Do Men and Women Think About Sex Differently?

Do Men and Women Think About Sex Differently?
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Let’s just say it’s complicated.

Which isn’t terribly surprising; we’re talking about the intersection of biology and sociology, a subject that remains ill-defined and is prone to emotional takes.

This New York Times piece by Kim Tingley (great name, if you’re writing about sex!) tried to come off as neutral but the structure of the piece – specifically the beginning and end – make it clear that the author very much WANTS men and women’s brains to approach sex similarly and DOESN’T want to discover that men and women are different.

The problem with this, of course, is that men and women ARE different.

The problem with this, of course, is that men and women ARE different. Look between your legs and take a few hormone readings and you’ll see. But people seem to have a vested interest in erasing these differences in the name of equality. I don’t see why we can’t be equal but also be different, but that seems to be a bridge too far for some.

Anyway, Tingley’s article begins with damning evidence, making her case that men and women’s brains respond similarly around sex:

“What Noori’s team found was that image type — whether it was a picture or a video — was the strongest predictor of differences in which parts of the brain became engaged. Unexpectedly, the weakest predictor was the subjects’ biological sex. In other words, when men and women viewed pornographic imagery, the way their brains responded, in the aggregate, was largely the same.

To her credit, Tingley walks this back in the next paragraph. Indeed, it’s complicated.

“The science of sex is inherently paradoxical. For centuries, social stigma, prejudice and misogyny have condemned as aberrant sexual pleasures we now know are healthy. Yet despite the growing realization of how much outside views shape even our most private behavior, we can still experience the mechanics of our own desire — never mind that of others — as a fundamental mystery. Noori’s team is trying to shed light on a big part of that lingering mystery: If men’s and women’s brains respond similarly to sexual stimuli, what accounts for the apparent differences in how they approach sexual practices?”

There’s a lot more but this is the crux of it.

I’m no biologist; just a keen observer of human dating and relationship behavior. What confuses me is that, if, in fact, men and women are the SAME sexually, why are their behaviors so radically different?

The author seems to believe that the fact that women don’t sleep around as much as men, engage in as much porn use, and generally have a harder time separating sex from emotion is institutionalized misogyny and shaming women for sexual thoughts and acts.

I’m more of an Occam’s Razor kind of guy. The simpler answer is that men and women are biologically different and the presence of testosterone is a more likely explanation for the gap in sexual beliefs and behaviors – even if we concede the article’s very valid point about societal misogyny and shame.

The author ends with a call for more research that may one day abolish “categories like “desire” and “arousal” or “male” and “female” in favor of descriptors that better capture how those concepts intermingle and connect with others.”

I’m all for more data in search of a more objective truth. I’d just be surprised if that research discovers that men and women are exactly the same in all areas.

Your thoughts, below, are greatly appreciated.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    BBQ

    I imagine 100 years from now the idea that people thought men and women would be exactly the same (about sex and other things) if not for “societal constructs” will be thought of as truly laughable.

  2. 2
    Harry Palms

    I would not feel obligated whatsoever to meet a woman’s expectation of sex after she invites and buys me dinner.

    It would be my pleasure!

    1. 2.1
      xxxxx

      Yes, it would be a change, wouldn’t it, for a woman you find sexually attractive to want to buy you dinner………..
      More likely a woman whom you find repulsive, but who finds you attractive enough to want to spend money on you……………….

  3. 3
    S.

    I think it’s both. I think the author is trying weigh more in favor of misogyny and shame because these things are often under-emphasized. I think it’s always been nature and nurture. But arguments usually tend to lean more heavily on biology.

    Both, both, both.

  4. 4
    jo

    What the author of this article misses is that one cannot infer much at all from viewing brain scans of neuronal activity. It was unfortunate that Hamid’s paper contained the phrase ‘sexual arousal’, which means one thing to neuroscientists (arousing neurons) and something altogether different in the general audience. So non-experts just scan the article title and assume a finding that was completely different from the actual study results.

    For all we know, those particular neurons firing could just mean that someone happened to see human bodies (just as our brains react in a certain way when we see a pencil or an apple). It doesn’t mean that someone felt turned on.

    1. 4.1
      Buck25

      “For all we know, those particular neurons firing, could just mean that someone happened to see human bodies…It doesn’t mean that someone felt turned on.”

      @ jo,
      Precisely. What neuroscience can do (currently, anyway), is observe and measure the level of activity in a given region of the brain, However, the fact that increased neural activity occurs in an area of the brain when the subject is sexually aroused, does NOT necessarily mean that other forms of stimuli cannot produce that same increased level of activity in the same part of the brain, for very different reasons. The human brain is extremely complex, and while we understand much more about how it functions, today than we did 20 years ago, there are many mysteries yet to be unlocked and understood, This is one of those.

