A couple of great pieces on the differences between men and women. First, new research on how men and women experience sexual desire.
According to the sequence put forward in the mid-20th century by the pioneering sex researchers William H. Masters, Virginia E. Johnson and Helen Singer Kaplan, a sexual encounter begins with desire, a craving for sex that arises of its own accord and prods a person to seek a partner. That encounter then leads to sexual arousal, followed by sexual excitement, a desperate fumbling with buttons and related clothing fasteners, a lot of funny noises, climax and resolution (I will never drink Southern Comfort at the company barbecue again).
A plethora of new findings, however, suggest that the experience of desire may be less a forerunner to sex than an afterthought, the cognitive overlay that the brain gives to the sensation of already having been aroused by some sort of physical or subliminal stimulus â€” a brush on the back of the neck, say, or the sight of a ripe apple, or wearing a hard hat on a construction site and being surrounded by other men in similar haberdashery.
In a series of studies at the University of Amsterdam, Ellen Laan, Stephanie Both and Mark Spiering demonstrated that the bodyâ€™s entire motor system is activated almost instantly by exposure to sexual images, and that the more intensely sexual the visuals, the stronger the electric signals emitted by the participantsâ€™ so-called spinal tendious reflexes. By the looks of it, Dr. Laan said, the body is primed for sex before the mind has had a moment to leer.