The Biological Drives Behind Some Holiday Food Traditions

Yesterday, my man and I celebrated Steak & BJ Day ~ with a few modifications. We do not really celebrate Valentine’s Day. (I am, after all, a “curvy man.”) Our Steak & BJ Day rather combines the two holidays, perhaps… It begins with me going down on him, pleasuring him orally, as foreplay before the big event ~ which, yes, is vaginal sex. After that, we eat steak. Simple? Yes. Delightful? Absolutely.

And it’s not necessarily reserved for March 14th, either.

But this whole idea of food and holidays has me thinking of a recent study.

This study showed that when women found themselves with an attractive male, they opted for healthy foods ~ yet men exposed to an attractive woman opted for expensive drinking and dining options.

This does not surprise me one bit. (Not many of these sex or attraction studies do, frankly.)

It makes absolute sense to me that women faced with a potential attractive male mate would be thinking about their health. And not because I believe that women are trying to “be skinny” or otherwise trying to conform to media portrayals of female bodies [insert rant here]. Such conclusions are tedious. Not to mention that making such an assumption is a big leap; “healthy” doesn’t equate “skinniness.” Let’s stick with the notion of health, shall we.

Most of the things we consider to be signs of female beauty are actually flags for fertility. It’s only natural ~ part of our species biological imperative ~ for women to be considering their health when presented with a potential mate.

Similarly, men, who have identified a genetic beauty worthy of insemination would be interested in showcasing their status as excellent providers ~ a la sparing no expense in providing a large display of food and drink.

Again, you can call it sexist, but there’s science and biological drives behind it all.

So is it any wonder then, that women would want men to display their monetary protector/provider status from time to time ~ including honoring anniversaries and “made up Hallmark holidays” like Valentine’s Day?

Here’s a tip, menfolk: If you want her to be more sexually available, try showing her what a big providing man you are. It could be food or chocolates; it could be jewelry. It could be a car. But gifts are always good. Even if Especially if it’s not even a holiday.

 

You Can Call It “Sexism”, If You Want…

gold-diggers-of-1933Women are attracted to power and wealth, as this means good protectors and providers for offspring. Men are attracted to beauty as it is a sign of health and fertility, leading to off spring. You can consider these facts to be sexist, but there’s biological hard-wiring behind them ~ and science to back it up.

If you’ve been wondering just how this impacts dating, including online dating, there’s a study for that too. And this new study, published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, also backs up the biological facts we’d often like to dismiss as superficial and sexist.

As Justin Lehmiller reports for Playboy:

Evolutionary theorists have long argued that men and women look for different things when choosing a long-term partner because they face different reproductive costs. The basic argument is that men tend to look for women who are healthy and fertile, while women tend to look for men who can provide. As a result, men tend to be a little more focused on looks and women on status and wealth.

The researchers therefore predicted that online personal ads placed by women would receive more replies to the extent that they emphasized physical attractiveness. Likewise, they expected ads placed by men to receive more replies if they focused on professional success.

The researchers correctly predicted the study’s findings:

As expected, the women presented as thin and attractive received significantly more replies from male suitors than women who were described any other way.

Women presented as successful and ambitious received the second highest number of replies. Their response rate was significantly higher than the sensual/passionate and generic ads, which were essentially tied for last. Thus, both good looks and success increased the likelihood of a woman getting a reply.

What about the guys?

As expected, men who were described as successful received the vast majority of all responses, with the remainder being split about evenly between the attractive, hopelessly romantic and generic ads. Among men, success was the only trait linked to an increased likelihood of getting responses from women.

…These results tell us that men and women seem to respond to different things online, with ads emphasizing women’s looks and men’s accomplishments being the most successful.

Image Credits: Scene from Gold Diggers Of 1933.

Hetero Men Complain About Sexual Rejection From Women. Really?

