A contradiction…within the multitudes.

Do I contradict myself?

Very well, then I contradict myself,

(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

Studies show that there are differences in “erotic plasticity” between men and women, and more specifically between those who identify as gay and straight. One study  (2006, Chivers) found that when people were given shown photos of men, women, and bonobo monkeys portrayed in various erotic situations and were then asked to rate how turned on they were; simultaneously, these participants were also hooked up to a Plethysmograph (an erotic lie detector that measures blood flow to the genitals).

The results showed that the men, both gay and straight, were consistent in both their ratings of being turned on and their physical responses. Straight men responded with a higher intensity to the images of women (including gay and hetero- sex scenarios) and gay men to images of men (alone or engaging in a homosexual act). None of the men responded physically or otherwise to the monkey-sex. The findings basically tell us: MEN TELL US WHAT THEY WANT, simply, with no contradictions.

The women’s responses were VERY different.

Both gay and straight women’s Plethysmographic responses “twitched” ACROSS ALL SEXUAL IMAGES: men, women, gay, straight, and…yes, you guessed it, even when looking at BONOBO MONKEY SEX!

There is an important caveat however, unlike the men, these women indicated a low level or “no” sexual excitement on their self-ratings for scenarios that did not reflect their expressed sexual preference (e.g., straight women did not rate lesbian scenes as a turn on and yet their physical ratings indicated otherwise).

Perhaps these findings are not surprising considering our society’s need to tamp down women’s overt sexual expression, these women’s responses did not reflect their bodies’; but, for me, something much more important was brought out in this study:


This is a fact that I have puzzled on for years,

“What the hell is wrong with me? Why does nearly everything turn me on? Why does what turns me on always seem to be evolving? Why am I so different then how, I have been taught, a women is supposed to BE?”

In the past, my male lovers shamed me for my fantasies…which I realize were deep and wide in their width and breadth, and even now when I fantasize I am a bit shocked by the myriad of scenarios that seem to materialize out of nowhere and manifest in vivid erotic detail. As a result, I have considered myself, and been labeled, a freak. Call it my scientific acumen, which drives my quest for “true” evidence in any explanation…still it’s nice to have my desires vindicated through “proof”…and yet, sad that I ever felt like I needed it in the first place…And therein lies the origin of the contradiction:


Oh touche,


We are large and within us we contain multitudes of


happy Friday, xxx c.

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