April 13, 2007

Fickle comes to fruition

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6535-000020.jpgViolet Blue (who, like me, came down with a bad cold this week - get better!) managed to point to a very insightful article by Scientific American, recapping the New York Times observation of female sexual orientation, or lack there of:

"Presumably the masculinization of the brain shapes some neural circuit that makes women desirable. If so, this circuitry is wired differently in gay men. In experiments in which subjects are shown photographs of desirable men or women, straight men are aroused by women, gay men by men.

Such experiments do not show the same clear divide with women. Whether women describe themselves as straight or lesbian, "Their sexual arousal seems to be relatively indiscriminate - they get aroused by both male and female images," Dr. Bailey said. "I'm not even sure females have a sexual orientation. But they have sexual preferences. Women are very picky, and most choose to have sex with men.

Though the thought may lend a great deal of potential for scientific observation, the assumptions around it seem far from scientific. It is intriguing to gain insight into what imagery the female brain responds to (advertisers need as much help as they can get these days), but "disorienting" ourselves from society seems a bit extreme. Violet, of course, came ranting to the rescue:

"Besides my personal reactions, the NYT piece gave me a big knee-jerk rejection of the gender assumptions about women being "picky", or some construct of a biological imperative in regards to our pursuit of sexual pleasure. I will never take these hack job articles seriously until they present both sides of the argument for sex -- one that includes evaluation and discussion of the factors of sexual pleasure, not just making babies. Hysteria, which classified female arousal, desire and pleasure as a disease was a valid medical diagnosis on the books until the 1950s -- does science and medicine still see female pleasure as a disorder so as not to allow fucking for fucking's sake into the calculations? Or, is that when we're "picky"? ... You can't tell me that women choose men to make babies, but choose women because they're "picky" and that we have no sexual orientation. I mean shit, do these people know *any* lesbians?"

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