So there's a new book out explaining that women experience sexual desire, much of it being lust for men. As someone who's been saying this to skeptical audiences since forever (that would be 2004, folks, the year WWPD was born), I suppose I ought to be unequivocally thrilled that Science now backs this up. Elaine Blair writes in her NYT review:
[Daniel Bergner] sets this tour of contemporary sex research against one particular shibboleth: the notion that women are naturally less libidinous than men, “hard-wired” to want babies and emotional connection but not necessarily sex itself.Gah! Finally, someone points this out! Finally, there no longer need to be individual women popping up here and there to say that they feel like gay men trapped in women's bodies - but not in a transgender sense, just in a gosh-men-are-pretty one. Some men. Keanu Reeves comes to mind. And to take this to an ever-more-unattainable level: Rufus. Finally, women's desire for men (and yes, obviously, some women only desire women, and some are asexual, and that's fine too) need not be treated as perversion or immaturity. (Teen girls can think guys are hot. Women somehow can't think the same of men.)
And yet. I mean, I'll read it, I'll pitch responses to it once I've read it and can therefore respond. It does sound pretty great.
But there's something about the mere fact of the existence of such a book that reminds me of when NYT food writer David Tanis told readers that it's OK to eat out-of-season asparagus, something ordinary shoppers had already been doing, given the asparagus in stores. An imperfect analogy, fine. But I guess what I mean is, there's something kind of strange - mansplaining even if not intended as such - about learning that a man is out there with a book explaining that which women's wiring has been telling us since we were 16, 12, or 8 years old. (What it means to like boys/men - or girls/women - will of course vary according to how old you are, but lots of us know long before middle school. I can remember who some of my celebrity crushes were from that era, but I'm not saying.)
I'm having trouble articulating this. Because it's really not that I think the book itself sounds mansplainish. Not at all. It's just that perhaps on some level, I'd have preferred it if a woman had written this book, and if it were sufficient authority to hear this message from a woman.