to be more giving. An emotional connection is not required though.”

              I agree with this completely.

            • Which is why if every woman became a lesbian, the world would be a better place. ;) (kidding)

            • This is actually true. Those with less testosterone should be matched to those with less testosterone, and high testosterone to high testosterone. It would make the world a much better place. And much gayer, but that would probably also be for the best.

          • Nick, mostly says:

            Ayelet Waldman wrote an essay about loving her husband more than her children, but lost in the uproar over that assertion was her setup that seemed to go without much comment:

            I have been in many mothers’ groups – Mommy and Me, Gymboree, Second-Time Moms – and each time, within three minutes, the conversation invariably comes around to the topic of how often mommy feels compelled to put out. Everyone wants to be reassured that no one else is having sex either. These are women who, for the most part, are comfortable with their bodies, consider themselves sexual beings. These are women who love their husbands or partners. Still, almost none of them are having any sex
            ….. Libido, as she once knew it, is gone, and in its place is all-consuming maternal desire. There is absolute unanimity on this topic, and instant reassurance.

          • I would disagree that most people perceive that all women enjoy sex- they tend to see a certain “type” of liberated woman could enjoy sex. Usually a younger woman, maybe one with multiple partners. It is true that we have moved passed the “clench your teeth and think of England” and have used female pleasure as a selling tool (the orgasm face, main stream dominatrix portrayals etc), while a large portion of the population thinks that most women probably enjoy sex- they also think that they probably don’t enjoy it as much or more than men. Just think about masturbation- we are all told it’s okay in middle school, for both males and females, but I don’t think any of my female friends or myself would have joked around, discussed, or otherwise brought up female masturbation until we were into our 20’s. We still generally treat sex like it’s something men have to pry from females grips. Men “on the prowl” females “letting him have it”- these don’t seem like messages that support your theory that women’s libido is not taboo at all.

      • “feminine sexual needs, at their base, call for security and closeness and monogamy; masculine sexual needs, at their base, will seek sex for sex sake”

        This is just a re-telling of the “Men are horny, women are not” myth! It’s a statement that men simply enjoy the pleasure of sex, while for women sex is basically about, well, marriage. To quote the original article: “men are expected to be constantly-horny fuckbeasts, and women are expected to not want sex all that much, but trade it for things they do want, like trinkets, cuddling, and babies.”

        But of course this is ridiculous, which is the very point that you’ve missed. Women can get just as kinky as men, and enjoy sex not for security or monogamy, because they like to have wild and crazy fun (ever heard of the stereotype that girls like bad boys?). And men can enjoy sex (and cuddling) because of the feeling of closeness, intimacy, and safety that a woman’s embrace can provide. So how exactly does it help to describe the former as masculine, and the latter as feminine? And we haven’t even touched on the lesbians, gays, and bisexuals.

        • Brandon Ferdig says:

          No, it is not a re-telling. Did I say anything about women not being horny? Did I say anything anything about women not enjoying sex?

          See, you are so afraid of me labeling and putting you in a box, that you jump to the same conclusions that Brand is guilty of. And in the process, gloss over significant truths about human beings.

          All I’m saying is, in the act of liberating ourselves of labels, let’s not deny part of what makes humans, human.

      • “And in response to the above commenters, I’ll echo what nature has been echoing for millions of years of mammalian evolution: feminine sexual needs, at their base, call for security and closeness and monogamy; masculine sexual needs, at their base, will seek sex for sex sake. This doesn’t mean women don’t like sex; it doesn’t mean men don’t seek security. It means that feminine sexual needs are different than masculine ones.”

        This is a generalization that not everyone fits into. I won’t argue about biological versus cultural origins for this generalization…because that’s a bit outside this discussion. What I will say is that it isn’t always accurate. In fact…I’ve found that a lot of the time it isn’t accurate. I have some very good male friends who refuse to have sex unless they are in a relationship. It’s not for religious reasons…it’s for personal reasons. They just aren’t interested in random sexual encounters. And I know plenty of women who are all about the one-night-stands…not out of some desire to feel love, but just to get their sexual groove on.

        Now it doesn’t even matter if those generalizations about masculine and feminine sexuality are generally true (at least not for this conversation). The point is that there are a good number of people who don’t fit into them. By categorizing sexual desires as either masculine or feminine, we place a value on having the right sexual desires to go with your gender. It creates shame where there shouldn’t be any. I think that was the point of Brand’s article…to accept our human diversity.

        • “The point is that there are a good number of people who don’t fit into them. By categorizing sexual desires as either masculine or feminine, we place a value on having the right sexual desires to go with your gender. It creates shame where there shouldn’t be any.”

          Agreed. I feel that by arguing for the different sexual needs of men and women, the VAST variety of sexuality across genders is minimized and ignored, thereby making those people seem abnormal to our society.

        • Brandon Ferdig says:

          I know there are a good number of people who don’t fit into the “typical”. Heck, I don’t either. But I’m not going to pretend there aren’t tendencies in either sex.

          • Then why are you making such a big deal about “this is masculine” and “this is feminine”, as if these are the rules of sexuality, and that anyone outside of their gender’s sexuality is considered different? Does anyone really truly adhere to these rules?

      • Dude. Saying, “this is the truth, you can’t deny it” doesn’t actually make it true. So..

        “such as the plain and simple truth that 9/10 women have very different sexual needs than 9/10 men. ”
        Please cite your sources that say this is “truth.” Please tell me what these very different sexual needs are. Because apparently I and everyone I have spoken to about sex fall into your 10%.

        “I’ll echo what nature has been echoing for millions of years of mammalian evolution: feminine sexual needs, at their base, call for security and closeness and monogamy; masculine sexual needs, at their base, will seek sex for sex sake.”
        And as an evolutionary anthropologist, I call bs. Complete and utter bs. Mammalian sexual activity has little to do with human sexual activity, it hardly has anything to do with primate sexual activity. Primates and humans are a whole different ballgame. Evolutionary anthropologists still argue about whether monogamy was actually a part of our history, or a recent convention of culture. And bonobos, one of our closest relatives, are not remotely monogamous. They have sex with everyone, females with females, males with males, they will even grind on boots. (They are also the only other mammal, I believe, to have sex face to face)

        You cannot come out and essentialize human sexuality by attributing it to biology, because it is pretty much impossible to conclude anything without cultural influence.

        • Bonobos! I love you!

        • “(They are also the only other mammal, I believe, to have sex face to face)”

          Canids have a variant due to their copulatory tie. Except that it’s side-by-side for anatomical reasons.

          “Evolutionary anthropologists still argue about whether monogamy was actually a part of our history, or a recent convention of culture.”

          Are you talking about social monogamy or genetic monogamy?

          Because it’s pretty much a given that we are socially monogamous. It’s a given because male humans, like other pair-bonding mammals, go through hormonal changes when their mate is pregnant.

          At that point our pair-bonding has to be an evolved trait because it’s written into our hormones. Which means our sexuality isn’t likely to be modelled by non-pair-bonding bonobo.

          • “Because it’s pretty much a given that we are socially monogamous. It’s a given because male humans, like other pair-bonding mammals, go through hormonal changes when their mate is pregnant.
            At that point our pair-bonding has to be an evolved trait because it’s written into our hormones. Which means our sexuality isn’t likely to be modelled by non-pair-bonding bonobo.”

            It is not a given, it is very much contested. You could also argue that the shape of the human penis is designed to scoop out competitors’ semen from the vagina, and so indicates female promiscuity (as scientists have). Not all male humans go through hormonal changes when their mate is pregnant.

            Seriously, with all the people out there who cheat, are in polyamorous relationships, get divorced, it seems fairly obvious that monogamy is social construct and most definitely not biologically determined.

            “At that point our pair-bonding has to be an evolved trait because it’s written into our hormones.”
            Things are not written into hormones. By evolved trait, do you mean a trait unique from our ancestors? I don’t understand the importance of it being evolved. Do just mean to say it is biological determined, common to humans as a species?

            • @ Artemis

              “It is not a given, it is very much contested.”

              I don’t think it’s as contested as you make it out to be. Again, there is scientific support to the hypothesis that male animal going through hormonal changes during his mate’s pregnancy is a key indicator of a pair-bonding species.

              “Not all male humans go through hormonal changes when their mate is pregnant.”

              I’m interested. Do you have a cite for this?

              “Things are not written into hormones. ”

              Colloquialism. How about this? It’s written into our DNA.

              “Seriously, with all the people out there who cheat, are in polyamorous relationships, get divorced, it seems fairly obvious that monogamy is social construct and most definitely not biologically determined.”

              Social monogamy does not preclude extra-pair sexual trysts. Further, society’s concept of ‘marriage’ could be parasitic on our pair-bonding instinct–rather then a natural expression of it–and promote dysfunction.

          • “Which means our sexuality isn’t likely to be modelled by non-pair-bonding bonobo.”

            We have more in common with the bonobo than other relatives, namely because we don’t have sex primarily for reproduction. We have sex for social reasons, so social bonding, like bonbos. Pair-bonding is based in reproductive sex, which humans don’t engage in nearly as frequently as non-reproductive sex. because we tend to use sex for social purposes, I would argue bonbos are a better analogy for human sexual activity than other primates who copulate purely for reproductive purposes.

            • “Pair-bonding is based in reproductive sex, which humans don’t engage in nearly as frequently as non-reproductive sex. because we tend to use sex for social purposes, I would argue bonbos are a better analogy for human sexual activity than other primates who copulate purely for reproductive purposes.”

              And I would argue that canids–specifically wolves–are a better model for our sexual behaviour then any great ape species, since none of them actually pair-bond nor do they show the same historic widespread dispersal patterns that both humans and wolves demonstrate.

              As for other great apes only copulating for reproductive purposes… hasn’t homosexuality been observed in all great apes?

            • Artemis says:

              “since none of them actually pair-bond nor do they show the same historic widespread dispersal patterns that both humans and wolves demonstrate. ”

              Well, we are not going to agree on analogy because we don’t agree on humans pair-bonding. Pair-bonding is based on reproductive sex, which I contest humans do not primarily engage in and so is not a fitting description of human sexuality. Humans primarily engage in sex for social purposes, which more suits an analogy to bonbos.

              “As for other great apes only copulating for reproductive purposes… hasn’t homosexuality been observed in all great apes?”
              Per wikipedia, you are right. I’m not a primatologist so I’m not really up on my ape behavior knowledge. But that doesn’t prove that those species don’t copulate primarily for reproductive purposes.

              ““Not all male humans go through hormonal changes when their mate is pregnant.”
              I’m interested. Do you have a cite for this? ”
              Do you have a citation for all men going through this? At the very least, not all men enter monogamous relationships with their pregnant mates. They can reproduce without bonding.

              “I don’t think it’s as contested as you make it out to be”
              Maybe it is just because we are in different fields. I study paleoanthropology, and the idea of pair-bonding arising in the human lineage comes from Owen Lovejoy’s work that is not so accepted in modern paleoanthropology. There is contrasting evidence that our evolutionary background involves more promiscuity than monogamy. Pair-bonding in our evolutionary history is speculative (admittedly, so is promiscuity). If you are saying that pair-bonding is completely unique to Homo sapiens sapiens and is not an inherited feature from our ancestors, then it is difficult to pull biologically-coded behavior from cultural influences as Homo sapiens sapiens have always possessed a form of culture.

              I just don’t feel that pair-bonding makes sense as a model of modern human sexuality because it is a model of sex for reproduction which humans do not frequently engage in. Sex serves a primarily social function in modern humans, which makes more sense given our post-menopausal lifespan, homosexuality, non-monogamous tendencies, and love for contraception.

              (what field are you in, if I may ask? I think that would clarify why we have differing views, if we are coming from different approaches)

            • @ Artemis

              According to your qualifications about ‘pair-bonding’ there are absolutely no pair-bonding mammals in the animal kingdom, humans included.

              Almost all vertebrate pair-bonders have extra-pair couplings, some have high rates of non-genetic monogamy (humans don’t, BTW).

              “Humans primarily engage in sex for social purposes, which more suits an analogy to bongos(sic)”

              Sex for reproductive purposes is something shared by every single mating system in every single species. The fact that bonobo have non-reproductive sex does not mean that non-reproductive sex cannot exist in a pair-bonding mating system. (Further non-reproductive sex exists in most animal species anyway.)

              “But that doesn’t prove that those species don’t copulate primarily for reproductive purposes.”

              In some species the only observed sex is non-reproductive sex. Heterosexual sex is simply inferred by reproduction.

              “At the very least, not all men enter monogamous relationships with their pregnant mates.”

              Our research into the hormonal changes of male humans during pregnancy has not developed far enough to answer the question of how and when men develop this ‘hormonal simpatico’ with their pregnant mates.

              It has only observed that it _does_ happen. Which puts human men squarely in the realm of other male mammals who pair-bond.

              “They can reproduce without bonding.”

              So can all other social pair-bonders.

              “Maybe it is just because we are in different fields. I study paleoanthropology, ”

              So you must be familiar with theories about parallel evolution between wolves and humans… exploiting an ecological niche in which advanced socialization takes the place of physical specialization thus leading to wide spread dispersal _of the same species_?

              “If you are saying that pair-bonding is completely unique to Homo sapiens sapiens and is not an inherited feature from our ancestors, then it is difficult to pull biologically-coded behavior from cultural influences as Homo sapiens sapiens have always possessed a form of culture.”

              Here’s an article on how ‘monogamy’ may have created a barb-less human penis:

              http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/09/us-humans-dna-idUSTRE7285MF20110309

              In fact this suggests that non-reproductive sex evolved to make monogamy more attractive: instead of the rapid, brutal sex of promiscuous animals, humans evolved more a less reproductively-focused, more affectionate sexuality that didn’t involve the male scraping the inside of the female’s vagina with spines.

              Here’s something that suggests involved fatherhood (and pair-bonding) was essential to our evolution as humans:

              http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/06/17/6883618-how-fatherhood-made-us-human

              And, finally, here’s some evidence that pair-bonding evolved _prior_ to humans in our ancestor Australopithecus:

              http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/01/03/5759666-how-big-babies-shaped-society

              “what field are you in, if I may ask?”

              The best way to describe my ‘expertise’ is in systems analysis. Although I have no specific body of memorized knowledge I analyze bodies of specialized knowledge for flaws and inconsistencies.

            • I don’t think we are ever going to agree on this. I don’t think humans are naturally pair-bonding and you do. Pretty much all evidence can be construed differently, especially the penis shape idea. It’s all interpretation.

              I would like to distinguish sex for social and non-reproductive means from sex without the result of reproduction (but for the intent of reproduction). As in sex serves the primary function of social bonding in humans and bonobos (also I laughed out loud when you pointed out my typo to “bongos”). Reproduction is a secondary function of sex. I am not very familiar with other species mating habits, so if there are pair-bonded species that use sex primarily for social rather than reproductive means, I would appreciate the information.

              Also, you referenced Jeremy deSilva’s work on australopiths. I would like to note that he acknowledges the possibility of extra help in parenting being provided by a pair-bonded male, or older children or siblings. Owen Lovejoy first triumphed the idea of pair-bonding in australopiths decades ago, but paleoanthropologists don’t agree on whether that is the case. I am in the camp that does not agree with Lovejoy’s hypothesis. There is also a hypothesis that the childhood phase in human ontogeny exists to free the mother from parenting duties and the child can be raised by others (with neatly fits in with the “grandmother hypothesis” and the idea of juveniles as caretakers).

              All this points out is that humans as a pair-bonded species is not undeniable knowledge and it is not truth. It is a hypothesis that paleoanthropology and biology is still testing and retesting as we uncover more information about human behavior. Maybe we will determine conclusively that we are naturally pair-bonding, or that we are naturally promiscuous, but it would be incorrect at this time to say either is a “truth” of human nature.

            • wellokaythen says:

              Maybe both of you are correct about pair bonding, etc. Maybe the truth is complex.

              It’s so odd that people turn to biology to find a SIMPLE explanation for human sexual behavior, as if biology or evolution was completely simple. As if anything in the animal kingdom can be reduced to a single causal explanation. The wealth of biological evidence actually complicates any theory about sex more than simplifies any theory about sex. If you have a simplistic understanding of biology, then of course the explanation will be simple.

              If there is a fundamental, identifiable biological basis for human sexual behavior, it’s clear to me that the fundamental force is sexual *diversity.* Clearly humans have evolved to be pair bonded and monogamous and promiscuous and polygamous and polyamorous and dedicated to each other for life and looking for one-night stands. We’ve evolved a brain capable of figuring out how to boost our fertility and how to reduce our fertility. We’ve evolved a brain that sometimes chooses sex over love and sometimes love over sex. Maybe all of these behaviors have contributed to the survival of the species.

              Arguing whether humans are biologically monogamous or not, or bonded or not, is like arguing whether ducks are supposed to fly or are supposed to swim. They clearly have proclivities to fly, swim, and walk. They do them all quite “naturally.”

            • That’s sort of what I was trying to say, I think I got a bit off topic. You expressed the idea better than I did.

      • “And in response to the above commenters, I’ll echo what nature has been echoing for millions of years of mammalian evolution: feminine sexual needs, at their base, call for security and closeness and monogamy; masculine sexual needs, at their base, will seek sex for sex sake.”

        In what species?

        Let me offer an observation. In no species in which the female seeks pair-bonding does the male not _also_ seek pair bonding. That’s the nature of being a pair-bonding species.

        In species in which the male does not bond with the female, the _female also does not bond with the male_. The ‘alpha’ male of the herd could be eaten alive in front of her and she would likely shrug and continue chewing her cud with indifference.

        These tortured analogies of human male and female sexuality with a ‘nature’ that doesn’t actually exist are not… accurate.

        • wellokaythen says:

          I don’t mean this to sound flighty or touchy-feely, but mammals are also distinct in their capacity for “play,” however one might define that. It’s not just young mammals that play as a way to learn survival skills. Many adult mammals do it as well, for reasons that may not have a direct, obvious survival benefit. It’s something that mammals characteristically do, and it’s often an explanation for a behavior that may be hard to explain in other ways – whales swimming up out of the water and breaching. Certainly dolphins and chimps do it. There are clearly people who engage in sexual activity primarily because it’s fun.

          There must be part of human sexuality that could be considered “play.” Just because it can have a social function and a reproductive function doesn’t mean that those are the only two possibilities.

  4. I just had this conversatin with my sons.

    When sex is exchanged for goods and services, it spoils sex. Sex becomes a chore, an obligation, a ruin.

    It’s why women with wonderful, adoring, upstanding husbands are often found to be having an affair with the trash man. It’s just down and dirty sex with the trash man, while her husband has fallen into the “goods and services” trap.

    My advice to my sons, and any man listening, is to never EVER approach sex with anything other than love or lust. No jewelry. No clothes. No dinner. No rent.

    Those things can and should be offered as gifts with love, but – with no strings attached. No “You can thank me later”, no “negotiating” no promises of “You’re gonna get some tonight!” from her. Don’t do it, don’t fall for it.

    Keep goods and services exchanging out of it.

    You’ll be sorry if you don’t.

    Keep it “clean” – “love only” or “lust only”. It’s the proverbial question, ” What price is heaven”?

    If it’s not priceless, it’s worthless.

  5. This article is unfinished…elaborate.

  6. I’d like to point out this article.

    http://www.miller-mccune.com/culture/casual-sex-men-women-not-so-different-after-all-28451/

    To think about that for a moment – maybe women don’t have higher libidos because a lot of women find it harder to achieve orgasm in bed. Or don’t know if they’ve had an orgasm ever. Why would casual sex be appealing to a woman if the man asking is primarily interested in his pleasure only? That’s not a sexy thought. A lot of the time that leads to just a really disappointing time in bed.

    Women love sexual pleasure, why else would sex toys exist? Do women need to be in a relationship with their vibrator to enjoy it?

    • “Do women need to be in a relationship with their vibrator to enjoy it?”

      If that’s the case, I’m pretty sure I must be in a common-law marriage with my hand.

      • “If that’s the case, I’m pretty sure I must be in a common-law marriage with my hand.”

        Which means I must be in a poly relationship with my hand and vibrator. I hope my next girlfriend is okay with an open relationship.

    • That conclusions put forth by the author of that (flawed) study are misleading and have already been discredited.

      http://www.feministcritics.org/blog/2011/03/11/gender-differences-accepting-casual-sex-proposals-noh/

      “While the data of this study are very interesting, the analysis could lead people to think that women would engage in casual sex just as much as men… if only men weren’t so lousy! But at least some of the reason that men are perceived to be lacking is because women and men have different expectations.”

      Kind of backs up what the author of this article is saying.

      • All right then, I will concede that was a poor example. However, my point was that Brandon is wrong that “9/10″ MUST have an emotional connection in order to enjoy sex. And that this happens because… estrogen? Maybe? He doesn’t really elaborate on this. I am countering with the fact that women buy and love their toys, and also engage in masturbation. We have sex toy parties as if they’re tupperware. If women didn’t enjoy sex for the sake of sex, then why would these things exist?

        I made a personal decision to be monogamous and keep sex to relationships. That decision was not made because my biology said so. Have I had or wanted sex outside of relationships? Yes. Did I enjoy it? Yes. Did I need an emotional connection with a guy to enjoy it? No. If someone like say, Michael Fassbender asked me if I would like to have sex with him, I would be very very hard pressed to say no. Even while I’m in a committed, loving relationship. I’m sure a lot of women would feel that way about various men they’re highly attracted to. Women also watch porn, but they aren’t watching it because they think the men in porn would make wonderful husbands.

        As for having different expectations, yes. Men and women have different needs in that most women need clitoral stimulation in order to achieve climax. That’s as far as needs go. “9/10″ women need to be stimulated with something other than just PIV intercourse, but not “9/10″ women need an emotional connection _all_ of the time.

  7. Whenever I hear or read someone saying that men and women have unique sexual needs that are somehow tied to their biological gender, I generally sigh. It plays into the idea that sex is purely for reproduction. Sex is used by humans, and other species, for more than just reproduction…it’s also used to create and form social bonds. It is not strictly about women wanting security and men wanting to spread their seed….it’s also about creating relationships, creating a vested interest in the safety of another individual, relieving tension, etc…which isn’t to even go into the specific cultural uses for sex in humans. It also ignores the use of sex by females in polyandry species (and human societies).

    Not to mention, how the heck do LGBT people fit into this conception that there is a feminine and masculine use of sex? How do you explain plenty of happy monogamous gay male relationships, if all men’s sexuality is about spreading their seed? And how do you explain sexually active, single lesbians if all women are about having sex for security? And transmen and transwomen – which sexual stereotype are they supposed to fit into?

    Which all of that is just to point to the fact that humans are really freaking diverse when it comes to sexuality. Individual, biological and cultural values and pressures all shape our sexuality. So to say that there is a single set of needs for masculine sexuality and a single set of needs for feminine sexuality is to simplify things to an absurd degree.

    • Crap I just typed out ‘biological gender’…I meant ‘biological sex.’ Too bad we can’t edit these comments. :)

    • Brandon Ferdig says:

      It’s not absurd, Heather. And I know it’s simplistic, but I’m bringing it up because it seems many on this site have lost track of such basic tenants of human sexuality. Plus, we label people in many ways–race, class, “the 99%”. Are these useless? The issue is that sex is so personal that people are very touchy about it.

      You said it yourself; someone can’t even mention biology and sex without you reacting and assuming the person is promoting sex for reproduction only. Of course, that’s not what I said. Regardless, you sigh and then put me in a box.

      See, it’s the same problem, but in an evolved form: the inability to hear the truth about human sexuality. And let me be clear. I do not like the stereotypes. But I’m not going to react so strongly against them that I miss the big picture.

      • Brandon…you suggested that men have sex for sex’s sake and women have sex for security…that most certainly is saying that sex is all about reproduction.

        As to whether those other labels are useless? Well yeah, they are once they stop being labels and start becoming prescriptions on how to behave. The problem isn’t in creating an identity (white, man, gay, trans, etc)…the problem is when it is implied that all men, or all gay people, or all whatevers should behave in a certain way.

