Why Gender Matters p.261

We know that most young boys who say that they are girls grow up to be men who do not think they are women and who do not want to be women. We now have many studies in which researchers have followed such boys for fifteen or twenty years, well into adulthood. In every study, the great majority of such boys grow up to be men who have no interest in becoming women. In one of the largest such studies, of 139 boys who insisted in childhood that they were really girls trapped in the bodies of boys, only 12 percent still felt that way as adolescents or adults. In other words, 88 percent of the boys grew out of it. Many of those boys grew up to be gay men. Some grew up to be straight men. But they are mend. They don’t need hormone supplements or surgery. They are capable of fathering children.

In other words, for the majority of young boys who say they are really girls, the desire to be a girl is just a phase. For such boys, allowing the boy to present himself as a girl will be a major stumbling block on his road to becoming a man (whether a gay man or a straight man)…

The most common outcome for the five-year-old boy or eight-year-old boy who says that he is really a girl, twenty tears down the road is a boy who grows up to be a gay man… Most five-year-olds, and even most eight-year-olds, have little sense of their own sexual orientation prior to the onset of puberty. Many kids in that age group, when presented with the facts of life, just pronounce it all to be “yucky.” Heterosexual intimacy and homosexual intimacy seem equally strange, and repellent, to many prepubescent kids. So it’s very difficult for that eight-year-old boy who loves to dress up as a princess, who believes himself to be a girl, to know whether he might grow up to be a gay man and feel right as a gay man. Being a girl may seem more real and more comprehensible.

 

Leonard Sax – Why Gender Matters p.261

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Why Gender Matters p.259

The transgender activists seem to be motivated not primarily by data or research but by a belief: the belief that transgender is a normal variation.  If that’s true – if being transgender is a normal variation, just like being left-handed – then any effort to align a patient’s gender identify with their biological sex would clearly be misguided, just as trying to make a left-handed person write with their right hand is misguided.

But transgender is not a normal variation. People with normal variations such as left-handedness do not require any professional intervention. But a transgender individual will require treatment with sex hormones and perhaps even sex-reassignment surgery in order to live in the other-sex role. Left-handed people don’t need prescription medications or surgical intervention in order to live as left-handed people. But a transgender individual will need lifelong treatment with cross-sex hormones in order to pass as a member of the other sex.

Prior to 1942, prescription female hormones were not available. And without prescription hormones, an adult male wearing a dress looks like. . .  a man in a dress. The modern conception of transgender – the notion that a child born male can, as an adult, be made to look like a woman and “pass” as a woman – rests on the ready availability of intervention such as electrolysis, plastic surgery, and prescription hormones. It is as much a creation of the modern world as the telephone and the digital computer.

 

Leonard Sax – Why Gender Matters p.259

Why Gender Matters p.242

There are still many unanswered questions about sexual orientation, some of which seem (to me) to be urgently in need of answer. For example: Researchers in the Netherlands found that a gay man who is in a relationship with a gay man is eight times more likely to commit suicide than is a straight man who is married to a woman; by contrast, a lesbian woman in a relationship with a lesbian woman is no more likely to commit suicide than is a straight woman who is married to a man. The researchers point out that the Netherlands is one of the most tolerant and accepting countries in the world for gay men and has become even more tolerant and accepting; but in this study the younger men were at the same high risk as the older men. There has been very little research directed to understanding the reasons behind this finding.

 

Leonard Sax – Why Gender Matters p.242

Why Gender Matters p.128

The anthropologist Peter Wood… in answer to [a] Yale woman who said that plenty of women enjoy having casual sex, observed:

If the cost of that view is not immediately apparent, it is still real. The woman who treats her sexuality as something detachable from strong mutual attachment to a single partner sooner or later discovers that men regard her as expendable… The pretense that sex is just sex is never true…. There is no such thing as sex without consequences…

The sexes are complementary. The distortion of women’s sexuality plainly distorts men’s sexuality as well, though in a more deferred way. Men, instead of learning how to be responsible committed partners and eventually husbands and fathers, learn that the pleasure-seeking dimension of their sexuality can be sustained with relative ease. As a result, the men shun social maturity. The women who are veterans of the hook-up culture find that , once they are in it, their options for getting out are reduced…. All of this distorts and diminishes the lives of those who are caught up in the pursuit of sex without attachment. They eventually become those for whom genuine attachment is far more difficult…. The [true] meaning of sex is that it leads somewhere – somewhere beyond orgasms and the excitement of strangers. An older generation called that “somewhere” marriage.

The end result of multiple sexual encounters outside the context of a romantic relationship may be a lessening of the ability to form and sustain a healthy and lasting romantic relationship. And that may be true for both girls and boys, for both women and for men.

 

Leonard Sax – Why Gender Matters p.128

Why Gender Matters p.122

What’s the relation between love and sex? The neurochemical basis for both love and sex in females involves the hormone oxytocin, the same hormone released when a mother breast-feeds her newborn baby. “Oxytocin’s effects on both [romantic] attachment and sexual behavior are estrogen dependent and gender specific,” observes neuropsychologist Lisa Diamond, adding that there appears to be “more extensive oxytocin circuits in female than male brains.” In males, on the other hand, the hormone underlying sexual drive is not oxytocin but testosterone, the same hormone that mediates aggression in males.

