home
RSS
Inside women's sexual brains, preferences and porn
May 9th, 2011
08:01 AM ET

Inside women's sexual brains, preferences and porn

Men everywhere have probably wondered for thousands of years: What turns women on?

In the age of the Internet, it's possible to find out. And with countless genres of images, videos and erotic stories available online, women are both able and empowered to access arousing material, and figure out for themselves what they like. Some are watching porn, as our sex columnist Ian Kerner pointed out in a recent column.

But what women are viewing and reading is usually not what men are searching for, according to a new book on the subject. In "A Billion Wicked Thoughts," released Thursday, neuroscientists Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam combine web searches, personal search histories, websites, and classified ads with insights from brain science to discover precisely how different women are from men.

Just like we're all born with taste cues - sweet, salty, savory, spicy, bitter - men and women's brains are wired with sexual cues, Ogas said. For men, the cues are predominantly visual, and aimed at the partner; they often enjoy seeing women orgasm, which may be one of the reasons why so many women fake. But women are more complex; they place a high importance on feeling desired, for example, whereas it appears men generally don't need to feel desired at all in order to feel aroused.

"A woman wants to know that there’s going to be repeat action, that he’s committed and is going to be coming back," Ogas said.

Women are sexually complex in other important ways. If a man is physically turned on, he's also psychologically turned on, which is why medications for erectile dysfunction (i.e. Viagra) can deliver fairly straightforward results. But a woman can be physically turned on and mentally turned off at the very same time, making efforts toward a treatment for low female sexual desire all the more complicated. And as to what makes a woman go beyond mere arousal and have sex, you'll have to read this other article.

The female sexual brain is also like a “detective agency” that investigates a man’s many qualities before deciding  whether he’s worth her attention, the authors said. Evolutionarily, that makes sense. In the earliest days of humans, females who mated with the first males they encountered would not have fared as well as those who took the time to investigate their partners a little more. The "detective agency" would make sure that the chosen male would not be cruel, unfaithful or sneaky, would protect the woman and her child.

More important than evolution, though, is the "software" of the sexual brain, Ogas and Gaddam said.

Again, men are simple: The male brain is designed so that any stimulus can trigger arousal. For some, a single cue is necessary and sufficient, which is what makes a fetish, well, a fetish. For instance, some men get turned on in the presence of attractive shoes or feet, and need to see that in order to feel stimulated. On the other hand, fetishes are extremely rare among women. The female brain usually doesn't respond to a single trigger every time; there can be lots of different combinations of things that can get them in the mood.

"The male sexual brain is like a single toggle switch, whereas the female sexual brain is like the cockpit of an F1 fighter jet," Gaddam said. "There are tons of dials and instruments, and there's sophisticated calibration going on."

To fully appreciate this, feast your eyes on these two real search histories from America Online users:

MAN: college cheerleaders; cheerleaders in Hawaii; pics of bikinis and girls; pretty girls in bikinis; girls suntanning in bikinis; college cheerleader pics in bikinis; noooooooo; christian advice on lust

WOMAN: orlando bloom as vampire fanfiction; 321 sex chat; kingdom of heaven fanfiction; cinderella wedding dresses; gossip on orlando bloom; legolas erotica; legolas heterosexual erotica; evil orlando bloom dark fanfiction

As you can see, this woman tends to prefer stories ("fanfiction," or narratives based on existing movies/TV/literature) much more than the man, who searches for specific images. The majority of these stories are romantic and lightly erotic, but plenty of women like graphic erotic stories, too. In the search above you can see this one gal is particularly interested in Legolas from "Lord of the Rings" and the actor who portrays him: Orlando Bloom. And there's a lot of conversation that goes on among women about erotic stories about the inner feelings of the characters, whereas men consume porn alone and don't talk about the aesthetics, Gaddam said.

"Male erotica is a solitary enterprise, and female erotica is a social enterprise," Ogas said.

A minority of women do watch visual porn. Based on analyses of user profiles on a porn website, these ladies tend to be more socially aggressive, comfortable taking risks, and open to bisexual experiences. They also tend to have a higher sex drive.

And while many men do seek out porn involving young women, there's a substantial interest in seeing scantily clad (or not clad at all) older women too. Significant numbers of web searches and websites out there are devoted to women in their 40s, 50s, 60s. There's even a genre called "granny porn," with a consistent following, in which the male performer's age is highly variable.  It's hard to know how old the men are who are seeking this class of erotica, but the authors speculate they come from a wide range of ages, since men's sexual interests are pretty solid by age 25. Women, on the other hand, have much more flexible and dynamic interests during a lifetime.

What about homosexuality? The authors compared gay and straight male sexuality, and found they were strikingly similar. The differences: gay men like men, and are more likely to be aroused by the submissive role in sex than straight men. Lesbians are far more complicated, and Ogas and Gaddam don't think they have enough information to make any definitive comparisons about it.

