I haven’t yet read this…
… but I suspect it might be a topic of conversation on the lady blogs tomorrow, if it isn’t already:
Or not. But I wished, when I glanced at the magazine today, that I’d noticed it yesterday to give you a headstart.
Yes, this article raises a lot of questions, such as: what difference, if any, exists between physical arousal and conscious desire? Can research subjects be relied upon to even report said conscious desire if it conflicts with cultural norms? Are women turned on by images of other women because our culture sexualizes female bodies more than male bodies? What about those dudes who experienced physical arousal at the sight of female children – what level of conscious desire did they report, and why didn’t reporter Daniel Bergner, who obviously knew about those studies well before he wrote this article because they are in his book, include data about their potential mind/body conflict? (Would it have messed up his thesis about women having this totally weird sexuality totally unlike the straightforward and understandable sexuality of dudes, for example?) What, precisely, is the role of socialization in any or all of these scenarios? These are questions: questions that matter!
Now, here are the questions raised by Slate’s “Human Nature” blogger, William Saletan, in his sensitively titled post, “Rape, Fantasies, and Female Arousal.”
Do some women fantasize about rape? Do some become aroused during rape? If so, what does it mean?
…If [some of the sources interviewed in the article are correct about] what these fantasies are—one person drawing her will from the will of another—what does it say about us? If derivativeness of will is, as some of these researchers posit, a fundamental difference between male and female arousal, what does it say about equality between the sexes? Are women, in this sense, inherently less autonomous?
“I feel like a pioneer at the edge of a giant forest,” Chivers said, describing her ambition to understand the workings of women’s arousal and desire. “There’s a path leading in, but it isn’t much.”
“It’s as if I were standing before the pubic thatch of a giant vagina!” Chivers did not, as far as we know, add.