In a recent book entitled, What Do Women Want?: Adventures in Science of Female Desire journalist Daniel Bergner uses groundbreaking sex research to show the ways in which gender stereotypes have shaped scientific research and blinded researchers to evidence of female lust and sexual initiation throughout the animal kingdom, including among humans. The book points out how our society has repressed and constructed a myth about female sexuality as being utterly different than men. Women, we were told, are a different species when it comes to sex, monogamy and long term desire. yet, as this book reveals, women and men have similar desires when it comes to sexuality, monogamy and long term relationships.
Bergner reveals how notions of female sexuality and desire, including the research we have conducted on the topic, has always been through a patriarchal, heteronormative, stereotypical lens. The book reveals that “women’s desire — its inherent range and innate power — is an underestimated and constrained force, even in our times, when all can seem so sexually inundated, so far beyond restriction,” and “despite the notions our culture continues to imbue, this force is not, for the most part, sparked or sustained by emotional intimacy and safety.” In fact, he argues, “one of our most comforting assumptions, soothing perhaps above all to men but clung to by both sexes, that female eros is much better made for monogamy than the male libido, is scarcely more than a fairy tale.”
It seems that the time has come to recognize that men and women are socially thought to act and behave differently when it comes to many things, especially sexuality. Yet, deep down we have similar desires and fantasies. We’ve been told that men are from Mars and women from Venus, yet it’s becoming more and more apparent that we are all from Earth. Perhaps by embracing our humanity, heterosexual men and women can start approaching each other sexually as more equal partners and explore new territory of equality and satisfaction.
Read this interesting interview with Bergner.