How many times a day do you hear or say the statement above? In my experience, quite a bit. And typically it’s said in the context of something negative. In a class on Chinese sexuality while looking at slides of scenes depicting various positions, intended as a sort of “Kama Sutra,” one student raised what is now a classic question of feminine sexuality and the extent to which it matches that of men. “Science now indicates,” he informed us, “that women may not have as strong of a libido as men.”
Perhaps a projection of his own support of such a statement (which is entirely possible), the reaction to this proposal was predictably fitting to a room in which the ratio of women to men was at least 10:1. Mouths fell open, our professor practically pounced on him, and he grinned and dropped it. Smart.
The truth is, and I’ve discussed this before with my writing on Kinsey’s research, (thought I can’t believe I even have to say this in the first place) women are sexual creatures. The idea that female sexuality is somehow ‘less’ than, and implicitly inferior to, the male libido is a function of the cultural construction of women as mystical creatures wholly at the service of men without any desires or needs of their own. What science can tell us, then, is not that female sexuality is absent but that it is categorically different from men.
But when did sexual difference indicate something negative? Just because women might experience and act on sexual desire differently from men doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist or that it is somehow less powerful. One would think that the dozens of women sitting around the table with horrified looks on their faces would be enough to convince men (because it’s typically men who feel this way) of the existence of female sexual desire. But sadly, as a result of the inability to ‘understand’ women and likely resulting from fear of rejection or ‘failure to launch’ (so to speak), as punishment women are told that they are sexually deficient.
Women are different.
Why is that a bad thing?