  5. 5
    Yet Another Guy

    The difference is due to testosterone. However, it is not that simple. In reality, it is testosterone-to-estradiol (T/E2) ratio that determines a one’s sex drive (some women have much higher testosterone levels than others, which is why they have much higher sex drives). When men are young, their T/E2 ratio is very high, often ridiculously so. As testosterone drops and estradiol (E2) rises later life (which is the result of increased aromatization of testosterone to E2 due to increased body fat), so does a man’s sex drive. The opposite happens to women as they pass age 40 and their bodies prepare for menopause (it is kind of like the last hurrah before the baby making machinery shuts down permanently). E2 declines faster than testosterone, resulting in a higher T/E2 ratio until menopause sets in and testosterone also declines significantly for some women. If you ever wondered why some women start to take on more masculine features after age 40, here is your answer. If you ever wondered why some women go absolutely crazy sexually in their 40s, here is also your answer.

    1. 5.1
      BBQ

      What about the effect of estrogen on sexuality?
      I remember reading about some study somewhere that suggested women with higher estrogen levels were more likely to report dissatisfaction in their relationship.
      If true, that’s definitely gonna cause a change in how they are thinking about sex (at least while in a relationship).

      1. 5.1.1
        Yet Another Guy

        @BBQ

        Higher estrogen is not a problem if it is offset by higher testosterone. What matters is testosterone to estradiol ratio. Women who are high estrogen are easy to pick out of a crowd once a guy understands the effect that it has on a woman’s shape. Just as high testosterone makes a man muscular, high estrogen makes a woman pear shaped. In both men and women, high estradiol (E2) causes bloating via water retention. A lot of guys who go on testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) have to take an aromatase inhibitor off-label to keep E2 conversion in check. Aromatase inhibitors are normally used in the treatment of breast cancer.

        A crazy thing about E2 is that it affects a man’s ability to achieve an erection. Having an E2 level that is too low or too high can result in erectile difficulties. High testosterone to E2 conversion via aromatase in a man can also setup a feedback loop that results in low testosterone because the brain signals the production of testosterone based on the amount of E2 in the body. As increased body fat results in increased aromatase activity, testosterone level drops as a man increases in weight. That is why it is important for a man to keep his weight in check as he ages. Testosterone normally declines with age. Packing on the pounds increases the conversation of testosterone to E2, which exacerbates the problem.

    2. 5.2
      mara zampariolo

      Interesting. I just turned 40 and with every passing year since I was 36 I find men more repulsive and sex less appealing. Its not working for me…

  6. 6
    Theresa

    30 year old woman here.

    To my knowledge I have a normal level of testosterone. By ‘normal’, I mean, a median level that is commonplace for a female my age.

    I would like to voice the following so we realize how damaging this commentary is.

    Somethings about me.
    1. I do not get attached from sex. More often than not, I lose interest once I go there.

    2. I get bored easily, and it’s a big factor in why I dread marriage.
    The sex will tend to get boring the second time I sleep a man I’m not into *GASP*.

    3. I watch porn every day and masterbate every day *GASP*.

    I say this because I see so much creepy, sexist sexual wiring normalized because, TESTOSTERONE.

    HERE’S WHAT I DON’T DO:

    Ask myself if they’re f***able every time a meet a new man, play a film reel in my head of their body parts whenever I meet a new man, constantly rate them out of ten, comment on their looks or sex appeal to their face without being asked. Oh, and when I see a 17 year old about to turn 18 I don’t get hard, I see a baby that’s way too young for me.

    Before you hit me with the evo biology, I’ll add that *status* indicators such as wealth, confidence and ambition play zero part in my attraction to males.

    I’m not an exception; there are plenty of women like me.

    I REALLY question how big a part chemical release and hormones play.

    CASE IN POINT: That ‘study’.
    You know, the one that found a chemical is released whenever women have sex, that makes us attached to everyone who gives us an orgasm….. LOL. At least, I definitely do not see it reflected in my sexuality, if there is indeed that alchemy of chemicals at play.

    You’ll find a lot of porn fetishizes brutality against women, and barely legal teens (to appeal to men). It takes a long time to find porn that doesn’t gross us out, let alone turn us on. Perhaps this is why women habitually don’t watch as much?

    1. 6.1
      BBQ

      “2. I get bored easily, and it’s a big factor in why I dread marriage.
      The sex will tend to get boring the second time I sleep a man I’m not into *GASP*.”

      I don’t know why you think this would be surprising to men (GASP). In fact it’s a fairly typical female trait that most men know about or have experienced. This is the exact trait men hope doesn’t come out in their wives.
      It may well be your estrogen causing this not your testosterone. Studies show that women with higher levels of estrogen (but within the normal range) report higher levels of dissatisfaction within relationships, both short and long term.

      You may be right about the porn men watch (at least some of it) not turning women on, but I don’t think there’s ever been a single romance/sex novel aimed at women ever published that a man has made it to the end of. Too full of generic rich, brooding, mysterious bad boys ya know?
      And yet men don’t feel the need to complain about those.

      1. 6.1.1
        Jeremy

        It is not estrogen. It is dopamine. Our hormonal and neurochemical relay systems are far more complicated than testosterone /estradiol ratios. Else every older woman with a hairy upper lip would be a sex fiend.
        Dopaminergic personalities have a hard time with marriage. Nothing to do with male vs female in such a case. Less able to bond via other chemical systems (the one you referenced, Teresa, was oxytocin, not that it matters).

