Elizabeth Nolan Brown // Blog

media. music. feminism. food. city-dwelling. story-telling. and other things.

Archive for the ‘Sex/Love’ Category

Curio: 10/18/2012 (Rambling Media Criticism + Amateur Porn Edition)

leave a comment »

Last week at Blisstree, I posted about how birth control is once again making headlines for making women choose the “wrong” men—which is one of those strange media narrative perversions that happens so often and goes so unremarked on in general that it makes me hate being a journalist [the number of things in the media climate that make me hate being a journalist grow and grow …].

Scientific American blogger Scicurious, a biomedical researcher, is also sketched out by the way media, in general, cover studies relating to birth control: “There seems almost to be glee in the way people spread it.” Though the post seems to mis-peg Jezebel blogger Margaret Hartmann as totally earnest), what Scicurious gets at (and I also find most unfortunate) is that this type of melodramatic coverage is either taken as right on face, or taken as so absurd that the research it’s based on is also taken as absurd. Any valid, potentially interesting parts of the research get obscured. While I’m more inclined to think of this as an institutionally-encouraged problem, rather than rampant stupidity or laziness on the part of individual journalists, I’m not sure—nor of the extent to which this kind of coverage is exasperated by the nature of web media. IN other words, I get terribly existentialist about blogging. (Also: How is there any meaningful difference between blogging and daily web news journalism?)

[Why are we such a mess, that’s what I’m trying to say here, folks. In so much of what I write about, I’m tempted to conclude: We are all Doomed. Other commentary often fails me, but We are all Doomed applies so nicely to so much of the health, food and political news I read.)

Well anyway: Here’s a really terribly funny and also ENTIRELY ABSURD television news segment and accompanying article about a couple who turn to amateur web porn to provide for their young daughter. This is what the cognitive dissonance required to cover this couple’s porn as somehow titillating and deviant while simultaneously trying to frame them as average, upright American parents ends up looking like, I guess:

Hair pulling, biting and ordering each other around are just some of the strangest things the couple said people have asked them to do during their live sessions. It’s all filmed in their bedroom while their daughter sleeps in a different part of the house.


Written by Elizabeth

October 18, 2011 at 8:19 pm

Curio: Gender Myths Edition

leave a comment »

1. Timing, Meaning of ‘I Love You’ Differs by Gender … and it’s not us ladies getting all lovey first.

Men actually are more likely to utter those three loaded little words first, and men admit thinking about confessing love six weeks earlier than their female partners, according to an article to be published in the June issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

This is obviously, however, only because men think it will help them get laid, the researchers conclude. Because, you know—what else?—ev-psych and stuff …

The researchers theorized that a pre-sex love confession may signal interest in advancing the relationship to include sexual activity — which is what men want, evolutionarily speaking, so as not to lose an opportunity to spread their genes. They want to “buy low,” as the article put it. Women, who have more to lose if they get pregnant, prefer a post-sex confession as a signal of long-term commitment. They prefer to “sell high.”

Despite birth control and egalitarian values in modern society, these primitive patterns persist in the subconscious, Ackerman said.

At least the researchers clearly have a sense of humor:

The researchers hope exposing the biological underpinnings of these behaviors can help people understand the hidden meanings and motivations behind professions of love, which are ripe for misinterpretation.

Which brings us to ..

2. Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society and Neurosexism Create Difference by Cordelia Fine

… and this awesome, whiskey-fueled review of it from The Rejectionist:

Cordelia Fine is not just smarter than you, she is funny as shit. For every study John Gray drags around the playground, about Men and their Mars of warlike thrusting vs. the Planet Veeeeenus where ladies embrace their vacuums and emote gently across that moist and pinkly lit landscape, Cordelia Fine has thirty more studies that tell you what a bunch of shit that study is, also with jokes.

3. Betty White is totally down with men baking her cookies.

Written by Elizabeth

May 5, 2011 at 8:18 pm

Catalogued: ‘Poets & Writers’ Profile of Siri Hustvedt

leave a comment »

A quote plucked from my current reading material.

Author Paul Auster on first meeting his wife, author Siri Hustvedt:

It was pretty sudden, I have to say … For the first few seconds, all I could see was her beauty, the radiance of her beauty, and quickly jumped to the conclusion that she was a model. Could a six-foot-tall blonde who looked like that not be a model? But, lo and behold, it turned out that she was a graduate student, and once we began to talk, I understood how ferociously intelligent she was. We went on talking after the reading, then at an after party, and after the party broke up we went out to a bar and continued talking for several more hours. I found her so brilliant, so wise, so alert, I was utterly smitten. My whole life changed in those hours, both our lives changed, and we’ve been together ever since.”

as quoted in the May/June 2011 issue of Poets & Writers

Auster and Hustvedt have been married 28 years. Her latest book, The Summer Without Men, is partly about (what else?) neuroscience.

