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 (986 Responses)
  1. JbnbCrulk

    canadian pharmaceuticals online shoppers pharmacy pharmacy without dr prescriptions

    February 6, 2021 at 23:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Pianino Opis

    Hi, could I quote some of the information from this blog if I reference you with a link back to your site? Cheers

    http://www.pianino.xmc.pl

    February 7, 2021 at 04:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. JbbvEncox

    online pharmacy drugstore best 10 online canadian pharmacies best canadian mail order pharmacies

    February 7, 2021 at 08:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. FqhhEncox

    walmart pharmacy online online pharmacy mail order pharmacies

    February 7, 2021 at 19:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Private detective in spain

    I quite like looking through a post that can make men and women think.
    Also, thanks for permitting me to comment!

    February 7, 2021 at 21:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. vegan travelers notebook

    Appreciate this post. Permit me to try it out.

    Feel free to visit my homepage – vegan travelers notebook

    February 8, 2021 at 14:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Metale Cechy

    Jesli bedziesz przykladnie pracowal osiem godzin dziennie, moze ci sie kiedys uda zostac kierownikiem i pracowac dwanascie. R. Frost

    February 8, 2021 at 22:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. KbcxMile

    pharmacy tech best online pharmacies no prescription canadian meds

    February 9, 2021 at 16:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. FvfcZisse

    pfizer viagra jpg viagra prescription viagra coupons pfizer

    February 10, 2021 at 00:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Kuikseelt

    buy female viagra australia how to buy viagra melbourne viagra gold

    February 10, 2021 at 11:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Socjologia Spoleczenstwa

    Of course, what a awesome internet site and informative posts, I will add backlink bookmark this website? Regards, Reader.

    February 10, 2021 at 17:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. AqcfTeneseelt

    cheap cialis australia generic cialis no prescription cialis online delivery overnight

    February 10, 2021 at 22:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. NncsZisse

    king pharmacy viagra price wholesale generic viagra

    February 11, 2021 at 00:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. LabxEncox

    cialis ile viagra is cialis bad for your health cialis bph blog

    February 11, 2021 at 09:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. AhbzEncox

    help pay payday loans off cash loan kingston what payday loan companies accept bad credit

    February 11, 2021 at 20:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. JbnvCrulk

    online payday loans from direct lenders barclaycard cash advance checks payday loan summerville

    February 13, 2021 at 20:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. JbbnEncox

    can you take cialis every 24 hours cialis yonggang cialis ГєДЌinky

    February 14, 2021 at 02:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Mapy Norwegii

    Moje zycie bedzie mialo taki sens, jaki ja sam mu nadam. – Paulo Coelho

    http://www.norwegia.xmc.pl

    February 14, 2021 at 04:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Norwegia

    Przyjemnosc zycia jest przyjemnoscia plynaca z cwiczenia duszy; to jest bowiem prawdziwe zycie. – Arystoteles

    http://www.norwegia.xmc.pl

    February 15, 2021 at 19:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. FqbbEncox

    payday loan manteca ca progressive payday loan relief payday loan requirements

    February 16, 2021 at 03:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. High-Do-Follow Forum-Backlinks

    Best Social Media Services and Website Traffic Services 2021: https://www.seoclerk.com/user/jackpower99

    https://www.seoclerk.com/user/jackpower99

    February 16, 2021 at 08:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Drive-20000 Google-Organic-Visitors

    I will drive 20000 google organic visitors using targeted keywords: https://www.seoclerk.com/Traffic/833336/I-will-drive-20000-google-organic-visitors-using-targeted-keywords

    https://www.seoclerk.com/Traffic/833336/I-will-drive-20000-google-organic-visitors-using-targeted-keywords

    February 16, 2021 at 19:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. KvaxMile

    payday loan customers warned over broker fees payday loans with prepaid debit card lucky payday loan

    February 17, 2021 at 02:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Filozofia Poglady

    Najlepszy sposob na osiagniecie sukcesu w zyciu to postepowanie wedlug rad, ktorych udzielamy innym.

    http://www.filozofia.xmc.pl

    February 17, 2021 at 06:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. FbsgZisse

    cialis with dapoxetine australia overnight delivery cialis generic online cialis online without

    February 18, 2021 at 02:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. NbnhZisse

    online generic viagra http://vigedon.com/ viagra soft flavoured

    February 18, 2021 at 15:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Filozofia Grecja

    I usually dont normally post on many another Blogs, nevertheless Thanks keep up the amazing work. Ok unfortunately its time to get to school.

    http://www.filozofia.xmc.pl

    February 19, 2021 at 08:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. SocialMedia Services2021

    Social network traffic Facebook likes Twitter Followers Instagram Followers and much more. Our Website: https://smmsupreme.com/

    https://bit.ly/3iOPatX

    February 19, 2021 at 17:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. www.USA.XMC.pl

    Nieszczescia zsylane sa nam po to, abysmy uwazniej przyjrzeli sie swemu zyciu. – Mikolaj Gogol

    http://www.usa.xmc.pl

    February 21, 2021 at 01:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Edukacja USA

