"Ewwwww… Porn is Gross…But I'd read the hell out of it" A little joke about how women weigh porn versus erotica. But as with most jokes of this kind there are some profound elements under its surface.
The truth is that a majority of women prefer reading about sex rather than watching it, and vice versa for men. Now this does not mean that there are women who don't watch porn and similarly it does not mean there aren't men who enjoy reading erotica. As one who has a blog dedicated to Caribbean set erotica I can say that my own experience shows a ratio of about 75-25 per cent in favour of women to men who read my stories on a regular basis.
I suspect the reason for women having more interest in reading about sex is that women tend to be more cerebral when it comes to sex whilst men tend to be more ocular or focused on the visual. From an evolutionary perspective this explains why women spend so much time looking beautiful; red lips, smooth skin, firm breasts etc.
Even in our modern cultural context women still have these drivers at work with many spending an enormous amount of time and energy attempting to look good. The beauty industry for women is a multi-billion dollar business because marketers are tapping into that ancient desire for beauty.
From the male perspective however, general intelligence appears to be having increasing value, pointing to the cerebral nature of how women choose mates for sex.
Those more inclined to see culture as the main reason for the apparent male female difference in processing sexual stimulation, are quick to point out that especially in a modern context, women are conditioned into reading romance from very young.
From fairy tales like Sleeping Beauty young girls go to teenage love stories in teen magazines and then some are 'indoctrinated' by perhaps the most widely known series of books in this part of the world; Mills & Boon novels.
From a personal perspective, I may be anecdotal evidence of the power of these books to influence the young mind. My mother maintains that as a toddler she would have me on the bed next to her as she read these novels. No doubt a common practice for my time, but what surprised her was one day she noticed my eyes fixed onto the pages of the book as I drank my bottle, as if I was actually reading. Whether true or not what is real, is that as a teenager, I consumed my mum's huge collection of Mills & Boons and today I am perhaps this country's most prolific screenwriter — hence my pen name P Nokio, the storyteller.
A key factor in storytelling is the ability to see patterns in seemingly random pieces of information and to make connections that are often missed by others. So whilst most see the male female difference between porn and erotica, some see a common thread.
Most experts agree that both porn and erotica are just dominant subordinate themes being cleverly retold over and over; just in different ways.
"She whimpers for him to stop but her body betrays her as she is fully prepared when he takes her." This has the same elements of power, control and sub/dom themes as the DVD of the pool boy, who, because he is angry with the owner of the house for not paying him his just due, has revenge sex with the owner's 'willing,' sex-starved wife.
The most extreme expression of this sub/dom dynamic is rape porn or rape literature. Surprisingly though whilst there is 'forced' porn, the rape theme is vastly more common in erotic literature.
Studies on women's rape fantasies hold the key to answering what appears to be a contradiction. The research suggests that as much as 60 per cent of women reported having some sort of rape fantasy. Now it should be noted that this figure lowered considerably if the actual word 'rape' was used as opposed to softer jargon like coerced, which points the other major difference in these fantasies.
Rape fantasies have been categorised into two major categories coercive; often where a desirable male overrides a 'token no'; and aversive, which can be much darker and usually involves forced intercourse with unattractive complete strangers.
Given this wide band there are many varying reasons for these thoughts and we will explore just a few of the more prominent ones.
Some suggest that Sexual Blame Avoidance is one factor that is responsible for this since it is a manifestation of repressed sexual desire in dreams that can't or won't be normally acted out in real life. By passing the burden for sex onto the male, the woman can feel no guilt for engaging is sexual activity.
Closely related to this is Desirability, which satisfies the female's need to be heavily wanted; she is so desirable that the male is unable to control himself. On a side note, this also explains why socially dominant women in real life, tend to have more rape type fantasies than any other single group of women.
More disturbing explanations vary from genuine Masochism; the need to 'suffer' sexually. This is so for just a small percentage of women, to a general Openness, for new and extreme forms of sex.
Evolutionary reasons have also been offered. Some suggest we have a Biological Predisposition to Surrender just like some other mammalian species.
Whilst some say it may have its roots in Sympathetic Activation characterised by similarities in the flight or fight modes of increased heart rate, pupil dilation, and genital arousal.
Yet still those more rooted in cultural or conditioned reasons suggest that it has to do with Adversary Transformation, a very common theme explored in erotic literature in which after the forced or coerced sexual interaction, the aggressor is transformed and tamed for marriage, going full circle.
But perhaps the most interesting and reasonable argument put forward was that rape fantasies were just merely the brain trying to conquer earlier trauma by reinventing scenarios where these women have more control of a past event attempting to make it 'not as bad' as previously thought, or that it was that same brain preparing for a rape that may occur; a kind of staged rape so that one could get ready for similar scenarios in real life situations.
As you can see the reasons are varied to say the least and this is so because of the wide gamut that these fantasies come in. What must also be noted is none of the reasons proffered above are to be used as some sort of excuse for rape and researchers are quick to make the point that having a fantasy most times does not correlate with real world expectations. Just as lots of men have fantasies about rescuing women in dangerous situations, but do not want to confront a gunman for their 'maiden in distress,' so too women's fantasies must not be seen as some kind of secret desire to be raped in real life.
The truth is fantasy is healthy in relationships and is only limited by the individual's imagination, which is one of the aspects of our species that differentiates us from others.
In fact as a story-teller I have become convinced that our imagination is the singular most significant feature of our sentience, since I believe Descartes got it wrong when he said "I think therefore I am." It should have been "I imagine therefore I am."
For a FREE PDF copy of Timothy Christopher P Nokio's book A Man's Guide to Good Cheating…What Most Men Want to Know…But What ALL Women Should Know please contact him on Facebook or at firstname.lastname@example.org