Written by Elizabeth

May 2, 2011 at 12:30 pm

On Feminism, Neural Circuitry and Men Being ‘Rapey Enough’

with 7 comments

I just came into the TV show Weeds at the beginning of Season 5, and one of my favorite parts so far was when the Andy character explains to Mary Louise-Parker why it would never work out between them:

(Link) View more Weeds Quotes and Sound Clips and Andy Botwin Quotes and Sound Clips

A few days after watching that episode, my friend Greg said to me, “Dude! [Ed. note: That is really how he talks] Did you read about Rihanna talking about how she likes whips and chains?”

Actually, Rihanna does not like whips and chains, at least not most of the time, at least not if her quotes in Rolling Stone are to be taken at face value. Here is the passage in question:

“Being submissive in the bedroom is really fun,” she says. “You get to be a little lady, to have somebody be macho and in charge of your shit. That’s fun to me…I like to be spanked. Being tied up is fun. I like to keep it spontaneous. Sometimes whips and chains can be overly planned – you gotta stop, get the whip from the drawer downstairs. I’d rather have him use his hands.”

We could get into all the Oh My Oh My Oh My’s about this, in light of … but it all seems too obvious. And this is not a post dedicated to pointing out the obvious. I bring up the Weeds clip, and Rihanna – and while we’re at it, I’ll toss in this post by Jessica Grose at XX Factor about fashion moguls and the submissive ladies who love them – as a little pop cultural S&M appetizer before we get to our wonky, scientific main course: The Neural Circuitry of Dominance & Submission.

Writing on Psychology Today’s “Billion Wicked Thoughts” blog, Ogi Ogaswhose claim to fame seems to be “using cognitive techniques from his brain research to win half a million dollars on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” and co-authoring a yet-to-be-released book called A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the World’s Largest Experiment Reveals about Human Desiremuses on “why feminism is the anti-Viagra.

Link-baiting much?

But all right, all right, I’m biting; tell me, Ogi, why is feminism the anti-Viagra?

Gender equality inhibits arousal.

That’s a pretty bold statement there, Ogi. But you’ve got a PhD in this stuff; you must have done your research. What kind of hard-hitting evidence have ya got?

From classic romance The Flame and The Flower to classic erotica The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty to Twilight BDSM fan fiction, submission themes are immensely popular in cross-cultural female erotica.

[…] Romance heroes are almost always high status alpha males—billionaires, barons, surgeons, sheriffs. Avon Books and Ellora’s Cave feature no heroes who are kindergarten teachers, accountants, or plumbers. Even though there’s been a trend away from the conspicuously rapey bodice-rippers of the seventies and eighties, women still want strong, dominant men.

Huh. You’re starting to disappoint me a little bit here, sir (I decided I should drop the calling you by your first name; wouldn’t want to start inciting flacid penises left and right). I’m not a doubter about a lot of men and women having dominance/submission fantasies. But … romance novels and Twilight fan fic? It’s just not striking me as a representative sample of human sexual desire. Maybe we could get a little misguided interpretation of evolutionary psychology thrown in here?

“We’re portraying men the way feminist ideals say they should be—respectful and consensus-building,” muses erotic romance (EroRom) author Angela Knight. “Yet women like bad boys. I suspect that’s because our inner cavewoman knows Doormat Man would become Sabertooth Tiger Lunch in short order.”

Ah, there we go! But … then comes this:

One of the most startling findings from our desire research is this: men and women’s brains each come wired with the neural circuitry for both sexual dominance and sexual submission. When Nature builds our brains, it installs both the “male” and “female” subcortical circuits, but apparently only links one of these circuits to the arousal system. Scientists can trigger lordosis in male rats by activating their dormant submission circuitry, and can trigger masculine mounting in female rats by activating their dormant dominance circuitry.

In humans, the hormonal vagaries of prenatal development appear to cause a substantial portion of men to be born with active submissive circuitry. These men find sexual submission as arousing—or, quite often, far more arousing—than sexual dominance.