    2. 6.2
      sylvana

      Theresa,

      I’m with you, although I’m extreme high-testosterone for a woman.

      When it comes to porn, though, the misconception of what the women like is rather strong as well.

      Rape fantasies and most of the “degrading” stuff you see if actually mostly a female fantasy. The reason you don’t see much “softer/more romantic” porn or erotica (written porn, the woman’s preferred version) is because there isn’t a big market for it, believe it or not. And not because women don’t consume as much porn, but because the women who do mostly prefer stuff that is harder, more brutal and degrading than vanilla sex. As a matter of fact, men are the ones who are much more easily satisfied with vanilla fantasies. It’s often an outlet for women to “live out” their dirties, kinkiest fantasies safely – and without actually having to do it.

      In the erotica/smut (written porn) market, we actually have am 85%+ female customer base. And once again – the more monstrous/brutal/perverted, the better. That’s what sells. You can have some success with vanilla/romantic/lighter stuff, but if you want to go that route, you’re better off sticking to writing romance with sex scenes. Around 75-80% of female buyers of smut want the hard/degrading/brutal stuff.

      1. 6.2.1
        James

        “When it comes to porn, though, the misconception of what the women like is rather strong as well. Rape fantasies and most of the “degrading” stuff you see if actually mostly a female fantasy.”

        I agree. Studies have found that women actually like the “brutal/degrading to women” type of porn more than men do. But it’s not considered politically correct to talk about this because it contradicts all the “official approved narratives” that we are supposed to believe about women.

        “As a matter of fact, men are the ones who are much more easily satisfied with vanilla fantasies.”

        Again I agree. As a man the only “porn” I have ever found enjoyable is basic softcore nudity. I prefer the more “modest” poses, kind of like in the early Playboy mags? I don’t like overtly sexual poses/spreading, extreme closeups, or sex acts. In fact, I’m not sure if what I like would even qualify as porn by today’s standards. And I’m not trying to pass judgement on anyone who likes the hardcore stuff. Whatever floats your boat as far as I’m concerned. It just doesn’t do anything for me. I suppose I could find the hardcore stuff interesting purely from the standpoint of anatomical curiosity, but it’s more likely to disgust me than turn me on. It’s kind of like I have a morbid curiosity for train wrecks and car accidents, but they don’t turn me on either. It’s one of those “you don’t want to look but you can’t help it” type of things.

    3. 6.3
      Yet Another Guy

      @Theresa

      Nothing that you have written is surprising. Women have comfort and arousal needs, which often cannot be met by the same man. When it comes to arousal, the female brain appears to be much more selective then the male brain. Men have adapted two breeding strategies based on the yin-yang of female comfort and arousal; The anthropoligist Henry Harpending and his first wife Patricia Draper, who is also anthropologist, coined the terms “cads” and “dads” to describe these two male breeding strategies. The reality is that more than a few women end up marrying a dad (comfort), but lust for a cad (arousal). In the manosphere, these women are referred to as “alpha widows.” As BBQ mentioned, most men hope that their wives do not lose interest. However, most are either unaware or in denial of the fact that their wives married them for their “dad” attributes (guys, if your level of attractiveness grows on a woman, run away as fast as you can because you are falling into the “dad trap”). I have come to conclusion that one of the reasons guys get upset at a woman who makes them wait when she does not make all men wait is because it highlights that they are seen as less sexy dads (i.e., relationship material). The longer a woman makes a man wait, the more he is seen as long-term relationship material, and most men know that that means a woman is into them more for comfort than arousal. It does not means that arousal is non-existent. It just means that arousal is subservient to comfort. As a guy who spent most of his single adult life as a cad, I have seen the difference it makes when it comes to obtaining sex, which is the immediate goal of most men when they date. Sure,a man may be open to a relationship, but sex is what is driving him to date. The greater the challenge of obtaining sex, the more likely he will be to entering into a relationship to obtain it. That is why it is difficult to get cads to settle into a relationship.

  7. 7
    sylvana

    I’m on the fence on this one. I do think it’s mostly mental programming and societal/cultural influences. The attitude between European and US women toward sex shows a drastic difference, for example. Iceland is in a whole other realm. Those women don’t have any of those “I get attached” or “I need to care about a man” hang-ups that women in other places have. The sex first to decide if you even want to date the person thing would never work otherwise.

    The more acceptable it becomes for women to act like men when it comes to sex, the more they do. And not just the ones looking for boyfriends. Just look at the drastic changes over the years/decades, etc. Heck, in Ancient Rome, is was a free-for-all, and women were known to be just as sexual, if not worse, than men. So I do believe the majority of the difference is caused by what a woman has been taught is “normal” or “acceptable.”

    Are there differences? Sure. But I don’t think they would be anywhere near as great if we didn’t constantly bombard people with “you’re a man/woman, this is how you should feel/act/etc.”

    Even in men you see the great differences in attitude toward sex. Of course all the ones who don’t agree with what society deems normal need to hand over the man-card. There are plenty of men in cultures around the world who were brought up deeply religious who would NEVER behave the way our men do. Heck, we have men in the US who’d never leave the missionary position lol.

    1. 7.1
      jo

      Sylvana, I’m skeptical that ancient Roman women were as free as you claim. What is the source of information for that? Even if there were no social stigma, there would still be biological and economic reasons women would not want to be as free with their bodies – they would be the ones risking their lives with pregnancy and childbirth (and I think they’re also at higher risk than men of STIs’ harmful effects), and would bear most if not all of the cost and labor of raising the children.

      There are good reasons for women to be more cautious that have nothing to do with blame or shame. Other than that, I agree with you that beyond biology and its broader implications, we should not limit males and females with strict patterns of how they should behave. And modern medicine is reducing risks that make the burden heavier on females. But for the current discussion, sex differences have been relevant for millennia.

      1. 7.1.1
        xxxxx

        Jo, there are a lot of historical source that outlined the behaviour of women in ancient Rome. Weren’t there women of high birth who were openly prostitutes ? I think one of the Emperor Claudius’s wives – Messalina was very well known for sleeping around, including offering her services to commoners. So yes, Sylvania is correct that the behaviour of women is subject to the strictures of society at the time. HOWEVER, while women may enjoy hedonism just like any man, a large majority (not all) still crave security that family and extended family can provide, still yearn for a baby or babies of her own to nurture. And she will modify her behaviour, including promiscuity, to achieve those aims. And while she rages on about feminism and how her hedonsim should not stand in her way of achieving family and family security, she knows deep in her lizard brain that the two lifestyles are not compatible. A strong, resilient and nurturing family environment cannot co-exist without discipline and trust and sacrifice.

    2. 7.2
      James

      “Heck, in Ancient Rome, is was a free-for-all, and women were known to be just as sexual, if not worse, than men.”

      Yes, and here in the USA, back in the roaring 20s, there were women called “flappers” who would recklessly party and sow their wild oats with a zeal equal to any men. These women took pride in flaunting their sexual freedom and libertine lifestyle. The 20s were a fun and prosperous decade, but then in 1929 the stock market crashed and by the early 30s the Great Depression was setting in. The country fell into a much more serious and darker mood and such behaviors were then frowned upon. But it demonstrates just how much external factors like the prevailing societal/cultural conditions can affect behavior.

      Now, the truth of the matter is it wasn’t just the women of the 20s who did these things. Women throughout history have ALWAYS sowed their wild oats in roughly equal numbers to men, because otherwise the men wouldn’t have anyone to sow their wild oats WITH. But what made the 20s different was that women were very upfront about their desires and felt free to show their true colors, as opposed to feigning naive innocence and playing the demure, chaste, babe in the woods card, which is much more common among women today.

  8. 8
    Emily, to

    Theresa,
    “Before you hit me with the evo biology, I’ll add that *status* indicators such as wealth, confidence and ambition play zero part in my attraction to males.”
    Couldn’t agree more although most men will tell you otherwise. I think women who are independent and don’t want marriage or children don’t care about money, status, job title, etc. Although I would argue about confidence, which is a quality I find appealing. They’ve done studies across gender and culture. Confidence is the one universal attractant.

    1. 8.1
      xxxxx

      Most heterosexual women would be attracted to “masculinity” however she defines it. So yeah, a woman with the ability to generate wealth and status herself is not going to be drawn to wealth and status for the sake of it. Instead, she would be drawn to those qualities a man possesses, not only to obtain that wealth and status, but to do so in a way that she admires – ie more appetite for risk than she does.

  9. 9
    Emily, to

    xxx,
    “Instead, she would be drawn to those qualities a man possesses, not only to obtain that wealth and status, but to do so in a way that she admires – ie more appetite for risk than she does.”
    I don’t agree. Theresa’s point was that women can be drawn to men, at least initially, for the same reasons men are drawn to women — looks and sex appeal. Independent women don’t need wealth and status. They don’t need either and don’t care about either. Some men have posted on this site that they don’t care about what a woman does for a living or how educated she is. There are women who feel the same way about men.

    1. 9.1
      Buck25

      Emily, I think both you and xxxxx make some valid points, but I also think you’re talking past each other a bit. I think both of you (and Theresa, at least partially) are saying much the same things, but perhaps in different words.

      Let’s try to put some of the pieces together. In most cases I think you’re correct, that women can be initially drawn to men strictly by “looks and sex appeal” much the same way men are attracted to women for the same. Let’s accept that the “looks” part is not really in dispute. The question is, what constitutes male “sex appeal” to a woman? Here we have conflicting views; You mention “sex appeal” and confidence; xxxxx says it’s “masculinity, however she defines it”. Who’s right? Well, at least partially, maybe both of you. Let’s try to clarify.

      Emily, you mention “confidence”. I’m guessing by that you mean social confidence, especially in interactions with women; fair enough, and easily observable on a first meeting. However, for many women it may be more than that. We can get into those factors later, but for now, let’s talk about the wealth/status/power question, since it seems to be a source of controversy here.

