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UPDATE: Women Like Sex

• June 04, 2013 • 12:43 PM

(PHOTO: ARTFAMILY/SHUTTERSTOCK)

A new book looks at why that isn’t totally obvious.

Early last month we wrote about a decidedly not-fascinating study, which said: Women like sex.

It was stupid—but stupid because the study only exists since it’s predicated on ideas of what women should do rather than what they actually do.

Over at Slate, Amanda Hess has a great piece on the topic, stemming from spending some time at a Playboy party—in which the editor-in-chief tells her, “We used to have a pickle shot now and again. Not anymore.”—and a book (Daniel Bergner’s What Do Women Want?) that’s out today. Bergner’s book, Hess writes, breaks down all the modern female stereotypes: “That women are not visual creatures; that their sex drive is lower than men’s; that they’re aroused by love, not sex; and that they’re naturally fitted to be sexual objects, not agents.”

More from Hess:

If society didn’t realize all of that before, Bergner writes, it’s because the men who run it didn’t want to. “Women’s desire—its inherent range and innate power—is an underestimated and constrained force,” he concludes. In the Middle Ages, it was constrained by the idea that “lust-drunk witches … left men ‘smooth,’ devoid of their genitals.” In the last century, it was constrained by Freud’s theory that women have “a weaker sexual instinct” than men. Now, it’s constrained by modern evolutionary psychology that says that “women are rigged by their genes to seek the comfort of relationships.” Across culture, Bergner writes, “with scientific or God-given confidence, girls and women are told how they should feel.” Mostly, they should feel comfortable sexualizing themselves, but not men.

So, basically, Bergner’s book looks at a number of people studying why “women” behave a certain way—rather than just, you know, telling us what’s happening and lazily adding to whatever We Already Think. The main takeaway: women, when outside factors/biases are stripped away, are manly in their sexual desires—and men, womanly in their desires—because there’s not really much of a difference. Women like sex, too! A male-dominated society just made that more difficult to realize.

What does a post-male-dominated society look like, then? According to Dr. Jim Pfaus: “more women picking up men, more women getting laid and leaving, having sex without waiting to bond, more girls up in their rooms at their computers clicking on porn and masturbating before they get started on their homework.”

So, grab your tequila/mass-produced American light beer/work boots/truck/Dr. Pepper/un-teared eyes/hatred for athletes who fall down, and—well, go read Amanda’s story.

Ryan O'Hanlon
Senior Digital Editor Ryan O’Hanlon joined Pacific Standard from Outside, where he was an assistant online editor. He is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross, and his writing has appeared in Deadspin, Grantland, The Awl, New York, The Atlantic, and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter @rwohan.

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