Sexual images are just as arousing for women as they are for men
By Clare Wilson
15 July 2019
When it comes to viewing pornography, male and female brains respond in the same way
Women’s brains react to pornography just as much as men’s, challenging the widespread belief that men get more turned on by visual stimuli.
The finding comes from a review of 61 brain scanning studies that showed men and women pornographic pictures or films as they lay in a brain scanner.
Although there is wide variation in behaviour among both sexes, men are usually seen as being more interested in sex. In questionnaire-based research, the responses suggest that men find erotic images more appealing than women do. This is often interpreted as women requiring more of an emotional connection before they become aroused.
This difference was seemingly confirmed with the advent of brain-scanning studies, with some finding that men’s brains are more responsive to pornography
But the field of brain scanning has been criticised in recent years for being prone to using methods that can lead to spurious results
, such as drawing conclusions from small differences that could have arisen by chance. So Hamid Noori at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen, Germany, and colleagues analysed the results from all the brain-scanning studies that have tried to answer this question, looking at the whole brain and covering nearly 2000 people. Overall it found no difference between men and women.
“There are differences in behaviour – the number of men going to porn sites is roughly 80 per cent of the consumers,” says Noori. “But men and women respond the same way at the brain level to visual sexual stimuli. What we do with it afterwards is what brings the difference.”
Women may watch less pornography because it is more stigmatised, says David Ley, a writer and sex therapist at outpatient centre New Mexico Solutions. He says the study shows “women can be just as visual as men, if they are allowed to be”.
The findings don’t prove women’s and men’s brains react to pornography identically, as brain scans only show activity at the level of relatively large anatomical structures, says Noori – there could still be differences at the level of brain cells that don’t show up on scans.
PNAS DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1904975116
OMG foids are so innocent and pure :keelskek: