Tag Archives: biological sexuality

Nasty women

Walking through the airport a few days ago, I saw a very pretty woman walking the other way. She was trying to look as unattractive as she possibly could with a sloppy coat, her shoulders hunched against the world, a ball cap pulled low over her eyes.

Perhaps she had no ulterior motive and I was just reading intentions into it. But a friend of mine mentioned the other day that she wears her RBF (Resting Bitch Face) when in airports or restaurants where she does not want to be bothered by men.

Recent outrage over actions and words of the Angry Orange Troll for President is justified, but incomplete. Somewhere between “locker room talk” and physical assault (Troll accused of both) is a fundamental truth: the sexual drive of many men can make life very difficult for women.

We can talk all day long and half the night about the causes of this behavior and not get anywhere. It may be social, it may be individual, it may be biological, and is probably a blend of all three and many more influences. The answer will probably have to wait until we discover more about what it is to be human, and how the brain works.

It does seem to me that this behavior in some men has a direct correlation to their level of empathy, but that’s an observation not an explanation.

Nor does it give us an easy answer on how to avoid feeling like we have to hide ourselves in public to avoid being the target of meat seekers.

For now, I really like the approach of ownership. That is, I own my behavior, my looks, my attitudes, and my responses to people like the Orange Troll. If his advances had been met every time with scorn and rejection, and learned that he was shaming himself as a man, he may have learned his behavior had negative consequences. Instead, over the years it has worked for him often enough that he was confident in his approach.

His boorishness, to give it a nice name, is only one level of this type of assault, and in some ways not the most destructive. If we were to put it all on a scale, which can be a helpful if inaccurate abstraction, from physical rape to whining about not getting attention, there are many ways in which men make demands that range from frightening to tiresome. Biology or lack of social grace or lack of mother’s love, it does not matter. What matters is how I respond.

I am not responsible for their desire, nor required to make them happy if I’m not interested. I try to be polite if pressed, but wiling to be a “nasty woman” if pressed too hard.

I get to dress as I like and if I wear “come fuck me” shoes at the airport, I anticipate more attention. That does not give a man the right to ignore my right to say “no,” whether it’s because they are too old, too short, not the right hair color, just not my type or because I’d rather read a magazine.

Who do you find attractive?

What if our sexual preferences begin to form in childhood?

I don’t mean whether we are straight of gay or asexual or voracious or something in between or that encompasses it all or something completely different.

I mean what we find attractive, but within our sexuality “type.”

To keep it simple, and acknowledge the gross oversimplification of this speculation, let’s pretend that heterosexual girls begin to form their sexual attraction preferences with their fathers, at an age where they have no clue what’s happening, maybe even infancy. And that (straight) boys begin their sexual wiring based on their mothers, at the same age.

Let’s say dad is a particular body type and the relationship between father and daughter is warm, loving and nurturing. I wonder if later in life, women with that kind of dad will be sexually attracted to that shape of man. And if boys who develop in a healthy way with mom, if she is skinny or plump might direct his desire later in life.

At the same time, if Dad is harsh or scary or dismissive, I wonder if daughter will shy away from that kind of man. If mom is indifferent or unreachable or angry, if boys will subliminally look for someone who does not  look anything like her.

And here’s an odd twist: Does the preference wiring have to occur, and sometimes have to focus on adults outside the family unit, possibly those who offer a child what is emotionally needed? Or if biology requires that a model be found regardless of suitability, if sometimes that model is nurturing and sometimes debilitating?

What happens to sexuality if the model is taken from the child’s environment (death, divorce, war) before the process is done with it?

Since we are indulging in wild speculation, let’s add to the mix the social taboos about getting too close to daddy or mommy as one is forming all these brain connections. DON’T DO THAT!” What happens as the child acquires now-self-directed anxieties that were foisted upon them (us) as they (we) began to experience things they (we) could not possibly recognize, let alone understand.

I have no articles, no Freudian analyses, nor modern science to justify any of this absurd opining. As my friend Billy says, (neglected by an obese mom, only attracted to skinny women): “Just sayin…”

Differences that unite

Salt is a rare but important commodity for monarch butterflies. Those that eat milkweed along roads treated with salt appear to have an advantage over those that don’t. With more salt, males develop more thoracic muscle, enabling them to fly further in search of females. Females get bigger brains and eyes, allowing them to find better places to nest.*

Hmmm. Males and females may be genetically programmed to have different priorities, and these may be expressed differently in different environments?

Because so often male / female communication seems so screwed up, I don’t think we really appreciate the extent to which biology plays a role. I may be painting a target on my chest, because so often when someone, anyone, brings this subject up, shout-downs often follow. I think the major culprit is the tendency to over-generalize.

So let’s agree for just a moment, anyway, that human sexuality has a mental component, and minds can’t be divided into simple categories of “man” and “woman.” We have homosexuals and pansexuals and asexuals galore, babies occasionally born physically as both, and while it may be that each of us has a tendency to a “wiring” that allows us to see the world a little differently than other people in the room, there are few absolutes.

We all know and accept not all straight men are insensitive, and not all straight women are nurturing. Bonding conditions at birth play a huge role, as does testosterone exposure in the womb, as does a hundred million other factors we haven’t even begun to discover.

Nature also plays with groups of individuals, tribes or societies. Where behaviors are partly genetic, and genes switch on and off, and environments change, and everything overlaps, sorting out a single “truth” about these things is pretty complicated. Categories are useful tools but are oversimplifications when dealing with continuums. Depending on them for ultimate “truth” is reckless.

Personally, I think differences are pretty cool and without them our species, any species, would be at a significant disadvantage. It’s rare that two people see the world in the same way, but it’s possible for either or both to change a point of view, if not priorities and genetics. Unconditional love is one of the most powerful and transformative forces on Earth.

Along with really good sex.

It also appears that some lab rats may feel regret, and, possibly empathy.* Not to overgeneralize, but I know a few guys that could take some lessons.

*Science News, July 12, 214