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Author Topic: Desire and DNA
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Is wanting multiple partners or monogamy due to socilaization and cultural conditioning, is it simply a personality/choice variable, or is it genetically hardwired? What do you think?

(Personally, I'd venture it's a complex combo of all three.)

From this article at the Washington Post: "A fierce debate about whether jealousy, lust and sexual attraction are hardwired in the brain or are the products of culture and upbringing has recently been ignited by the growing influence of a school of psychology that sees the hidden hand of evolution in everyday life.

Fresh sparks flew last month when a study of more than 16,000 people from every inhabited continent found that men everywhere -- whether single, married or gay -- want more sexual partners than women do."

"But social psychologists and even some evolutionary psychologists aren't convinced. They say Schmitt's study is impressive, but his findings are far from universal. And they challenge every one of Schmitt's and Buss's assumptions and conclusions.

Because of society's double standard, Fisher said, women are hesitant to report their true sexual desires. In one study, she asked men and women to report whether they masturbated, watched soft-core pornography or hard-core pornography. Each "yes" got a point. She found, on average, that men scored 2.32 and women 0.89.

But she also found that women's scores changed depending on how confident they were of remaining anonymous. In the study, both men and women had been told to hand their questionnaires to a researcher. But when women were told to deposit their answers in a locked box supervised by a researcher, their average score jumped to 1.53. And when the women took the test alone in a locked room and then deposited their answers in a locked box -- ensuring privacy and anonymity -- their score shot up further, to 2.04. The men's answers did not change significantly, indicating they were less concerned about their opinions being discovered. "

(just prettying up a link ~gg)
Heather Corinna
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen

My epitaph should read: "She worked herself into this ground."
-- Kay Bailey Hutchinson

[This message has been edited by Gumdrop Girl (edited 08-02-2003).]

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Because of society's double standard, Fisher said, women are hesitant to report their true sexual desires. In one study, she asked men and women to report whether they masturbated, watched soft-core pornography or hard-core pornography. Each "yes" got a point. She found, on average, that men scored 2.32 and women 0.89.[/B]

I just read this in the newspaper today and was thinking about it, too. Coming from a sociological background where where I've been taught to really question surveying techniques, etc., I have trouble with how the researcher was measuring people's scores.

I definitely agree about how the double-standard probably made women less likely to admit to masturbation, for example, when they weren't sure of anonyminity.

The other thing that gets me is how the questionaire used watching pornography as a variable (argh, not good with scientific wording so please excuse any misused words!) because I'd venture that the majority of pornography, mainstream at least, is aimed towards a male-audience and that more women in general would watch it if they felt it was more oriented towards their interests– the question isn't just black and white yes or no.

Additionally, by watching it did they mean looking at pictures on the internet, going into stores and buying/renting movies, etc.? Because I'd also guess that many women do not feel comfortable going into your "average" "adult" store due to perhaps feeling unsafe or out of place.

So, until other variables are taken into consideration as possible causes for spuriousness (I really need to polish up on terminology...), I don't think just simply asking whether or not someone watches soft-core or hard-core pornography can be a good way to measure sexual behavior or interests. (Hmm... hope that came out as I intended it to!)

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I agree that whether or not you watch pornography is not the best indicator of one's level of lust or sexuality (imagine how Ed Meese would score on that?). But I'm really glad that they changed the methods of returning the forms for the women--I've long been a believer that women are as sexual as men, just inhibited by our cultural stupidity (as well as the stupidity exhibited as a gender by most men).

As someone who finally gave up on serial monogamy in favor of polyamory, I have to say that it did seem a lot like "coming out" (at least as much as I've heard from my gay friends). I.E., you are terrified that your life will be over, but when you do acknowledge it, it is both far better and worse than you imagined. I deal with ingrained prejudices towards poly from even my "enlightened" friends, but at the same time there is an immense inner peace at not having the feeling of "failing" at monogamy.

What's funny, though, is that I have met people who thought they "failed" at polyamory, even though they'd followed all the "rules" set in places like "the Ethical Slut". I was surprised--I don't think that "everyone" should be poly, any more than I think "everyone" should be gay or straight or whatever. You do what works for you; you could be bi, for example, but find that you only really are attracted to women at any given time, or you could be poly but only meet one person that you really connect with enough to want to share sexual experiences with them.

Is it genetic? I don't know; honestly, I don't care. Whether it is or not, I believe that a persons sex life is their own business, AND their own responsibility. Too much of the flack and disputes and problems are the result of people ignoring that.

There's my 2 pence...


--"Ignorance is not a sin; remaining ignorant is."

Posts: 21 | From: Madison WI USA | Registered: Jul 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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