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July 21, 2005

Dominance And Submission

OK... maybe one of you brain surgeons out there can tell me what this little gem is supposed to mean:

A University of Michigan study suggests that women, but not men, automatically associate sex with submission and that connection reduces the quality of their sexual experience.

Key findings show that women implicitly associate sex with submission and that this leads to a submissive sexual role, which in turn leads to lower arousal and difficulty becoming aroused. This association appears to lower their arousal by reducing their sexual autonomy.

Uh-huh. Every time I read one of these studies (wasn't the last time when one of these geniuses unveiled dramatic new evidence that shows there is a difference between fake and real orgasms... (and furthermore, that women really LIKE having real ones...gee... how much federal grant money did we spend testing THAT HYPOTHESIS, big guy?) I just end up shaking my head. I think I need a new category in the sidebar called: "I want that job".

Back to the methodology:

Researchers tested subjects by showing target words associated with submission on a computer screen, preceded by subliminal primes (words with a specific connotation, in this case sex primes and neutral primes. For instance, sex and oven).

You lost me here. Was "oven" supposed to be neutral? Or associated with submission? Either way, showing a woman the word "oven" is about as big a turn-off as I can possibly imagine. Not the sort of thing your Sensitive New Age bachelor tempts a hot date with: "Hey babe... c'mon upstairs for a little nightcap and I'll show you my Jenn-Air CONVECTION OVEN. Maybe you can whip up some elderberry scones for me while we listen to some Duke Ellington on my new stereo." Yeah, that'll get the old sexual juices flowing.

But it gets better:

Women's responses were on average faster when submissive words were preceded by a sex prime than by a neutral prime. This faster response indicates the two concepts are related in women's minds, said Kiefer, a recent doctoral graduate in the psychology department.

Now wait just a cotton-picking minute. This doesn't seem like a very good test to me. If you wanted to test whether submission and sex were related in women's minds, wouldn't you test with pairs of sex/submissive words and sex/aggressive words to see which ones made women respond faster? If you only pair the submissive words with sex, you have nothing to compare your results to. They may have responded faster because the only thing varied was whether or not they were exposed to a sexually-related word.

But now we go on to draw a whole host of bizarre conclusions:

"The more women reported engaging in submissive behaviors, the less arousal they reported experiencing from a range of sexual activities. The problem with submissive behavior seems to be that women don't experience these behaviors as authentic expressions of their selves. Submission to their partner's desires appears to undermine their ability to assert themselves within the sexual context," Kiefer said. "I would say it's really important to recognize the fact that women associate their personal submission with sex, and this association seems to be detrimental to their sexual health."

Well, I might buy off on this in general. It's probably not all that healthy to be a passive-aggressive person who can't come out and ask for what you want, and most women enjoy sex more when they get a bit older and more confident. But then what does this little bit of psychology say about women? Sexual submissiveness isn't always a sign of low self-esteem - sometimes it's exactly the reverse. With more women working in high-powered jobs these days, I'd say this study sounds like old-fashioned stereotyping. Are they trying to imply that women don't have a strong enough sense of self to lose?

It's the ultimate break from thoroughly modern stresses on the self.

You've got a respectably high-powered job. Maybe it's even visible one. You are regularly making difficult decisions that affect the lives of others, perhaps many others. You need to maintain a highly polished self-image. You like to feel in personal control. You're constantly advancing your independence, your responsibility, your success.

So how do you take a break? If you're like an unknown number of others, perhaps you've already signed up for a spanking.

"Masochists seem to be drawn largely from the privileged classes," Baumeister finds. They are above average in education and income. "Society's real victims do not seek out masochistic sex. Rather it is often the rich, powerful, and successful, the people with the heaviest burdens of selfhood, who need the escape of masochism."

Of course, masochists are not really out to ditch their selves. Nor do they want to be sex slaves in reality. They want the fantasy of shedding their own identity, with its autonomy and responsibility, and submitting entirely to the will of another.

Fantasies of sexual submission turn out to be particularly common among women, more so than among men, even though men engage in more masochistic practices than women. (Then again, men engage more in most forms of unusual sexual behavior.)

gone_with_the_wind.jpg Too funny. I get the impression a lot of these "studies" are driven by a feminist agenda. People behave the way they do for complex reasons, but they are often driven by simple biology as well and for all our technological and social advances, we still have not gotten beyond some rather primitive hard-wiring that seems to me to be based on our physiology.

Is there something wrong with that?

Even with all its annoyances, personally I rather enjoy being female at times.

Posted by Cassandra at July 21, 2005 07:05 AM

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Pretentious title for a nothing post right there. But hey, cheer up. I found you something: Cassandra the Inimitable examines what seems to be a fairly silly-sounding study about sex and submission. Go read that, 'cause heaven knows the well... [Read More]

Tracked on July 24, 2005 11:46 PM


Let's see if I've got this all down:
Spanking - yes; Duke Ellington - no.
Okay! Thanks!
I'm going to go wake up Ms. rdr.

Posted by: spd rdr at July 21, 2005 08:31 AM

My, my we're bright-eyed and bushy-tailed this morning... :)

Posted by: Cassandra at July 21, 2005 08:57 AM

Bush? Tail?! And yet I get denied for content...
(Hee hee!)