        “See, it’s the same problem, but in an evolved form: the inability to hear the truth about human sexuality.” – and as to this I’ll just point to typhon’s reply. Mostly to point out that the truth about human sexuality is that it’s complicated…and that drawing two broad generalizations doesn’t cut it.

      • I think its rather obvious that men and women have different sexual needs, which is why most women I know are sexually unsatisfied. Walk into any sex toyshop and this is evident. Look at the sex toys for him and the ones for her. Look at how our bodies differ biologically. Men reach orgasm in an average of 2-4 minutes, while it may take a woman 12-14 minutes. Look at the statistics that say women want longer and more foreplay along with a deeper connection and more intimacy in the bedroom.

        What Noah is trying to argue is that we have the right to fulfill those unique and different feminine sexual needs without judgment. Furthermore, we have the right to WANT to fulfill them without feeling ashamed. The similarity is in the wanting sex, not necessarily wanting the same things sexually.

        • “Furthermore, we have the right to WANT to fulfill them without feeling ashamed. The similarity is in the wanting sex, not necessarily wanting the same things sexually.”

          Yes but this is true just in general. What I do not agree with is the need to attach gender to these differences. Some people are into bondage, others aren’t….but we don’t feel the need to stick a gender label on it. We don’t say – oh yes and men are more likely to want to bottom, or something. I’m sure there are statistics that could give you correlations between gender and different roles within the bdsm community…but as far as I’m aware, no one cares. Why? Because it doesn’t matter.

          So like, statistics that say women want more foreplay don’t mean crap if you’re with a woman who doesn’t want to engage in foreplay. Why are we so very stuck on attaching gender labels to general sexual behaviors? It’s not strictly to understand humanity better…it’s used to provide norms.

          We should all have the right to fulfil our sexual needs without judgement – but the way to do that isn’t to say ‘you are a woman therefore you will want sex in this way and for these reasons.’ The way to do that is to create a truly sex positive society….that says it’s alright for you to explore and experiment with your sexuality until you figure out what exactly turns you on individually.

          • Heather,

            I definetly agree with you on “that says it’s alright for you to explore and experiment with your sexuality until you figure out what exactly turns you on individually.”
            I personally don’t adhere to gender roles or rules in the bedroom but many people do. It does make it difficult sometimes to express my sexual needs without judgment. I am really, really aroused by role reversal in the bedroom and some men don’t like that. For a short period I was interested in the BDSM community and I never felt more accepted. The only thing many people were polyamorous and I get jealous. However, the BDSM community is super clean and everyone knows/respects your sexual preferences, boundaries and limits. I can’t say the same for the vanilla sexual encounters I have had.

            • Right okay yes…so then why the need to place gender onto vanilla, heterosexual sexual behaviors? We take this huge diverse tapestry that is human sexuality and for some reason we make generalizations about vanilla, hetero sex and claim they are biological. And when you point out all the ways that those generalizations don’t work, the reply is…..yeah okay it doesn’t work in _that_ situation, or okay it doesn’t work for _that_ group of people…..but it does for everyone else. It’s a top-down approach….it’s creating a theory and then ignoring all the facts that don’t support it, I think.

      • “You said it yourself; someone can’t even mention biology and sex without you reacting and assuming the person is promoting sex for reproduction only. Of course, that’s not what I said.”

        The whole argument of “men want sex and women want a committed relationship” is rooted in biological arguments of reproduction. It comes from the idea of “men want to have sex to spread their seed” and “women want to maximize the investment of their mate in raising and supporting them and their children.”

        It will always be a reproductive argument if you are essentializing men and women like this because it relies on differences of needs for reproductive purposes.

    • wellokaythen says:

      And there are plenty of men who marry for money and women who go to extreme lengths to get pregnant even without a long-term relationship with a man. There are men who have emotional affairs, cheating on women they’re having sex with in order to spend time with women they’re not having sex with, i.e., risking sex with one partner for just the possibility of sex with another. When you add up all the exceptions to the “women security/men sex” rule, the rule shows some big holes.

      The myth in America is that religion and evolution are at war with each other. In fact, a lot of people use evolution in theological ways – people are “designed” to be a certain way, nature “intended” us do X but not Y, there’s a wise, rational, invisible hand guiding natural selection, everything has a reason for existing, etc. Creationism still has a stranglehold over the idea of evolution. Much of the pseudo-scientific explanation for sexual roles is really no different than the Adam and Eve story.

  8. Brandon
    Give women effective birth control, economic independence, the non-shaming of promiscuity – and they show a marked preference for sex partners who are the least likely to behave monogamously and provide stability.
    A bar tender at a popular club with tats and a criminal record will get more eager play than any of the sort of guys that display what you say women want.
    Deep female mating instincts are premised on the fact that females in virtually every species raise their offspring without any help or monagamy from the sperm donor. Simple, brute dominance is the main trigger hard-wired to light up the famale id. Asserting that the wisp of evolutionary time over which humans have needed to pair bond would rewrite that deep code is imho being very naive.
    Women line up for guys like Chris Brown and envy Rhianna. Guys are starting to understand why this is so; even if their dads never will.

  9. @Brandon – alrighty what I’m seeing in some of your comments, and what I’m reading in your article don’t exactly mesh together. So it might help if you could explain and clarify a few things.

    If you see sex in terms of masculine and feminine desire, and you see sexual desire in men as just for sex, and sex for women as a means to security. How is that not saying that sex is all about biology and reproduction?

    Also, how does that not equate masculine with men and feminine with women?

    Finally, I’m curious as to how you see LGBT and poly people fitting into these generalizations?

    I’m not trying to pick at you…I’m just trying to understand what you’re saying…and I don’t.

    • Brandon Ferdig says:

      Okay, Heather, at the risk of confusing you more, I’ll delve: )

      First, I don’t see the LGBT population fitting into the generalization I made about what most men and most women go after for there base sexual desires. That’s why they’re generalizations and not laws.

      Second, I don’t just see sex in terms of masculine and feminine desires. But these two drives do explain a lot. And if you look at my comment about “9/10 men…” you’ll see that I referred to masculine and feminine “base” desire.

