Thursday, 29 December 2011

In The Ambulance

Not only are we waking up 
from 40 years of feminism, 
we're coming to 
in the ambulance
& all we can remember is 
some crazy bitch
called Solanas 
was driving.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

A Billion Wicked Thoughts

My book of the year. 
Two bold young neuroscientists have initiated a revolution in the scientific study of sexual attraction. Before Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam, the only researcher to systematically investigate sexual desires was Alfred Kinsey, who surveyed 18,000 middle-class Caucasians in the 1950s. But Ogas and Gaddam have studied the secret sexual behavior of more than a hundred million men and women around the world. Their method?  They observed what people do within the anonymity of the Internet.

There is so much in this book I want to say to the world that it makes it impossible to give a decent synopsis: you really do have to read it all. It speaks to both sexes equally, is extremely funny, & there are no dull bits - every chapter is a highpoint. I only wish I had a crate of them so I could hand them out to everyone i met. I may post more about this in the future but for now just a tiny (& woefully inadequate) sample:

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Monday, 19 December 2011

A Girl Writes What?

Two amazing videos by a new youtuber by the name of girlwriteswhat. The first an introduction to her & her reasons for writing, the second a remarkable critique of our society's attitude of male disposability. They are both excellent, but the second one in particular is absolute gold. Her blog is worth checking out, too.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The Education Gap in the UK

I have already written about how the education gap in America has widened every year since 1980 until now the number of college degrees being given out are 60/40 female to male (the exact reverse of the figures from 1970, which led to massive overhauls of the education system throughout that decade). Recently I got to wondering how the situation is closer to home. This turned out to be very easy to find out, thanks to an annual report published on the Universities UK website:

So at last count, there were approx. 800,000 full-time female enrollments to 650,000 male, & the gap between part-time enrollees is even greater, with more than half as many more females than males. Even 10 years has shown a marked increase in this gap, as the report itself points out. Not quite American levels yet but not far off & the trend is clear as to where this is heading.

Again I call out plaintively into the wilderness: if feminism really is about equality, why are they so silent over an issue they made such deafening noise about 40 years ago?

Thursday, 8 December 2011

The Biological Imperative Of Female Self-Preservation In Action Movies

Something I’ve been musing on lately is how all the ‘girls kick-ass!’ movies so common today are almost entirely created by men – Buffy, Dollhouse, Kick-Ass, Kill Bill, Salt, Sucker Punch (most misandric film of the year), all the superheroey ones... All are repeatedly sold to us as ‘empowering role models’ etc for girls & yet the strange thing is it’s not women that are writing & directing them, it’s men. These films are predominantly watched by males, too - women may like the propaganda that they can 'do everything as well as men' but for the most part would much rather be home watching Sex And The City & Twilight.

So I've been puzzling over why this should be & the conclusion I have come to is that, under the system we have had the past 30 years or so, which denigrates masculinity to such a horrific degree, male creators have resorted to using female protagonists to play out their heroic ideals, ideals which, in the real world women would not think to carry out - think of the differing expectations of women in the police, the army, the fire service, for instance.

In the classic Alien films, Ripley – the first real female action hero – sacrifices herself to save the human race in a very chivalric, Christ-like (greatest hero of western society) way. I find it hard to imagine a female author coming up with that, a woman laying down her life for strangers. It just wouldn’t occur to them. And in the past it would never have occurred to a male writer either. Women’s bodies are a precious rare resource to be protected at all costs by the men, even at the cost of the mens own lives. That sacrificial role is a male burden, & a male fantasy, but one is now rather strangely being projected onto a female canvas.

Feminism has really messed with our heads.

Although some women might be consumers of heroic violent action movies with female protagonists, they don’t choose to create them themselves. It’s not like Jane Campion or Miranda July (two directors I hold in some esteem, by the way) are working on writing & directing a female Die Hard.

I mentioned the military, fire service & police earlier not to say that no women serve in such capacity, only that they are not serving under the same expectation to sacrifice themselves in the way their male counterparts are. Around 20% of the US armed forces are female, yet 97% of the troops that died in Iraq were male, & of the 3% of the troops that died that were female, more than a third of them died from other causes than combat. It has been said (with only a little exaggeration) that serving in Iraq is one of the safest places for an American woman to work.

Same happens in the police force. Female police officers overwhelmingly take the safer day shifts & on the beat, particularly in less safe areas, are almost always accompanied by a male officer, who’s unspoken role is to protect her. This has been looked at with concern in the past as it doubles the danger for the male officer, who has no one along for the ride to protect him. Of the 4000 deaths of police officers in the UK, 3956 of them are male, while only 44 are female, even though women now make up 25% of police officers on the beat & 62% of staff.

In the fire service, again, there are female firefighters, but hardly any. In the U.S. it’s about 2%. Women are not attracted to dangerous work generally, jobs in which they daily run the risk of death. Which is why, even though women now hold the majority of all jobs in the USA today, over 95% of all deaths at work, across the board, are male.

To restate my point perhaps more clearly, I am not addressing ‘strong female characters’ but rather female characters carrying out the traditional male heroic role of willingly sacrificing themselves for the tribe, for the greater good, for everyone else.

These figures, to pretty much all intents & purposes, don’t exist (as I say, the only one I could think of was Alien's Ripley), but when they do they are written exclusively by men, who are, it seems to me, projecting their own innate set of heroic values & behaviour somewhere where they do not occur in real life. Women in the real world do not, as a very strictly observed rule, sacrifice themselves for a bunch of strangers.

There’s a case to be made about how this is because of the females greater biological imperative for self-preservation {"MustSaveMyself&MyChild"}. If there are any instances of a woman writer portraying her female protagonist sacrificing herself it will almost certainly be for an immediate family member, a younger sibling or child most likely, rarely for her husband or lover & never for the greater good of all, for wider society. This is not a condemnation, it’s just the way things are: Neither men or women see women as being expendable in that way.

The only exception to that rule I can think of is a Thelma & Louise type story where (spoiler!) two women would rather drive off a cliff than live in a world with men in it. This, however, is obviously ideologically driven & shows only how ideology can make us perform strange, unhinged, fanatical acts. Thelma & Louise’s actions are essentially self-serving – the best you could say is that they are a personal protest about how they feel about their situation in the world – they are not done to save anyone else, the people of their tribe or the world. Even their staunchest defenders would have to admit that Thelma & Louise are not sacrificing themselves to save the men of their community.

This seems to me a fundamental natural difference between the sexes, but one which, due most likely to present day PC teachings of the interchangeability of the sexes, is increasingly obscured, giving us wildly unrealistic expectations of each of the sexes roles, motives & capabilities that aren’t based upon anything in nature or our daily reality.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Two Utopias

An extract from an excellent essay by F. Roger Devlin, Sexual Utopia In Power. I recommend reading it in full, the text of which can be found here.

