Thursday, March 17, 2011

Caveman Love: Some Interesting Papers.

It been a rather busy few weeks and so I have not been able to blog as much as I would like.   But I found a few papers that are quite interesting and might be worth a few comments.

The first article I quickly want to look it as by Roy Baumeister and Jean Twenge,

The Cultural Supression of Female Sexuality.

Interesting paper from the evo bio point of view. I'm not a fan of this approach to psychology and the frame of reference from which it approaches things. Still Baumeister and Twenge put forward a good case that it is other women who have the strongest influence on female sexual behaviour. An interesting quote

The researchers reported that women cited external pressures of gossip and reputation as forces that pushed women to hold back sexually.
The crucial items, however, concerned where the support for the double standard was perceived to reside. Millhausen and Herold (1999) asked their respondents “Who judges women who have had sex with many partners more harshly?” (p. 363). The answers reflected a strong perception that women enforce the double standard. The most anti-sexual of women’s groups advocated the single standard of sexual purity for both genders. Thus, support for the double standard is not a matter of anti-sexual feeling or an instance of the general pattern of lower female permissiveness. 
Only 12% of the women responding to the survey stated that men were the harsher judges, whereas 46% identified women as harsher. (The rest reported that men and women judged equally harshly.) The authors seem to have concurred that their findings pose a challenge to the theory that men stifle female sexuality: “Why is there a belief that men are controlling women’s sexuality, yet women perceive other women to be the harshest judges of their own behavior?” (p. 367).
Women's social psychology can best be understood from the dynamics of the herd. The alpha females of the pack set the rules and "inclusion" in the group  is dependent upon adopting their norms. The pressure to conform it just a woman's natural tendency to belong to the group.

Another interesting paper is by Critelli and Bivona;

Women's Erotic Rape Fantasies: An Evaluation of Theory and Research.

Rape fantasies tend to be surprisingly common by Women. Just in case there are any Aspergoids reading this,  This does not mean women want to be raped. A fantasy is a controlled mental excursion, not an uncontrolled physical act. For the retards out there, there is a difference. Still, what the rape fantasy implies that female sexual pleasure is in someway stimulated by loss of control, compulsion and and a sense of being dominated. Now it needs to also be understood that in the fantasy the woman is raped by a man of her choosing, in other words, she gets to vet the "rapist". Still what the fantasy shows is domination by a desired man.

Following this theme is another interesting paper based on a small sample of women;

Turning on and Turning Off: A Focus Group Study of the Factors That Affect Women's Sexual Arousal

Some interesting comments were made in this study, particularly the following:

Style of Approach/Initiation and Timing

Women described various styles of approach/ initiation
as potential turn-ons or turn-offs but the importance
to their own arousal of how a partner approached them
was a key theme:

P: I want to say his “game” . . . you know, how the man
approached you, how did he get me to talk to him
longer than like, five minutes? How did he get me to
be interested in him and the ways he went about it.
[African American group]

Being “surprised” or “overpowered” by a partner was
described as arousing by a number of women:

P-1: It could be because I was raised Catholic and
everybody jokes to me, comes up behind me, you
know “I’m not responsible” then, and he comes up
behind me and puts his arms around my waist and it’s
like, well “it’s not my fault.” If they’re going to take
me from behind, it’s not my fault.

P-2: I’m not Catholic and that is very sexually arousing.
P-3: I totally agree. [46+ group]

A potential turn-off was a partner who was too “polite” or
who asked for sex:

P: If somebody askedme to do something. I hate that. Like,
“will you go down on me?” and stuff and like blatantly
ask me . . . It will eventually get there, they don’t have
to ask me, but like the asking is . . . the biggest turn-off
ever. [18–24 group]

Although being able to communicate about sex with a
partner was often seen as positive, particularly in the older
age groups, a partner verbally “asking” for sex was widely
regarded as a turn-off:

