Sex. Do I have your attention yet?

I read Elaine Blair’s review of Daniel Bergner’s book on female sexuality entitled “What Do Women Want?” from the Sunday book review in the New York Times. Bergner’s book explores women and contemporary sex research, especially the notion that women have less of a sex drive than men, through interviews and data analysis from a variety of sources. His research concludes that there has been a marked shift in attitudes towards women’s sexuality over the last few years.

Where did the well-accepted, and now aging, notion that men are the ones with all the sex drive come from? Blair claims evolutionary psychologists of the past spread the idea, through the male lens, since they were men. It wasn’t ladylike to want to have sex. It was primal. Women are more refined and delicate. Men initiate out of raw need. Women associate it with intimacy and need sex is for reproduction. Yet somewhere between the rise of women’s social and economic individualism and power and the mainstream acceptance of popular television series such as Sex and the City and Girls, many exasperating sex myths and gender stereotypes are being questioned today.

Both women and men can want sex for many reasons. Women especially should be comfortable discussing sex with their partners, friends, and doctors. Women should not be afraid to speak their minds and be honest with themselves about anything sexually. From your own anatomical questions to your own personal desires, our society needs to get rid of any leftover puritanical thoughts that chastise female sexuality as deviant and strange. To broaden this lens, society must remember that sex and sexuality is unique for each person based on their history with it, their attitudes towards it, how they interact with it and what they expect from it. With the increasing study of women’s sexuality though an objective lens, maybe we will find that the old notions of sexual roles are void, and I suspect that all will greatly benefit from it.