Friday, June 6, 2008

Female Sexuality More Fluid?

Sex is a powerful factor behind why people do what they do so of course the topic of human sexuality is a subject which interests me a great deal. Recently in view of writing an essay on the topic, I have been researching the demarcation between the concepts of sexual arousal and sexual desire for both women and men. This had led me to discover two very interesting things; 1) That using “Female Sexuality” and Female Sexual Desire” as search terms, returns are dominated by the topics of sexual dysfunction and low libido; and 2) The rather remarkable differences between what women and men find sexually arousing under laboratory conditions. My article today is concerned the second item listed, but I will be writing an essay on the first item in the near future with stress on attempts at understanding the causative factors behind the alleged sexual dysfunction and low libido believed to be such a prevalent condition among females.

A good many sexuality research studies have been conducted where researchers measured the psychological and physiological sexual arousal in homosexual and heterosexual men and women as they watched erotic films, a typical scientific model of research using a stimulus (erotic films) and measurement of response (sexual arousal) experiment. Generally three types of erotic films are shown to participants - those featuring only men, those featuring only women and those featuring male and female couples. Consistently it has been observed by researchers that men generally are more specific in their sexual tastes: straight men are physically turned on only by heterosexual porn, gay men only while watching gay porn - a very "either/or" proposition, apparently verifying the idea that a man's cock is his compass. In contrast, both homosexual and heterosexual women showed a bisexual pattern of psychological as well as genital arousal. That is, heterosexual women were just as sexually aroused by watching female stimuli as by watching male stimuli, even though they may have reported a preference for having sex with men rather than women.

Based on these studies it appears that female sexuality is more complex than that of men. Measuring physiological sexual arousal by blood flow to the vagina or vaginal pulse amplitude while women viewed various videos, researchers found that women were physically aroused by almost anything with sexual content, whether straight, lesbian or even animal, regardless of their professed mental arousal or avowed sexual orientation. It seems that on a genital level women are likely to respond to a certain degree to almost anything that has sexual content, whether they're mentally aware of it or not or even if mentally it leaves them cold. Women's sexual orientation is apparently more fluid and less clear cut than men's and the inference is that their potential for bi-sexuality greater.

Actually I don’t find the research results to be terribly surprising based simply on my own life experience. Over the last decade I have more and more frequently become acquainted with women who have told me that they perceive themselves to be bi-sexual. Also, I personally know very few women who deny that they sometimes meet other women for whom they feel a sexual attraction for and/or have frequently had sexual fantasies involving intimacy between themselves and other women, even though the majority of them state that they have never had a same sex encounter and were unsure whether they would actually engage in sex with another female.

The sexual orientation poll I am currently conducting does not at least in the early stages seem to correlate with the findings of research that there seems a greater potential for bi-sexuality among women than men. Out of the initial 45 responses received, four women (8%) have identified themselves as bi-sexual and two others (4%) have identified themselves as bi-curious. In contrast, six men (13%) have identified themselves a bi-sexual with an additional two men (4%) identifying themselves as bi-curious. There are a number of possible explanations for this. First when taken as a ratio of the number of hits this blog receives on a daily basis, 45 responses could not be considered a statistically valid sample and so the results may change over time as more responses are received. Yet since I have been watching the poll closely thus far it appears to me that the percentages are remaining relatively constant. Another issue I have identified is the fact that based on my own observations, it appears that the potential for bi-sexuality among men who are involved in D/s and BDSM is greater than that for men in general. I actually attribute this to the fact that men involved in these alternative lifestyles are generally more sexually enlightened and less inhibited than men in general. This in theory at least would infer that they are more open to the idea of same sex intimate encounters even though they may have a decided preference for females as sexual partners. Finally based on the results of the gender identification poll, a much larger number of the readers of this blog are male than are female, so that may have some bearing. Hopefully before the current poll closes, a similar number of responses will be received as were received on the gender poll and I can at some point make a correlation between the percentages of readers who are men versus women and who are bi-sexual men versus bi-sexual women.

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