Society has constructed labels, guidelines, and restrictions for sexual expression. The confines of society’s sexual expectations, for example, men are macho Neanderthals and women are modest and prude, can limit sexual expression and growth. Understanding that sexual expression and identities are similar across genders, is the first step in accepting your own level of sexuality and altering your personal judgments towards individual sexual expression.
The behaviors we see today are presumed to be relics of our evolutionary past. The research reviewed suggests that these gender differences are in fact rooted in much more mundane causes: stigma against women for expressing sexual desires; women’s socialization to attend to other’s needs rather than their own; and, more broadly, a double standard that dictates (different sets of) appropriate sexual behaviors for men and women. (Buss & Schmitt, 1993; Eagly & Wood, 1999)
Fear of being perceived as a slut negatively affects women’s mental perception of their sexuality. According to a recent study published in The Journal of Sex Research, women think about sex on average 9.9 times a day, and men think about sex on average 18.6 times a day (Fishera, Moorea & Pittengera, 2011). Overall men are found to report a greater number of personal-need-based thoughts than women. “Women are socialized to be both more attuned to other’s needs and are pressured to inhibit expression of their own desires (Helgeson & Fritz, 1999)”. The areas of food and sex are categories that can be tied to social pressures.
The study…found that women think about sex at least once every day, and that women who were more concerned about being socially accepted reported fewer sexual thoughts. Unsurprisingly, women who had more positive attitudes about sex reported more (Johnson, 2011).
Society propagates the meme of gender based sexuality. A majority of sexual expectations and thus interactions are based on these misconceptions. A study published in the Psychology of Women Quarterly concluded that men were expected to accept casual hookups, women that accepted casual hook ups were perceived as sluts, and were less likely to accept casual hook-ups then men because of this stigma (Conley, Moors & Ziegler, 2012).
It’s amazing the way people will spout off these fake statistics that men think about sex nearly constantly and so much more often than women do … When a man hears a statement like that, he might think there’s something wrong with him because he’s not spending that much time thinking about sexuality, and when women hear about this, if they spend significant time thinking about sex they might think there’s something wrong with them(Fisher, 2011).
Society has molded and constrained our perceptions and expressions of sexuality for far too long. A man doesn’t need to have sex on the first date, and if a woman does, it doesn’t reveal anything about her character. Accepting, being comfortable and open with different levels of sexuality can help you learn, mature, and grow confident in a very important aspect of yourself.
Creating a positive sexual environment requires an understanding of social dynamics, and the skills to create attraction, build comfort, and earn trust. My recent book The Essentials, is a pocket sized summary of the very best advice, with sections ranging from self-improvement to creating and sustaining relationships. Following the guidelines in The Essentials, can assist you in handling a variety of social situations, lead you to more sexual opportunities, and potentially, greater success with women.
Benjamin Ritter, MBA, MPH, is a freelance writer and a private relationship-and-social-dynamics coach in the areas of public health, fitness, and social dynamics, a writer and editor for Ask Men.com, and the interpersonal relationships columnist for rootshed.com. His passion lies in guiding and providing tools to men for overall self-improvement. His debut men’s self-help guide, The Essentials, is now available on Amazon.com (The Essentials by Benjamin Ritter).
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