I have a theory about men and women. A theory, specifically, about how men and women have sex and why they relate to one another in the bedroom the way that they do. Call it social construction, call it biology, call it whatever the hell you want, but let’s be frank: Men and women are different. Not in all ways, but when it comes to bumpin’ and grinding – or, as I like to call it, “bumping pretties” – there are some fundamental differences between the sexes.
Before I get to my own theory, let’s take a look at a few that have contributed to the misconceptions and ingrained their way into our cultural and social knowledge sets. Just a disclaimer before we get going – we’re only going to touch on the dynamic of heterosexual, cisgender relations.
Myth #1: Men are hornier than women
Parts of this sentiment are true. Men do tend to masturbate more often than women do, and men typically have more sexual thoughts per day than women do. However, contrary to the popularly held belief, men do not think about sex every seven seconds. How ridiculous would that be?! That’s one sexual thought for every two breaths!
Personally, I think it’s insulting to believe there’s not much else going on in guy’s heads.
But the truth is, women are sexual beings too, and in some ways, even more sexual. Meredith Chivers, one of the leading ladies of human sexuality research, decided to entertain the question of horniness. She hooked up 300 straight men and women to either penile strain gauges or vaginal photoplethysmographs while showing the participants various media. The guys got off to the images of female-on-female pornography and straight couples having sex, but not to the landscape scenery, gay porn or monkeys boinking. The women? Everything but the landscapes got them hot and bothered.
Myth #2: It’s just evolution
Men need to spread their seed.
We all know how this theory goes – men can produce millions upon millions of sperm, and women just get one shot a month at reproduction. Therefore, men are supposed to hump and dump as many vaginas as possible to secure as many genetic lines as possible.
But this theory does not work for a few reasons. One – by that line of reasoning, the same would hold true for women. In order for a woman to ensure a pregnancy each month, she should be trying to jam as much splooge in as possible. Two – men don’t have unlimited sperm available to them at a moment’s tug. Sperm count decreases with each consecutive ejaculation if the pecker doesn’t get time to rest. Three – knocking someone up is one thing, but there’s a big bad wilderness out there. A man may do best to stick around and look out for his youngin’ to make sure they actually grow up to be healthy and strong.
I’ve also heard this theory used to justify rape by drawing parallels from the animal kingdom. “Ever watched ‘Animal Planet?'” they say. “It’s chock full of rape.” Uhh, okay. Dogs eat their own shit. I’d like to think we have more advanced thought processes than any other animal on this planet.
Myth #3: It’s easier for men to orgasm
False. In fact, this myth is so false that the complete opposite is actually true. While most people with penises have to wait for their refractory period to expire before they’re ready for round two, women don’t need a refractory period. Ever heard of multiple orgasms? While nearly all women have been instilled with the gift of multiple orgasms, very few men have.
I suspect the reason people believe this myth is because of something called “the orgasm gap.” In heterosexual encounters, men climax three-fourths of the time while women only come 29 percent of the time. Sound familiar? Interestingly, women have orgasms about 85 percent of the time in their solo sessions or sex sessions with other women.
So here is my theory: Men and women are differently motivated to seek pleasure due to their differing levels of attainable satisfaction from sexual acts. Let me explain. Female orgasms rule. They are just the bees’ knees. The female orgasm is a much more full-body experience than the male orgasm – they last about twice as long and the rhythmic contractions are stronger. Some compare it to experiencing nirvana. And yes, male orgasms sound great, but something about them just seems so much more shallow. Men do have the option of prostate orgasm, but few choose to utilize it. Female orgasms start from deep within the body and radiate out. Sure, they take longer to reach – about 10-20 minutes versus 2-10 minutes for guys. But the reward is so, so good.
And because we are familiar with the orgasm gap, women are aware of this deal they make to sleep with men – seven times out of 10, we’re not going to come. So a lot of the time, sex can just seem less “worth it” to us. Add gender policing and slut-shaming to that equation, and a single gal is much less likely to appease the requests of that cute guy at the bar if she’s not going to gain much from it. Men and women play by different rules because they are playing for very different prizes.
Sam Johnson is a junior majoring in social work. Email the column at firstname.lastname@example.org.