A SHOCKING Scientific Discovery & The Battle (Confusion) of the Sexes 101

Posted on March 2, 2009


A woman can exhibit the physical symptoms of sexual arousal and at the same time will not necessarily report sexual arousal. In contrast, when males exhibit physical symptoms of sexual arousal they also tend to self-report sexual arousal.

So implies the article discussing Dr. Chivers work and her burgeoning celebrity, see here. There is a salacious lead paragraph if you are feeling a little cool under the collar / panties. 

There are so many problems with self-reporting in any kind of social scientific research — especially sexual research — that I can only hope it is the reporter garbling the research methodology and that the article doesn’t represent a totally accurate gloss of Dr. Chivers research and her conclusions. Let’s be honest, how many ladies out there are going to report in a research setting that “by golly those bonobo humping really are getting me hot.” So, as reported, I think the only conclusion that can be drawn from the research is the gloss I provide above — which is hardly shocking. Moreover, I have read on more than one occasion that some women use Viagra to increase sexual satisfaction. 

(NB: there is no reason to believe even well-meaning reporters have a clue what the hell they are talking about when they write on any subject that isn’t a “bleeding-leading” story. The media like to blame their audiences for the simple-minded tenor of the news, but maybe just maybe the media aren’t bright enough (or, more charitably, don’t have enough time and resources) to present complex material in a fashion which is easily understandable and accurate. Credit crisis anyone?)

At any rate — this isn’t a media studies post! This is a  battle (confusion) of the sexes post! And the conclusion with which I lead is sufficient for my purposes!

It has always been a long standing question for me and other nerdy males: why don’t the ladies take the lead in the courtship rituals of human primates?

The conclusion with which I began this post — to my mind — implies women should take the lead. Why? Well, when a man is physically aroused he is much more likely to admit to that arousal while a woman, when physically aroused, is much less likely to admit to it. So, it is fair to predict that men stand a much greater chance of getting shot down, while women stand a much greater chance of having their advances reciprocated. The conclusion is obvious, women should be more forthright in their advances. This is not the case. Any suggestions why?

A couple of quick caveats: my point is not to say that a woman should make “the first move” where this is thought to be the first kiss or whatever. My point is: women should seek out the kind of mates they want and then flirt with them remorselessly until she realizes she is not interested in him or vice versa. Moreover, in this framing of the question, she could even play hard to get with the sexual goodies. I for one have no problem with a woman who is clearly into me also playing a waiting game on the physical side of things — it can even be fun. But a woman acting cool, aloof, and / or argumentative is about as much of a turn on / fun as hanging out with any  cool, aloof, argumentative person normally is. In other words, it ain’t.

Now one possible explanation comes to mind: Maybe, I’m just not high enough up on the males-status pole to get this kind of attention. It exists, just not for me and my male peers. But almost all of my female friends seem to prefer the waiting game — being selected instead of selecting and I think it fair to say that more women choose from the men who present themselves rather than present themselves to mates she regards as ideal. Paradoxically — or to my mind anyway — the only time my female friends are quite forward in when they are looking for something non-committal. What is it about the search for a serious relationship that causes women to be much more passive? Or is all this just a false stereotype?   

I also can’t help but note that early-on, out on the playground, it was the girls who chased the boys. Why does that change?



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