Sunday, January 22, 2006

Male Sex Drive vs. Female Sex Drive

A while back, I came across a post at Roissy's discussing how women's sex drive is not as strong as men's. A while later, Rollo Tomassi followed up with his own version of the same meme. Since I believe that men and women are equal but different, I respectfully disagree with both of them.

Now, don't get me wrong, I am not going to start writing all kinds of New-Age crap while asking you to sit and sing a rousing chorus of Kumbaya with me while we celebrate our diversity. Rather, I believe that all nature seeks a balance and since men and women are opposite sides of the same coin, they must be equal or it would be impossible to be opposites.

One of the things I see both Roissy and Rollo doing in their articles is define female behaviour by male standards. Rollo, for example, puts out the evidence that men produce 12 to 17 times the testosterone, which controls the human libido, that women do to back up his claims. Roissy goes even further by quoting a study which states the following:

"The sex drive refers to the strength of sexual motivation. Across many different studies and measures, men have been shown to have more frequent and more intense sexual desires than women, as reflected in spontaneous thoughts about sex, frequency and variety of sexual fantasies, desired frequency of intercourse, desired number of partners, masturbation, liking for various sexual practices, willingness to forego sex, initiating versus refusing sex, making sacrifices for sex, and other measures. No contrary findings (indicating stronger sexual motivation among women) were found. Hence we conclude that the male sex drive is stronger than the female sex drive. The gender difference in sex drive should not be generalized to other constructs such as sexual or orgasmic capacity, enjoyment of sex, or extrinsically motivated sex."
Well, that's all quite grand, isn't it? Except, they defined everything in male terms of desire, rather than in the female! If you are going to define "sex drive" only by that which is exhibited by males, then it comes as no surprise to me that you will always find males to have the higher "sex drive." What I'm getting at is that it is the same game as measuring violence by only using behaviours exhibited by males... gosh... do you think that if we only measure violence by male specific behaviour, that we will find males are more violent? How surprisingly disingenuous. What if, however, we started measuring violence by how many women are only to happy to covertly encourage a new boyfriend to inflict violence on an ex-boyfriend? In fact, by doing so, she is twice as violent as a male, because she is the indirect cause of two people receiving a violent episode in their lives, rather than just one direct recipient. If we started measuring violence by including how women covertly manipulate others to commit violence-by-proxy, we would likely discover that women's propensity for violence is much more "equal" to a male's than we previously thought - she just goes about it in a different, and often hidden, way. Sexuality is merely the same tune played on a different instrument.

Males are overt while women are covert. Rollo reinforces this himself many times on his blog with regard to male and female communication. The difference is opposite, and by nature of being opposite, they must be equal. If they were not equal, they could not be opposite. The same is true of communication, violence, sin, happiness, mid-life crises, aggression, and you guessed it, sexuality and sex drive.

In fact, as a response to Roissy's study which defines sex-drive in only male terms, I offer a differing opinion which illustrates the opposite:

“‘Really, women’s desire is not relational, it’s narcissictic.’ — it’s dominated by the yearnings of ‘self-love,’ by the wish to be the object of erotic admiration and sexual need. Still, on the subject of narcissism, she talked about research indicating that, in comparison with men, women’s erotic fantasies center less on giving pleasure and more on getting it. ‘When it comes to desire,’ she added, ‘women may be far less relational than men.’” 

Roissy himself backs this up in another post, where he references the mating habits of rats:

"According to Ogas and Gaddam, we can learn some important lessons about female sexual behaviour from observing rats in the laboratory.

They insist that if you put a male and female rat in close proximity to one another, the female will start to come on to the male, performing actions associated with sexual interest — running and then stopping to encourage the male to chase her.

But after a bit of kiss-chase, the female rat stands still, adopting a submissive stance until the male takes action. They also claim that almost every quality of dominant males — from the way they smell to the way they walk and their deep voice — triggers arousal in the female brain, while ‘weaker’ men, who are not taller, have higher voices or lower incomes, excite us less.
What they seem to be suggesting is that the cavemen were right all along and that what women really want is to be dragged by the hair, all the while feigning reluctance, by macho men waving clubs."
And thus we come to age-old saying amongst humankind, "he chases her until she catches him."