    Great to become visiting your weblog once more, it has been months for me. Nicely this write-up that ive been waited for so lengthy. I want this write-up to complete my assignment within the college, and it has exact same subject with your write-up. Thanks, great share.

    http://www.usa.xmc.pl

    February 22, 2021 at 17:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Cukrzyca

    Anna Rokita Mawiala, ze Milosc,przyjazń I BRATERSTWO sa jak magia. Nie mozemy ich zobaczyc, ale czujemy je. I ja sie po czesci z tym zgadzam 🙂 A ty ?

    http://www.cukrzyca.xmc.pl

    February 27, 2021 at 22:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Hipoglikemia Znaczenie

    Im happy I found this blog, I couldnt discover any info on this subject matter prior to. I also run a site and if you want to ever serious in a little bit of guest writing for me if possible feel free to let me know, im always look for people to check out my site. Please stop by and leave a comment sometime!

    http://www.cukrzyca.xmc.pl

    March 1, 2021 at 00:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Inger Trembinski

    Howdy! Would you mind if I share your blog with my facebook group? There's a lot of folks that I think would really enjoy your content. Please let me know. Many thanks

    https://proxyti.com/blog

    March 2, 2021 at 08:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. LmoppEncox

    http://essaywriteris.com/ – best essay writing company magic essay writer essay writers essay writers online cheap

    March 23, 2021 at 09:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. AbgcEncox

    https://thesiswritingtob.com/ – phd thesis writing help doctoral thesis thesis publishing writing my thesis

    March 23, 2021 at 12:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Leasing

    Slowa maja ogromna mJa bardzo w to wierze. Moga inspirowac, dawac motywacje lub pocieszenie, a gdy go potrzeba. Czasem w jednym zdaniu zakleta jest madrosc, ktorej szukamy w naszym zyciu przez dlugi czas. zapraszam do siebie http://www.xmc.pl 🙂

    http://www.eleasing.xmc.pl

    March 23, 2021 at 17:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. JvqqEncox

    https://dissertationahelp.com/ – dissertation database dissertation writing advice dissertation editing services reviews proquest dissertation search

    March 25, 2021 at 17:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. AbgcEncox

    https://thesiswritingtob.com/ – thesis guidelines help in writing thesis thesis research thesis publishing

    March 26, 2021 at 06:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. GrvCrulk

    https://kloviagrli.com/ – home remedies viagra https://vigedon.com/ – viagra lowers blood pressure https://llecialisjaw.com/ – free samples of cialis https://jwcialislrt.com/ – cialis free trial coupon https://jecialisbn.com/ – buy generic cialis online

    March 27, 2021 at 10:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Billygem

    zithromax for sale 500 mg: zithromax zithromax 250mg
    http://zithromaxproff.com/# zithromax prescription online

    March 30, 2021 at 05:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. BrfgMile

    https://ljcialishe.com/ – buy cialis canadian https://cialisvja.com/ – what does cialis look like https://viagraonlinejc.com/ – how expensive is viagra https://viagratx.com/ – viagra connect cvs https://buycialisxz.com/ – cost of generic cialis

    April 1, 2021 at 12:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Bangalore Escort

    I guess the most important thing is to steer clear away from spam moderators by putting comment that actually MATTER. Anyways, I’ll be using these blogs. Thank you so much!

    https://independentmodeldaisy.com

    April 3, 2021 at 02:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. FbshEncox

    https://thesisacloud.com/ – thesis writing writing a thesis paper doctoral thesis defense phd thesis help

    April 3, 2021 at 14:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. AbgcEncox

    https://thesiswritingtob.com/ – thesiswritingtob.com writing phd thesis thesiswritingtob.com research thesis

    April 8, 2021 at 05:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Ekonomia Produkcja

    Dziękuję Ci za ten post, jest profesjonalny i rzeczowy. Czy ten blog udostępnia kanał RSS?

    http://www.ekonom.xmc.pl

    April 8, 2021 at 07:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Ekonomia Gospodarka

    Czesto szuka sie sensu zycia przy pomocy bezsensownych metod. – Aldous Huxley

    http://www.ekonom.xmc.pl

    April 10, 2021 at 03:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Cypr Podatki

    Resources these as the one you mentioned here will be incredibly useful to myself! Ill publish a hyperlink to this web page on my individual blog. Im positive my site visitors will come across that quite advantageous.

    http://www.taxes.xmc.pl

    April 10, 2021 at 20:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. AbdgEncox

    canadian pharmacies without prescriptions https://canadianeve21.com/ best canadian prescription prices

    April 22, 2021 at 17:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. GvdbCrulk

    rx tadalafil http://boxtadafil.com/ – tadalafil 60 mg dosage iron dragon tadalafil

    April 22, 2021 at 21:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. FbsfEncox

    Lamivudin (Cipla Ltd) http://uspharmus.com/ Trimox

    April 22, 2021 at 23:44 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

Leave a Reply to Filozofia Poglady


 

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.