      What we may be dealing with, are perceptions among both genders that arose in earlier times, right up to a few decades ago. Back then, if a woman wasn’t born into wealth and status, her best hope of obtaining it was through “marrying well”, i.e. obtaining wealth and status second hand through her husband. Under those circumstances, the man who had wealth, status and power was more desirable as a potential suitor. However, as more opportunities opened up for women, that dynamic began to change; a woman can get wealth and status on her own, if she wants to. I think Emily and Theresa both are correct in saying that more independent women today don’t see those things as quite the sort of “value added” in a man that earlier generations of women did. The times are indeed a’changin’, and on balance that’s a good thing, for both men and women. Still, old perceptions die hard, and I think men have been told for so long how valuable wealth and status were to women that many still cling to the increasingly outdated concept. There’s of course some reinforcement for that; there will always be some women (hopefully increasingly a minority,) who would rather marry money and status than earn it for themselves, and at least for now, some women who see a man’s wealth and social status as signifiers of confidence and competence, and to one degree or another, male dominance.

      I do think xxxxx, while he may be a little off the mark on wealth/status, may have a point with “masculinity as she defines it”. Experience tells me that for many if not most women, a man’s “sex appeal” is more than just confidence; there’s more in the mix; charm, charisma, the right amount of male dominance, a certain boldness. maybe a little chutzpah, etc. The proportions and some of the necessary ingredients, are a little different for each woman, but what seems to be key, is that she sees in that particular man a certain “it” factor or a sort of “Je n’ce quoi” that she may not be able to precisely articulate, but knows it when she feels it.

      1. 9.1.1
        Emily, to

        Hi Buck25,
        “I think Emily and Theresa both are correct in saying that more independent women today don’t see those things as quite the sort of “value added” in a man that earlier generations of women did. … Still, old perceptions die hard, and I think men have been told for so long how valuable wealth and status were to women that many still cling to the increasingly outdated concept. There’s of course some reinforcement for that; there will always be some women (hopefully increasingly a minority,) who would rather marry money and status than earn it for themselves ….”
        I don’t care if some women still want a man to have wealth and status. That’s fine with me. I’m just tired of the assumed, across-the-board idea that a man’s SMV increases as he gets older if he acquires wealth and status whereas a woman’s is only based on her looks and so her SMV decreases as she ages. My point is that not all women care about wealth and status and that, for those women, neither factor could ever make up for what you wrote about … a lack or barely-there ripple of an “it” factor or a sort of “Je n’ce quoi.” And, also, that “it” factor never really goes away. Looks fade but the “it” factor last forever. 🙂 (Case in point: watch the video on youtube of Jack Nicholson talking to Jennifer Lawrence after her Oscar win.)

        1. Buck25

          Emily,

          Again, I think that old ideas about a man’s wealth and status are slowly fading. In my own recent dating experience, I’ve met few women who prioritize that, even women from my own generation. They feel more free now to prioritize what they want, instead of what they are dependent on; I think that’s changed a lot over the last 20 to 30 years. You know, the way it used to be would obviously be an advantage for me, in my current situation, but I’m actually kinda glad it isn’t. Money will buy a man some nice toys, the house on the hill, maybe even a trophy wife to go with it, but it won’t buy him love, and happiness comes from within yourself, not someone or something else. So maybe there are better measures of success than money, and whatever status may go with it. Maybe, in this new millennium, more guys will learn that; a lot of times the view from the inside, is not the way it looks from the outside looking in. The irony for me is that I never really had that goal of chasing money to begin with; it more or less happened as a byproduct of pursuing a vision. Not something I would have ever expected as a boy on a farm on a blacktop country road all those years ago…

        2. Emily, to

          Buck25,
          “Money will buy a man some nice toys, the house on the hill, maybe even a trophy wife to go with it, but it won’t buy him love, and happiness comes from within yourself, not someone or something else.”
          Maybe you can explain that to me. I’ve never understood it. Why so many men, particularly as they get older, are ok buying companionship with a trophy wife? Surely they must know –or do they? — that they aren’t winning points with their bros or a higher place in the male hierarchy by landing a hot woman if they did so because they have money ? And then what sometimes happens is that, over time, the man forgets it’s a marriage based on an exchange of commodities — youth and beauty for wealth and status — and thinks the woman would actually be there without the money. Larry King was reportedly devastated when his wife, 26 years his junior, had an affair with a man much closer to her age. HELLLO! Could everyone else not see that coming a mile away?

        3. Buck25

          “I’ve never understood it. Why so many men, particularly they get older, are ok buying companionship with a trophy wife.”

          Emily,
          Honestly, I’m not sure; there ARE better options, even at my age.

          As I see it, buying yourself a trophy wife is kinda like buying a new Lamborghini. She’s beautiful, exotic and sexy, but also temperamental, requires frequent and expensive maintenance, will get away from you in a heartbeat cause she’s faster than you can likely handle, pretty likely to hurt you sooner or later, isn’t especially reliable in the long run, and if you get tired of her, getting out of her will cost you a lot in depreciation. She also has a high likelihood of being stolen, being a favorite target of thieves.