Wow. That is actually interesting. And seems to actually, scientifically, tell us something about the neural circuitry of dominance and submission. But in order to get to this – in order to get to this in a blog post on Psychology Today, not some lad magazine or MRA-site, mind you – we’ve had to sift through several rounds of feminist bashing, romance-novel-based evidence and bastardized ev-psych theorizing. On behalf of all folks (and feminists!) who truly are interested in the neural components of sexual arousal… it’s just insulting, Ogi.

Fortunately, Linda Young, also writing for Psychology Today, offers a much less sensationalistic (and idiotic) take:

To say “feminism” is causing loss of desire and damping male arousal is totally misleading. In fact, there is research that supports the opposite. Rudman and Phelan (1) found that men who had feminist partners reported being in more stable relationships and greater sexual satisfaction.” Brezsnyak & Whisman (2), showed that more egalitarian decision making was associated with elevated levels of sexual desire. Schwartz and Young summarized a number of studies showing a relationship between equitable couples and greater sexual satisfaction (3).

Feminism is about social, economic and political equity and is independent of what turns someone on in a bedroom or fantasy. Ogas, like lots of folks, finds it easier to parse people and ideologies into black and white polarities than to consider the complex grays that don’t fall neatly into categories. A feminist with cleavage in high heels who wants to be ravished in bed is not a contradiction!

And neither is a man who’ll smack you around one minute and beg to be tied up the next. I mean, so I’ve heard …

Written by Elizabeth

April 28, 2011 at 11:26 pm

Mediated sexuality

with one comment

I’m surprised I haven’t seen more blogosphere chatter about this Natasha Vargas-Cooper article on porn from the January issue of The Atlantic. It’s a fascinating read for the way it panders to no particular group or ideology. Social conservatives will find things to agree with here; “sex-positive” feminists and old-school anti-porn feminists will find things to agree with here; plain old porn fans will find things to agree with here. And all will likely find much to disagree with, too.

Vargas-Cooper starts by noting how the accessibility and sheer amount of Internet porn today has led to ample outlets dedicated to (and audiences for) the “outright bizarre.” But does this signify anything?

When a 13-year-old girl can sit in math class, hide her Hello Kitty smart phone behind her textbook, and pull up such an extreme video in less time than it would take her to text a vote for her favorite American Idol contestant, we’ve certainly reached some kind of new societal landmark. It’s important, however, to distinguish between what has changed and what hasn’t.

Porn’s new pervasiveness and influence on the culture at large haven’t necessarily introduced anything new into our sexual repertoire: humans, after all, have been having sex—weird, debased, and otherwise—for quite a while. But pervasive hard-core porn has allowed many people to flirt openly with practices that may have always been desired, but had been deeply buried under social restraint. Take anal sex: in a 1992 study that surveyed sexual behaviors, published by the University of Chicago, 20 percent of women ages 25 to 29 reported having anal sex. In a study published in October 2010 by the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University, the instances of anal sex reported by women in the same age cohort had more than doubled, to 46 percent. The practice has even made its way into the younger female demographic: the Indiana study shows 20 percent of 18- and 19-year-olds have had anal sex at least once.

One of the Indiana study’s co- authors, Debby Herbenick, believes that Internet porn now “plays a role in how many Americans perceive and become educated about sex.” How this influence actually works is speculative— no one can ever really know what other people do in their bedrooms or why. Some experts postulate a sort of monkey-see, monkey-do explanation, whereby both men and women are conforming to behaviors they witness on their browser media players. But in many ways this explanation doesn’t account for the subtle relationship between now-ubiquitous pornography and sexuality. To take anal sex again, porn doesn’t plant that idea in men’s minds; instead, porn puts the power of a mass medium behind ancient male desires. Anal sex as a run-of-the-mill practice, de rigueur pubic waxing for girls—and their mothers—and first-date doggy-style encounters (this is but a small sampling of rapidly shifting sexual mores) have been popularized and legitimized by porn. Which means that men now have a far easier time broaching subjects once considered off- putting—for instance, suburban dads can offhandedly suggest anal sex to their bethonged, waxed wives.

Now, I guess – depending upon your particular predilections and values – these development can be seen as good or bad. For some, this surely signifies our nation’s slide into depravity (or, as James Poulos would hastag it, #generationperv). Others may think, awesome, less repressive sexual mores! While others will routinely be compelled to question whether the bethonged, waxed wives really want to give anal a go or are, rather, being pressured by their porn-stimulated husbands.

But don’t blame pornography, Vargas-Cooper urges. The real culprit is “the reactionary political correctness of the 1990s” which focused on “sexual equality.” Take back the night rallies, women’s studies classes, all that business about boundaries … Poppycock! (pun intended), Vargas-Cooper says:

This is an intellectual swindle that leads women to misjudge male sexuality, which they do at their own emotional and physical peril. Male desire is not a malleable entity that can be constructed through politics, language, or media. Sexuality is not neutral. A warring dynamic based on power and subjugation has always existed between men and women, and the egalitarian view of sex, with its utopian pretensions, offers little insight into the typical male psyche. Internet porn, on the other hand, shows us an unvarnished (albeit partial) view of male sexuality as an often dark force streaked with aggression. The Internet has created a perfect market of buyers and sellers (with the sellers increasingly proffering their goods gratis) that provides what people—overwhelmingly males (who make up two-thirds of all porn viewers)—want to see or do.

I don’t think you can extrapolate a comprehensive view of Male Sexuality from the habits of Internet porn viewers (believe it or not, there are still men out there who don’t watch porn at all, and how would they skew the sample?). But, more or less, what Vargas-Cooper posits seems plausible.

When I was 18 years old, I remember declaring to people that “all good sex depended on a power struggle” or differential; perhaps my sexual neophyte self was wise beyond my years. But there were mitigating factors at work there, too. One, in your early sexual years, sex is largely performative (at least for many women), which leads to sex that’s more dramatic. Two, in your early sexual years, a lot of people have no idea what they’re doing, which leads to sex that’s either boring … or dramatic. As you get older, you can enjoy all sorts of subtleties. And you realize there’s room for all kinds of different sex. Or, as Vargas-Cooper puts it:

Hard-core porn, which is what Internet porn largely traffics in, is undoubtedly extreme. But how is sex, as a human experience, anything less than extreme? Not the kind of sex (or lack thereof) that occurs in marriages that double as domestic gulags. Or what 30-somethings do to each other in the second year of their “serious relationship.” But the sex that occurs in between relationships—or overlaps with relationships—where the buffers of intimacy or familiarity do not exist: the raw, unpracticed sort. If a woman thinks of the best sex she’s had in her life, she’s often thinking of this kind of sex, and while it may be the best sex in her life, it’s not the sex she wants to have throughout her life—or more accurately, it’s not the sex she’d have with the man with whom she’d like to spend her life.

It’s strange that she uses women as the example here – not because it’s not potentially true, but the cliche of this principle is the man who would never to do his wife or girlfriend the things he does to his mistress or OK Cupid lover. She quickly brings it back to men, though:

At the heart of human sexuality, at least human sexuality involving men, lies what Freud identified in Totem and Taboo as “emotional ambivalence”—the simultaneous love and hate of the object of one’s sexual affection. From that ambivalence springs the aggressive, hostile, and humiliating components of male sexual arousal.

[…] Pornography, with its garish view of male sexual desire, bares an uncomfortable truth that the women’s-liberation movement has successfully suppressed: men and women have conflicting sexual agendas.

Here is where Vargas-Cooper is perhaps contradicting herself, or at least stumbling over herself just a bit to fit her thesis about male sexuality.  Because this fails to take into account that variety of sexual experiences one can allow for once one gets older. Maybe some men and women have conflicting sexual agendas. But maybe some men who want to dominate find some women who want to submit. Maybe some men and some women prefer to engage in neither. Maybe some (I’d posit most?) are okay with aggressive, hostile sex some of the time, and gentle, loving sex at other times.

And that’s the crux of the problem with any  pornography-as-barometer-of-human-sexuality argument. While some couples enjoy porn together, most people watch porn when (oh my, there’s no delicate way to say this) they want to get themselves off. But sex, in the big-picture sense, isn’t all about getting off. Or not only about getting off, at least. In the non-digital realm, all sorts of things like “like” and “love” come into play. Perhaps the aggressive, the hostile, and even the “outright bizarre” are best suited for solo endeavors, but people’s preferences change when it comes to actual sex with someone actual that they care about. Or, as Tony Comstock put much more succintly in the article’s comments:

It’s a mistake to construe what aspects of human sexual experience that can be captured and distributed as a media product as a full-fledged proxy for human sexual experience.

Written by Elizabeth

February 2, 2011 at 8:33 am

Why Don’t More Women Propose?

with one comment

That’s what I found myself wondering after reading this Wall Street Journal article and this response on XX Factor. The WSJ article is an exploration/lament of the different way marriage proposals are negotiated today compared to 50 years ago.

Those romantic tales that get passed among friends and relatives—”One day he just showed up with a ring! I was completely surprised!”—are vestiges of the past. We’ve gone from popping the question to a long conversation, hammering out the details of when and how the engagement will happen.

Amanda Miller, a sociology professor at the University of Central Oklahoma, conducted a study about how proposals are made among cohabiting couples. The result, titled “Waiting to Be Asked,” found that couples not only work together as a team to set the date. Ms. Miller says some women script the proposal first, telling their boyfriend something like: “I’d always wanted to be proposed to on Christmas morning in front of family.”

Obviously, the upside to all this is that it’s a sign of how women now have more agency in deciding when and whom to marry. And perhaps it should go without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway: that surprise proposal of the past that the article nostalgically clamors for is hardly a long-standing “tradition,” at least not when we take the whole of societal marriage negotiations for the past couple centuries into account.

But none of this is what I really want to talk about. What I want to know is, if women obviously have more agency in organizing marriage arrangements these days, and if a particular women (like these mentioned in the article) is comfortable enough in her relationship and desiring enough of and old man* to negotiate a proposal from her significant other …. why doesn’t she just propose herself? Why is that not even mentioned in the article as an option? Is it really that rare? Admittedly, I’ve never known any girl/woman/pick-your-poison who proposed to her man. Is it because most egalitarian-minded women would rather just  discuss the idea of getting married with their partner instead of re-purposing the proposal genre, which could be considered a “tool of the patriarchy?” So many questions! Stephanie Coontz, what say you?

* This is (with its mirror, the “old lady”), I think, the funniest term for a spouse, and one I heard used non-ironically quite a few times more than expected growing up in the Midwest …

Written by Elizabeth

April 27, 2010 at 11:07 am

Posted in Culture, Feminism, Sex/Love

Tagged with ,

Earhart the Heartbreaker

leave a comment »

More amazingness from “Letters of Note” – a letter from Amelia Earhart to her fiancee, GP Putnam, on their wedding day in 1931:

On our life together I want you to understand I shall not hold you to any midaevil code of faithfulness to me nor shall I consider myself bound to you similarly. If we can be honest I think the difficulties which arise may best be avoided should you or I become interested deeply (or in passing) in anyone else.

Please let us not interfere with the others’ work or play, nor let the world see our private joys or disagreements.

I wikipedia’d it – Earhart and Putnam remained married until she disappeared six years later (no word on whether they stayed faithful).

Written by Elizabeth

April 1, 2010 at 9:40 am

Posted in Ephemera, Sex/Love

Tagged with , ,

On Personal Essay Writing …

leave a comment »

I’m taking a personal essay writing class from MediaBistro right now. For my second assignment, I wrote an essay about getting back together briefly with an ex, and the comfort that provides.

My instructor and classmates’ comments were helpful. Some details of the timeline and relationship were fuzzy; I did need to provide more context, and make my point of view more clear. But a lot of the assumptions implicit in the comments surprised me.

Where I wrote about our initial breakup, my teacher asked, “Why did you break up? Did you want more from the relationship than he did?” Where I wrote about meeting back up initially a year later, she asked, “Did you contact him?” Where I wrote with mostly nonchalance about the initial breakup, she asked, “Did you really feel this way?”

Okay, I thought. Gender assumptions aside, I just need to clear these details up. But when I turned in the revised draft, I continued to get these sorts of comments from classmates. “You two seem to have a connection that is still there,” one wrote. “Did you really not care?” Everyone seemed to want me to feel more than I felt.

I’m not sure how to handle this. I know that personal essays, at least in the commercial market, are designed to provide just enough glimpse of a perspective to make the story unique while still managing to be relateable/digestible to a large audience. But I can’t (or won’t) conjure emotions or attitudes that didn’t exist.

I’m not sure if there’s a larger extrapolation here about commercial personal essays, or if I’m just musing …

Written by Elizabeth

February 17, 2010 at 10:27 am

Narcisisstic Desire Disorder

with one comment

So this has been blogged about all over the place, and I’ve already posted about it on Ladyblog, but I’m still pretty intrigued by the New York Times Magazine article on women and sexual desire [seriously, read the whole thing if you haven’t yet].