      Truth is, we’re humans and have emotional complexities that go far beyond our “base” or “animal” sexuality.

      When we do let our “animal instincts” run the show, I stand by my comment that the majority of men act with masculine sexual desire, that they act as Brand puts it, as “fuck beasts”. And I know it’s stereotypical, but when most women lead with such base desires, they look for money and security.

      Frankly, I don’t see how we can deny this. Prostitution and strip clubs are vastly attended to by men. There are countless examples of women marrying for money.

      When I was in China, these truths stood out even more. Prostitution aside, all but one of the cross-cultural relationships I saw were Western men and Chinese women–some with great age discrepancies. The men wanted a pretty young woman; the women wanted the Westerners wealth. This goes on all over Asia. Mail order brides from the Philippines and Thailand.

      I’ve never heard of these trends going the other way around.

      But hey, if both the old dude and the young woman are happy, then great. But I also think that they’re in it for such “base” needs.

      (I did meet couples there that broke this base needs stereotype, though. So, again, these are just generalizations.)

      But I see another realm of human sexuality, Heather, that hovers above physical attraction and money, above the “animal” sexual desires. And this is a bond created on like interests, personality, values. In short, being a kindred spirit. When our sexuality is run with this in charge, then the “9/10 men..” comment I made really breaks down, because sexual attraction isn’t sparked so much by classic turn-ons.

      • So let me see if I get what you’re saying – pretty much your idea is that if we all somehow stripped away our cultures and were just biology, the majority of males would sleep around and the majority of females would have sex for security…

        Personally I disagree…I think that if you take a look at the cultures you’re talking about, you’ll find that there are cultural influences that imply that men and women have sex for different reasons. Just because something exists cross-culturally, doesn’t make it biological. It could just mean that multiple cultures have developed similar mores.

        But okay look, for the sake of argument we’ll say that on a purely biological level, the male sex = sex and female sex = security thing works. What I do not understand is the need to write an article about that in response to the other one. Our sexuality and our relationships _aren’t_ just biology, which you admit…so any sort of biological generalizations are invalid. I mean look, you’ve admitted that you don’t think 10% of the population (at least) fits into these by virtue of not being straight, and then you also admit that you’ve observed plenty of outliers who are straight. These generalizations seem to actually fit very few sexual relationships in the real world. So, why the need to stress these them?

        Also, you know…as a side note I’ll point out that suggesting gay men and lesbians are somehow biologically different (with regards to their sex) to straight men and women is a bit insulting. My point in asking about LGBT and poly people wasn’t to suggest they should be excluded from a discussion of biology and sex. They’re still men and women, male and female. You can’t make a generalized statement about base male and female desires, and then say that it only works for heterosexuality…and yet still claim it’s inherent. – that’d be like saying, most males are wired to have brown hair and most females are wired to have blonde hair. And I point out to you that lesbians actually all have red hair. And you’re like – well I don’t include lesbians. They’re still female…so you can’t make a generalized statement about females without taking them into account. Get what I’m saying?

        And I’m not trying to jump down your throat…after my initial ‘wtf?!’ response…I’ve cooled back down into less sarcastic discussion. :)

        • Brandon Ferdig says:

          I’ve cooled down, too. It’s not easy getting all these disagreeing emails: /

          I’ve also reflected on what you said, and you know what? You revealed to me that I do, in fact, believe that sexual attraction (our “base” sexual desires) are founded strongly in the instinct to reproduce. I disagreed with that at first, because I know it’s not usually on people’s minds when they get turned on. But on an unconscious level, I guess I’d be an advocate for those theories for the majority of people. Then again, maybe it was my experiences in Asia that really pounded this home.

          But the whole reason I stressed the biological point from the start, at the risk of being labeled a biological absolutist, was simply because I think it’s a mistake to dismiss our biology, and that’s the gist I get from Brand’s ilk.

          You say that because there are plenty of exceptions, that “any sort of biological generalizations are invalid.” But I don’t jump to this conclusion. I don’t jump to it in the same way I don’t dismiss other generalizations–though not perfect–as being useful to better understand humanity.

          Basically, I think completely dismissing classic sexual stereotypes as useless, and trying to convince the world that they are fruitless, denies us beautiful and important truths about how most men and women are. I’d suggest we build on these truths, not toss them out. And fill in the blanks and add to the human mosaic with those who don’t fit into these generalizations. Absolutely. And in the end we’ll have a data set of people all over the board. But we’ll also have two strong subsets of people fall into these stereotypes. And I’m not going to go off the deep end and deny this. I think that takes us a step back in our understanding of who we are, Heather. That’s why I stressed them.

          We disagree on their significance, too, because we do come from different worlds. I’m straight and I gather you’re lesbian, so I know that skews my perception of the amount of exceptions there are to these generalizations. (If you’re saying 10% of the population is homosexual, for example, we’ll disagree on that.)

          I do consider homosexuals biologically different as we’re all a little biologically different. This actually confuses me a bit, Heather, because I thought the biological argument was one gay advocates stand strongly behind.

          Thanks for all your comments: ) They’ve really helped me see things differently.

          • “But I don’t jump to this conclusion. I don’t jump to it in the same way I don’t dismiss other generalizations–though not perfect–as being useful to better understand humanity.”

            Yeah I tend to go more for a cultural explanation to things. I think biology plays a part, most certainly. But look…humans are doing things that go against their biology all the time (we figured out a way to fly, for crying out loud. We landed on the smegging moon). And yet when we talk about sex, often the thing everyone jumps to is biology. I personally think that’s because there’s still so much shame surrounding sex. It’s like, if we can put it all on biology then we can say we can’t help it…it’s for reproduction…without it our species would die…so hey that will justify us committing this “sin” and enjoying it. I’m not saying that what you’re doing…but that’s what it seems like much of the time.

            “Basically, I think completely dismissing classic sexual stereotypes as useless.”

            Partially because of my field (archaeology)…partly because of my own personal experiences…I tend to be very anti-classic stereotypes. Also, I have yet to meet anyone who actually fits any stereotype, really. I know people who are more stereotypical, certainly…but no on who actually fits them. To me it’s like trying to take the average from a set of numbers. You get a lot of numbers who are close to the average…but it’s just as likely that none of the numbers in the data set actually are the average. Ya get what I’m saying?

