It’s a myth that women’s sex drives don’t equal that of men and, in many cases, actually even exceed it. Centuries of cultural conditioning and suppression has seen to it that the double standard of slut vs stud is still alive and well. To make matters worse, many women support this value. They would be more comfortable labelling other women who openly admit their sexual behaviour, rather than standing up and acknowledging their own.
Not only that, as a result of this widespread disbelief, men can feel emasculated by women with sexual appetites greater than their own. It goes against societal expectations of the submissive female and promiscuous male. Some women assume that men who have partners with equal or greater sexual appetites, would love it. However, for many men, it can be a turn-off when they aren’t the ones who consistently initiate sex.
Women aged in their late-30s to 50s are at greatest risk of being labelled. We’ve all heard the term “cougar” right? Research indicates women in this age group are wanting more sex than at any other time of their lives. The problem is, just when they want more sex, their partners – who are often a similar age – have a sex drive that begins to slide. Women of this age are much more sexually compatible with younger men.
So where did the myth come from?
According to a leader in female sexuality, sexual functioning and gender differences, Associate Professor Meredith Chivers, male and female bodies respond equally to sexual stimuli. Chivers and colleagues, conducted a study to assess the level of arousal in both men and women, while listening to narratives describing conventional sexual activity. Using apparatus, affixed to subjects genitals, levels of arousal were scientifically measured. Results indicated, that biologically both sexes responded similarly.
When asked to self-report their level of arousal, men’s biological reactions matched their self-reports. However, womens self-reports didn’t. The researchers believed this was predominately a result of social conditioning, and not that women weren’t aware they experienced sexual arousal. Self-report “evidence” on women’s sexuality, would therefore be flawed if women neglect to report accurately.
Where to from here
Society would need to do a 180 shift, where women’s sexual experiences are celebrated as much as mens. Lets face it; if women are quick to label other women, we don’t have much hope of that. It’s up to women to initiate the drop in double standards if we want our daughters to get anywhere close to being understood as sexual beings. Until then, no amount of research will convince the masses, that women are sexually similar to men.
By Kim Chartres