Jun 20 2005

Science Proves Women Are Different From Men

Orgasm_real Orgasm_fake
Only her radiologist knows for sure. Left: real. Right: fake.

A recent Dutch study comparing (heterosexual) female and male brain activity during orgasm is today’s hottt sexxx headline at the major news outlets. Surprise! The study found “striking differences”! Surprise again! Though the research includes findings for both sexes, the focus of the reportage is on the bizarro female results, with the inevitable conclusion that the groundbreaking 411 will be useful to men in honing their mad fucking skillz.

God forbid a study of female orgasm should fail to add to the male repertoire!

In skimming Google on the subject, I found that in 5 out of 9 news articles women’s brains are variously described as “shutting down” or “switching off” during orgasm. The ultimate male fantasy–the brain-dead sexbot–vindicated by science at last! Of course this terminology is both inaccurate and absurd, since an actual brain shutdown would necessarily result in loss of consciousness, if not death. I don’t know about you, but if I ever lost consciousness during sex it was due to boredom, not orgasm.

[What the study actually found was that parts of the female brain that process the fear reaction were deactivated during orgasm. The researchers’ astonishing deduction? That “if you are fearful, it is very hard to have sex.” Of course, no headline read “Women Can’t Come When They Fear For Their Very Lives.”]

The remaining 4 articles I read did not omit to emphasize the weird unfathomability of women’s brain function, but added their particular delight in the intelligence that a brain scan can “spot women faking orgasms.”  Gotcha!

“Women can imitate orgasm quite well,” quoth one of the male researchers, “but there is nothing really happening in the brain.”

You wish, asshole.

The study failed to address the connection between fear and orgasm faking.


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  1. rhondda

    So it only goes to prove that an orgasm for a woman is a totally body experience. Doesn’t just happen in the brain guys. There are other factors to consider. Well, perhaps emotions are not just in the head. Golly, what a concept.
    What I want to know is what woman in her right mind would be hooked up to a brain scan while having sex? And how many women agreed to do this? Where does love come into this “scientific” experiment? Can a women fake love? Is a faked orgasm really a sign of not wanting to hurt feelings or is it something else? Yes, I need to know this.

  2. Ron Sullivan

    What I want to know is what woman in her right mind would be hooked up to a brain scan while having sex?

    I wondered about that too. Suggests some odd fetish, doesn’t it? And yeah, sample size — do the brains of people with different fetishes differ in PET-visible reactions? How about multiple orgasms? Are the second, third, fourth… different? I mean, they feel different.

    Tsk. So many unanswered questions.

  3. Pseudo-Adrienne

    […]“but there is nothing really happening in the brain.”

    And when women say something like this about men’s brains we’re called “male-bashers” or “man-haters.” I actually concur with your criticism of the ridiculous “brain-dead sexbot” and the male sex-fantasy tripe, you picked up on from these researchers and articles. The “ultimate” and pornographic male fantasy always seems to portray the female as some unthinking “pleasure vessel” and a mere sex-receptacle, whose sole purpose is to sexuall gratify the male. There’s pretty much nothing else to her. She’s just supposed to howl and scream in ecstasy, and validate the guy’s sense of “awesome” virility and manhood. Just like an obedient robot–reinforce their master’s sense of superiority. Any guesses as to what the sex of the first sex-partner-robot will be?

    Doesn’t just happen in the brain guys. There are other factors to consider.

    Yes, factors such as guys giving two shits about their female partner rather than focusing all of their attention on their dicks (or just themselves). How about guys asking their [female] partners what they want or learning about the mechanisms of the female body–rather than relying on porn that mostly nourishes the “ever so submissive female sexbot” male fantasy.

    What I want to know is what woman in her right mind would be hooked up to a brain scan while having sex?

    Maybe it’s some kind of new sex-fad. You know, I guess there are some people who are kinky like that, and want to be hooked up to technical equipment during sex.

  4. Crys T

    Re the brain “shutting down” crap: well WTF??? I don’t even buy the bit about the fear part shutting down. Well, maybe if it’s actually the bit that controls the body’s outward physiological fear responses, but I know I’ve sure as hell felt fear or something damned close to it during orgasms.

    And I’m also capable of coming and entertaining coherent thougts at the same time. Guess I must be some sort of freak, huh?

  5. Anonymous

    This is what happens when the people who are making connections between actual brain activity and a supposed physial manifestation actually lack any connection between their brain activity and the resulting manifestation of making a pronouncement about it.

  6. Twisty

    Nothing spoils a witty look-how-stupid-you-are zinger like an unfortunate spelling mishap. Rotten luck, chump!

  7. AndiF

    Well, I’m the chump (the anonymous posting and mispelling were both accidental) but I wasn’t talking about you. I was talking about the guys writing the articles. So I definitey misfired and will hang my head in shame.

  8. AndiF

    and there’s yet another typo — that’s ‘definitely misfired’

  9. Twisty

    Ha! And here I was patting myself on the back for having so cleverly dispatched the troll. Sorry!

    You know about that Law of Internet Dynamics that says “any post that points out a spelling or grammatical error will itself contain a spelling or grammatical error”? Ain’t it always the way?

  10. AndiF

    I have only myself to blame for the confusion on the comment but the typos I blame entirely on my 8th grade typing teacher who kept making me type “I will work hard in typing class to improve my typing and not my communication skills” which is of course the only damn sentence I can type with speed and accuracy.

  11. Chris

    Strange that the articles don’t note that the studies of men’s brains during orgasm also showed significant deactivation in certain areas (the amygdala and adjoining structures).

    Of course, the deactivation is designed to increase the euphoria, by allowing the activation in other areas (e.g., the cerebellum, in men) to dominate. So deactivation, in this case, is a good thing. The more the better (at least where fear-invoking areas of the brain are concerned).

    One more thing: deactivation doesn’t mean the brain area shuts down. It simply means that compared to the task from which the activation in the orgasm scans were subtracted (in this case, scans taken during the pre-orgasm stimulation), there was a statistically significant decrease in activation in certain areas. Those areas were still active, and the activity in those areas can vary from person to person, and orgasm to orgasm, so you can feel fear during orgasm.

  12. Twisty

    Thanks for the clarification, Chris. And I love that word “amygdala.”

  1. Sour Duck's Link Blog

    I Blame the Patriarchy, Science Proves Women Are Different From Men

    From I Blame the Patriarchy. Content good, brilliant unexpected zinger (“You wish, asshole.”) makes it excellent.

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