The Spectacle Blog

When the Beautiful Becomes the Base

By on 6.7.13 | 12:57PM

The science of plethysmography has finally solved the eternal human problem: We’re all just sexual beasts and need to get down together.

A plethysmograph is a device that measures changes in the volume of organs or the entire body resulting from fluctuations in blood flow.  (I’ll leave it to your imagination which organs they measure to study sexuality.)

Ronnie Koenig, former editor-in-chief of Playgirl, used a study involving such science to conclude that women “desire visual stimulation just as much as the next guy.”

Writing in The Atlantic, she emphasizes that:

Sexuality is not a one-size-fits all proposition. And I'll admit that many women are not turned on by the images in Playgirl. But I'm against downplaying the strength, vigor and animalistic quality of female sexual arousal by dressing it up with flowers and chocolate-dipped strawberries. When it belongs to the right person, a naked male body can be exactly what a woman wants.

Of course, Koenig arrived at this conclusion by reading studies measuring the brain activity of women while they were viewing porn. Turns out that women respond just as quickly as men do to sexual images. That makes sense as more and more women view pornography. 

It’s horrible that men have become addicted to this pernicious visual drug; it’s even more stomach-churning that more and more women are succumbing to the perversions of the modern male. 

That same CNN post that I linked to above also cites a Northwestern University study that concluded that women respond to various types of sexual display, regardless of their orientation.

This all distills into one question: Why are we defining the ultimate physical manifestation of love and procreation as blood flowing to our body parts? To do so is to, quite simply, place us morally adjacent to the rabbits in the field and the dogs in the alleys. 

Fine, women love the male body, terrific. But what Koenig seems to totally discount is the holistic nature of sexuality; the process of eros, the familiarization of two people with the mannerisms of the other, and ultimately the gentle exploration of each other’s bodies and souls.

My perception is clearly old-fashioned, but I hope it’s not obsolete. If it is, and we truly embrace our beastly natures, prepare for more soft-core pornography editors telling us how to love. 

Send to Kindle

Like this Article

Print this Article

Print Article

More Articles From Patrick Ryan