6 Sexy Lies about Women and Sexuality




Recently a good friend posted about her kids being exposed to soft-core music videos while at play-centres. Made me think about attitudes people have and whether anyone's studied them and what the actual truth is behind common beliefs. 

Conley is a well respected professor in the University of Michigan who has a track record of excellence in research. When a group of studies around 2010 suggested men and women had hardwired differences - it was fair game for a little debunking. 

Her brilliant and thorough response appeared in 2011 in the highly respected journal Current Directions in Psychological Science. Despite its provocative title (“Men, Women, and the Bedroom”), the article got relatively little press attention. Research demonstrating lack of sex differences is far less heavily shared in the media than claims that evolution makes men more manly and women more womanly.
Conley and team, rivaling a recent Mythbusters episode on “The Battle of the Sexes,” chose the six most prevalent myths about female sexuality and, one by one, put them to the test. In each case, they took the best data from both experimental studies and surveys of existing literature. 
Here are the lies people tell themselves about sex and the reasons why they're myths: 
Lie 1: Women and men have distinct preferences, based on gender, for certain partners. According to this myth, women value men with powerful status, and men value women who are both youthful and attractive. 

Truth: Busting this myth was an experimental study showing that, in a real-life speed dating scenario, when potential dates were rated on their actual (not ideal) qualities, people of both genders equally valued both sets of qualities. 
People in real dating scenarios are actually far more humane than we give them credit for - especially when forced to make decisions quickly. 
In short, people don't want their social image challenged, ever, but when it comes down to picking a cuddle partner - we all choose pretty much the same way.
Lie 2: Women want fewer sexual partners. This one always makes me laugh. To be fair it was what most people thought before Tinder.

Truth: Conley and team reviewed relevant studies found that yes, some men do want a large number of sexual partners. However, when appropriate statistical controls were used, it turned out that most people (male and female) wanted the same number of partners. 

Guess what that number was? One!
What about actual number of partners? It will come as little surprise that when it comes to counting number of partners, researchers demonstrated men like to claim huge bragging rights. To sidestep this (for science) Conley's researchers managed to convince participants that their lies were being detected when they were asked about the number of partners they actually had sex with. 
Under these circumstances, men radically adjusted downward their previously exaggerated claims to numerous conquests to match those of women.

Lie 3: Men think about sex more often than women do. The study defying this myth actually did receive some attention when it was published in 2011. Men (college men, at least) did in fact report that they think about sex more often than women do. 
Truth: However, those men also thought more about food and sleep over the course of an average week. Men, especially those in college, are simply more likely to think about their physical needs than are women. Indications are that's more to do with social conditioning and a less challenging emotional landscape for men

Lie 4: Women have orgasm less frequently than men do. Conley and team next tackled the myth about the big O. In other words, when it comes to male-female differences, is there actually an “orgasm gap”? 

Truth: It turns out that studies show women to be less likely to report experiencing orgasm than men, but this is only part of the story. The other part has to do with commitment. When in committed relationships, women and men experience orgasm with equal frequency. The answer is less biological than psychological—in committed relationships, men are more attentive, on average, to the sexual needs of their partners.

Lie 5: Women don’t like casual sex as much as men do. For years, the wisdom in psychological research on sexuality supported this myth. Previous studies showed that something like 70 percent of men versus 0 percent of women were willing to take up a hypothetical offer of a sexual encounter in an experimental situation by a research confederate (needless to say, the sex doesn’t really happen). 

Truth:  Conley showed that women will accept hypothetical offers of casual sex if they think the man will be sexually adept. That 70 percent difference vanished entirely when Conley controlled for the perceived role of stigma—the socially held belief that women who engage in casual sex are “sluts.” Women will accept an offer of casual sex if they believe that they can avoid being stigmatized for their behavior.


Lie 6: Women are choosier than men. The speed dating study mentioned in Lie 1 provided fuel to douse this next myth.

Truth: It turns out that if men are doing the approaching, their potential female partners are choosier. But, if you turn the tables and have women do the approaching, it’s the men who now become the more discerning sex. Just approaching a potential dating partner causes that someone to look at you in a new light.

Hope this was a fun read, feel free to leave comments.

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