Over at Eros Blog, Bacchus has an interesting discussion about a point raised in Adrienne West’s post at Thought Catalog. In West’s “true sex story”, she writes about her discovery that men like porn because it’s “a world free of rejection” ~ specifically, a world free of sexual rejection. (And not the sort some men enjoy.) West also claimed to discover that she herself was part of her boyfriend’s problem, if not entirely to blame for it:

With me, (and he loved me very much, he clarified), he had to woo me, constantly. Sex was never a given, and this is a biological difference between men and women. He was trying, all the time, to make me think of him sexually and to initiate sex and even my higher-than-average female libido couldn’t keep up with him. As loving and as open and assuring as I was towards him, he was still getting rejected by me in this way, often (and even more often if he would be honest about how frequently he wanted sex).

West, a self-described “maximizer” who likes to make to-do lists to accomplish her goals, then sets about to tackle this as a self-help or relationship repair task ~ a la 50 Shades style. Her task is to live the life of a sexual submissive who is always ready, willing, and available for sex with her Master, err, boyfriend.

Honestly, from there on the whole thing rather bored me; the lessons were over and the “Dear Penthouse” style erotica was on. Her relationship was saved by being sexually submissive ~ her gift in return, the orgasms he gave her. Whatever. I’m so over the “We won’t let little things like jobs, bills, or life get in the way of our sex lives!” fantasy. Anyway, like Bacchus at Eros Blog, I think there is some more interesting stuff to discuss here.

West’s earlier surprise discovery of porn being the rejection-free choice for men has Bacchus making a discovery of his own. After tipping his cap respectfully to the very necessity of women having to (often carefully) reject male sexual advances, Bacchus writes:

[I]t had never occurred to me that this project of ongoing rejection could become so automatic, as with breathing, that a woman might cease to be aware of doing it. And yet this author was, she says, surprised to learn how often she was rejecting her boyfriend.

That surprise? It surprises me.

What surprises me? That anyone would be surprised that such rejection could ~ and can ~ become as automatic as breathing.

But apparently lots of folks, male & female, are surprised, hurt, or confused by how often women reject male sexual advances & invitations. So let’s talk about it as a general issue.

Yeah, I know; rejection hurts. But you want to talk about rejection? We women face harassment, stalking, rape culture, and rampant misogyny (like right at West’s post; look at this gem of a comment from Bob and his cohort too) ~ and that’s just on the Internet alone. (FYI, the Internet is real.) Our wardrobes are discussed, controlled, and stigmatized because men can’t control themselves. We can’t walk down the street without being harassed. (But that is probably safer than being at home in many cases; because one in three women will be raped, beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime AND the majority of such gender-based violence is committed by someone the woman knows.)

women like men only cheaperOh, and at work? We are harassed there too. Plus, we are paid less, have glass ceilings, and otherwise are forced to wear pink collars and/or live in the pink ghetto. And the media contributes to and reflects such things as well. (On the other hand, if & when we do manage to bring home more bacon, y’all suffer from erectile dysfunction? Isn’t that a rejection of us?)

This isn’t even a complete list & I’m exhausted.

Now imagine living it.

And think about that the next time you want to complain that you have to “woo your woman constantly”.

Just what do you think it feels like to be rejected as “not equal” every single minute of every single day? Shouldn’t it come as no surprise that a woman would be on automatic pilot for delivering rejection? Instead, you should be amazed at how subtly & inoffensively she delivers it .

Because if we thought about it at all, we’d say, “Oh, I’m sorry I won’t automatically agree to let you thrust & ejaculate inside the very thing that keeps me from claiming that 30 cents on a dollar to be equal with you in the workplace ~ the very thing that you want to regulate and control with your laws & social commentary ~ and have you complain about your lot yet!”

f-u

[If you find this all unnecessarily angry, the foam-flecked rantings of a “man-hating feminist“, well, then you just haven’t put any thought into the facts. Otherwise you’d be angry over the same things too. I mean, how can you not be? Sure, maybe you’re angry, you deny & deflect, become outraged that you’re not one of those guys; but you aren’t dealing with the facts. Frankly, you can’t handle the truth.]