            “I’d suggest we build on these truths, not toss them out. ”

            Alright…here’s my question. Why can’t we recognize that these stereotypes only reflect some of the population, and go from there. Why can’t we say – alright so some men are like this and some women are like this. What else is out there? – Why is it so important that these stereotypes are actually used as generalizations, and not just viewed as a small part of the very diverse spectrum of human sexuality? (I’m not being snarky or rhetorical. I’m actually curious as to why this part of it matters to you).

            Because I do agree that those stereotypes can’t be thrown out completely. There _are_ men with high libidos who are horndogs. There _are_ women who use sex to get other things. And I personally think the explanations for both of those types of people can be found in a combination of biology and culture. But I just don’t think those types can be used as broad generalizations for all men or women.

            And since this is already long, I’ll reply to the LGBT side of things in a new post.

            • Brandon Ferdig says:

              I’m with you 100%, but in my experience these stereotypes don’t represent just “a small part” as you said.

            • And this is where gaining an accurate statistic for just how prevalent sexual stereotypes are becomes difficult. Because we just never know how many people answer questions in the expected way out of guilt or out of worrying about being normal. And not always consciously….I’ve taken surveys about my sex life before, and I’ve found myself answering questions in ways that I thought would be expected…and then realizing that while I wasn’t lying, I wasn’t exactly answering completely truthfully.

              So we’re stuck with anecdotal evidence and personal experience…and it sounds like we’ve just had very different personal experiences. But, okay…let’s say that these stereotypes actually fit 70% of the population (I don’t think so, but let’s say it’s actually that prevalent)…I still don’t understand using them as generalizations. Generalizations get turned into norms, and norms get used to shame those who don’t fit them. (I’m not saying that’s what you’re doing at all. But it happens). And I think that’s why you got such a fierce response…people saw you were using generalizations and thought you were prescribing them as the right way to view sex.

          • Alrighty so firstly, the 10% thing is the latest estimate I’ve heard circulating around lgbt circles. I cannot, for the life of me, remember where this stat comes from exactly. Anywho, on to the rest:

            I have wondered whether my own perception of how much people deviate from sexual “norms” is skewed. But the thing is, I’ve spent most of my life surrounded by straight people in suburbia…so it’s not as if I’ve only been around other non-hetero people. I think I’m just more likely to notice the differences and remember them…especially as a teenager. It was just a little boost like – hey you’re not the only one who doesn’t fit the stereotype.

            “I do consider homosexuals biologically different as we’re all a little biologically different.”

            Well okay, yeah we’re all biologically a bit different…even on an individual level. But alright…lemme drop some queer theory on you. ;) Everyone has a biological sex, gender, and sexual identity. However, these are three separate categories. Now exactly how much your biological sex influences your gender expression is debatable. Any generalization we make about men – is it because they are male (bio sex), or is it because our culture has associated certain attributes to men (gender)? (rhetorical) Sexuality is something that exists even further separated from those two. For example, the stereotype of a feminine gay man is quite inaccurate – being gay doesn’t make you more likely to be feminine.

            So okay – there was this study running around that suggested that there was a male brain and a female brain, and that gay men’s brains were more similar to female brains, and that lesbian brains were more similar to the male brain. This is a conflagration of these three categories. It is assuming that biological sex = gender = sexual identity. But gay men are still male. So if there is a “male brain” then gay men would have it too. (Not to mention, a study like that ignores anyone who is trans, intersex, genderqueer, etc). Get what I’m saying? I’m not a psychiatrist so I’m sure there’s a whole bunch of nuance in that study that I missed…but that’s how it was generally explained to me.

            So back to the topic…generalizations about men and women and sex. If you’re going to make a general statement about men and women and sex…then you have to take lgbt men and women into account. It’s more then that though…you have to take all the outliers into account, if only to figure out exactly what percentage of the population your generalizations actually work for.

            Phew, I hope that all makes sense.

            • “This actually confuses me a bit, Heather, because I thought the biological argument was one gay advocates stand strongly behind.”

              I almost forgot this part. Alright so…arguing for biologically determined sexual attraction (to males, females, both, etc) is different than arguing for biologically determined sexual expression (high libido, into bondage, whatever). Also…saying that it is biologically determined doesn’t mean that it is something that applies across an entire gender. For me to say that I am a lesbian because of biology, isn’t to say that all women are lesbians due to biology. So for a man to say he has a high libido and that it is just hardwired into him, isn’t to necessarily say that all men have a high libido. Get what I’m saying?

              Anyway, part of why the lgbt community advocates for biologically determined sexual identity so hard is because of the belief that if it turns out to be cultural, all those ex-gay ministries will have a field day. If we can prove it’s biological, we can argue that it is as much a civil rights issue as, say, race (which is also biological). Of course, this fails to recognize a couple things – even if it is biological, someone is going to try to make a cure the moment they find the gay gene (or genes) or whatever. And in the U.S. we don’t only protect the civil rights of biological categories – we protect religion and that’s not biological.

              But yeah, the vast majority of lgbt people I know do believe that sexual identity is purely biological. I’m not so sure. I don’t think anyone chooses it consciously, or anything. And I don’t think anyone can like…set out to forcibly change their sexual identity. But I do think culture and personal experience affects it…just mostly from a very young age. I think human sexuality is a bit more fluid than we tend to believe…in all ways, not just with regards to what gender you’re attracted to.

              And now this post is wicked long. Sorry for all the long responses.

            • Brandon Ferdig says:

              Hmm, that’s interesting. Do you think that’s adequate reason to argue in favor of attraction being biological? Do you worry that the LGBT community goes too far in stressing biology, then, just to counter anti-gay folks?

              I appreciate the points about differentiating attraction and expression, too. You’ve given me a lot to think about: )

            • “Do you worry that the LGBT community goes too far in stressing biology, then, just to counter anti-gay folks?”