 Let us consider what a sexual utopia is, and let us begin with men, who are in every respect simpler.

Nature has played a trick on men: production of spermatozoa occurs at a rate several orders of magnitude greater than female ovulation (about 12 million per hour vs. 400 per lifetime). This is a natural, not a moral, fact. Among the lower animals also, the male is grossly oversupplied with something for which the female has only a limited demand. This means that the female has far greater control over mating. The universal law of nature is that males display and females choose. Male peacocks spread their tales, females choose. Male rams butt horns, females choose. Among humans, boys try to impress girls-and the girls choose. Nature dictates that in the mating dance, the male must wait to be chosen.

A man's sexual utopia is, accordingly, a world in which no such limit to female demand for him exists. It is not necessary to resort to pornography for examples. Consider only popular movies aimed at a male audience, such as the James Bond series. Women simply cannot resist James Bond. He does not have to propose marriage, or even request dates. He simply walks into the room and they swoon. The entertainment industry turns out endless unrealistic images such as this. Why, the male viewer eventually may ask, cannot life actually be so? To some, it is tempting to put the blame on the institution of marriage.

Marriage, after all, seems to restrict sex rather drastically. Certain men figure that if sex were permitted both inside and outside of marriage there would be twice as much of it as formerly. They imagined there existed a large, untapped reservoir of female desire hitherto repressed by monogamy. To release it, they sought, during the early postwar period, to replace the seventh commandment with an endorsement of all sexual activity between "consenting adults." Every man could have a harem. Sexual behavior in general, and not merely family life, was henceforward to be regarded as a private matter. Traditionalists who disagreed were said to want to "put a policeman in every bedroom." This was the age of the Kinsey Report and the first appearance of Playboy magazine. Idle male daydreams had become a social movement.

This characteristically male sexual utopianism was a forerunner of the sexual revolution but not the revolution itself. Men are incapable of bringing about fundamental changes in heterosexual relations without the cooperation-the famed "consent"-of women. But the original male would-be revolutionaries did not understand the nature of the female sex instinct. That is why things have not gone according to their plan.

What is the special character of feminine sexual desire that distinguishes it from that of men?

It is sometimes said that men are polygamous and women monogamous. Such a belief is often implicit in the writings of male conservatives: Women only want good husbands, but heartless men use and abandon them. Some evidence does appear, prima facie, to support such a view. One 1994 survey found that "while men projected they would ideally like six sex partners over the next year, and eight over the next two years, women responded that their ideal would be to have only one partner over the next year. And over two years? The answer, for women, was still one." Is this not evidence that women are naturally monogamous?

No it is not. Women know their own sexual urges are unruly, but traditionally have had enough sense to keep quiet about it. A husband's belief that his wife is naturally monogamous makes for his own peace of mind. It is not to a wife's advantage, either, that her husband understand her too well: Knowledge is power. In short, we have here a kind of Platonic "noble lie"-a belief which is salutary, although false.

It would be more accurate to say that the female sexual instinct is hypergamous. Men may have a tendency to seek sexual variety, but women have simple tastes in the manner of Oscar Wilde: They are always satisfied with the best. By definition, only one man can be the best. These different male and female "sexual orientations" are clearly seen among the lower primates, e.g., in a baboon pack. Females compete to mate at the top, males to get to the top.

Women, in fact, have a distinctive sexual utopia corresponding to their hypergamous instincts. In its purely utopian form, it has two parts: First, she mates with her incubus, the imaginary perfect man; and second, he "commits," or ceases mating with all other women. This is the formula of much pulp romance fiction. The fantasy is strictly utopian, partly because no perfect man exists, but partly also because even if he did, it is logically impossible for him to be the exclusive mate of all the women who desire him.

It is possible, however, to enable women to mate hypergamously, i.e., with the most sexually attractive (handsome or socially dominant) men. In the Ecclesiazusae of Aristophanes the women of Athens stage a coup d'état. They occupy the legislative assembly and barricade their husbands out. Then they proceed to enact a law by which the most attractive males of the city will be compelled to mate with each female in turn, beginning with the least attractive. That is the female sexual utopia in power. Aristophanes had a better understanding of the female mind than the average husband.

Hypergamy is not monogamy in the human sense. Although there may be only one "alpha male" at the top of the pack at any given time, which one it is changes over time. In human terms, this means the female is fickle, infatuated with no more than one man at any given time, but not naturally loyal to a husband over the course of a lifetime. In bygone days, it was permitted to point out natural female inconstancy. Consult, for example, Ring Lardner's humorous story "I Can't Breathe"- the private journal of an eighteen year old girl who wants to marry a different young man every week. If surveyed on her preferred number of "sex partners," she would presumably respond one; this does not mean she has any idea who it is.

An important aspect of hypergamy is that it implies the rejection of most males. Women are not so much naturally modest as naturally vain. They are inclined to believe that only the "best" (most sexually attractive) man is worthy of them. This is another common theme of popular romance (the beautiful princess, surrounded by panting suitors, pined away hopelessly for a "real" man-until, one day.etc.).

This cannot be objectively true, of course. An average man would seem to be good enough for the average woman by definition. If women were to mate with all the men "worthy" of them they would have little time for anything else. To repeat, hypergamy is distinct from monogamy. It is an irrational instinct, and the female sexual utopia is a consequence of that instinct.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Hogamus Higamus: Polyamorous Addendum

A part I realize I didn't fully address in the last post was polyamory, which I mentioned but didn't expand upon. Polyamory is another brave & respectable attempt to find a workable model for men & women to be together. If anything, I feel much closer in my personal life to that as an ideal than either polygamy or monogamy, as it is more thoughtful & open-ended, & actively looking for a better solution than just the accepted norm, but in its present form it is fundamentally flawed in that it refuses to acknowledge the differences between the sexes. The party line is still that both sexes are essentially the same, & whatever works for one will work for the other: if you don't agree you just need to work on yourself some more.

This leads to some obvious imbalances straight-off: men generally have greater need for sexual variety but also experience greater possessiveness & revulsion at their partners having sexual contact with other men. Women, on the other hand, feel more uncomfortable with their partners building emotional ties with someone else. In addition to that, encouraging women to be as promiscuous as men want to be is asking women to do something that will in the long run lower their SMV (sexual market value) & so their chances of getting what they more often want, a long-term committed relationship in which to raise a child. I don't see a way of making it work on a wider scale until these ideological positions are overhauled.

Still, as I say, I feel closer to that than what we have at present, & any system in which private morality is not driven by religious or political manipulation to be what you aren't seems to me a good thing.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Hogamus Higamus: Conclusion

Okay, let's wrap this up.

The story so far: Monogamy is not natural. It is something our particular society evolved in order to best  keep the peace between men & women & society as a whole. It doesn't work for everyone, & men, being naturally polygamous, struggle under it particularly. Women, too, lose out materially by the attractive minority of wealthy, high-status men being limited to supporting only one wife each. But institutionalized polygamy doesn't work well either, it stirs up jealousy in women & leaves the majority of men without partners.