P-1: My husband, as long as we’ve met . . . he’s just a very
polite young man and he just would, you know, while
we are in the throes of sexual passion, he would just
say “May I have sex?” or something like that, and I
wish [he] wouldn’t ask. That’s a turn-off.
P-2: It’s like, just do it.
P-3: Even now. . . he’ll say something like . . . “Well,
tonight can we have sex?” or something like that, and
I’m like “Why don’t you just come and you know,
kiss me and like that.”
P-4: Make love to me.
P-5: Exactly.
P-6: Seduce me.
P-7: Don’t make me say okay.
P-8: It’s not something that’s a turn-on. [25–45 group]
 were less aroused

I this age of equality, when it comes to life's more primitive functions a man's gotta lead.

Finally,  another interesting paper (which I couldn't get the PDF link to) by DeMaris, 

Elevated sexual activity in violent marriages: hypersexuality or sexual extortion? 

This is a fascinating paper with several interesting links. DeMaris basically notes that couples in abusive marriages have intercourse approximately 4.33 times a month more than non-abusive couples. It would appear that DeMaris explains this discrepancy by postulating that this increased frequency is due to male coercion of the women.

Although conflict and violence are positively correlated (DeMaris, 1993), conflict per se diminished sexual activity. Nevertheless, at a given level of conflict, the use of violence by husbands served to elevate sexual frequency. This appears to make most sense only when one assumes that a husband's violence has a coercive effect. Otherwise, if conflict generally "turns partners off" to sex, it would not be reasonable to assume that violence--often the result of conflict--turns them back on

He does however issue this caveat,

Another limitation of the study is that sexual coercion has only been inferred but not measured directly. Essentially, the analyses have relied on sociological "detective work" to build a case based on circumstantial evidence alone. I have argued, based on theoretical reasoning, that sexual coercion, or extortion, should be revealed by an interaction between sexual frequency and violence (including injury) in their effects on wives' depressive symptomatology. To the extent that this was found, that reasoning is supported. However, without wives indeed acknowledging that they were coerced into having sex, that inference remains somewhat speculative.

Personally, I think DeMaris's theory needs some more work. Arguing, which is a rational phenomena seems to turn women off sex, where as violence and agression operates on a more "primitive" level seems from the data available.  DeMaris assumes a cognitive model of aggression where it is the end point of a series of deliberately escalating chosen activities. Information is interpreted through one channel.  Perhaps a better understanding of this phenomena is made by considering a two channel (I'd say three) model of female cognition. Here women filter information through  rational and primitive  channels where on the rational level women are repulsed by violent men but on the other more primitive channel women are aroused by overt machismo.  This approach easily explains how a woman can be both repulsed and yet attracted to a man. It also explains why the "nice guy" is percieved as "rationally good" but the primitive channel is not stimulated by his actions and as such the relationship is viewed as asexual.  Another interesting paper, looking at sexually inactive marriages, 

Sexually Inactive Marriages, by Denise Donelly (Sorry could only get the abstract) noted that low sexual activity was correlated with low violence .   Now it is possible that all the increased coital frequency is a product of coercion, but interesting paper posits and alternative hypothesis. Shitty marriages may be kept together with good sex. In other words, a woman may not like her marriage but the sex may be good.

Exploring Relationships Among Communication, Sexual Satisfaction, and Marital Satisfaction, by Litzinger and Gordon seems to suggest so.

Now there are other studies which show that women are sexually unhappy in abusive relationships but one of the fundamental problems with abused women is getting them to separate from the abuser. They quite frequently go back. I my limited experience, women have no trouble leaving a nice beta but seem to have a hard time leaving an abusive bad boy.  Perhaps the "psychic benefit" that keeps women in abusive relationships comes about from stimulation of primitive centers of the brain by alpha behaviour.

Now I'm not suggesting that the way to fire up a flagging marriage is for a man to beat his wife, rather displays of over displays of traditional masculinity and some playful physicality, (throwing her over your shoulder etc) may help.