Posted by: camojack at July 21, 2005 09:33 AM


Where mr rdr is concerned, I have learned not to rule anything out.

The mind boggles.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 21, 2005 09:38 AM

You've got to see the size of this black eye!

Posted by: spd_rdr at July 21, 2005 09:45 AM

Liar... he's probably sporting a badly-concealed lipstick stain and a decidedly silly grin.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 21, 2005 09:50 AM

Frankly Scallop, I don't give a clam.

Posted by: Cricket at July 21, 2005 10:37 AM

The billionth study since the 70's that tries desperately to convince us that women are ALWAYS victims no matter what, no matter if the women themselves say they are not...


* Puts on feminist tin foil hat to get in character *

You women like to eat chocolate ?


You only think you like it, but you DON'T!

You are victims! VICTIMS!

* removes feminist tinfoil hat *

Posted by: Friend of USA [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 21, 2005 11:08 AM

Heh. I like studies like this if only to reinforce the fact that we have to maintain the status quo for feminists. As FOUSA And Cass pointed out, it doesn't matter what WE say, it is what the degreed pundits in white coats say when they control the conditions and the experiment.

I don't see myself as a vyctym of sex. Or that sex is submyssyve unless you give in to your passion, lust, love, whatever for a romping good time.

And that is a problem because we are either enjoying it with men or men who are clueless about how to tell a woman to 'take charge.'

Heh heh heh.

and double that.

Posted by: Cricket at July 21, 2005 11:17 AM

I'm still laughing about the "oven" thing.

I think I've figured out why spd got the black eye.

He sidled up to the mrs, laid a hand on her undercarriage, and whispered into her shell-like ear the time-honored male aphrodisiac:

"What's for dinner, honey?"

*running away*

Posted by: Cassandra at July 21, 2005 11:24 AM

Hee! With SWWBO, New.Kitchen.Gadgets *does* work as a seduction technique...

Posted by: John of Argghhh! at July 21, 2005 11:29 AM

Frankly Scallop, I don't give a clam.
Posted by: Cricket at July 21, 2005 10:37 AM

Try this 'un:
Frankly harlot, I won't give a dime!

I just made that up; you likee?
(Duckin' and a-runnin'...)

Posted by: camojack at July 21, 2005 11:36 AM

I don't know, Cassandra. . . A Jenn-Air CONVECTION OVEN can be pretty, well, . . .hot...

(GREAT post!)

Posted by: Charmaine Yoest at July 21, 2005 12:24 PM

A time honored come-on line-----

"Get yer biscuits in the oven, and yer buns in the bed"


Posted by: Greg at July 21, 2005 01:44 PM

Greg, you fool - you always crack me up. Bless you :)

Posted by: Cassandra at July 21, 2005 01:47 PM

Wow! Another study with conjecture based on more conjecture, etc. Great comments, all! This throbbing sex kitten/juicy crone has nothing further to add.

Posted by: JannyMae at July 21, 2005 03:37 PM

Jenn-Air Convection oven????

Would that be one of them with the range top level suck-apparatus???

It is my experience that chicks dig things that suck.

Posted by: Pile On at July 21, 2005 06:47 PM

Camo, that was funny in a bad way.

Pile, Cass adores you. So do I. And yes, you still Hoover.

The Engineer has gifted me with many gadgets and subscriptions to improve technique and flavor, and give variety and interest to our daily fare.

Where has it gotten me? *blushing* Well, I am not complaining now, am I?

Just a month ago he walked in with a slab of granite that he traded some work for, and I am just over the moon about it. So was he by the response in the kitchen and other parts of the house!

Posted by: Cricket at July 22, 2005 01:02 AM

Camo, that was funny in a bad way.
Posted by: Cricket at July 22, 2005 01:02 AM

A little risqué, I know;
glad you liked it, tho'...
(Poem strictly accidental)

Posted by: camojack at July 22, 2005 03:40 AM

Camo darlin', you are just too much.


Posted by: Cricket at July 22, 2005 07:13 AM

I know. It hurts me sometimes, too...but it's worth it, mostly.

Posted by: camojack at July 22, 2005 08:19 AM

I guess doing studies on Beach Blanket Bingo wasn't worth our money,so now it kitchen,sink,and oven bingo we get to learn about now.Good grief!its frightening what they will come up with next.

Posted by: Lisa Gilliam at July 24, 2005 05:49 PM

I guess it took them so long to figure out that women even *have* sex drives that now they're going overboard studying them.

"Hmmmm... [male scientist] I wonder what possible evolutionary value there could possibly be in allowing the little women to enjoy the dirty deed???...I fail to see the purpose..."

Posted by: Cassandra at July 25, 2005 04:44 AM

If women didn't enjoy the dirty deed population growth would seriously decline. Of course, the control for that would be countries where Female Genital Mutilation and oppression of women is a cultural norm.

Posted by: Cricket at July 25, 2005 10:54 AM

Boy am I deleting a lot of sarcastic comments unposted today... sigh.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 25, 2005 12:12 PM

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