So it's a compromise, an attempt to appease men's polygamy & women's hypergamy & still keep people from raping, pillaging & rioting in the streets. Monogamy increasingly appears to me like the kind of solution a communist state would dream up to keep the greatest number of workers docile - 'one partner per person'. Like the socialist dream itself, it deserves admiration for its generosity of spirit. But, also like socialism, it breaks down because it fails to address very real human needs that are not acknowledged under its particular ideology.

Having peered recently across the great smörgåsbord of human relationships, I find I've come away feeling a certain kind of admiration for all of them: monogamy, polygamy,  polyamory... Like most of the major political movements of the past, they are all attempts by individuals & societies to work out the best way of dealing with how to be in this world together, how to balance our own personal needs with the needs & demands of those around us. All have good things about them, all of them address some part of the puzzle, though clearly not the whole.

The central, fundamental reality underlying all of them is that men & women have to come together, one way or another, every generation, or else the human race dies off. How we do that is really just obsessing over details. What is bigger than any of those choices is that we will find each other, fuck each other silly & make some smaller versions of ourselves. Regardless of whatever pretty lies we fill our heads with, our bodies will still do what they need to do, chauffeuring our conscious minds along like passengers.

Bellita, who wrote the second post here, asked me after the last one what my solution was, & in truth, I have been trying to figure that one out myself. I'm not advocating a move to polygamy, at least not on a societal scale. And the situation we have at the moment, where men (& some women) profess to monogamy but engage secretly in promiscuity seems morally problematic & in the bigger picture just a waste of our time & energy, keeping our true wants & desires perpetually under wraps. As Gandhi famously said, "happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony" & clearly this is not possible if we are having to sneak around practicing something we are led to believe is shameful.

I think an answer of sorts begins to emerge the more we simply accept the previously stated models of basic natural 'hardwired' male & female behaviour. This requires us leaving behind the 'double standard' complaint often levelled at men by women, & particularly by feminists. But then that was based upon a fallacy, the notion that men & women are identical, entirely the same. Obviously, we're not. If we recognize that male & female behaviours are endlessly recurring & universal, then moral judgement upon those natural behaviours becomes unnecessary & foolish: We are what we are. Deal with it.

Perhaps what I've been writing here in these posts is more of an overview of our options than an advert for any one of them. I imagine that the final Answer, the final Truth, will necessarily appear paradoxical to our present way of thinking, as that is the nature of the universe. God, The Universe, The Everything - whatever you want to call it - contains everything; black & white, life & death, sunlight & shadow. Living vegetation grows out of death & waste. Good people can do terrible things. A person you hate can carry out acts of extraordinary kindness. A saint can be born from the belly of a murderer.

Rather than just putting forth another fixed position, another ideological stance, the answer, it seems to me, is much more to do with a paradigm shift in our perception of reality & our place within it.

There is REALITY - whatever this ever-unfolding phenomenon, ultimately beyond our comprehension but of which we are an intrinsic, inseparable part is - & then there are all our many little ways of interpreting & dealing with that reality. Beliefs are temporal, & they change. But the greater reality continues above & beyond whatever laws we pass, bibles we write & stories we make up about it. I guess if I'm putting any suggestion forth at all it is that we try move that underlying reality to the centre stage, make that the focus of our daily attention rather than the barely acknowledged wall we hang our (let's face it, largely delusory) beliefs upon.

This applies in every aspect of life. For example, music is a human constant: all human societies we know of have it, the form it takes is really of much less interest or importance than the fact that it exists at all, is unique to humanity & is universal. Whether it is nose-flutes or sitars, wah-wah guitars or flugelhorns, jungle drums or drum & bass, the bottom line is all the peoples of the world make music, & always have. That is the greater reality: the music is the constant, not the form the music takes. And we can understand & judge the meaning & worth of any music better from that higher vantage point than from any fixed position within it.

Religion too, is a human constant, & like music, is as old as humanity itself - older, in fact (neanderthal graves from 100,000 years ago show evidence of ritual burial & a belief in some sort of survival of the soul into an afterlife). In the widest sense it doesn't matter which one you choose, you are still following a unique & essentially human path by choosing it. Your resistance to that as an idea will be directly in proportion to how much you are invested in a particular brand of that religious experience. If you are deeply Christian, you will find that a hard pill to swallow, as will a Muslim, a Jew, or an Atheist.

Let's try apply this to a subject closer to the matter in hand, like the age of consent, an issue relating to men & women which often provokes heated debate &, more often than not, shaming language directed at men.

At 16, 17, years of age, girls bodies are, biologically speaking, at the height of their fertility, & in the best physical shape they will ever be in to give birth. Their bodies are still supple & elastic enough to spring back quickly after childbirth with the fewest health risks. As we know, men want youth & fertility. Nature wants them to want youth & fertility: most of what we universally regard as sign of female attractiveness are simply indicators of that. All the signals of health, youth, strength & vitality are nature's way of attracting males attention to indicate they are now ripe for childbearing.

So, that's the reality.  And if we look at all the thousands of human societies we know of, both now & in the past, we see that it is entirely universal: There is no society in which fortysomething women with a long & varied sexual history are the most highly sought after sexual partners. If we can calmly & dispassionately look at the situation we must accept that this is nature, this is simply how it is.

But, to have a society where all men are only involving themselves with 16-year old girls would be a nightmare, & terribly destructive to the infrastructure of society, of family, of the bonds that hold us all together. For a start, most girls at 16 really don't know poo from clay, & are in no position to make such enormous decisions about the future of themselves, their child or the boy or man they are with. In addition to that, it would leave the rest of the women - & even those same women - in a much worse position than they are now. It would also mean that all the men would be fighting over a tiny proportion of the available women. So we can look at that situation for what it is, & openly accept that reality, yet choose to work towards maintaining the infrastructure of a society where women are cared for & valued for something more than just breeding.

But doing that doesn't change the reality. And it doesn't obscure that reality for ideological reasons. It doesn't require us to lie to ourselves or each other, only to act responsibly in the face of it.

In Spain the age of consent is 13. Does this mean the Spanish people are a race of evil paedophiles? In Albania & Austria the age is 14, Germany too. And Hungary. And Italy. And Portugal. In Greece it's 15. In some parts of America it's as high as 18, though a hundred years or so ago it was as low as 12. In Mexico it's still 12. In Britain it used to be 12, way back in the day but was lowered to 10 in the 16th century...

Which of these is correct? Lined up like that, doesn't it become obvious that none of them are? And that, in fact, none of them could be?

The legality of sex is fluid, malleable. But in our search for truth, our personal morality has to be above the laws of the day. Just because something's against The Law doesn't mean, in the greater scheme of things, that it's wrong. And just because something's legal doesn't make it good & beneficial. Wouldn't it be better to simply accept that different people mature sexually at different speeds? Would it not be the most sensible & humane thing to try have that acknowledged to some degree in the eyes of the law?

