Sexuality: Myths about female desire versus the real facts

Women are believed to be monogamous while men are believed to get involved in frequent casual sex more often. According to researches done, it is more complicated than it seems to be.  Daniel Bergner who is an award winning journalist in his new book What Do Women Want: Adventures in the Science of Female Desire points out new research that tends to oppose the commonly told theory regarding female sex drive. “This idea people have of women’s desire being less of a drive than in men is a disservice to us all,” says Bergner. To find out the whole truth about these theories, Bergner talked to primatologists, sexologists and real women and what he found out was something totally different from these theories.

The first myth says that it’s easier for women to practice monogamy than men. Bergner says that evolutionary psychologists have given a good explanation of men being programmed to procreate while women tend to look more of a supportive mate. He was not convinced by the original myths and Meredith Chivers, PhD, assistant professor at Queens University in Canada in her new studies says that female libido is a much more complex subject than it is anticipated. “Monogamy is much of a problem to women as much as it is to men when it comes to sex,” says Bergner.

In one survey described by Bergner in his book, says that after a couple has been together for a while, the desire of the woman tends to drop off faster than that of a man. The desire for women would then remain steady or increase when they are in a committed relationship if they were made for monogamy.” It should then be much of a reverse if the theory by the evolutionary scientists was true.” Bergner says.

The second myth says that women are not visually triggered as compared to men when it comes to sex.  Bergner tends to disagree with this as he explains the findings of new research that suggests women to be equally visual driven when it comes to sex as men are. Bergner describes a study in his book that found out women’s eyes to hang on erotic imagery as much as men do. According to findings by a Neilson recent report, among three porn users one is a female. Bergner says that an immediate physical response to erotic imagery is shown in each of the Chivers’ experiment and this is an indication that we have been missing something.

The third myth says that it requires an emotional connection for a woman to want sex. Past studies try to explain the need of an emotional intimacy for a woman to want to have sex. New research was conducted where an attractive celebrity asked several men and women to spend a night with them. According to Bergner social stigma that involved casual sex and the physical danger involved were stripped away in this situation.” Women agree to casual sex as much as men do once these little things were exempted from the equation.” Bergner added. Yet a different new Chiver’s study gave a situation involving a friend and a stranger where according to women, the friend tended to turn them on but a genital blood flow measure showed that the stranger aroused them more. Emotional intimacy may be a forerunner when it comes to sex but we cannot give a general conclusion it is a requirement in all women.

The fourth myth says that in most cases women do not initiate sex as many times as men do. The believed story of men being the initiators of sex may be accurate but a research by Bergner suggests otherwise. He visited primatologists and found out female monkeys to be more sexually aggressive than the male species and the same results showed in rodent studies. From these studies and interviews with women the only conclusion to be made about this theory is the fact that we tend to accept the belief in male sexual initiation.

The fifth myth says that desire is fueled by hormones alone. When it comes to libido, there is much more to it than just testosterone and estrogen. “To feel a strong sexual desire the brain chemicals need to be in balance when working,” Bergner says. “Dopamine is involved in the reward system and serotonin in the mood and booth is neurotransmitters in the brain. Norepinephrine involved in arousal is a hormone similar to adrenaline.” Says Bergner “The simple explanations we love are what get us in trouble.”


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