The female rat, while not appearing to want sex, stops and encourages the chase should male  stop pursuing. So, I suppose, if all you want to do is measure sex drive by how the male behaves, then you are simply going to find that the male is the one who chases/wants the sex, and never the other way around. It's kind of a no brainer. If all you are going to do is define people who have the ability to communicate as those who talk German, you will find Germans are the only people in the world with the ability to communicate. The French don't communicate... because they speak French. If you are going to define "sex drive" by male metrics alone, you will find only men want sex. But, if you factor in female involvement in encouraging the male to continue the chase, you would likely see that both the male and female are equally involved in "the game." The same is true of humans. It's like one of those pictures you have to stare at for a while before you see a second picture within the picture. One picture is overt, the other covert:

Everywhere in nature, the male is the reproductive servant of the female. It even goes down to the level that plants have "male" and "female" parts.

"The ripening of an egg, or ovum, is a time and energy intensive job, so the male is designed to be ready to fertilize that ovum when the female notifies him that she is "ready."

In the rest of the natural world, females announce their readiness to the entire world with a variety of cues - smell being the most significant, but visual cues come in a close second.

When a female chimpanzee is in estrus, her genitals swell up and become a SPECIFIC shade of bright pink. Jane Goodall observed one such female whose genitals could be seen from across a valley - nearly a mile or 2 away.

There is a species of fish in which the belly of the female turns a particular shade of red when she is gravid. A block of wood with the lower half painted that exact shade of red will drive males into a mating frenzy.

"Smell is even more important. There are MANY species in which a female in heat gives off pheromones which are specific to that species which can be picked up by males as much as 5 miles away."


"Mating behavior does NOT get mediated in the new brain, or the cortex. It happens in the brainstem and spinal cord, the old or "reptile" brain.

In the days when such experiments were still allowed, you could open a cat's skull and suck out all the cortex. Sexual and mating behavior was not affected at all, but social behavior was destroyed.

Human females have introduced a new factor in the game - they ovulate covertly. There is no way to tell when they are fertile and when they aren't - although we are beginning to hear about studies which suggest that women on the pill smell differently.

The human male adaptation to this has been to pay greater attention to women and the subtle cues they give off that they are fertile. These are these "signals" that women always talk about giving off and getting so angry at men when they don't pick up on them.

The problem lies in the fact that women have become adept at faking these cues in order to trigger men's mating responses - thus giving them huge amounts of power to manipulate men. Men react in their spinal cords to a woman's facial lips reddened with lipstick, exactly the same way they would react to a different set of lips reddened with sexual ripeness.

Purely female power depends entirely on how many males she can capture the attention of. The more males vying for the chance to fertilize her egg, the more choices she has."

Obviously, in this paradigm, if we only measure sex-drive by male standards, we will again be only able to conclude that males are the sexual aggressors - but it is obvious that the females are intent on having males sexually desire them - something which does not show up by mere male activity.

The female plays a very large role in the courtship game, even with humans:

"Cary (1976) discovered that the woman, through eye contact, controlled the course of interaction with a male stranger, both in the laboratory and in singles' bars. Perper (1985) gave a detailed description of courtship, stressing an escalation-response process in which women play a key role in escalation or deescalation. The steps in this process are approach, turn, first touch, and steady development of body synchronization.

Although these reports are clearly valuable, most researchers addressed courtship very generally, and some failed to recognize the importance of the female role in the courtship process .What was needed was a more complete ethogram of women's nonverbal courtship signals. To compile such a catalog of flirting behavior exhibited by women involved in initial heterosexual interaction, more than 200 adults were observed (Moore, 1985) in field settings such as singles' bars, restaurants, and parties.

Research has shown, therefore, that the cultural myth that the man is always the sexual aggressor, pressing himself on a reluctant woman, is incorrect. -- Courtship Signaling and Adolescents: "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun"? Monica M. Moore, Ph.D.Department of behavioral and Social Sciences, Webster University 

Women are obviously very involved in encouraging the men who bed them to do so - they just do so covertly and hide behind "plausible" deniability. She encourages, but has a safety excuse to use for cover, while the male must overtly display and destroy all plausible deniability which he might have had. In the end, the man can deny nothing but the woman can simply claim, "it just sorta happened," and absolve herself of all responsibility while not having her covert "signals" scrutinized. It is just the way the world works! 

It is easy to see why the world thinks women are not sexual aggressors, but rather, always the recipients of overt male sexual aggression.

This is the very foundation for all of the false-rape claims that occur around us! At every step of the way, the female is covert and can completely deny her responsibility in the affair, while at the same time making it virtually impossible for the male to deny his actions - which were originally encouraged by her covertly. Being a PUA/Game Advocate that does not readily acknowledge female involvement in the mating dance is disingenuous. After all, don't even PUA's only move forward with women who have already given them IOI's? (Indications of Interest).