A shared morality is essential for any human society to continue, but the details of morality are also changeable, depending on where (& when) you are living. It's hard for people with strong political or religious beliefs to understand this but it needs to be accepted if one is going to progress to any sort of wider understanding of the world & larger truths. After all, a polygamous society is no more or less moral than a monogamous one. And in the larger scheme of things they are barely different at all.

So thought  must be given to how we can arrive at a shared view of beneficial acts. We could attempt to work towards the development of a morality which acknowledges universally recurring constants as reality but seeks to choose the best, highest, noblest way of dealing with that reality for the greatest number of people, openly & above board. Then, if some of us fall short of that ideal - when some of us fall short of that ideal - we can hope to be treated with compassion rather than judgement & condemnation, because we know as a society that our 'flaws' are a simply a part of the way we are, & we are not enshrining fantasy into our moral beliefs.


Okay, another one:

Whenever I hear of women complaining 'why doesn't he want to commit? Why doesn't he want to settle down?' I always think the answer is actually blatantly obvious: it's because he's not a woman. A woman is driven to settle down & feather the nest. A man isn't. Again, this can be explained by simple biology, it doesn't require belief in any political ideology or holy book to make it make sense, we can verify it with our own eyes. We don't demonize women for this biological imperative. In fact we make it the basis of our society's sexual morality.

Likewise, a man is driven to briefly be with as many women as he can be. That is his role. It's been estimated that a man in his lifetime could father up to around 50,000 children, without necessarily ever meeting any of them. A woman, on the other hand, could have at the every most, what? Twenty? Thirty? (Ouch). And generally speaking women do know they've given birth.... This huge difference in the amount of investment makes women put far more consideration into their choice of sexual partner. Again, there is no good or bad here, this is simply nature - God, the universe, whatever - working through us.

You can't apply female biological imperatives to men. Because men don't have them. Men have different ones. A problem we have had in our society for a long time (even before feminism) is that men fulfilling their half of the equation & following their natural impulses are judged to be exhibiting not male behaviour, but bad behaviour. However, it must be said that there are more immediately obvious ill-effects accompanying unchecked male promiscuity than the female drive to settle down. Men created civilization, women created society. Women are the glue that holds the tribe together. Men are the architects, the builders of all the concrete things we see. Without either of these contributions we'd have nothing. The men would never have stopped fighting long enough to accomplish anything great, & the women would still be living in mud huts with leaky roofs & no plumbing.


As I said before, the difference between monogamy & polygamy, from a higher vantage point, is actually quite small. Monogamy & polygamy both entail marriage, after all - under both regimes the men do not just fuck & run, but stay around to support the woman through childbirth & beyond, even though there is far less immediate benefit for them than for women. For that, the countless men of the past deserve our respect & gratitude too, along with all the fathers out there still, doing what needs to be done with ever-decreasing reward in a world which punishes & demeans them at every turn.

The choice is not between polygamy & monogamy but between widespread societally responsible behaviour & serving only ones own interests. Women need to practice this just as much as men -  'personal empowerment' & entitled princess behaviours are just as much of a threat to society as men's unchecked promiscuity. And goddamn it, it would be nice to live in a world which points that out just once in awhile.

We're one big tribe, one big family. The banks & the governments & the high-street stores might not want you to remember that, but we are. And we need to look out for one another a little better than we often do.

I hope this has been an interesting journey of sorts. I guess if I had to restate the main point again it would be this: It is better to accept reality & build our moralities - sexual or otherwise - around acting responsibly in the face of it, rather than project ideologically-based fantasies onto the much bigger, messier, ever-changing living world of green vegetation & flesh & blood that we have always lived in & always will.

Here endeth the lesson.


Friday, 4 November 2011

Higamus Hogamus (Part 3)

In the first of these anthropological lectures on 21st century homo sapiens mating behaviour I spent a lot of time speaking about male sexuality, so this one I'll try focus more on the female side of the mountain, the innate female characteristics we need to factor in when speaking of male/female relationships & our present morality.

Human females are biologically structured for monogamous pairings, at least for the short term - what has been called 'serial monogamy': perhaps in reality four or five years. This is most likely due to the unusually slow development of human young; Monogamy, after all, is extremely rare in the rest of the animal kingdom, with the exception of a number of species of birds. And there it exists for a similar reason: there are eggs needing sitting on & waiting to be done until they hatch. The male must go forth & find food while the female sits at home & feathers her nest. In the human world, infants are helpless for years, rather than a few days or weeks, as it is with most other animals. But by around the fourth year the child can fend for itself a little more & the woman has more freedom of movement, she can work again & go about her life without nursing her child constantly. Then that urge can safely leave, once her & her child's survival is no longer threatened.

But women are also hypergamous, meaning they are usually looking for a mate of equal or higher status, be that socially, financially, physically (strength or attractiveness) or intellectually. One way or another, most women will not 'marry down'.

Biologically, this makes a lot of sense. For all of human history, at least up until the advent of the pill in the 1960's, sex for women would inevitably mean pregnancy, sooner or later. And pregnancy meant, at best, a new life you had to support for the next 16 years or so. At worst, death. That is a serious price attatched to pleasure, & under such harsh realities, it makes sense for women to vet their partners far more thoroughly than men, to find one who's going to stick around & provide for them in some way.

And so it is that when women find another lover it is more often the case that they are testing the water for a new relationship, for a better model, for someone they like better than the one they are with.

The males of the species are very different in this regard. Once they find someone they like very much & want to settle down with, they still want to go out & sow their seed far & wide, with almost anyone they can, even if they're not hoping to plant anything. Rarely are they looking for 'someone better' in doing this. They're simply doing what their bodies & nature are instructing them to do. To a man, love & sex are quite clearly two distinct entities. Women seem to have a harder time seeing a sexual relationship as being just that, & are much more likely to project a narrative on top, an expectation of something more, a longer story of greater commitment.

One of the authors of that fascinating analysis of male/female internet usage, A Billion Wicked Thoughts, had this to say about the differing requirements of men & women:

"All across the planet, what most women seek out, in growing numbers, are not explicit scenes of sexual activity but character-driven stories of romantic relationships.
Men who are attracted to a particular actress may go online looking for racy photos of her. Women who are attracted to an actor are more likely to seek out personal details about his life or erotic stories featuring one of the characters he portrays.
All romance novels, whether written by the likes of Jane Austen, Nora Roberts or Stephenie Meyer, employ a narrative formula that follows the gradual elucidation of the hero's inner character, leading to an emotional epiphany between hero and heroine. On this journey, the heroine—and the reader—investigates the character of the hero. The goal of a romance novel's heroine is never sex for its own sake, much less impersonal sex with strangers. All romance novels end with a "happily ever after": a marriage or committed long-term partnership".  

