Sexuality is at the heart of the debate about how women have evolved.
There is every reason to think sexual desire is going well, that orgasms are no longer shrouded in mystery and that beautiful and sensual women are free to act out their fantasies as they wish.
An Evolution of Self-Image & Self-Expression
Sexual liberation didn’t just happen yesterday. But it is a comparatively modern phenomenon. From the fifties onwards it has continued to gain in strength, peaking in the seventies with “free love”.
Women in the 21st century are definitely freer than before, according to their own perceptions as well as what they talk about and how they behave.
Women have a better body image now, and 69% of us find ourselves beautiful and sensual! Only a third of the women in a recent study still asked themselves, “Am I normal?”
This points to the fact that women are less and less likely to reject their bums and breasts. Bad news for all those who are selling us diet regimes and cosmetic surgery!
Expressing yourself has become de rigueur, both in terms of expressing desire for a man and in being able to relay details of sex lives quite openly. This is a big step for womankind. Women who freely express their sexuality have triumphed.
Not everything is positive. Vulnerability is one of the major elements in female sexuality.
In answer to the question: “Have you felt intense negative emotions during sexual relations”, 49% of women said yes next to only 5% of men. The kind of emotions described included shame, fear and anxiety.
Women occupy a precarious kind of position when it comes to sex. Too many of them feel obliged to accept certain practices in spite of themselves which involve having their physical intimacy or identity stolen from them.
The consequences include periods of depression, self disgust or rejection of sexuality, none of which can always be resolved. The worst aspect is that men aren’t even aware of it.
Women have obtained considerably more freedom, as much physically as psychologically. But issues still persist at the heart of the couple.
This paradox arises from the fact that at the same time as seeing women become more liberated sexually, we are also seeing this freedom cause problems in relationships.
There is a sort of new male domination in sexuality. Women try to get closer to desire and their partners by making sure they please men. There is a new, tacit form of submission.
Female sexuality is less mechanical then male sexuality. Sources of pleasure, access to desire and the orgasm are very different experiences for women.
Female Lust & Evolutionary Promiscuity
Throughout history, female desire has been portrayed as one of the most destabilizing and dangerous forces. Even after the sexual revolution of the ’60s, lusty women still tend to be slut-shamed by their peers and reduced by popular culture.
Meanwhile, the true nature of women’s sexuality remains as elusive as ever. The latest attempt to tackle the mysteries of eros, which will surely be one of the summer’s hottest new reads: Daniel Bergner’s What Do Women Want?
Based off of his popular New York Times Magazine cover story, Bergner’s book attempts to pull back the societal veil on female sexual urges, to argue that our post-feminist, scientifically advanced age still gets the issue all wrong—and that women are even more animalistic, promiscuous, and dependent upon sexual novelty than men.
The provocative 2009 cover story stirred up plenty of controversy, prompting even the liberal author Greg Mitchell to gawk at its photos of women mid-orgasm, while cultural anthropologists criticized Bergner for making blanket statements about women despite that none of his research ventured outside the Western Hemisphere.
He picks apart our deep-seated belief that monogamy is the natural domain of women and that females are uniquely qualified to thrive inside of a long-lasting commitment to only one sexual partner.
Among his most compelling and titillating pieces of evidence that women are built to be just as horny as men. That their arousal, measured by blood flow to the vagina in a lab, spikes while watching hard-core pornography.
Is Bergner’s survey more than a little voyeuristic? Sure. Whether he’s interviewing women about their darkest fantasies or watching a tantric expert bring herself to climax, his accounts of these moments often read like erotica, so much that the reader can’t help but wonder about a 52-year-old man’s motivations for writing this book.
Still, Bergner seems to be onto something when he comes to the conclusion that women also crave sexual novelty—and that they struggle with monogamy just as much as their male counterparts.
Take, for example, a woman who signed up for a trial of a female arousal drug out of desperation—she wanted to “get her freak back” in the bedroom with her partner of seven years.
And then there’s the issue of multiple orgasms. Bergner writers that it “was evolution’s method of making sure that females are libertines, that they move efficiently from one round of sex to the next and frequently from one partner to the next, that they transfer the turn-on of one encounter to the stimulating of the next, building towards climax.”
So here we finally have the real problem with female lust, according to Bergner: that it takes a sharp nosedive in monogamous relationships.
The implication is that if only the wives were more enthusiastic about having sex with their husbands, the thorny mystery that is monogamy would be solved (or, at least, improved).