5 Patriarchal Myths I Bet You Believe – Part 3

Ready for quiz question #3?

We’re examining patriarchal myths re sex and sexuality.  We already tackled the first myth, that the egg cell passively accepts whichever sperm reaches it first.  The second myth was that the hymen is broken when a girl loses her virginity.

Why?  Because how we think about sex and sexuality conditions us to behave a certain way.  I want to crack that open.

Plus, when you know more than your kids, and more than your kid’s teacher, you’ve got credibility.  That goes a long way towards having open conversations about sex.

Ready for #3?

True or false:  Men have higher sex drives than women.

Scroll down…

Answer: false!

Yep.  Scientifically, we know it’s false, but the truth just doesn’t fit our paradigm of masculinity and femininity, which has been defined by…you guessed it…patriarchy.

There’s huge variation in how frequently adults want sex, and in the meaning sex has for each person. I’m going to explain this briefly.  For those of you who want a much deeper explanation of arousal and desire, grab a copy of Emily Nagoski’s book, Come As You Are.

Sex Drive

One’s sex drive is like a car, with both an accelerator and a break.  We all have this dual system to promote engagement with a good partner and disengagement if the context is wrong.

With patriarchy, men have the advantage.  They have a greater share of the resources, from money to medical research.  Men in power have created the right context for men, including a certain approval of misogynistic caveman behavior (for a deep dive into that, read Martha McCoughey’s, The Caveman Mystique)

That advantage allows men to openly embrace their accelerators, and remove many of the brakes.  It seems like new professional colleagues would be a context which brought on the brakes big time…until taking them out to a strip club becomes standard practice.  Accelerators on, brakes off.

Different experience

Women have a very different experience.  We’ve been taught to be careful not to be slutty – accelerators off.  We’ve been taught to be critical of our appearance – brakes on.  We manage career and house and kids, usually carrying a greater load than our male partners.  Stress = brakes on.

So, it’s not that men have higher sex drives than women.  It’s that the chips have been stacked for men and against women, and if we organized it differently, we’d see a different result.

How does it feel to read this?  What changes inside you?  Your comments below are always welcome.

Look for myth #4 in your inbox soon!

In support of you,

P.S.  Happy fall!  School has started for many, and parent groups everywhere are planning their events for the year.  I’ve got a bunch of presentations lined up already, and if you’d like me to present for your community, I’d be delighted!  Click here.

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5 patriarchal myths I bet you believe – part 2
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5 patriarchal myths I bet you believe – part 4

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5 Comments. Leave new

  • Love it. Thanks for the book references too.

  • This is extremely valuable. Thank you so much.

  • Love your blog and grateful for your work – I think what you do is very important.
    I’m still thinking about myth#3. I feel the answer is incorrect – you can’t lay it all to patriarchy and conspiracy against women. It is complicated. We can’t disregard biological differences and the fact that until very recently in the evolutionary terms women spent their lives either pregnant or nursing. Even with the Pill, the “cost” of sex is still potentially high for women d/t different biology – I mean there is still a risk of pregnancy. This fact can dampen anyone’s drive. And what about periods and menopause? It is hard to argue the influence of hormonal fluctuations on women’s sex drive. I’m probably missing the point – I’m so used to agreeing with everything you have to say:)

    • Thanks for disagreeing, Marina! It takes courage, and yet, it’s the only way to have a real discussion. It is indeed complicated! I totally hear your point, AND, there are other societies in which the norm is that women have higher sex drives. Of course, the ladies are in charge – no patriarchy. Pregnancy is a high cost in THIS society…not so much in others. If you’re interested in a peek at other societies, especially matriarchies, check out the book “Sex Rules” by Janice Zarro Brodman.

  • Matthew J Cahill
    September 18, 2018 6:01 pm

    I often thought that, stereotypically, men were just easier to arouse (like cooking in a microwave) but women heated up slower (more like an oven). This is likely tied to permissive patriarchy but also biology. Men’s genitals are outside the body. Easy to see. Touch. Grab. Play with. Women’s bodies don’t allow for the same level of easy access. I always thought the trade-off was that women can enjoy a deeper emotional connection when experiencing pleasures of the flesh.


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