Every now and then, science does us a favor and sheds some much-needed light on the differences between men and women. Given the number of misconceptions there are about love, a group of psychologists took it upon themselves to review existing research and debunk six sex and gender myths most of us believe, although we shouldn’t.
1. “Girls want status, guys want boobs.” Au contraire! According to University of Michigan psychologist Teri Conley, “when the object of one’s potential affection shifted from ideal to actual, gender differences in preferred qualities of partners disappeared.” So, in reality, both genders are equally shallow. Yay! Angry Single Blogger: Men Think I’m Dumb When My Cleavage Is Out?
2. “Men want to sleep with more people than women do.” Sorry Wilt Chamberlain, but guys don’t really want to follow in your footsteps. In fact, despite how much men may claim they want to be “studs,” they really desire the same number of partners a woman does: one. Sexual History: What Your Number Says About You
3. “Men think about sex constantly, while ladies think about weddings.” Well, men do think about sex more, but it’s only because, scientists say, they’re more attentive to their own needs than us. Women, on the other hand, are socialized to be more attentive to the needs of others, thus we think about our own desires less.
4. “Women have fewer orgasms than men do.” Again, true in general, but not true for women in steady relationships. A study found that people in long-term relationships suffer less from the “orgasm gap,” and 79% of women in those relationships orgasm as often as the men do. This could be the result of many things — comfort, trust — but it’s mainly because a woman is “more likely to get clitoral stimulation during relationship-sex than during hookups.”
5. “Guys want casual sex, but ladies want love.” Surprise! Women (sometimes) like casual sex, too. If a woman declines casual sex, it’s because she’s afraid the guy doesn’t have the right skills and/or they’ll be “slut-shamed.”
6. “Women are picky, but men will have sex with anyone.” When Conley reviewed a speed-dating study, she found that women who were more aggressive and tended to approach men more acted more like… men, i.e., they weren’t very picky at all. Flirting 101: 8 Ways To Get Any Guy You Want
Says Conley: “Within psychology, perspectives that draw upon adaptively evolved mechanisms are typically utilized to explain gender differences in sexuality. That is, the behaviors we see today are presumed to be relics of our evolutionary past. The research reviewed suggests that these gender differences are in fact rooted in much more mundane causes: stigmas against women for expressing sexual desires; women’s socialization to attend to other’s needs rather than their own; and, more broadly, a double standard that dictates [different sets of] appropriate sexual behaviors for men and women.”
So there you go: Most of the differences between men and women are socialized, rather than inherent.
What other sex and gender myths do you wish science would debunk?
By Stephanie Castillo