The authors don't take any moral positions on any of this, but they do point out that individual tastes and preferences are difficult or impossible to modify. Yet everyone assumes their own interests are the norm, and we quickly label anything else as weird or even dangerous, Gaddam said.

"We should all be more sexually tolerant," Ogas said.


soundoff (1,024 Responses)
  1. texas roadhouse near me

    You've made some really good points there. I looked on the web to find out more about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this site.

    http://smartaccounts.thestationatwestside.biz/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.reviewnearme.com

    June 18, 2021 at 22:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Camper Repair Near Me

    Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular post! It is the little changes that make the most important changes. Thanks a lot for sharing!

    https://www.client.paltalk.com/client/webapp/client/External.wmt?url=http://ocrvluxurycoaches.com/rv-repair-shop-monterey-park-california/

    June 19, 2021 at 01:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. RV Repair Near My Location

    Having read this I thought it was extremely informative. I appreciate you spending some time and effort to put this informative article together. I once again find myself spending way too much time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worthwhile!

    http://www.georgewbushlibrary.smu.edu/exit.aspx?url=www.payskip.org/tfcAvx3MGdJu

    June 19, 2021 at 04:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Nearby RV Repairs

    http://wapp.baidu.com/mo/q/checkurl?url=www.ocrvcenter.biz

    June 19, 2021 at 07:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. RV Repair Shops Near Me Now

    http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/reauthorization/reauexit.cfm?link=http://ocrv.art/rv-repair-shop-canoga-park-california

    June 19, 2021 at 09:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. aaa near me

    I wanted to thank you for this excellent read!! I absolutely enjoyed every little bit of it. I have you saved as a favorite to check out new stuff you postÖ

    http://landena85s4.blogvivi.com/5991792/rumored-buzz-on-marketing

    June 19, 2021 at 12:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Sprinter Repair Shop Near Me

    This blog was... how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something that helped me. Kudos!

    http://doterra.myvoffice.com/Application/index.cfm?&EnrollerID=1&Theme=Default&ReturnUrl=https://www.ocrv.art/manufacturing-truck-collision-repair-paint-shop-near-me-orange-county/

    June 19, 2021 at 19:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. RV Repair Fountain Valley

    Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thank you so much, However I am having difficulties with your RSS. I donít know why I cannot subscribe to it. Is there anybody else having similar RSS issues? Anyone that knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanks!!

    http://legacy.aom.org/verifymember.asp?nextpage=https://ocrvcenter.com/class-a-collision-repair-shop-near-me

    June 19, 2021 at 20:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. RV Repair California

    Hello there! This post could not be written much better! Going through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He continually kept talking about this. I am going to forward this information to him. Fairly certain he's going to have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

    http://www.webhosting-wmd.hr/index?URL=http://www.ocrvcenter.com/lonestar-collision-repair-shop-near-me/

    June 19, 2021 at 20:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Sprinter Repair Costa Mesa

    https://brettterpstra.com/share/fymdproxy.php?url=ocrvcenter.com/rv-repair-shop-acton-california/

    June 19, 2021 at 21:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Sprinter Repair Near Me

    Spot on with this write-up, I really think this website needs a lot more attention. Iíll probably be returning to read through more, thanks for the info!

    http://www.t10.org/cgi-bin/s_t10r.cgi?First=1&PrevURL=www.ocrv.life/motorhome-paint-shop-near-me/

    June 19, 2021 at 21:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. RV Repair San Clemente California

    There is definately a lot to learn about this topic. I like all the points you have made.

    https://www.abenteuerteam.de/redirect/?url=http://www.ocrvcenter.com/motorhome-leak-repair-near-me/

    June 19, 2021 at 22:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Sprinter Repair Near Me

    https://cse.google.cd/url?q=https://zx110.org

    June 19, 2021 at 22:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Sprinter Repair Near Me

    http://sv.paltalk.com/client/webapp/client/External.wmt?url=https://www.ocrvmotorcoaches.com/rv-repair-shop-hermosa-beach-california/

    June 19, 2021 at 23:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. RV Repair Shops Near My Location

    https://deanspotter.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrvcenter.com/service-truck-collision-repair-shop-near-me/

    June 20, 2021 at 00:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Content Marketing Agencies

    This website was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I've found something which helped me. Many thanks!

    https://www.nakedexwife.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.affordableranking.com/

    June 20, 2021 at 03:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. SEO Marketing Service

    https://toughoneproducts.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=http://www.affordableranking.com/

    June 20, 2021 at 04:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Internet Marketing Experts

    Aw, this was an extremely nice post. Taking the time and actual effort to create a top notch articleÖ but what can I sayÖ I put things off a whole lot and don't manage to get nearly anything done.

    http://airvpn.org/external_link/?url=https://www.affordableranking.com/

    June 20, 2021 at 10:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Erline Pulis

    When I initially commented I seem to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get 4 emails with the exact same comment. Is there a way you are able to remove me from that service? Thank you!