You-cant-handle-the-truth

But let’s just pretend for a minute that all things were equal, that women were paid the same as men & had the same job opportunities, that we had the same economic rights and autonomy over our bodies that men enjoy simply for having a penis, and that women were not continually harassed sexually, so that at the end of the day we weren’t covered in some sort of cultural residue that left us let’s say petulant at the idea of letting someone ~ even those we love and lust after ~ enter our bodies. (Yes, even if that should lead to orgasms; we can do that ourselves, and in less time, thankyouverymuch. That, and male privilege, are reasons why we might fake orgasm; another rejection if you find out, I know.) Let’s put all those real things (and the rant) aside and look at another issue: Biology.

slut-shaming-rape-culture-455x255Let’s not pretend there aren’t biological differences. Not just some sort of leftover biological imperative in terms of species survival (one that Dr. Whiplash mentions but eschews in favor of the “extraordinary lives” women will leave if they buck the system and fuck their men; a whole other slut-shaming issue related to the above cultural issues), but let’s talk about the very real matter of differences in hormones.

Dudes, your hormones (primarily, anyway) cycle every 24 hours; that, and not your love for us, is why you get a woody every morning. On the other hand, our cycle of hormones is a bit more complicated and lengthy than that; the result is that we are on far less of a “daily horny schedule” than men. And that’s before we get into realities like the processes of pregnancy and menopause. We don’t just age and change to disrupt your fantasies and desires; we ride the wild wave of our biology because that’s fucking life. Literally.

In a civilized culture, where humanity & good citizenry is defined largely by our ability to override our animal nature, hormones still have their way with us. Even amidst our culture wars and culture lag, they play their role. But, romance aside, if culture is to override such base things as biology, then something desperately needs to be done in terms of equality and the messages being sent to and about women.

And that includes complaints and surprise that we reject sexual advances as automatically as we do. They come across as bullying*, really.

Yup, you can go enjoy your rejection-free porn now. (Hell, the good stuff works for women too!) And then you can take a serious look at the big picture, try to handle the truth, and work for change.

UPDATE Clarification: Use of the term “bullying” has been objected to in terms of one’s surprise at our automatic rejection, including by Bacchus himself. To clarify, I mean that vocalizing surprise and complaints to your female partner in response to her rejection comes across as bullying & whining about the situation in order to get her to capitulate & give into your sexual desires. My use of the term bullying does not apply to conversation about the subject as we were all doing here. Nor does it apply to general discussion with your partner that are not based in the heat of the rejection moment. Discussions are not bullying. I think they are needed, and I applaud us for having them. Even if the facts do require some heat as we’re discussing the hot truth. I do hope that makes things clearer.

your-rejection-of-my-sexual-advances-over-the-years-has-left-me-lamely-attempting-it-through-e-cards-

Male Hormones: Hard Heads In Cooler Weather Prevail?

OK, now that October has passed, I’ve been thinking again about winter romance and what drives it

For the past few years, there’s been more of a focus on changes in male hormones ~ cycles, if you will. And the most fascinating (and debated) one is the notion of a yearly hormone cycle for men. Most of these articles reference specific studies and works by Jed Diamond, PhD, LCSW. Here Diamond briefly explains this yearly male hormone cycle:

In studies conducted in the United States, France, and Australia, it was found that men secrete their highest levels of sex hormones in October and their lowest levels in April. There was a 16% increase in testosterone levels from April to October and a 22% decline from October to April. Interestingly, although Australia, for example, is in its springtime when France and the United States are in their autumn, men in all three parts of the world showed a similar pattern of peaks in October and valleys in April.

Interesting, no?

men find women more attractive in winter Snow Nudes Alexey NikolaevEven if it (somewhat?) seems to contradict the other studies discussed above (repeated link), I would still argue the biological drive for sex increases during winter, that men find women hotter in cooler weather, is better for better survival of our young.

…At least until you get to that part about Australia.

I’m neither a scientist nor a researcher; but then neither is Diamond and he writes books on this stuff.

Like him, I can read a study. But the thing is, while these studies are mentioned, no one seems to point to the actual studies themselves so that I can read them.

And I want to read them.

Because what I really want to know is this: Did the study in Australia include men from the native population?

