Oct 192011

dominant submissive power exchange relationshipSix Myths about Sex and Gender, Busted,” by Anna North, via Jezebel. (Yeah, yeah, I read Jezebel–I wouldn’t have stumbled on an article in Current Directions in Psychological Science otherwise.)

Surprise, surprise. “Gendered” behaviors and personality traits aren’t hardwired into our brains–they are conditioned. But rather than finding statistics to bust various myths, the study authors tried to identify and account for various cultural factors that might influence the data.

It’s nice to see a predominantly quantitative study in a “hard science” journal sneak in some observation-based theories to foreground the data (and of course, to encourage further studies).

Some unsurprising findings from the study published in Current Directions in Psychological Science titled, “Men, Women, and the Bedroom“:

  • men inflate their number of past sexual partners
  • men think about food, sleep, and sex more than women
  • men have more orgasms than women (although I imagine this is a balance of enculturation and physiology, as scientists are still trying to figure out the biological purpose(s) of female orgasm)

The study doesn’t include data on intersexed, transgendered, or gender-fluid individuals, but I think the emphasis on identifying cultural factors that impact gender expression ultimately supports continuum theories that reject notions of a male/female binary and theories that rely solely on physiological characteristics to explain sex, gender, or sexuality.

  5 Responses to “sex and gender myths, debunked?”

  1. An interesting look behind the 'truths' out there and kind of fun to see a U Michigan study addressing such things! Good to know the gaps are less than imagined when the hype is washed away and context is considered.

  2. I thought so too. It's not that I don't appreciate quantitative studies and statistical analyses, it's just that they bore me to tears.

    It's nice to see a quantitative study in a "hard sciences" journal present some theory to contextualize the findings. I'm a theory-girl at heart. :)

  3. Theory for female orgasm: Women who orgasmed had more sex, because it was more enjoyable -> they had more offspring -> its an evolutionary advantage.

    Currently? Its just fun. =D

  4. I know this isn't typically a site for "what my kids do and don't do" BUT….
    I have 2 children, both boys, approximately 2.5 years apart. My oldest son had his dad and I until he was almost two years old, I was a stay at home mom for most of that time, he didn't get much interaction with his dad until he was almost four, and until then was with mostly females. My mom, my grandma, my sisters, my female friends and their daughters, and me. My second son, however, spent 50% of his time with his father after the age of one, and the other 50% with the same females my oldest had been with 95% of the time previously. With me? I hope so.
    My youngest son is still very loving. With me and my mom. He gives hugs and kisses and cuddles up on the couch (he's 8 1/2). My oldest on the other hand (age 11) is sensitive. Blunt and honest like me, but sensitive. He makes sure the women in his life are happy before he worries about anyone else, including himself. He worries and compliments. All things his brother does not do, and it's always been like this.
    I believe there's a correlation between the majority of early years being spent with females, and the majority being spent with an ignorant, insensitive, uncaring bastard.
    Or maybe I'm just bias. ;-)

  5. @emotepariah: I think you're right that "nuture" has a lot to do with it. Lots of seemingly "natural" behaviors are really a result of the situation and personal history/upbringing.

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