On Desire

In last week’s Sunday NYT Mag was a fascinating article on what sex research has discovered about female desire. I’m still trying to swallow a big chunk of it in my head but a few notable quotes and thoughts follow.

The question is: What does a woman want? and the search for this answer drives the sex tests and research that is popularizing experiments and theories on lust and desire. One research concludes where penis and mind are in unison for men, vagina and mind are not in accordance or interchangeable for women. Men watches porn, penis is aroused, mental thought: I am aroused, I want to have sex. Women watch porn, vagina is stimulated but mind might be in complete denial of this physical confirmation. Women’s sexual desire are far more complicated and internal in comparison to the obviousness what you see is what you get-ness of men’s. For men it’s obvious and matter of fact, when they think of sex they will get a hard on but it just ain’t so easy with us women. The internal physical psychological physiological chemistries are not always in agreement or understanding. Go figure.

25desire_600I love that Ryan McGinley shot these photos for this article.

Viagra was created in the 90’s and have successfully treated male sexual impotence but is useless in fostering female desire. For men, viagra would help them get a hard on which sends signals to the brain that they are erect and want to have sex, thus being horny. For women, a pill can help excrete cum that makes it moist for penetration but there will be no clear signal being sent to their brain that signify horniness, lust or desire. “…for men…desire seems to be in steady supply. In women, though, the main difficulty appears to be in the mind, not the body, so the physiological effects of the drugs have proved irrelevant. The pills can promote blood flow and lubrication, but this doesn’t do much to create a conscious sense of desire.” Pity.

There are 4 types of female climax: clitoral, G spot, cervix, and “thinking off”, a rare event where women can get off just by thinking about sex. That’s some powerful shit. An interesting statement: “The horribly reality of psychological research is that you can’t pull apart the cultural from the biological”. Our objective and subjective perspectives on sex and sexuality both of self and others is influenced by cultural history no matter how innate and instinctual it may seem. It is common for women to have rape fantasies and it’s a long line of women being victim to the male gaze and growing up in a male’s world. Women’s need to be needed and attaining uncontrollable attention and pursuit from a man is a direct product of this culture of body as a consumable commodity.

Female sexuality seems to be divided between two overlapping but separate systems: the physiological and the subjective. Lust is a subjective emotion, where as physiological arousal takes place in the mind, a cognitive action/reaction and leaves no info about desire. This turns the conversation to rape sex and women getting off to fantasies of rape sex. The arousal in the context of unwanted sex is a difference between reflexive sexual readiness and desire, an extension of ancestral instincts of secreting lubrication as a shield of protection from potentially painful and unwanted sex, but this lubrication also a sign of pleasure, of the desire wanting. Research concludes the cognitive of desire is more receptive than aggressive, which makes sense when picture the penis as an outward element, the vagina an internal vacuum, and so where men are more go out there and get it kind of sexuality, it’s more reactive for women.

Women’s desire “may be dictated – even more than popular perception would have it – by intimacy, by emotional connection” A different study concludes that “desire is malleable, that it cannot be captured by asking women to categorize their attractions at any single point, that to do so is to apply a male paradigm of more fixes sexual orientation”. Fluidity, ambivalence, openness, and multiple self-interpretations leave women more “malleable” to desiring a specific emotional connection to a person, whether female or male, despite labeling themselves straight or gay. I can certainly sympathize with this, becoming physically attracted to a person rather than their gender, becoming attracted to a person’s sexual energy despite gender, despite being conventionally ugly or gorgeous.

The female body is a container and will always hold a promise, a “suggestion of sex – a suggestion that sends a charge through both men and women”. Another study emphasizes the role of being desired, and narcissism in women’s desiring. This is that heretic of these studies in my opinion, a true result of culture’s misogynistic sins. But it says, “For women, being desired is the orgasm…it is, at once the thing craved and the spark of craving”. In here desire is narcissistic and not relational, as if women need that confirmation of self-love through being needed and ravished by an uncontrollable lust by a man. This means, women are more likely to lose interest in sex in long term relationships, because of that inevitable loss in riveting obsessive ravaging desire stemming from a man’s lust. ” Women get off having been chosen by the monstrous desires of men to become victim to their tastings. “What women want is a real dilemma…they want a caveman and caring.” So as much as women fantasize about rape, they want it done in the most tender loving caring way. It’s a deliberate submission, an “ultimately willing surrender” that leads to so many women fantasizing about sexual assault in a pleasurable way. I’ve certainly had my fair share of rape fantasies, but of course, they are rife with handsome men with perfect sized dicks who smell like patchouli and can rape fuck me in the most tender passionate way, and will get up and jet leaving me in a subdued state of submitted euphoria. There are no consequences here, just an “ultimately willing surrender.”

There is a power in being desired, the arousal and desire that emits from stories and fantasies about rape and sex with strangers, that need to be needed, an innate link to nurture and be nurtured. In conclusion, “women should realize that they can be turned on by a wide array of stimuli, that the state of desire is much more easily reached than some women might think.” I will have to exercise in bringing my genital arousal and cognitive desire to unison.

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