          If a man MUST have some arm candy as a token of his success,
          a “sugar baby” might be a better choice. That’s more like leasing a used Lamborghini, short-term; she also looks exotic and sexy, she’s still temperamental and high maintenance and she’s still pretty hot to handle and likely to hurt you sooner or later, but then, she’s already depreciated, you’re not planning to keep her long anyway so long-term reliability isn’t an issue, and if you get tired of her, she’ll leave before you can finish saying “The ATM is closed!” Of course, there’s the little problem of not knowing how many previous lessees there have been, so you just never can be sure what the mileage actually is, or whether a previous lessee has been less than careful with her use and maintenance, and that could make her somewhat dangerous, if you get my drift. Besides, you can expect to have to find a new one every few months, and that can get both problematic and time-consuming.

          After some experimentation, I’ve concluded that once a man gets to a certain age, his best bet is to leave the newer exotics to the younger fellows and find a woman more like a carefully maintained vintage Benz. She might not be as flashy, or as fast, and may have a little honest wear here and there. A well-kept example can be difficult to find, but well worth the effort to a man who can acquire one. Not so temperamental and raucous, plus her handling is more stable, and less likely to tempt your still 35 year-old mind to write checks your aging carcass can’t cash. She can still cost a bit to maintain, but she’s high quality, comfortable, still a delight to drive, is far easier to live with on a daily basis, has her own classic style, and with proper maintenance and some TLC, utterly reliable for years to come.

          Now of course, the last option is not going to help you relive your long-lost youth, or make up for whatever you feel you didn’t get then, but I’m afraid nothing (including a woman half a man’s age), short of someone inventing time travel or finding the Fountain of Youth, is gonna help with that, anyway.

          Beyond that, Emily, your guess is as good as mine.

      2. 9.1.2
        Emily, to

        Buck25,
        My question was: Why does that satisfy his ego when he’s having to buy her? When she’s not there based on his sex appeal and charisma? How can a man feel validated (a word you’ll see over and over on this site) by a woman who isn’t there for, well, him? Why would he allow himself to be so obviously manipulated?

        1. Buck25

          Emily,
          The short answer is, validation (from her) is not the object of the exercise (at least it better not be, because she doesn’t love the guy, nor does she find him hot or sexy in any way; a man who thinks otherwise is delusional). Most of the time, this isn’t about love at all; it’s all about power, status and ego. That trophy wife or trophy girlfriend is just another status symbol, just like that Lamborghini; proof that he can buy what other men wish they had but can’t. I think the question you might really want to ask, is how a man gets to be like that.

          Money, power and status, are like a drug, and to men with alpha personality tendencies, highly addictive. Look at the most wealthy men; they’re typically driven, highly competitive, willing to take risks in pursuit of an objective, and very, very results oriented. If their goal is getting rich, they pursue it with single-minded focus. In and of itself that would seem to be ok, if a little extreme, but past some indefinite threshold, it’s simply not enough: the only challenge left, is to accumulate even more money, power and status, so as to one-up their nearest competitors. The closest equivalent to it in women I can think of, occurs when a group of status-seeking women get into a completion, with each trying to outdo the others in getting material goods or increased status. One gets a ring, the next has to get a bigger one; one gets expensive new drapes, all the others have to match or top that, and round and round they go, always trying to get to the point where someone finally “wins”, which of course never happens. See the parallels? Same with these guys; once they have more than they can possibly spend, they only thing left is to get more of everything. Like junkies needing their fix, the more they get, the more they want and the more they feel compelled to show it off, to demonstrate…yep, their wealth and the power and status that go with it; flashier car, bigger mansion, hotter trophy wife (or trophy mistress-it really doesn’t matter).

          I think there may be some other factors; some of my own experiences might shed a little light on those, but this is getting long, and I’m feeling a bit tired, so that will have to wait for another post, if you want to explore that further.

        2. Emily, to

          Buck25,
          “The closest equivalent to it in women I can think of, occurs when a group of status-seeking women get into a completion, with each trying to outdo the others in getting material goods or increased status. One gets a ring, the next has to get a bigger one; one gets expensive new drapes, all the others have to match or top that, and round and round they go, always trying to get to the point where someone finally “wins”, which of course never happens. See the parallels?”
          Yes. Thanks for explaining. The women I went to graduate school were like that. Had to come in to class and show off their engagement rings, talk about the proposal, show off their wedding website, etc. Snore.

    2. 9.2
      Yet Another Guy

      @ETO

      “Some men have posted on this site that they don’t care about what a woman does for a living or how educated she is. There are women who feel the same way about men.”

      What you are pointing out is the yin-hang of female comfort and arousal. Women who are not seeking a traditional family life are free to let arousal drive mate selection. Women who want a traditional family life more often than not have to make arousal subservient to comfort. Status is a comfort attribute, not an arousal attribute (As far off as a lot of the manosphere is on certain topics, they hit the nail squarely on the head with “alpha fux/beta bux”). There are a lot of low-arousal men with high status. Medical doctors are a prime example. Sure, there are hunks, but there are a lot more nerdy doctors than hot doctors. What they all have in common is that they are medical doctors, which makes them highly marriageable.