Native peoples biology would be more inherently connected to the seasons of the land than the descendants of colonization. And if our bodies (appendix, gall bladder, wisdom teeth, etc.) still haven’t caught up to a agricultural revolution that took place thousands of years ago, well, I doubt hormonal rhythms have caught up in a few hundred years.

Image Credits: Snow Nudes Alexey Nikolaev.

What’s Behind Winter Romance?

hard-on heart on winter romanceDid you know that there’s an official “wedding engagement season”? Yup, in spite of the fact that it pisses Jezebel off (They get pissed off over the weirdest stuff.), roughly 40% of proposals occur between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day.

Many people like to credit the busy winter holiday season, with its mix of family togetherness and men too cheap to spring for a gift along with a ring, for the peak in “the wedding engagement season”. And I’m not the only one who says so:

Families are together, sparkly lights abound and people are in the mood to unwrap things.

And if a guy’s gonna pop the question eventually, he might as well use the opportunity to avoid shopping for a holiday gift and kill two birds with — ahem — one stone.

But maybe there’s another factor: cold weather.

A recent study (2008) revealed that heterosexual men are more sexually attracted to the female form in winter; Dr. Justin J. Lehmiller reports:

In this experiment, 114 heterosexual men between the ages of 16 and 53 rated the attractiveness of several women every three months over the course of about one year. Specifically, once per season, each man was asked to rate two sets of photos that appeared in a random order: one showing only women’s faces, and the other showing women’s bodies. The body photos consisted of either women in revealing bathing suits or close-up shots of women’s breasts.

The researchers found that men’s attraction to women’s faces did not change during the course of the year; however, their attraction to women’s bodies did, such that men reported being more attracted to women’s bodies and breasts during the winter months compared to the summer months. Furthermore, men who were in the same romantic relationship over the course of the entire study reported similar fluctuations in how attracted they were to their partner. Specifically, guys tended to think that their partners were hotter in the winter than in the summer.

Lehmiller also provides other studies which seem to back up these findings, and speculates as to why this may occur:

Think of it this way: because everyone is showing a lot of skin during summer, the bar for what qualifies as “hot” is set higher; in the winter, skin is rarely seen, so it becomes more novel and arousing to look at. The fact that facial ratings didn’t change supports this idea. Given that people tend to see faces all year round, the standard of facial comparison is always pretty constant. An alternative possibility is that men’s hormone levels fluctuate seasonally, and perhaps this is what accounts for their differing patterns of attraction.

What I find most remarkable is that the biological reasons for this are missing from this discussion of seasonal human behavior.

An obvious place to begin is with all the fertility discussions surrounding keeping a man’s junk cool in order to increase testosterone, sperm count, and sperm mobility. Perhaps the natural “keeping it cool” factor of winter weather is part of a greater biological design for species survival.

erotic nude woman in snowWhether you are talking about foraging or farming, it makes sense that our early ancestors would have less movement, less work, during the colder months. Since human offspring require such a long maturity time, hunkering down in one space makes it easier and safer to take care of vulnerable infants. This way, more children (and their mothers) are likely to survive and be strong enough to thrive when warmer weather increases work and mobility.

Males being more in the mood for sex during such colder weather would lead not only to the creation of more offspring due to arrive at the start of the next cold season, the optimal time to raise them, but such intimacies (sex and continued proximity) would better assist in forming relationship bonds as well.

So maybe it’s simply a biological imperative, a drive that comes with cold weather, which explains why hetero men, despite all their complaints, are so willing to put up with Valentine’s Day. If Saint Valentine had been assigned a date for his feast in, say, June, perhaps the so-called “Hallmark holiday” would not have fared as well.

 

Are men the cause of menopause?

See on Scoop.itSex History

Menopause, in which women stop menstruating and become infertile, has been a long-standing puzzle for biologists: Why would evolution have led to a trait that essentially reduces the reproductive potential of an animal? Most other animals don’t go through menopause (although killer whales do). Even chimpanzees, humans’ closest living relatives, seem to reproduce into old age in the wild, and males even prefer older females.

It may all haveto do with men’s evolutionary desires to pass on genetic traits as quickly as possible.

 

 
See on www.mnn.com.

