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Sex: Men Vs Women

Introduction

History and popular culture have done their best to dictate or illustrate the behaviors associated with human sexuality. Unfortunately, these illustrations are laden with common stereotypes, stigmas and misconceptions. The average observer of such material would be left with the idea that male sexuality lies on one end of the spectrum while female remains on the opposite. This concept could not be further from the truth. To ignore differences in male and female sexuality would be foolish, but to follow some of the exaggerated definitions found in popular culture would be equally as foolish. The concept of male sexuality has, in the past, included the properties of power and dominance and women associated with submission and weakness. It is these properties that have distorted a much different way of thinking, or more appropriately put, a more accurate way of thinking. Through various studies, surveys, and observations, some of these misconceptions can be put to rest. In the areas of Sex, infidelity, love/relationships and power/leadership roles emerges many examples that demonstrate a smaller gap between the sexes.

Sex

Men want it all the time. Women rarely do. These are ideas that have led to the false portrayal of differences in men and women. Women actually do place as much importance on having Sex as men and desire it as well. The qualifier for this is that women increase their sexual desire in relationships. A study in the journal Sex Roles, indicates that women do in fact want sex as much as men when it comes to a relationship (Bryner 2007). So why is this important? If men want casual sex more, isn't the stereotype true? The importance of this finding relies on a more level playing field, where external variables do not affect decisions. A relationship is further removed from common pressures of culturally defined gender roles. Bachelors often experience extensive pressure to have casual sex while females are taught to look at sex negatively (Bryner 2007). The equal desire for sex in relationships helps prove a closer gap in views of Sex. When men and women are removed from their predefined roles, their actions become similar.

Jealousy & Infidelity

Men are cheaters. Men are jealous. Men cannot stay loyal sexually. Again, these are labels/stigmas that follow a gender and separate the sexes. Infidelity and jealousy are often closely tied. It is recent studies by Dr. Christine Harris that offers a point of view that men and women are more similar in these categories than previously thought (Salleh 2003).

"This research has found that the evolutionary theory of jealousy just does not hold up to rigorous academic scrutiny, " said Harris, who has been studying the dynamics of human jealousy since 1993."

"A thorough analysis of the different lines of research which espoused this point of view raises serious doubts about how much of a sex difference actually exists. It is entirely possible that natural selection shaped the two sexes to be more similar rather than different, " she said" (Salleh 2003).

Additionally, when it comes down to actual numbers when referring to infidelity, the results may surprise people. Infidelityfacts.com reports 57% of men have been unfaithful in some relationship and 54% of women have been unfaithful ("Infidelity Statistics, " 2006). This is not just marriages, but any relationship. It is obvious to see the stigmas attached to men, when it comes to jealousy and infidelity, are misguided. In these areas men and women share similar feelings and actions.

Love & Relationships

In the love and relationship game, history has taught us women seek out commitment and men avoid it. So arrives the question, do men fear commitment? In American culture, before any real feminist movements, this may have been the case. This was more from a lack of women that feared commitment, because culture dictated they find a partner and get married. But is this true today? The number of men who fear commitment is probably very similar, but with the rise of the independent woman, so raises their number. Relationship counselor, Audrey Chapman, indicates the number of women who fear commitment is probably similar to men in current times (Murphy 2007). The reason for this? The same reason men fear commitment. As women gain prosperous careers alongside male companions, the need for commitment wanes (Murphy 2007). There are numerous psychological factors that play into a person's avoidance of commitment, but it is apparent women have become very similar to men in this regard.

Power Roles

Role of power and leadership in work, relationships or anywhere have often been associated with men. Is this the result of assigned gender roles or actual cognitive differences between men and women? A 20-year study headed by psychologist Janet S. Hyde, Ph.D, indicates gender differences have little to no effect on psychological variables. It is the gender norms that often influence a person's actions (APA, 2005). So what does this have to do with roles of power at work and at home? It means the exaggerated portrayal of gender roles creates the divide in men and women. There is actually no divide, or more accurately, a small divide when it comes to cognitive differences. On the whole, men and women share very similar psychological functions and responses. Even today, women begin assuming more roles of independent and family power. They are managers, homeowners, and relationship decision makers. All of this points to a smaller gap in the two sexes.

Conclusion

It is easy to stay comfortable with the social norms presented throughout history and in popular culture. The danger is a negative influence in how groups of people are labeled and placed into predefined roles. This would be fine if the roles were accurate, but for the most part, this is not true. For too long, people have been taught men and women come from different planets and it is necessary to accept significant differences. By examining common areas of misconception, Sex, infidelity, love/relationships and power/leadership roles, some of these roles can be redefined or eliminated all together. It is time all people started recognizing the similarities between men and women instead of exaggerating the differences. We all come from the same planet, Earth.

References

American Psychological Association. (2005). Men and Women Found More Similar Than

Portrayed In Popular Media. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 7, 2008, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2005/09/050919082317.htm

Bryner, J. (2007). Study Busts Myth that Women Want Sex Less. Live Science.

Retrieved February 6, 2008 from http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19310385/

InfidelityFacts.com (2006). Infidelity Statistics. Retrieved February 7, 2008 from

http://www.infidelityfacts.com/infidelity-statistics.html

Klefer, A. & Sanchez, D. (2007). Men's Sex-Dominance Inhibition: Do Men Automatically

Refrain From Sexually Dominant Behavior? Retrieved February 6, 2008 from PsychInfo database.

Murphy, F. (2007). Commitment Phobia: Not Just a Male Phenomenon? Retrieved February 7,

2008 from http://health.discovery.com/centers/loverelationships/articles/commitment.html

Salleh, A. (2003). Jealousy in men, women not so different. Retrieved February 7, 2008 from

http://www.abc.net.au/science/news/stories/s868482.htm

By Mojo21 - N/A  

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