Do We Know What Turns Women On? – Catherine Salmon | Modern Wisdom Podcast with Chris Williamson (#532)

Key Takeaways

  • Catherine Salmon did a study where they would show people pictures of faces that had “deposits” made on them and asked them about how arousing or degrading they found those images to be
    • Somebody enjoying it makes it a positive experience for the person (the biggest effect)
  • Journal of evolutionary studies Consortium found that engaging in rough sex may be more indicative of novelty seeking than aggressive tendencies
  • The majority of bodies in porn are quite similar. What we find attractive in men and women is actually in that sense, not that variable
  • Women don’t watch as much porn as men; instead, they read it
  • At the moment it seems like a lot of women are applauding significantly more feminine men (more agreeable and submissive) in popular culture
    • Even if in your daily life it might be easier to have a partner that would do whatever you wanted no matter what that might not be what you fantasize about
  • Women’s obsession with crime and murderous stories
    • Learn how to avoid being victims
    • For some women, there may also be a fascination with the idea of some men being like the apex predator
  • Revealed versus stated preferences
    • Sexual desires and what we think we want to get mediated and filtered through the culture
    • In general, we should always be concerned with what is being pushed as the main narrative

Intro

  • Catherine Salmon is an evolutionary psychology researcher, professor of Psychology at the University of Redlands, and author. 
  • Expect to learn why women prefer reading erotica instead of watching pornography, how people rate the attractiveness of faces that had “jizz” on them, why feminine men are not featured in dark romance novels, and much more…
  • Host: Chris Williamson (@ChrisWillx)

“Jizz” on the Face Porn Stimuli

  • What makes ejaculating on somebody’s body degrading and coming inside them sacred?
  • Why is it so ever-present; you can rarely find pornography without such a scene in the film?
  • Salmon did a study where they would show people pictures of faces that had “deposits” made on them and asked them about how arousing or degrading they found those images to be
    • Faces were both male and female, they also looked at sexual orientation
    • Also varied in the terms of their reaction (happy, neutral, or unhappy about having someone ejaculate on their faces)
    • Disgust sensitivity; people very high on pathogen avoidance are not as keen on bodily fluids
    • Sociosexuality; people who are more permissive in their sexual attitudes, and more interested in short-term mating also enjoyed the images more
    • Men watching these images generally preferred the faces where the females look like they were enjoying the experience (whether male or female faces they were looking at)
    • Women, in general, did not like the images as much, but bisexual women liked the images a bit more than heterosexual or gay women
    • Could bisexuality be shaped by a general interest in sex and sexual exploration?
  • The results of the “jizz” study
    • Somebody enjoying it makes it a positive experience for the person (the biggest effect)
    • The biggest factor: whether the person liked it and what their sexual orientation was in terms of matching
    • The difference between something inside or on the face; it’s a visual obvious sign, proof of ejaculation

What is the Psychology Behind Rough Sex?

  • Rough sex is associated with novelty seeking but not aggression (Patricia Sanchez)
    • Journal of evolutionary studies Consortium found that engaging in rough sex may be more indicative of novelty seeking than aggressive tendencies
    • Rough sex may be more so recreational and consensual by both parties
    • These sexual behaviors have been shown to increase in situations that involve male jealousy and being separated from a sexual partner
  • What drives women to initiate rough sex according to Catherine Salmon?
    • The idea that a person might want you so badly that he is not as careful as he might otherwise be
    • Women find this appealing in their fantasy lives (romance novels)
    • Power over another individual
  • It could be similar to what we see in other animal species where females require males to demonstrate their physical prowess 
    • Gladiator frogs and the bump test (female frog will be aggressive and won’t mate unless he pushes back)
    • Selecting for aggressive and physical strength, testing male’s ability to demonstrate their strength
  • Novelty seeking but not aggression
    • Trying it because it’s something different
    • It was correlated with a lot of other things that are associated with novelty seeking like having sex in public places, sex toys, etc.
  • Sexual jealousy in men
    • When men may be experiencing sexual jealousy they may be more likely to engage in rough sex
  • Women reported experiencing faster orgasms when they engaged in that kind of sex (could be more rewarding for women, extra arousing, better stimulation)

Why So Many Niches of Porn Exist

  • Why are humans sexually not more simple?
  • There are indeed lots of different genres of porn but most of them have big similarities
    • The majority of bodies in porn are quite similar. What we find attractive in men and women is actually in that sense, not that variable
    • Variation is in what Salmon would call individual differences in people’s porn preferences
    • People more likely to indulge in group sex niche scored higher on a measure of inclination towards infidelity (as well as people who cheated)
  • Visual vs written porn
    • Women don’t watch as much porn as men; instead, they read it
    • What makes some women more visually oriented and some women more interested in reading about their porn?
    • It might be as simple as prenatal testosterone exposure or adult circulating testosterone
  • What are women getting out of romantic or erotic novels that they can’t get out of the video?
    • Could be the long-term commitment aspect of things with their ideal guy
    • There’s a lot more than the visual that’s important; information about who that person is, who they imagine they could be, etc.
    • That doesn’t mean that all women are always interested in long-term mating and only reading about it
  • Differences in the percentage of women that consume pornography across countries
    • Cultural acceptance or whether it is actually about differences in mating strategies among different kinds of populations
    • E.g. the highest proportion of breastfeeding porn in the world is in India

Is there an Agenda Towards Feminine Men?

  • At the moment it seems like a lot of women are applauding significantly more feminine men (more agreeable and submissive) in popular culture
    • There is the idea that masculinity is toxic or that men need to be different
  • Why is erotica different? Erotica is to fulfill the fantasies of women 
    • The fantasies of women are generally not about men that they can push around
    • They’re about men that are useful if the world comes to an end
    • It’s the things that historically and ancestrally women valued in men (provider, protector, genes, etc.)
  • “Years ago they really tried to push the softer gentler kinder view of guys in romance novels and they didn’t sell well.”Catherine Salmon
    • Why is that?
    • Even if in your daily life it might be easier to have a partner that would do whatever you wanted no matter what that might not be what you fantasize about
    • It is an object of sexual desire that may not match up with what you would want as a long-term partner
    • There’s always going to be a compromise about the features that people would like in their day-to-day life and some of it is just what’s happening in the population right now

Women’s Obsession With Crime and Murderous Stories

  • Learn how to avoid being victims
  • For some women, there may also be a fascination with the idea of some men being like the apex predator
    • Some data suggest that women that live in more dangerous environments do prefer more aggressive men 
  • Revealed versus stated preferences
    • Sexual desires and what we think we want to get mediated and filtered through the culture
    • In general, we should always be concerned with what is being pushed as the main narrative (what people are doing, what people want, what people should want)
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Notes By Dario

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