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Sex Thoughts

I always felt sheepish when it would be revealed to me that

  1. I think about sex every minute, and
  2. my SO thinks about sex every two days

because really, I never did think about sex that often, except maybe in those heady two months before K and I married—repressed I always was, ever since mom surreptitiously left those puberty books in my room, and I read them as if I were reading something dirty; it just seemed odd that anyone ever expected young men to do anything productive if their minds were that preoccupied with their testicles. Moreover, I always felt bad for women because every time anyone said it, it was an appeal to women to put out more, even if they didn’t want to, for the sake of their man’s happiness. Turns out, I don’t have to feel sheepish anymore.



i always thought this idea of “thinking about sex” was strange. what qualifies as thinking about sex, anyway? do you have to be fantasizing about doing the deed with someone or no one in particular, or can you just have that fleeting thought of “damn, i’m horny right now,” and then go back to baking your cookies or whatever you happening to be doing? does it really have to be an articulated thought, or can it just be a feeling or sensation? i guess if i read the book, maybe i’d know.

One of the studies mentioned in Liberman’s post (the link above) differentiates thoughts between “urges” (externally motivated) and “fantasies” (internally motivated); it says that college aged men & women are pretty much equal in both. However, it’s certainly valid to question how much can be generalized from a single study of about 50 men & women each.

I can testify that when I was 17 I was probably thinking about sex every couple of minutes. Now that I am married for 14 years … I won’t say how often it is now, :-)

Bobby Valentine

Even every two minutes is an incredible amount of time! still, I’ll take your word for it. Let the record show that BV at 17 was quite horny, which in my experience is par for the course for ministers. :)

I am laughing out loud, Greg!!!

But most of the guys I knew at 17 were in the same boat. That is, to use your term, horny!

Bobby Valentine

Well, I assumed it was a given that 17 year olds are horny, both men and women; with ministers, it takes knowing a few. If you think about it, it should be no great surprise. You’re asked to be extraordinarily sympathetic to others, and because there is only so much direct experience anyone can have, a good part of ministerial work requires imagination. A sophisticated, sympathetic imagination isn’t far from a well-honed fantasy life—which is probably developed more given the professional distance it’s often necessary for you to maintain among your parishioners.

For all of those reasons, and for others, I’ve believed for years the one thing that ministers need more than anything isn’t sex, as much as they often think it’s what they need; rather, it’s a friend to keep their secrets, who will allow them to be someone other than a minister for a while.

Anecdotal evidence available to me suggests that

1. The first figure is a little high.
2. The second figure is waaay too low.

The huge discrepancy between the two numbers may have to do with the “researchers” imposing male conceptions of horniness onto females. As K suggested above, identifying the mental contours of sexual arousal is a thorny issue. More anecdotal evidence indicates to me that men and women are horny in fundamentally different ways.

the huge discrepancy appears to be myth making, not scientific bias—according to the link, anyway. it must be at least that. for women not to think of sex more often than every two days is inhuman. certainly there are times, when stressed for example, when sex is the furthest from one’s mind, but that’s true for anyone.

so what is this effort to deny women their sexuality, i wonder?

well, it’s certainly not a new effort, unfortunately.

With all this talk of sex and arousal I wonder if I need parental permission to visit Hermit’s Rock, :-)

Bobby Valentine

What it amounts to, you know, is a weird hierarchy of desire for the young. If we ranked the amount of sex that people get by the popular perceptions of desire that people have, it’d be something like:

  1. gay men
  2. straight men
  3. straight women
  4. gay women

There’s a lot of people who put a lot of stock in that hierarchy and use it to dismiss everyone but straight men, frankly, since straight men are the standard and norm for all sexual behavior. Gays, for example, are just abnormal, according to folks like Peter Sprigg of the FRC, who describes the “homosexual life” as characterized solely by “transient, promiscuous, and unfaithful relationships” and (if allowed into marriage) will make “fewer marriages… permanent, exclusive, and faithful—even among heterosexuals.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Laura talks straight to women about straight men:

What about sex? Are wives obligated to give their husbands sex on demand?

As a woman who happens to believe that orgasms are a fabulous gift and blessing from God, I am amazed at how many women callers are willing to give them up to the gods of “I’m tired,” or “I’m annoyed.” Now, anyone can not be in the mood from time to time—that’s natural. However, the denigration of male sexual needs (They are just animals) and the use of sex to punish or control (You didn’t do what I wanted) and inappropriate prioritizing (My work and children take all my energy) are self-centered and self-defeating. I ask my women callers who complain that their husbands are not happy with virtually no sexual intimacy (and, by the way, that’s what the men truly feel about sex with their wives—it’s the ultimate in ‘acceptance and approval’ for them) if they would be satisfied with that profound a rejection and dismissal. They always say, “No, I guess not.” Frankly, too many women treat their husbands as accessories instead of priorities.

This division of people by sexuality seems to me, at the moment, very strange, and very sad.

Maybe we ought to have listened to Kinsey more closely, although I must admit the difference between “every day” (Men: 54%, Women: 19%) and “a few times per month or week” (Men: 43%, Women: 67%) is a mite unsatisfactory of a statistic. “A few times per month” and “a few times per week” is really a big difference.

I wonder, though, if the promiscuity of gay men is believed to be so extraordinary in part because there is such a counterbalancing belief that women are asexual?

It’d be nice if we had an anthropologist around to give us some examples outside of the Western tradition.

In the course of reading this thread, I have thought about statistics about sex, stereotypes about people and their sexual preferences, ministers and sex, and how forthcoming various people are on the matter of sex, and where I might fall in that continuum.

Have I then thought about sex?

The statistics, and the kinds of narratives spun from them do strike me as an effort to describe—and thus circumscribe—the acceptable limits of female sexuality.