See also: I May Hate My Period, But…

When Women Pursue Sex, Even Men Don’t Get It

See on Scoop.itLet’s Get Sex Positive

Female animals don’t just enjoy sex, they are not shy about pursuing it. Bergner’s new book is a reexamination of everything we think we know about sex and female biology. An excerpt in The New York Times Magazine two weeks ago explained how, contrary to long-standing cultural beliefs that women are turned on by stability and emotional intimacy, long-term monogamy actually saps women’s sex drives. A German researcher “shows women and men in new relationships reporting, on average, more or less equal lust for each other. But for women who’ve been with their partners between one and four years, a dive begins — and continues, leaving male desire far higher.” We fundamentally misunderstand women’s lust, says Bergner. And not just when it comes to married women.

Gracie Passette‘s insight:

Biology & sociology of the birds and bees ~ because humans are animals.

See on nymag.com

Know The Fundamentals: Sex & Relationship Facts Rant

I’m back from vacation, and, reading the news, I guess I’m not as rested as I thought; I’ve got more Grrr than Prrr.

I’m not sure what bothers me more: people freaking out over Fifty Shades of Grey ~ more precisely the idea of women liking to be submissive, or the stereotype of men as biologically designed to cheat. (Those links are just tips of icebergs I have no patience to fully research and document to the depths for you; feel free to do so yourself.)

On the subject of the former, I’ve not read Fifty Shades of Grey. Or even bothered to listen to Charlize Theron and Kristen Stewart read from it. But since when do the acts, opinions, and erotic dreams of characters in books matter so much?

The book’s popularity is much based in love of the forbidden ~ both the sexual taboos and the feminist ire ~ as it is actual interest of men and women interested in the fantasy of female sexual slavery, sadism, etc. Some of the fantasies will be sated just be reading; others will act on them too. Yes, there are people, female people, who love being dominated sexually and punished physically for erotic and romantic satisfaction. Like desiring acts of chivalry, this does not make them any less feminist. Nor does it make their male partners misogynistic bastards.

We can all have sexual fantasies; we can even act on them. Proper good and feminist or not. The brain and the genitals want what they want. So long as no one is (truly) hurt, who gives a fuck? …Well, a partner should literally give a fuck, of course. But otherwise, it’s nobody’s damn business.

The range of human (and emotional) sexuality goes deeper than orientation and gender identification ~ something some of us seem to be struggling with more now than ever before. *heavy sigh* But get over it people. Face the facts. If you need help, I, of course, recommend, our book on BDSM.

As for the “men are wired to cheat” mythos, well, I told you to watch Why is Sex Fun? on the Discovery Channel.

There’s plenty of biological evidence ~ real science, y’all, to prove that human beings are designed and rewarded for pairing and bonding. It’s not just some purely Victorian construct of romance, perpetuated by love songs, that keeps us searching for our Mr. and Ms. Right. We were created, as biological animals, not only to “cum” together and generate offspring, but to come together emotionally and support one another for the survival of ourselves, our offspring, our species. This is achieved by everything from orgasms which physically direct sperm to eggs (both male and females do that, by the way), to the reactions which bond us not only chemically but in memory.

We are in fact wired to find good mates and rewarded to stay with them.

Even if there are no offspring. (Hear that, heteros?)

This is why we suffer loneliness.

Yes, there is a question as to whether the reward systems and bonds between mates are designed to last an entire adult lifetime; even if greatly assisted by current cultural supports/expectations. However, there is nothing to biologically suggest cheating.

Cheating is a betrayal; it is not the drive or biological imperative to foster a greater number of viable offspring. Cheating is destruction. It is a lack of respect for biology and souls.

Perpetuating such mythinformation that a man needs to cheat is bullshit. It’s just as damaging to men as it is to women. It enslaves us, and not in that good kind of kinky way.

All this sort of crap sets up humankind to fail. And I don’t just mean the breeding aspect. Whatever our gender, orientation, cultural and financial backgrounds, religious beliefs or pleasurable erotic fantasies, we all have to get along somehow. Understanding and acceptance of differences which ultimately have no harm is the real fundamental approach.