Many researchers have used functional MRI to look at brain activity in women and men during sexual arousal. One consistent finding is that men show comparatively more activity in the older, more primitive areas of the brain such as the amygdala, thalamus, and hypothalamus, while women show proportionately more activity up in the cerebral cortex; that’s true even when the women report feeling more sexually aroused than the men. And these differences are apparently not affected by sexual orientation: reviewers found no significant differences in the patterns of brain activity of straight men compared with gay men but large differences between men and women, regardless of sexual orientation.

These sex differences suggest that women’s sexual experience is “happening” more in the cerebral cortex and is therefore more connected with the rest of what’s going on in their mind. The sexual experience in men is less connected with the cortex, less connected with the outside world. One recent study actually showed that in young men sexual arousal decreases functional synchronization between cortical areas of the brain. That’s a fancy way of saying that when a young man is sexually aroused, his brain literally comes unglued, and the different parts aren’t talking with one another.

The weight of the evidence strongly suggests that males and females experience sexual desire differently. As UCLA psychologist Anne Peplau observes, “women’s sexuality tends to be strongly linked to a close relationship. For women, an important goal of sex is intimacy; the best context for pleasurable sex is a committed relationship. This is less true for men.”

You can say that again. For boys and for some men, especially younger men, the sexual urge is closely tied to aggression. That’s not surprising when you remember that in males both the sexual urge and the aggressive urge are mediated by testosterone. In one carefully designed study, a surprisingly high percentage – 35 percent – of “normal” college men said that they not only fantasized about rape but would actually rape a woman if they had the chance and they were sure they wouldn’t be caught. In another study of “normal” college men, more than half said they would actually rape a woman if they were assured of not being punished. Researchers have found that more than 80 percent of popular porn videos include some form of degrading violence against women: most often the woman is slapped or gagged or spanked or has her hair yanked. But the men who watch these videos are not necessarily Neanderthals. In fact, researchers have found no association between a man’s gender-role beliefs and the likelihood that he finds rape sexually appealing. Some men who are strongly in favor of equal rights for women, who approve of women in leadership roles, and so on also say that they would rape a woman if they had the opportunity. In one recent study, men who watched pornography were actually somewhat more likely to endorse equal rights for women, compared with men who don’t look at porn. Nor is there any association positive or negative, between a man’s intelligence and the likelihood that he will be sexually aroused by depictions of rape. Highly intelligent men are no less likely to fantasize about raping a woman than are men of below-average intelligence.

Men and women experience sexuality differently. A significant number of men may feel tempted to engage in sexual assault, even if they are otherwise intelligent and believe in equal rights for women. Women are much less likely to feel a strong temptation to engage in sexual assault. These differences between women and men can be traced at least in part to biological causes, including the differences between testosterone and oxytocin. A sensible, commonsense approach to preventing sexual assault would begin by recognizing these hardwired differences.

Young men are much more likely to find pornography satisfying and fulfilling. Few young women would use the word “fulfilling” to describe the experience of masturbating over pornography. But pornography has gone mainstream. The pop star John Mayer proudly told Rolling Stone magazine that he is “the new generation of masturbator”: he would rather masturbate over pornography than have sex with actual women. I haven’t heard of any leading female celebrities who have boasted that hey would rather masturbate over pornography than have sex with real people.

The motivation for sex is different for most teenage boys than for most teenage girls. Many teenage boys want to have sex to satisfy sexual desire. It’s a gut-level, base-of-the-brain impulse not far removed from the need to have a bowel movement when you feel the urge. Many boys will tell you that the urge feels just that irresistible.

Not so for most girls. As psychologist Roy Baumeister has observed, “male desire aims at the sexual activity itself, whereas female desire aims beyond it toward other outcomes and consequences.”

 

Leonard Sax – Why Gender Matters p.122

Why Gender Matters p.51

Male chimpanzees are about twenty times as likely to fight as females are, but the fights don’t last more than a few minutes and rarely result in major injury. Two male chimps who fight each other this morning may be grooming each other this afternoon. According to Frans de Waal, a primatologist at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Atlanta, “Picking a fight can actually be a way for [male chimps] to relate to one another, check each other out, and take a first step toward friendship.” Female chimps rarely fight, but when they do, their friendship is over. The hostility that results can last for years. Serious injury is also more likely to occur when female chimpanzees fight. Female chimps who have fought each other are “vindictive and irreconcilable, according to Dr. de Waal.

In our species these differences are apparent as soon as children can talk. Boys as young as two years of age, given a choice between violent fairy tales and warm and fuzzy fairy tales, usually choose the violent stories. Girls as young as two years of age most often choose the warm and fuzzy stories. In another study psychologists found that five- and seven-year-old girls who like to make up violent stories are more likely to have significant behavior problems than girls who prefer warm, nurturing stories. However, among boys, a preference for making up violent stories is not an indicator of underlying psychiatric problems. A preference for violent stories seems to be normal for five- to seven-year-old boys, while the same preference in five- to seven-year-old girls suggests a psychiatric disorder.

 

Leonard Sax – Why Gender Matters p.51

Wisdom Won from Illness p.212

In dreams, we experience images without recognizing them as images and without understanding their deeper meanings. It is not quite correct to say that in dreams we think we are awake. Part of what it is to think that we are awake is to exercise the capacity to distinguish between waking and dream states, and it is this capacity that goes to sleep when we sleep. Thus dreams states do have a reality and power for us, not  because we think we are awake, but because the capacity to distinguish between waking and sleeping has temporarily shut down. So again there is disorientation: we lose the capacity to recognize our dream as a dream and thus to determine what it is about.

 

Jonathan Lear – Wisdom Won from Illness p.212