What women want [Salon Premium]

by Limbic on August 15, 2003

Some interesting bits in this article depsite it being ruined by giving voice to Blank Slaters who still, despite overwhelming evidence, continue to claim that gender roles and sexual orientations are wholly elective and culturally programmed.

“As [a study recently released from Northwestern University] shows, women may be naturally aroused by both sexes, and what turns them on may have little to do with their sexual orientation.

For the study, more than 90 gay and straight men, women and male-to-female transsexuals were shown erotic film scenes with a probe attached to their genitals to indicate when they were aroused. Both the men and the transsexuals were only aroused by scenes that featured members of their preferred sex, while women were aroused by all the films — whether they featured lesbian scenes, gay male scenes or mixed-sexes scenes.

The results, which will be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science, seem almost counterintuitive. Men have eagerly embodied their reputation as the sexually enthusiastic half of the population, and yet this study seems to suggest that women, deep down, are really thirsting for more. But, according to one of the study’s coauthors, Northwestern psychology department chairman J. Michael Bailey, the study really just reinforces what we already know: Men are sexually simple, and women are not. “I think it really shows us how much we don’t know about women more than it shows us what we do know,” he says.

For one, he says, there appears to be a significant disconnect between what sexually and mentally arouses a woman. Many of the women in the study did not even recognize they were being aroused by some of the tapes, which leads Bailey to believe that women are somehow disconnected from their genitals — and are perhaps fully aroused more by circumstance, such as an emotional bond or a sexy scenario, as something that engages their brains and emotions. When men get an erection, Bailey says, “it makes men motivated to have sex with whatever’s causing the genital arousal. I don’t think women have the same connection.”

…In fact, a woman may get fully aroused in the opposite way that a man does, Diamond says. She likens arousal to a pathway: For most men, their interests start with a sexual attraction, and then lead to an emotional attachment. But for women, she said, the interest can go through the pathway in the opposite direction, with a deep emotional bond spawning a sudden sexual interest.

…”People can experience strong sexual attractions that are totally unusual to the rest of their experience,” Diamond says. “They’re situational. In one setting and one circumstance, it may seem possible.” MORE

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