Yes, the article has a few flaws—the “post-feminist” tag on the headline is sort of annoying, since several of the researchers within are quoted as considering themselves “feminists,” but that’s hardly the writer’s fault; and the ending— “women’s sexuality is an unknowable forest” and all that—is, in addition to being kind of a cop-out, just kind of cheesy. But I think, overall, the (male) writer does a really great job of handling the topic and the material, presenting it in a way that avoids falling into any particular ideological pigeonhole or falling back on the old “women—man!, aren’t they crazy and inexplicable” trap.

The part that most intrigued me was the research about women’s desire based on a feeling of being desired:

[One researcher] emphasized the role of being desired — and of narcissism — in women’s desiring.

The critical part played by being desired, Julia Heiman observed, is an emerging theme in the current study of female sexuality. Three or four decades ago, with the sense of sexual independence brought by the birth-control pill and the women’s liberation movement, she said, the predominant cultural and sexological assumption was that female lust was fueled from within, that it didn’t depend on another’s initiation.

Meana made clear, during our conversations in a casino bar and on the U.N.L.V. campus, that she was speaking in general terms, that, when it comes to desire, “the variability within genders may be greater than the differences between genders,” that lust is infinitely complex and idiosyncratic.

She pronounced, as well, “I consider myself a feminist.” Then she added, “But political correctness isn’t sexy at all.” For women, “being desired is the orgasm,” Meana said somewhat metaphorically — it is, in her vision, at once the thing craved and the spark of craving.
This whole narcissism business has, of course, sparked some complaints from a few feminist bloggers. Jill at Feministe writes:

Shocking, absolutely shocking, that when women are raised in a culture that equates the female body with sex itself, that positions the female body as an object of desire, and that emphasizes that being desired is the height of female achievement, women will see sex as a process primarily centered on male attraction to women, and will get off more on being wanted than on wanting.

Maybe so. I like my cultural constructs as much as the next person and all that. But regardless—whether it comes from some innate position or from acculturation (which, sure, is an interesting exploration in and of itself, though really, an impossible one)—it’s still a fascinating finding. Women get off on being desired. And yet, one researcher notes:

… in comparison with men, women’s erotic fantasies center less on giving pleasure and more on getting it.

Women are far more selfish and narcissistic in terms of sex—if not in practice, at least in fantasies—then men? Come on, this is good stuff! I don’t understand how this research can be construed as some sort of tool/effect of the patriarchy. And—I have to admit, though I have spent my formative years adamantly denying that gender differences exist at all—that, uh, based largely on anecdotal evidence, I’m beginning to come around to the idea that (while mental/emotional gender differences still be damned!) sexual desire/behavior may be an area of innate difference between the sexes. Not in the typical “men want it/women don’t” or “men can separate sex from love/women can’t” dichotomy that is often presented [one researcher thinks that women may be even less emotional/relational in their lust then men are], but in more subtle ways—which is what a lot of this research seems to be saying.

Written by Elizabeth

January 27, 2009 at 10:52 pm

Shocking—Men looking for purely sexual relationship unlikely to be happy in non-sexual relationship

with one comment

Over at Ladyblog, Fausta Wertz posted about a UK Telegraph article on dating and sex:

A new study shows that refusing to sleep with a partner on the first date could be one of the keys to making a successful match.

Researchers used a mathematical model to show that more reliable men were willing to wait longer before having sex for the first time. By contrast, less suitable men were not as likely to continue dating.

The article is titled “Women who refuse sex on first date ‘increase chances of finding a good man.’ Subtitle: Playing hard to get increases a woman’s chance of finding a “good” man, mathematicians have found.

Um, I think this is definitely a flawed way of interpreting the “study” data.

A male is assumed to always want to mate with a female, but a good male is more willing to pay the cost of a long courtship in order to claim the prize of mating,” the study’s author says. Okay, sure—men who aren’t determined to have sex right away tend to be better long-term mates than those who see sex as a first date requirement. That makes sense—someone who refuses to date someone who won’t put out right away is probably either a) a pushy, coercive jerk, or b) just simply not looking for anything other than a sexual relationship at the time. Neither of which are conducive to long-term bliss.

BUT, that says nothing about situations in which the man would be willing to wait longer for sex, but the woman doesn’t necessarily want to. Of course it’s being reported and blogged about as if its a definitive indicator that early sexual activity between two people is a sign that a coupling is doomed to fail. But the “mathematical” model doesn’t take into account any statistics on staying together or not for couples where both parties wanted to have sex “on the first date” or relatively right away.

Written by Elizabeth

January 19, 2009 at 5:05 pm