    https://openforbusinessmagazine01.businesscatalyst.com/Redirect.aspx?destination=https://www.midevilvapes.com/

    June 20, 2021 at 12:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Spencer Wilch

    https://currents.google.com/url?sa=j&source=web&rct=j&url=https3A2F2Fmastermindofmen.com&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNGaY_nlK9ozc51fqwjiVdMaYZL7rg

    June 20, 2021 at 13:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Johnette Gorsky

    https://community.nxp.com/t5/custom/page/page-id/ExternalRedirect?url=https://fleetvehiclerepairshop.com

    June 20, 2021 at 14:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Duncan Glatt

    http://creativecommons.org/choose/results-one?field_attribute_to_url=http://veteranautoglass.com

    June 20, 2021 at 16:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Connie Sebasovich

    https://www.brivium.com/proxy.php?link=http://www.ocrvcenter.biz

    June 20, 2021 at 18:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. RV Repairs Nearby

    https://digibok.se/home/no-responsive?redirect=https://ocrvcenter.com/

    June 20, 2021 at 23:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. food near me

    http://www.calculustutoring.biz/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=bjsnearme.com

    June 20, 2021 at 23:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. RV Repair Shops Near Me

    Howdy! I could have sworn Iíve been to this website before but after browsing through a few of the articles I realized itís new to me. Nonetheless, Iím certainly delighted I came across it and Iíll be book-marking it and checking back regularly!

    http://www.mailprocessing.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrvcenter.com

    June 21, 2021 at 01:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Camper Repair Shops Near Me

    http://www.ex-tour.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrvcenter.com

    June 21, 2021 at 02:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. gyros near me

    http://www.elmore.ru/go.php?to=https://bulknearme.com/

    June 21, 2021 at 05:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. dinner near me

    http://directrouteservices.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=quotenearme.com

    June 21, 2021 at 08:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. RV Repair Near Me

    http://www.grandluxerail.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrvcenter.com

    June 21, 2021 at 08:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. book store near me

    Very good article. I definitely love this site. Keep writing!

    http://ambdest.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=reviewnearme.com

    June 21, 2021 at 10:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. RV Repair Near Me

    http://navigationnirvana.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrv.world

    June 21, 2021 at 15:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. RV Repair Orange County California

    https://vlpacific.ru/?goto=https://ocrvmotorsports.life/

    June 21, 2021 at 15:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Dodge Sprinter Step Repair

    http://www.mydnstats.com/index.php?a=search&q=fleetautorepairshop.com

    June 21, 2021 at 20:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. RV Glass Repair Near Me

    http://www.ravnsborg.org/gbook143/go.php?url=https://ocrv.art/

    June 22, 2021 at 00:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Sprinter Van Maintenance Shop Near Me

    http://www.actionagentsltd.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=fleetvehiclerepairshop.com

    June 22, 2021 at 02:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Chevrolet High Top Van Repair Shop

    Oh my goodness! Awesome article dude! Many thanks, However I am having difficulties with your RSS. I donít understand why I cannot subscribe to it. Is there anyone else getting identical RSS issues? Anyone that knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanks!!

    http://efluor.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=sprintervanrepairnearme.com

    June 22, 2021 at 06:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. purpose group

    Your style is very unique in comparison to other folks I have read stuff from. Many thanks for posting when you've got the opportunity, Guess I'll just bookmark this site.

    https://adm.chedot.com/link/?link=https://www.mastermindofmen.com

    June 22, 2021 at 07:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Dodge Sprinter Step Repair

    Oh my goodness! Awesome article dude! Thank you, However I am having issues with your RSS. I donít understand the reason why I cannot join it. Is there anybody else getting similar RSS problems? Anyone that knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanx!!

    http://arabellaholdings.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=fleetservicesorangecounty.com

    June 22, 2021 at 15:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Sprinter Ecu Repair

    When I initially left a comment I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on whenever a comment is added I recieve 4 emails with the exact same comment. Is there an easy method you can remove me from that service? Thank you!

    http://www.nomer-doma.ru/rere.php?url=http://www.ocrvfleetservices.com

    June 22, 2021 at 16:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Content Marketing Boutique

    This blog was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something which helped me. Cheers!

    http://twowindows.org/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=consciousgrowthmarketing.com

    June 22, 2021 at 18:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Video Marketing Consultant

    bookmarked!!, I really like your website!

    https://www.medsolutionsonline.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=consciousgrowthmarketing.com

    June 22, 2021 at 18:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. michael cohen podcast

    http://2wp.greenkites.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=backbonehunters.com

    June 22, 2021 at 19:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Local Marketing Firm

    https://price-whitson.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=consciousgrowthmarketing.com

    June 22, 2021 at 22:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. RV Repair Near Me

    This is a topic which is near to my heart... Cheers! Where are your contact details though?

    http://iaudit.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrvmotorsports.co

    June 22, 2021 at 22:17 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

Leave a Reply to Tom Leykis


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.