Turns out woman may be sexually discriminating

February 19, 2011

in Sexuality

The Science of Sex © Chrisharvey | Dreamstime.com

Maybe you have seen reports over the last few years that woman are aroused by all manner sexual images – heterosexual, homosexual, men alone, women alone, even animals having sex. (I may have written something about this myself.) This was based on research that found all of these sexual images resulted in vaginal changes, while men only showed arousal (measured by penile volume) when exposed to couples that matched their sexual orientation, or individuals that matched the gender to which they were attracted. There have been plenty of theories about why women were different, and a good deal of speculation as to what this means about female sexuality. Some have used this as a basis for claiming that women have no real sexual preference, and that those who express a preference are just saying what society expects. Others have suggested that female sexuality is “fluid” and that woman can easily enjoy sex with men, or women, or both, at different points in their lives.

However, a recent development puts all of this aside – or at least it should. Up until now, researchers have gauged female arousal based on the way the vagina reacts. This was easy to do, but it’s hardly as valid a measurement as what is used for men. Now a group of researchers have found a way to measure clitoral blood flow. Using this procedure, it was found that vaginal readings of “arousal” do not match up with clitoral readings. The clitoral readings were more sensitive, showed fluctuations better, and tracked with skin conductance readings (where as vaginal reading did not). The clitoral readings also showed increases in arousal at points where it is to be expected – changes that did not show up with vaginal measurements.

What does this mean? It means those tests done by studying vaginal response are all in question now. Unless and until these studies are redone, using clitoral measurements of arousal, they are useless from a scientific standpoint. That also means all the conclusions based on those studies must be abandoned – or at least put on hold until there is evidence to support those theories.

Speculation I’ve seen (and agree with) about this, is that vaginal lubrication may be a fairly automatic reaction to any sexual stimuli – be that stimuli arousing or not to a woman. I suspect future studies with this new method will show that women respond to sexual stimuli much the way men do. I also suspect a lot of folks will continue to make claims based on the research that has been shown to be faulty.

As to what this means to you, it underscores the fact that finding her genitals wet is not an indication she is ready for or even interested in sex. If you want to know if or how aroused she feels, you will have to ask her – and trust what she says!

Image Credit: © Chrisharvey | Dreamstime.com

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