  10. 10
    Jelena

    Like someone noted here, it’s not testosterone/estrogens hormones that dictate sexual behaviour and pleasure- they may play part of the role. They are hormones that circulate through our body, but the central role in the forming of feeling of pleasure is in the brain. New research suggested that serotonin and nor-adrenaline pathways in the brain for arousal and sexual pleasure, social contacts or some addictions are all similar/ the same. Although the whole topic is still a huge unknown. Add to it social and environmental influences on one’s developing body, and we get a large number of variables that is impossible to control for. Overall, complex and still poorly understood construct.

    1. 10.1
      Yet Another Guy

      @Jelena

      However, T/E2 ratio does in fact affect drive and that includes more than sex drive. The most-driven people tend to have high T/E2 ratios. Testosterone is works on the brain to increase drive. The reality is that men have to have higher drive levels than women to account for asymmetry that is encountered when trying to obtain sex (i.e., men must have the drive to not allow rejection to get in their way). Sure, it can be difficult for women to obtain sex from men they desire, but that is because women are so much more selective than men when it comes to NSA sex. There is no such thing as a female INCEL. Even the homeliest woman can get laid if she so desires because most men are not selective when it comes to NSA sex.

      1. 10.1.1
        Jeremy

        YAG, are you familiar with the “What you see is all there is” fallacy? Your knowledge about testosterone is indeed impressive. It is, however, a thread in the enormous tapestry of human behavior. Men are more driven than women? Really? In what regard, exactly? In schools, where young women out-compete young men regularly at all levels? In social arenas? Friendships, community-building, charitable work? Less driven to have families, achieve stability? Less driven toward future purpose? Negatory, honcho.

        Less driven toward sex and providership as a means to sex? Different story.

        What you see is not all there is. Consider the story of Umberto Eco’s library: A man whose home library contained so many thousands of books that he couldn’t possibly have read even a small fraction of them. And when visitors came to his house to inquire whether he’d read them, he replied that of course he had not. Their purpose, he said, was to remind him of all there is to know that he doesn’t know.

        1. Yet Another Guy

          #Jeremy

          I wrote: ” The most-driven people tend to have high T/E2 ratios.”

          I did not write: ” The most-driven men tend to have high T/E2 ratios.”

          Nor did I write: The most-driven people have high T/E2 ratios.”

          Sex drive is part of overall drive. Let’s take a man with low-T. Not only is his sex driver lower than a man with normal T, so is his overall drive to engage in life. Men, in general, are less driven as they age do to the decline in this hormone. Testosterone affects a man’s drive to advance his ranking within the male social hierarchy (i.e., high-testosterone men tend to be status seekers). That is a fairly well-documented fact. I am willing to bet that women who lead with masculine energy are also high testosterone. We just need a repeatable study to prove it.

        2. Yet Another Guy

          @Jeremy

          A downside associated with high testosterone in men and women is narcissism.

        3. Jeremy

          I know what you wrote, YAG. Please re-read what I did. The drive in women for so many of the factors I listed is far more related to their serotonergic system to any testosterone:estrogen ratio (which constantly changes in women, BTW). And even that is only a small piece of it. What you see is not all there is.

      2. 10.1.2
        Jelena

        YAG, if the explanation is that simple, and there is a positive correlation between the testosterone levels and sexual drive, we would today for example treat sexual addiction with simply putting the man on ‘the pill’; However, the problem is a way more complicated and so far approached as other types of addictions, with focus a on behavioural therapy. Moreover, it means that people with depression, which has a loss of libido as a very common symptom, would be also be treated with a testosterone medication; or even patients with serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, often characterised with so called “negative symptoms” including apathy and total loss of any drive or motivation ( including sexual drive) would treat the same way. Also, most common medications that affect libido includes exactly antidepressants or antipsychotic medications, not hormonal such as ‘the pill’, that directly changes the ratio of some hormones in the body including testosterone. I can go on with saying, for example, that if we assume your statement is true, women in menopause would automatically have higher sex drive than women in child bearing age; or a young women whose body is floating in estrogens would have by default a low libido. Non of these is true.
        The cofounding variable is most likely serotonin/dopamine system in the brain – and some genetic predispositions – so that we can’t do much by simply regulating testosterone level in the body, in terms of behaviour science( including sexual drive – behaviours – dysfunctions).

        “ The most driven people tend to have high T/E2 ratios” . My comment about this will not go any further than this is nothing more than a stereotypical ‘it’s a men world’ comment.

        1. Yet Another Guy

          @Jalena

          Google “MAPK/ERK2” and testosterone The MAPK/ERK2 pathway regulates many things, including testosterone’s protective effect on depression.

  11. 11
    Lucy

    I agree with you entirely, Evan. Men and women are different when it comes to sex.

    Biologically, women have a greater investment in sex because they are the ones who have to take the tremendous responsibility of bearing and rearing their young.

    They are more likely to associate sex with procreation, simply because their bodies do the actual creating of new life. Sex is linked with babies, the family, and the long-term investment of LOVE that is needed to raise those babies properly.

