The idea that women are less sexually desiring than men is an idea that has been ingrained in society for a fairly long time. Women aren’t expected to be turned on as often as men are, and often it’s said that it is more difficult for women to be turned on in the first place. While men have been known to wear their sexualities on their sleeves, women have been taught and trained to be more coy. According to studies by Meredith Chiver, and here discussed by Daniel Bergner, the way society thinks of women is far from accurate.
Daniel Bergner has spoken before about the societal ideas of women’s sexualities. There are many ingrained ideas of what women do want or should want, such as a safe and monogamous relationship, that makes digging into the scientific research very appealing. In experiments, however, women proved quite different from their stereotypes.
While men were predictable in what got them going, women had no apparent rule set for what physically happened. They claimed to be turned on by what should do so, according to the general societal standards. According to their bodies, there was a much wider array, including a picture of two bonobos having sex, which did nothing for the men. This wide contrast between what was said and what their bodies showed caused some interest for a study, but to do anything accurately, and delve into the subject of female sexuality, the ideas of ‘should’ need to be thrown out.
Studying this idea has its own hardships- women in the studies by Meredith Chiver often play into these ideas, by telling the study they want what society might expect them to. Chiver decided to take a group of people, each identifying as straight man or woman, or gay man or woman, and show them an array of pornographic images. The men had no real hurdles for this study. Each were turned on by the expected images, and there wasn’t much deviation between physical response and what the men claimed.
The later studies done by Chiver back up this idea, that women are just as sexually interested as men, if not more. An image of just an erect penis can have an immediate response from an on looking straight woman, despite the societal idea that women take longer to get going. If anything is clear, it’s that the general opinion of women and sex isn’t often the truth.