Women's romantic & sexual fantasies are not interchangeable with men's: if we reverse the genders of the Cinderella/Pretty Woman fantasy - the formula of perhaps most romantic fiction - we see it quickly falls apart & becomes nonsensical: A poor boy sits & waits for a rich woman to come along to save him from his poverty? A grey-haired businesswoman picks up a syphillitic rent-boy & promises to provide for all his needs, keeping him in pampered luxury until the day he dies? Who would go see that film? There's nothing in it for most women, & men would find it repulsive & emasculating. Such events may well have taken place in real life at some point, for all I know, but that's not the point: No-one, male or female, dreams of that story as their greatest fantasy. No-one thinks that being in that film is the best their life can turn out.


When I started looking into all this - men, women, monogamy, hypergamy.. I checked out, for the first time, the prevalance of polygamy in the modern world. I had expected to find, going in, that polygamy (or 'polygyny') had pretty much died out on the world stage, due to Christianity & the imposition of western culture upon the rest of the globe. But according to Wikipedia, & the Ethnographic Atlas Codebook it quotes from,  

"of 1,231 societies noted, 186 were monogamous. 453 had occasional polygyny, 588 had more frequent polygyny, and 4 had polyandry."

All of which is considerably more than I would have imagined. Polygamy as an institution is extremely foreign to our culture, yet objectively it is important to accept that people living polygamously are no more or less moral than people in monogamous relationships. People born into polygamous cultures are no more inherently 'bad' than people born into Christian cultures are 'bad' because they're not born Muslim. It seems a common weakness in the human mind to not be able to think outside whatever cultural goldfish bowl we are born into for more than a few minutes at a time.

Monogamy is not natural, & men, being naturally polygamous, struggle under it particularly. But I find it odd how polygamy is often presented as some kind of male oppression of women, when in actual fact it is 'men' (as a group) who lose out the most in a polygamous society. For those for whom this is not immediately obvious, let's break it down:

Say there are a hundred people, 50 men & 50 women - the population of the world in miniature - Now say 5 of the men at the top of the social hierarchy are wealthy & powerful or popular enough to attract & comfortably support multiple partners, so each of them takes 5 wives apiece. For the women this works out well, as, after all,  these are the attractive men, & in a monogamous society they would otherwise have to compete with each other to get to them & only one of them could succeed.

But now here's the situation: now there are 45 men left but only 25 women: half the women are gone. The 25 left may marry 25 of the remaining men, leaving all the women comfortably settled, but still that leaves 20 of the men with no-one at all.

In addition to this, if men are to have multiple partners, where are they going to find them, except from the pool of already attatched women, women with lovers & husbands already? It is here the private spills over into the public & creates societal problems - disharmony & anger between men, & also between women, families, & society as a whole. As a man it means you can't trust your friends. As a woman it weakens what security & hold you feel you have in your relationship. As a society, it means you are no longer pulling together but instead looking out only for your own interests. Without a shared sexual morality practiced by a majority, no society can hold together long.

This is the crux of the problem: there has to be a certain amount of societal disapproval to promiscuity so that civilization doesn't break down altogether. But, at the same time, nature must find its way.

The answer, such as it is, that our present society + human nature seem to have thrashed out between them is that the men who can - i.e. the wealthy, powerful or unusually attractive men - do stray, but keep it hidden. As wikipedia puts it:

While few present-day states permit polygamous marriages, polygynous male behavior may be observed in the establishment of mistresses, who are openly or secretly supported. In this way, men may be technically monogamous but de facto polygynous.

This is problematic, because clearly not all men can do this, & ends up creating a situation of imbalance, of haves & have nots. It is also morally troubling, as it invariably involves lying ('cheating'), at least under the present order. But plainly many men accept this as a necessity. Most women, after all, react badly to the idea of their man being with other women, even if they may benefit from it by it keeping their relationship together. But another way of looking at the situation would be that men are forced into 'adultery' by the peculiar morality of their times, which ignores or condemns the natural biological reality of their sex.

The prudery of the Christian era - in particularly the Victorian period - never really ended but carried over into the present feminist age. The only real difference being, where the Christian Church demonized all sexuality, feminism demonizes & condemns only male sexuality, depicting it almost exclusively as some sort of ugly, violent threat.

But here's the thing:

Sex is life. Without male desire for womankind, none of us would be here. In a healthy society male desire would be something honoured & praised. But instead of being raised up & admired, male virility is shamed & frowned upon unless it is played out within a narrow band of acceptable behaviour: "we want you to be a wild, free, sexual stallion, preselected, admired & desired by other women, driven to be successful but only with us (monogamously, of course)".

Now, those two things don't go together: a highly sexual, driven, virile man will rarely be truly monogamous, & if he tries to be - or is forced to be - he will become less virile & so less attractive to the woman he is trying to be faithful to. An alpha male is seldom monogamous. Perhaps a few beta males are, but women don't want beta males. Women don't have posters of beta males on their bedroom walls.

Einstein, Roosevelt, JFK, MLK, Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud, Gandhi, Picasso, Nietzsche, William Blake, Muhammad Ali, Marlon Brando, Laurence Olivier, Ernest Hemingway, D.H. Lawrence... the list is only limited by how much we know of great men's intimate lives. All these were either believers in polygamy or adulterers. If our best minds, our highest achievers the past hundred years or so are all just a bunch of dirty lowdown pussyhounds, what hope do the rest of us have?

Would a more sensible approach not be to simply accept that as part of male nature? Would it not be more sensible for us to expect that behaviour from most men, & accept it as part & parcel of the whole package?

There's still a little more to say on this: One more post & that''ll be it.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Hogamus Higamus Part 2 - Sex & The Free Gift

As a follow-up to the last piece, here is a guest post from Bellita:

"Men are biologically driven to be with as many sexual partners as they can be: Quantity Matters. Women are instructed by their own bodies to find the best male they can find and be with them at least long enough to raise a child out of infancy. Quality Matters. This isn’t rocket science. We all know this . . . The change I see that needs to come is for the different male experience of sex to be accepted [it is], without judgement [it isn't]. "

I will never forget the Muslim man who tried to pick me up (so to speak) for Islam. (If I ever share the whole of that story on this blog, I’ll play up the Game elements.) Perhaps the most memorable part of his practiced sales pitch were his parting words . . .

 “You know, I’m really glad I got to talk with you about this, because my reward will be great in heaven. Many beautiful women!

Yes, he actually said that. But it was not all . . .

You will have a great reward, too, if you become a Muslim. Many handsome men!”

*****Silent Scream of Terror*****

Every woman I have told this story to has cringed in sheer horror at the idea of being a sexual partner to countless men for all eternity. (That’s not Heaven; it’s hell.) Byron acknowledges this in his post, but says that if you reverse the sexes, you have a man’s idea of an “all-areas pass to the Hall of the Gods.”

