24 May 2011

A billion Wicked Thoughts 2

As I mentioned last week in their upcoming book A Billion Wicked Thoughts, neuroscientists Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam studied thousands of romance novels looking for clues about social expectations. I also warned you that I had a second blog planned for this topic, so here's more....
They found "in men, physical and psychological arousal are united. Men may be surprised to hear that this is not necessarily true for the ladies. A woman can be physically aroused yet mentally turned offor downright disgusteda finding replicated across dozens of studies. This disconnect explains why there is no "female Viagra": you can't arouse a woman's mind simply by arousing her body

….It turns out that men and women not only have different erotic tastes, they have astonishingly different tastes. As biological anthropologist Donald Symons explains, "To encounter erotica designed to appeal to the other is to gaze into the psychological abyss that separates the sexes."

...we all come wired with a set of sexual cues analogous to our tongue's taste cues. However, men respond to radically different cues than women. Male cues are primarily visual. Female cues are primarily psychological. Men do have psychological cues, but (with a couple exceptions) these cues are quite different from female psychological cues. A man's cues are all directed outwards, at his partner. Some of a woman's cues are directed outwards at her partner, but some of her cues are also directed inwards at herself.

...But not only are the male and female cues different, the mind software that processes these cues is different. The male sexual software is what a computer engineer would call an "OR gate." It is instantly aroused by any single cue. The male brain is turned on by deep d├ęcolletage or sashaying hips or the whisper of a sultry voice or two Applebee's waitresses kissing.

...The female sexual brain is what a computer engineer would call an "AND gate." It requires input from multiple cues simultaneously to surpass a combined threshold of activation before arousal occurs. The female brain may be turned on by a man who is handsome and a cardiologist and pets her beagle and is popular with her lady friends and plays the sensual melodies of Cat Power in the dappled candlelight. for women, no single cue is necessary or sufficient. The female brain is designed to be flexible and adaptive. In order to achieve this adaptive flexibility, the female sexual brain can mix and match sexual cues. If a man is smart, makes her feel adored, and is handsome, that might trigger her AND gate. If the same man slouches and has a comb overbut also an American Express Blackthat might also get the job done. If he's not smart, gentle, nor handsome but is tall, confident, and a man of dusky mystery, that could still trip the same woman's AND gate. But there's not many women who can obtain sexual release by gazing at a disembodied photo of a naked man's buttocks. Even if it's Ashton Kutcher's.

...internet search histories above are a fair representation of what each sex tends to do online. Men seek out visuals and go straight for orgasm. Women prefer stories and often favor conversation over culmination. The five most popular adult sites for men are all within the top 100 most popular sites on the entire Internet. All are webcam or video sites featuring anonymous graphic sex, such as PornHub, the most popular adult YouTube clone, which draws about 13.9 million visitors a month. In contrast, the most popular adult video site for women, For The Girls, draws a meager 100,000 a month (and up to half of those visitors are gay men). All across the planet, with women free to access any erotic content they wish, they mostly seek out character-driven stories of sexual relationships: romance novels, erotic romance (sometimes called EroRom or Romantica®), fan fiction, slash fiction, gay romance novels, and erotic stories.

So, what does all this mean? Well, it should all be taken with a grain of salt. Generalizations are great but there are always exceptions, especially when it comes to people. That doesn't mean it not very interesting :)

And of course it means that as a women writing romance fiction I'm far more likely to have women readers - shock horror :)

To read more follow this link to read an except from their book or here to read something from their blog. 


Cody Young said...

Fascinating stuff - great post.

LouiseD said...

After reading that I'm so tempted to have a character who's a researcher who meets their other half, only to be completely stymied when that person doesn't react like the research says they should :)