The Inscrutable


They're Wrestling

New York Times Science articles rarely compete with Maureen Dowd editorials about Martians and Venusians, but when Science articles talk about what women want (link) the email links pop. The basic premise is this: you have panels of men and women, gay and straight, and subject them to images of man on woman, man on man, woman on woman, man masturbating, woman masturbating, nude man walking, nude woman exercising, and bonobos (above) fornicating. Yup, you got that last one. The men and women were surveyed for subjective response, and instrumented in the privates for objective response.

This is where it gets interesting. Men, gay or straight, responded in mirror image stereotypical manner to the presence of erotic male or female images, and had no response to the bonobos. Their physiologic response mirrored their survey responses. The women, across the board, rated the images lower than the men across the board, but, VERY INTERESTING, had a physiologic response to every image.

This astonished me for a while, but then I realized, that if this wasn’t the case, the species would have no chance of surviving. Women have to put up with men of all shapes and sizes, and may even settle with a five foot two billionaire with bad breath and worse taste. Men are, despite their reputation, fairly visual and choosy. Women -you never know for sure.