Then he asks: If men and women are completely different when it comes to sexual hard wiring, then why is it women’s sexuality that has become the standard by which both sexes are judged? When that point sunk in, I started wondering how we got to this modern state of affairs.

The old Catholic view was pretty much the reverse–very down on female sexuality, warning that all women could be agents of the devil, including one’s own wife. It is the early Church that gives us the very first Marriage Strike in history, with men retreating to the deserts in record numbers or barricading themselves against the opposite sex in monasteries. The great theologian Origen of Alexandria even thought it reasonable to castrate himself. Say what you like about the “misogyny” of it all: these religious actions took for granted that male sexuality is after quantity rather than quality.

On the other hand, the post-Reformation (but not necessarily propter-Reformation) idea that everyone can achieve sexual virtue through marriage seems to be in desperate denial of the same fact. And its implication that a man can be “fixed” by being faithful to a single woman (a benign sort of social castration?) is a complete break with the ancient Christian tradition that there is just no fixing human nature until death.

Yet anyone who thinks the Christian view begins and ends with the bleakness of sin and death has never seen the way the light of ages looks, refracted through the stained glass of medieval thought. At no other time in history did both natural law and divine law get to sit side by side at the table of philosophy.

St. Thomas Aquinas himself, Patron of Philosophers, was very clear that there is actually no natural law against a man taking several wives . . . whereas there is a natural law against a woman having several husbands. The latter is wrong in a way the former is not because it creates a situation in which a child may never know who his real father is. But the child of a man with many wives can be certain of both his father and his mother. Natural law and biology hum along together very harmoniously.

But why do people assume that divine law is the discordant note? I don’t know what happened to philosophy after the Reformation for many to take that for granted today, but the sanity of the Middle Ages was better than that. It’s the reason we have an answer to the question of why in the world a man would keep to only one woman when he doesn’t actually have to–and I submit that this answer that only a Catholic could have come up with is absolutely universal in application.

Simply stated, the only reason for a man to have only one wife and to stay true to her all their lives would be his desire to give her his fidelity as a gift.

And it would be a gift because she could never repay it, even with the same. A woman’s faithfulness is an obligation for the reason stated above, but a man’s faithfulness isn’t. Marriage is just not a relationship between equals. But when it comes with that free gift from a husband, properly valued by a wife, it is also–to quote St. Thomas Aquinas–”the greatest of all friendships.”

Nature can explain a lot of things about sex, but only Christianity understands the free gift.


Saturday, 15 October 2011

Hogamus Higamus

Hogamus higamus
Men are polygamous
Higamus hogamus 
Women monogamous
-Ogden Nash

A little while back, over at Hooking Up Smart, there was some debate over advice being offered to a college girl when the 19 year old boy she was kind-of-seeing-but-not-sleeping-with got caught out kind-of-seeing-but-possibly-sleeping-with someone else. Well, it happens. The boy was branded a 'player' (!) right from the get-go, a ghastly predator practising his 'toxic' dark arts on this sweet virginal child [of the same age], & some of the female commenters ( I may be exaggerating a little here) seemed just about ready to organize a lynching there & then. On the other side of the fence, most of the men tended towards a groan & a sigh & a shake of the head & a 'been-there-done-that-God-doesn't-the-desire-for-pretty-women-make-us-do-some-stupid-things-sometimes' stance. They weren't as ready to judge & demonize the boy for urges & actions they knew they could just as easily have had & carried out themselves.

The point is that it split into two camps quite quickly, with the women growing increasingly hostile & in some cases openly insulting of the men, who kept on trying to make their points in different ways but weren't being heard. Now, if you've ever been to HUS, you'll know that this is a rare occurence - the commenters there are smart, thoughtful, original, generally open-minded & constructive, & I've never found a group of women more empathetic towards the problems men face in modern society anywhere. So this was a little odd. It got kind of ugly & I've not been back since. I'm sure I will eventually, I think I just need a break to absorb it all. But since then I've been trying to figure out what happened & why it happened & if there is a way to not make it happen in the future. How do you talk between the sexes about the differing experiences of sex?

For the most part, the wonderful women of HUS are highly-advanced in their thinking about the workings of male/female relationships (the marvellous men too, of course). Regular topics of discussion there include evolutionary psychology & Game Theory, so the ability to step out of ones own personal narrative & emotions & attempt to observe the human situation objectively & dispassionately is present. Feminism is looked at very critically & it's largely understood there that men & women are necessarily different in matters relating to reproduction & therefore sex. But once this sore point was touched on, practically all the women rounded up their wagons & all that theoretical thinking went out the window. And in my life, pretty much every woman I've ever spoken to has reacted in the same way, with the exception of a few polyamorous types (but they generally haven't cleared the feminism hurdle yet, & apply all discussion about sexuality to both sexes interchangeably, so they're not much help either).

It seems to me the women got hostile because to acknowledge the essentially polygamous drive of men, to recognize that it is necessarily different to womens, that that is their nature, cannot help but threaten the (also necessary) female biological need for stability, i.e. that the man, who is needed to provide for the female while she carries her child & later nurses it, will be there to stick around.

It's become common, the past 40 years or so, to hear women talking quite openly about their experiences & requirements of sex, & as a result we as a society know quite a lot about the preferences & desires of women, which we see largely without judgement. Men's desires, on the other hand, although so overwhelmingly strong (men on average have between 20 to100 times more testosterone, the hormone which governs sexual desire in both sexes, than women), are still shrouded in shame. Female fantasies (which we call 'erotica') are considered benign. Male fantasies (which we call 'pornography') are still considered harmful & wrong. This moral judgement & imbalance makes men & women's experience of sex even harder to explain to each other. As Bill Maher said, "There are no such things as mutual fantasies: yours bore us, ours offend you."

Pornography simply doesn't interest most women, & so is off their radar - it doesn't really exist for them. Conversely, 'romantic' tales of rich surgeons/sheiks/oil barons/princes whisking barmaids/florists/typists up & off into the sunset on their yacht/mercedes/pony bore almost all men silly too, so the entire 'Romantic' aisle in the bookshop is something they don't ever really think of either.

But our sexual fantasies tell us an awful lot about how different we are from each other. Men & women may well be as much as 99% the same, but then again, we're told that the DNA of the human race & chimpanzees are about 99% the same, too. It's that 1% that makes all the difference. And the places the sexes differ the most are the areas closest to reproduction, & so sex.

Gay culture is a very interesting barometer of this, I find. Men are men, after all, & Gay men are very much the same as straight men sexually, as Sai Gaddam & Ogi Ogass' recent A Billion Wicked Thoughts has shown - it is simply the direction in which male desire is pointed that differs. What we see when we look at gay culture is men without women - more precisely, men living outside of the societal compromises they otherwise would have struck with women.