    We see this in the animal kingdom, too. Male lions “service” a pride of females. Some male species of birds make up elaborate songs or build fancy nests to attract female birds. Some species pair-bond or mate for life, and are heartbroken when the mate dies, and others are promiscuous.

    But rarely do you see sexually voracious females chasing down males, females who are interested only in the physical pleasure of sex.

    1. 11.1
      Chris

      But there are two competing factors that a women must consider, at least subconsciously, when selecting a mate. His long term potential to provide for her and their children, as you mentioned. But there’s also his genetic potential. Women can enjoy casual sex and pursue men sexually, but usually only with men who have exceptional good looks or social acumen, attributes that are largely genetically determined. You mentioned lions. Alpha male lions are terrible fathers and terrible providers, but female lions are still strongly attracted to them.

      1. 11.1.1
        Yet Another Guy

        Male lions provide protection. That is why a male lion can have a pride of lionesses. Male lions who cannot provide protection from other male lions do not have prides. They are social outcasts. There are parallels between the genders in human beings.

  12. 12
    Selena

    “Male lions provide protection. That is why a male lion can have a pride of lionesses. Male lions who cannot provide protection from other male lions do not have prides. They are social outcasts. There are parallels between the genders in human beings.”

    Hmm. From the nature shows I’ve seen…male leader of a pride only lasts until he is vanquished by another male. Then the lionesses transfer their allegiance to the new male. Also, don’t sometimes male lions kill their predecessors cubs during their attempts at a “coup”?

    The lionesses are the ones who do the hunting for the cubs, the pride, and the male. Yag, you anthropomophic lionesses see the male as a protector? Perhaps by nature they simply accept which ever one “wins” as a sperm donor and feed him and mate with him for that purpose?

    1. 12.1
      Chris

      Male lions routinely kill cubs from the previous alpha male when they take over a harem. And the lionesses just accept it. And they make no effort to provide for the lionesses or his cubs. In fact the lionesses will hunt and provide for him. This is why, from a human perspective, they would be considered bad mates and bad fathers. But Yet Another Guy is right that they do provide a service to the lionesses and their cubs in protecting them from other male lions (that would also be why they can’t go out hunting, as protecting his harem would be a full time job).

      1. 12.1.1
        Lucy

        Hey, wait a minute! I wasn’t intending for LIONS to hijack this thread!

        Seriously, I wanted to comment on a few points: I doubt the lionesses like it when the new lion kills her cubs. But a male lion is way stronger than a female. She just has to accept it. Just as she has to tolerate him mating with her.

        I did see an amusing clip of a very young lioness flirting with an older lion, very much wanting him to mate with her. But then three lionesses from his pride came roaring out: they were not happy with their protector getting a much younger lioness. They had had enough. And surprising the lion backed off. Having three wives berate him (and they were united in their disapproval)was too much. He didn’t mate with the younger lioness despite her willingness.

    2. 12.2
      Yet Another Guy

      @Selena

      “Hmm. From the nature shows I’ve seen…male leader of a pride only lasts until he is vanquished by another male. Then the lionesses transfer their allegiance to the new male. Also, don’t sometimes male lions kill their predecessors cubs during their attempts at a “coup”?”

      Absolutely, a male lion’s main role in life is to protect his pride from other male lions. Once vanquished by another male lion, he becomes a social outcast and the future of his offspring are at risk. Do you not see a parallel between lions and humans? Until the rule of law, a man’s primary role was to protect his mate and children from other men. That is why women are attracted to male height and size. It is primal instinct that was selected under pressure over a long period of time.

  13. 13
    Jessica

    Interesting talk about lions. I just want to add a few things: I don’t think the existing male lion needs to “protect” the female lions from a new potential rival, because even if he gets replaced by the new guy, the new lion will not harm the lionesses. The new guy will kill the old guy’s offspring, yes, but the lionesses remain safe. Also, I remember seeing this somewhere, can’t remember where, but some lionesses actually band together to chase away a new male lion, because they know if he is successful in supplanting the old lion, their offspring will be killed. I thought this was very interesting.

    Also, about women being attracted to men with high status and wealth, I really think it’s just engineering on the part of Hollywood and various media outlets. You have to know the people who control these institutions are generally older, often ugly, and possibly ethnic men who are normally overlooked by women. They NEED to put ideas in women’s heads about what they “should” find attractive. They are being self-serving, you can put it this way. They catapult generic men like Tom Jones into stardom, call men like Adam Levine “the sexiest man alive” (are you kidding me?), and pump out movies like the beauty and the beast to brainwash girls into overlooking a man’s physical looks when selecting a mate. Like I said, all this has absolutely nothing to do with reality. Women are humans, too, and much like their male counter-parts, they are also turned on by physically attractive potential partners. So don’t believe all that crap about how women yearn for wealth and status. For one thing, men who have managed to acquire these things are usually older people who have had the time to be established in their lives. And I can honestly tell you that as a woman, older men are NOT attractive. I want tall, youthful, physically graceful, and good looking men. It doesn’t matter if he does not have a lot of money. Together we can make money and build a life and future for ourselves. Beautiful men fill me with joy and make my heart sing.

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