              Sometimes…but then I read about something some politician says, or I watch “8” and I figure that the most important thing is equality. If the more politically-minded pro-lgbt rights people out there think pushing the biological aspect of sexuality is the way to get that equality then I’m all for it…especially because I do think biology plays a part in sexual orientation. And I do think it’s something you can’t choose to change, and I think the best way to convince people of that is to provide a biological explanation. For some reason we tend to think that culture and personality are mutable, but biology isn’t. So yeah…equality first…and worry about sorting out the rest later. And not to push my agenda, but that’s just how I tend to think about it.

              And yeah I totally ended up writing a lot, so sorry…but glad to provide stimulating conversation :)

            • And now that I’m thinking about this more…perhaps sexual orientation could be divided based on biology and culture too, much like sex and gender. Hmmm.

            • Brandon Ferdig says:

              From my college coursework, we learned of the difference between gender and sex as being how you identify (gender) and your biology. This is how a male could regard their gender as female even with male biology. I’ll have to let your ideas stew for a while, because I never heard about it being split into thirds as you suggest. It would be good for me to do so, though, because perhaps I am falling victim to the stereotype of gay men being feminine.

              I’m with you again, 100%, that any theory about human sexuality has to be unifying and including everyone.

            • You let your brain stew in the crock pot, and I’ll come back and check on it in say 10 hours. lol. :D

  10. I don’t think that the author of the original article was trying to say everyone should adopt or has adopted the stereotypical man horndog–he even mentioned low libido men and asexuals, who are very largely ignored or seen as pathological. I don’t think he was trying to deny that ALL of our needs are unique. I don’t think he was even trying to say that our bodies want the same things–like JR said–“The similarity is in the wanting sex, not necessarily wanting the same things sexually.”

    In some ways I’m on the’male’ side of things. I think about sex all the time. I like to fall asleep afterwards. I have a high partner count and a wandering eye. I masturbate a lot. I’m even getting into porn. In other ways, I’m the typical woman. I love kissing and cuddling and looking into my man’s eyes. I love being in love. I love talking. I like having a boyfriend, making him happy, and doing shit with him. Personally, especially when I was younger, being constantly surrounded by the duality stereotypes was really annoying. I appreciate when people try to get away from them. I was never sure where I or my partners fit in. Do I just assume that the guy professing his undying love for me and desire to make me happy really just wants sex and that I’m interchangeable? Why worry about his feelings, then? Am I sick because I can have casual sex or a short relationship? When I fall hard for someone, is it just my womanly hormones talking–are these even real feelings?

  11. Guys who epitomize stability and good providerness = sexual rejection and hate vs hot women.
    Repeat times 1000 million.
    If you think that some other factor is important in this scene you are either a full XX female or a guy who lost his whole nut-sack if a tragic fire-works mishap at an age no older than 7..

    • Yes, that’s the first thing that goes through my head when I’m horny and attracted to a man. Would he be a good provider? Yes? Ok, on to the next one. *rolls eyes*

    • Man, I keep forgetting my provider-checklist for when I want to have sex so that I can soundly turn down any man that could possibly support offspring. Can’t wait to come home with only “bad boys” based on their lack of stability!

  12. wellokaythen says:

    “Emotional connection” and “security” are pretty broad categories. Sure, if you define these broadly enough you can say the vast majority of women require these to consent to have sex with a man.

    These could be really, really low bars, though. Am I frightened of this man? No. Can I trust him for an hour or two? Yes. Do I think he’s a serial killer? No. Can I relax enough around him to enjoy myself? Yes.

    Great, he’s met the emotional connection and security minimums.

    • Yep, this is pretty accurate. If this is what Brandon means by security, then I would definitely agree that most heterosexual women look for security in a sexual partner.

      • Hell isn’t that what everyone looks for in a sexual partner. – will they screw me over in some way? No. Can I sit back and enjoy myself? yup. Alrighty…game on! :)

        • That Guy says:

          I agree, I’d say it’s a pretty common set of prerequisites. This may be more useless stereotyping, but I tend to think many men will still have sex with women they’re afraid of, more than women would happily have sex with men they’re afraid of. They would still spend the night with someone who’s cut-your-dick-off crazy, like Angelina Jolie, even at the risk of grievous bodily harm.

          • “I’d let Chris Brown beat me any day ;)” “Shiiiiiiit, he can be me up all night if he wants.” I honestly don’t know about trends, but I do know that many women, just like men, will take risks for the benefits of sexual pleasure.

    • Great comment.

  13. “The article, The Myth: Men Are Horny, Women Are Not, tries to cover up these differences. It over-compensates for a history of female sexual repression by saying that men and women have the same sexual needs.
    But this is plain false. What’s more, it’s demeaning.

    It’s demeaning to the majority of women whose sexual needs are unique to men’s and whose needs deserve recognition and respect.”

    Not remembering the other article, this is what strikes me… it’s just as demeaning to men. I’m a high-libido guy married to a woman who’s libido has waned. And I’m sick as hell of hearing about her friends who “have sex twice a month, so us having it twice a week is pretty good.”

    Uh, no. If you want it twice a day, twice a week flat out sucks. And I’m sick of hearing, a guy’s sexuality is simple: he needs a hole. And when he can’t find a hole, a hand will do.

    And if he wants more, train him to trade sex for chores. How pissed would my stay-at-home wife be if I insinuated she was trading sex for mortgage? Or money in any other form?

    Men’s sexuality could use a little recognition and respect as well.

    I like that are high-libido women reading and responding to these articles. I wish there were more of them. But don’t pretend that they’re the norm.

    • I think if we stretch a category wide enough, we can call most things normal. Even though you say that we should not “pretend they’re the norm” in regards to high-libido women, this does kind of imply that a high-libido woman is “abnormal”. Low-libido men have also been portrayed in a similar way, that they are somehow “abnormal”. Saying that you “wish there were more” high-libido women does not help these stereotypes and discrimination go away. Men and women should not be shamed by their sexuality- sex shouldn’t have to be something that men somehow “work out of” women, and men shouldn’t be expected to be constantly horny. You still imply in your post that men want sex more, and women want sex less. That it is unusual to differ from these roles. What we should see is that there is a spectrum of “horniness”- some people are very horny, most people are moderately horny, and some people are not very horny. This can be applied to BOTH genders, regardless of popular societal belief and perpetuation.

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