And what do we see when we look at gay culture? By a rather huge margin, the people self-reporting having the most sex in the world are single gay men. The people self-reporting the lowest amount of sex in the world are lesbians in long-term relationships. On a grossly simplified level, we have there the male/female polarity. Promiscuity is not a gay trait, it's a male trait. But it's treated with far more understanding in the gay world than in the straight world, because there everyone is male, so they all know how it is to be male, what that reality feels like, inside.

"Considering our true wishes & longings, our daily lives are pretty ridiculous"
- Dieter Duhm

It must be great to be gay, in this day & age. So simple. Can you even imagine it? If I could go to a bathhouse, pick up a different woman every night for the rest of my life & then perhaps never see her again, I would. Gladly. Wouldn't you? It doesn't have anything to do with falling in love - which I also love to do but experience as a largely seperate thing - as Lenny Bruce told us earlier, 'men detatch - not consciously but they do detatch.' There's the day-to-day need to be met - food/water/sex - & then there is romance on top of that, an additional sweet taste on top. That is the male reality stripped down the best I can. Women are different in this, or at least healthy women. A woman compulsively engaging in anonymous sex would be seen by others & herself as unhappy & damaged in some way. Yet every male is like this, to a greater or lesser degree, healthy & happy or not. Most men would feel biologically fulfilled by this: they would be doing what life has told them to do. Whereas women would be going against their own best interests in doing this, mating with whoever crosses their path.

When you bring this subject up, some women always have to tell you about that one girlfriend of theirs with a sex-drive as big as any man, who goes out every weekend picking up one-night stands. Every girl, it seems, knows at least one girl like that. And it's true, there are girls like that out there. But she's not telling you how all her male friends would like to be doing that too, if they only had the chance (which they don't). It's likely that she doesn't even know that, because that's something the men & boys she knows most likely don't tell her, for fear of being shamed or judged. And if you asked that friend of hers if she see herself doing what she's doing now at 55, 60 years old, it's highly unlikely that she will tell you 'yes'. No woman dreams of a future which consists of them simply fucking a different man - or several men - every single day for the rest of their lives until they die. No riding off into the sunset, no marriage, no children, no settling down... Just new, different, sweaty faces, day in & day out for the rest of your life.

To almost any woman that's a nightmarish vision of white-slavery-crackwhore hellBut to most men, that's veritably an all-areas pass to the Hall of the Gods.

Men are biologically driven to be with as many sexual partners as they can be: Quantity Matters. Women are instructed by their own bodies to find the best male they can find & be with them at least long enough to raise a child out of infancy. Quality matters.

This isn't rocket science - We all know this. Stand-up comedians make their living from talking about the differences between the sexes on stage every night. They can do this only because their audience already recognizes those differences & knows them to be true. Women know that men are born different, that they "think with their dicks", that they are "only after one thing". All their jokes & advice & wisdom rely upon that ancient knowledge. But there is no understanding or kindness accompanying it.

The change I see that needs to come is for the different male experience of sex to be accepted [it is], without judgement [it isn't].

19 year-old boys do not start out 'toxic players'. They start out being the male of their species whose bodies are instructing them - in the prime of their youth - to go spread their seed with as many females as possible in order to enable the survival of the human race. They make many mistakes & blunders along the way, chiefly because no-one, least of all their mothers - who are now primarily raising them - is instructing them in the best way to strike the balance between what their society expects of them & what their body demands of them. They receive no instruction on how to be male in the present society as being male runs contrary to female goals & expectations.

In the society we live now,  men's needs & concerns have for some time been overlooked & downplayed, as any truly objective observer would have to agree. Mainstream society - if not civilization itself - is always a compromise between male & female concerns. If we believe in equality - or at least fairness - then we have to make sure that one sex is not promoted at the expense of the other. We cannot apply identical expectations to both men & women, as men & women are, by definition, different. If you have a law or a morality that is very easy for 50% of the people to live under & very hard for the other 50%, it isn't a fair law, & it isn't a healthy morality.

Instead of shaming male sexuality, we could instruct teenage boys about some of the realities that accompany sex out there - we could tell them that if they make a girl pregnant, they will be in legal servitude to that girl for many years, & have to work to provide for a child they weren't ready for.We could tell them that unprotected sex with a promiscuous partner can result in STDs. This, after all, is basically the message we give to girls. But we could do it without judging & shaming the boys naturally polygamous urges. We could tell them if a truly exceptional woman comes along, he may want to commit to her, to build a life together & start a family, but in the meantime not to confuse the sex he will have with love. That won't end happily for anyone. 

So anyway. The fundamental point I have been trying to make in this somewhat meandering monologue is this:

Until there is a widespread recognition of male sexuality being innately different, without judgement, there can never be a truly fair, honest dialogue between the sexes.

And I guess it's in service of that that I am writing this.


There's more to be said on this, but it's starting to get on a little. I'll pick it up again next post.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

An Introduction To Hypergamy

There's a piece I've been writing, about some of the differences between women & men which is taking me awhile to finish. Luckily a portion of what it is I'm attempting to say was covered quite excellently by last night's AVFM radio, an extract of which I'm posting here as a stop gap before my next one: Full show available at:

Monday, 26 September 2011

The Unknown History Of Misandry

Another website I've just discovered - an amazing treasure trove of historical newspaper cuttings, photos, documents all relating to The Unknown History Of Misandry .

It's very mysterious, just seems to have appeared on the net from nowhere about 3 months ago, yet already has so much up there. I have no knowledge of who it is has put it together but I can tell I'm going to be wading through it for quite some time.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Sexism Busters

Just a quick one to plug a new site, which you may have heard about on AVFM last night. Its creator, Tom Martin, is currently suing the London School Of Economics Gender Studies department for sex discrimination, which will be quite a landmark case, should he win. There's more background information at his site, which I recommend you check out. And donate if you are able, it's for a very good cause.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

20th Century Notions Of Gender

Reading the latest, as always, superbly concise & thought-provoking post by The Damned Olde Man I was struck by how good an overview of the 20th century's conceptions of gender it is, how the pendulum swinging back & forth through the 1950's & 60's - the rabid anticommunism of the McCarthy era leading to rebellious youths embracing of Marxist theory a generation later - ended up with the widespread normalization of first Marxist then Feminist thought. By the mid-1980's feminism's bizarre conspiracy theory of history became that of society at large.

But the other thought that strikes me about this is that the pendulum has kept swinging & that seems to now have changed: The kind of discussion we are now having about these matters in the manosphere & increasingly in mainstream media simply couldn't have been had anywhere 25 years ago. I hadn't really noted it as that before - the turn of the century being the actual cut-off point of the hold of that ideology - but it seems to me right now that that is the case. Feminism is so 20th century.

That feels quite revelatory to me. I hope TDOM doesn't mind me reproducing so much of his piece here, out of context - I was going to just use a paragraph or two but it works much better as a whole. The full article can be found here.

