Monday, August 07, 2006


Feminist scholars have spent decades trying to prove no differences exist between women and men. I guess they think if women are different, it can only be in inferior ways. Although I agree with most everything else feminist scholars say, I think this is a buncha hooey!

A few neurological differences between women and men -- from Louann Brizendine's The Female Brain:
"Women use 20,000 words per day; men use 7,000 per day.

"Women excel at knowing what people are feeling; men have difficulty spotting an emotion unless someone cries or threatens bodily harm.

"Thoughts about sex enter women's brains once every couple of days; for men, thoughts about sex occur every minute."

And, here's an interesting bit of news:

"Connecting through talking activates the pleasure centers in a girl's brain. We're not talking about a small amount of pleasure. This is huge. It's a major dopamine and oxytocin rush, which is the biggest, fattest neurological reward you can get outside of an orgasm."

And yo! Women! Watch out how you hand out those hugs!

"Research shows that the female brain naturally releases oxytocin after a 20-second hug. The embrace bonds the huggers and triggers the brain's trust circuits. So Brizendine advises, don't let a guy hug you unless you plan to trust him.

"'And if you do,' she said, "make sure it lasts 20 seconds.'" MORE >>>
Thnx to irenek for the foto


Anonymous said...

"Thoughts about sex enter women's brains once every couple of days; for men, thoughts about sex occur every minute."

I don't see why this would be could very well be social. I wonder if Brizendine took that into account.

Neat post, though.

Anne Johnson said...

I hugged the Monkey Man for 20 seconds, but I was wearing a furry mascot costume. Does that count?

Athana said...

anon, I think Brizendine's entire book is based on nothing but the brain's hardwiring:

"Every brain begins as a female brain. It only becomes male eight weeks after conception, when excess testosterone shrinks the communications center, reduces the hearing cortex, and makes the part of the brain that processes sex twice as large.

"Louann Brizendine, M.D. is a pioneering neuropsychiatrist who brings together the latest findings to show how the unique structure of the female brain determines how women think, what they value, how they communicate, and who they’ll love."

(from the review of the book)

Athana said...

anne, as far as I know, in relation to her hugging-oxytocin equation L. Brizendine fails to discuss the effects of furry mascot costumes. However, are you certain it was a full 20-second hug that happened between you and the Monkey Man? Try counting off 20 seconds. That's a long time. Would a woman hug a man that long unless she already trusted him (or was chained to him due to circumstances beyond her control)? Would *you* hug a man that long unless you already trusted him?

(For those of you who don't have a clue who the Monkey Man is, go visit anne at The Gods Are Bored:

Anne Johnson said...

It was probably shorter than 20 seconds. But figuring that the Monkey Man seemed like a seminally threatening figure for 3 years, and I now know him to be a hippy poet who used to live in the house behind mine, I just got into trusting him.

A man who is never seen without his toy monkey (dressed in a Grateful Dead onesie) can be hard to trust if you don't have a big, broad, flexible outlook.

Davo said...

um, stray thought. If males did not exist, would females? (discounting cloning and all that sort of "technological" advance), of course.

Morgaine said...

Davo - yes. There exist species in which only females exist. They practice mating rituals similar to animals that reproduce sexually, and the ritual triggers parthenogenic reproduction.

I believe the sexual differences in male and female are very different than the map we're given in this culture. I think about sex as much as most men, but my definition of sex would differ a great deal from theirs. Because of the neurological effect of conversation that you mentioned, sex for me might have more to do with hanging out and talking or watching a movie. I consider that sex because of the physiological responses that creates in me, which are considerable. While there are some examples of satyrical behavior in nature - male lions, for example, mate 100 times a day to secure their postition within a pride which is usually organized of females/sisters - for the most part sexual activity is triggered or initiated by the female.

If we take the look at the fact that all brains begin as female brains, it is clear that much is lost in the translation from female to male. Some of that effect is physiological and some of it is social, but it is nearly impossible to tell which is which without a control group with which to compare. In a male, the brain loses the facility of communication across the corpus callosum, making it is less able to recover from stroke or injury than a female brain. Their speech centers suffer, their spatial orientation suffers, their intuitive abilities wane and so do their imaginative and visual skills. They are less able to negotiate and more likely to be violent. Their excessive focus on linear reasoning impairs their abstract thinking, and they are more likely to be cut off from Nature and from other people. Some of this could certainly be avoided with good mothering and a supportive environment, but not all.

What this tells us is that there are certainly effects created by the masculine hormonal levels, which closely resemble those of a menstruating woman. Alan Alda once coined the phrase "testosterone poisoning" to describe men who could get turned on by anything that remotely resembled a breast - he may have been more accurate in that assessment than anyone knew at the time.

Morgaine said...

Hey - I just read the article, and it turns out the doctor was born about 30 miles from where I live! That's kind of cool.