Home Sexual response Researchers need to challenge what they are told

Researchers need to challenge what they are told

People wonder why we have so little sex education. We lack experience in talking about sex. So people do not know how to start. We also lack the basic facts and explanations. No one knows where to go to read up on the topic and inform themselves. It’s certainly not easy! Effectively we have voluntary censorship because so many people make money out of the fantasy view of sex. The political advantages for women who support or condone the view of female sexuality favoured by men, are huge. A woman has nothing to gain by being honest. She will be reviled by all. Honesty about sex threatens our fantasies. It is also a direct threat to the many ploys some women use to manipulate men by making money out of their sexual needs. No wonder women are silent when it comes to discussing orgasm!

We have the idea that scientific method is defined by scientists. These are people who work within an institution of some kind, probably education or research based, such as a university. Foremost, everyone has the idea that researchers must be qualified. No one knows has any idea about what information provides the basis for anyone’s qualification. Many people pronounce on sexuality without having any relevant qualifications. Agony aunts and article writers in popular magazines are examples. This is because so few people are willing to be explicit or authoritative on sexuality. Sex is added to relationship topics as an aside, which allows almost anyone to comment. Such comments are never challenged because of the embarrassment and the lack of certainty. No one knows any better. We have to decide for ourselves what new information we will believe on the topic.

It does not make sense to suggest that scientists can discover something that generations of couples have missed. This is a basic misunderstanding of sex research. We cannot discover something new about a response that has evolved over millions of years (from before homo sapiens). All we can do is provide explanations for those responses. It is difficult for people to accept the extent of sexual ignorance in our society. Given women’s silence on sexual topics, men have defined women’s sexuality for them.

In truth, to be an expert in sexuality one needs to have assimilated decades of experience of human nature and a long-term sexual relationship. One needs to be responsive, to know what arousal and orgasm feel like. One needs to be familiar with the research findings that give women a voice. One needs to have explored sex play. One needs to be an objective observer. One needs to be devoid of political bias and emotional prejudices.

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. (Galileo Galilei)

Excerpt from ‘Understanding Sexual Response’ (to be published 2023)