I’ve often viewed feminism as neither left nor right by nature. Instead it is, as many feminists freely admit, a gender issue and there are members of both genders on either side of the political spectrum. 
I think early feminists adopted the leftist view as a matter of strategy and for recruitment purposes. The Marxist approach to economics was easily adaptable to cultural practices. All it took to draw in membership was to convince people that women are disadvantaged. With societal structures predominantly populated with men, this was easy enough to do. The term “patriarchy” was redefined and used for this purpose. first wave feminists laid the groundwork and second wave feminists became the foot soldiers.

Aligning themselves with cultural Marxist idealism served another purpose as well. The communist witch hunts of the McCarthy era resulted in a popularization of Marxism during which time, it became chic to be openly Marxist and difficult, if not destructive, for opponents of Marxism to speak out against them; the fear of being identified as a “hatemonger” keeping opponents in line.

At first, feminism was only a part of the liberal movement of the 60s but by the mid-80s it had eclipsed the movement itself and liberalism had become more or less synonymous with feminism to the point that one could not be leftist and not be feminist.

On the right, the movement was more subtle. Women were already being pedestalized by white knight chivalry as standard practice. The leftist acceptance of the women as victim model was simply transferred to the right. One did not have to adopt the value system to accept the model. In fact, on the right women were already seen as helpless. All that was needed was to turn “helpless” into “victim.” The second wave feminist could fight the battles and the conservative feminist would move out of the way and then reap the rewards.

The chivalrist ideal was prevalent on the left as well. For more liberal chivalrists it was easy to accept feminists because of their Marxist position. They simply incorporated feminism into their own leftist idealism and became collaborationists (manginas as they are sometimes called). The right wing chivalrist (the white knight) picked up on the woman as victim mantra and rushed to her rescue.

Feminism transcends left and right. It is neither and it is both. It favors wealth and cultural redistribution from male to female while seeking to establish a totalitarian police state to control the “oppressor class.” To that end it has abandoned the liberal ideal of personal freedom and liberty for all, in favor of personal freedom and liberty for the new feminist oppressor class while restricting liberty and freedom for the new oppressed class (male). It seeks to replace what it calls patriarchy with matriarchy (which can now be equated with female supremacism). Thus while claiming to hold the liberal ideal of “equality” feminism has in reality adopted the conservative ideal of a ruling class superior to that of the working class and with more rights and privilege and the full force of the state to enforce that privilege.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Men Are From Mars. Women Are From Venus. Sun-Ra Was From Saturn.

As a follow-up to the last post, a recent article in New Scientist by Laura Spinney caught my eye. Called Mars and Venus Collide it took a look at the current state of play in regards to biological differences between men & women. In my opinion it tried to play it too safe in regard to the Nature/Nurture debate to really have much of a position at all but here's a couple of extracts I found of interest:

Why do girls prefer dolls and boys cars? Some put it down to cultural influences that prepare children to take on stereotypical gender roles as adults. Now consider this: male vervet monkeys prefer cars even though they have never been primed to do so (Evolution and Human Behavior, vol 23, p467), and girls who have a hormonal disorder that means they produce too much testosterone prefer them, too. This suggests an innate component to toy choice, which may be amplified by socialisation processes after birth.

Intriguing new research by Margaret McCarthy at the University of Maryland in College Park points - to the neurobiology underlying sex-specific play preferences - in rats, at least. Her group found that the amygdalae, twin brain structures that are important for processing emotional and social cues, contain between 30 and 5O per cent more of a type of brain cell called glial cells in female rats than in males. Male brains, meanwhile, had higher levels of endocannabinoids - naturally occurring molecules that stimulate the same neural circuits as the active ingredient in cannabis. However, when the researchers injected day-old female rats with a dose of a cannabis-like substance, they found that after three days the proportion of glial cells in their amygdalae was the same level as in males. These females now played like male pups too - they played 30 to 40 per cent more than regular females, and indulged in much more rough-and-tumble play (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol 107, p 20535). The main structural differences between male and female rat brains all have parallels in humans, and researchers believe that all mammals have the same neural mechanisms underlying key survival behaviours.


For years, the accepted view was that all embryos start out the same - the default sex being female. Then during the first trimester, in individuals that have inherited a Y chromosone, a gene called sry, for sex-determining region Y, switches on the development of the testes. These start pumping out testosterone and by the time a baby boy is born, the "default" female brain has become masculine.

We now know that's not quite how it works. As it turns out there are "pro-female" as well as "pro-male" genes, and that sexual differentiation is governed by a delicate balance between the two. In 2006, for example, Pietro Parma at the University of Pavia in Italy, and colleagues, reported that a gene called r-spondin1 promotes the development of the ovaries, and that without it individuals who are genetically female grow up physically and psychologically male, although they have ambiguous external genitalia and are sterile (Nature Genetics, Vol 38, p 1304).


There are clear differences in the types of mental illness and learning difficulties that males and females experience. Boys are much more vulnerable to developmental difficulties than girls. For example, boys are between six and 10 times more likely to be diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, four times as likely to be affected by language disorders such as dyslexia, and a conservative estimate suggests that boys are twice as likely to suffer from attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

The picture is more chequered for adults, but the differences are still dramatic. Major depression is twice as common in women, while men are more susceptible to alchohol dependence and antisocial personality disorder. Even in conditions for which the prevalence is the same in both sexes, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, there are differences in age of onset and symptoms.

Melissa Hines, who studies gender development at the University of Cambridge, reckons sex differences in such conditions are the result of different vulnerabilities due to the distinct ways in which those brains are wired. We know, for example, that the amygdalae, a pair of brain structures important for processing emotions such as fear and aggression, are bigger in men, while the hippocampi, critical for memory, are bigger in women. Such brain differences are shaped by a combination of genes, hormones and the environment. "It's all of these things together that make the final outcome." says Hines.


As for Sun Ra , he doesn't have very much to do with this post at all. But the Mars/Venus thing always makes me think of him. And he did come from Saturn. Here's my favourite tune by him, anyway:

Friday, 9 September 2011

Sex Differences In The Brain

Recently I got into a debate with someone in cyberspace about the biological differences between the brains of men & women, during which I made what I thought was a pretty  safe statement by saying studies show there are innate differences in place in the structure of male & female brains even while still in the womb. I was asked, with some annoyance, what studies? 

So, in response, I put together a list of studies & scientific papers relating to differences most specifically between the brain structure & function of males & females, but also a few that are related to the wider question of innate sex differences. There were obviously many more I could have included but kept with the ones that most clearly referred to this specific issue & whose titles made plain their position.

I reproduce it here as it may be found useful to others in similar situations.


Arnold, A. P. (2004). "Sex chromosomes and brain gender." Nat Rev Neurosci 5 (9): 701-8.
Arnold, A. P., J. Xu, et al. (2004). "Minireview: Sex chromosomes and brain sexual differentiation." Endocrinology 145 (3): 1057-62.
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