>>> <[log in to unmask]>01/29/09 12:17 PM >>>
And when Eliot does look at sexual relations between men and women, it is, at least in TWL, as a third party observing with (perhaps) sympathetic horror rather than a didactic or prescriptive polemic aimed at women:

He, the young man carbuncular, arrives,  
A small house agent's clerk, with one bold stare,  
One of the low on whom assurance sits  
As a silk hat on a Bradford millionaire.  
The time is now propitious, as he guesses,  235
The meal is ended, she is bored and tired,  
Endeavours to en gage her in caresses  
Which still are unreproved, if undesired.  
Flushed and decided, he assaults at once;  
Exploring hands encounter no defence;  240
His vanity requires no response,  
And makes a welcome of indifference.

-----Original Message-----
From: Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Thu, 29 Jan 2009 11:28 am
Subject: Re: Men women sex - The scientific pov.

Well, he is quite certain that he does know.  That is what is so infuriating.  Eliot, on the other hand, seems never to be concerned about it.  "Ode" is an ode to total sexual narcissism; the narrator seems utterly unaware that another person might have feelings about such an awful experience.

>>> Diana Manister 01/29/09 10:57 AM >>>
Dear Nancy,
What infuriates me about Lawrence are his sexual imperatives, as if he knew what sexual behavior was best for women. Lady Chatterly is pitied because her husband didn't satisfy her, so that she brought herself to orgasm. Mellors is the answer to a woman's prayer because she depends totally on his actions for her sexual satisfaction. Give me a break!
If women's sexual satisfaction depended totally on men's sexual expertise women would have a lot less sexual satisfaction than if self-satisfaction were in their repertoires.

Date: Thu, 29 Jan 2009 01:40:02 -0500
From: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Men women sex - The scientific pov.
To: [log in to unmask]

"Women" is a plural; there are as many differences as similarities, as there are for men.
But, some things we all share, as do men.  One is the desire for sexual pleasure.  When someone without a clitoris pronounces on the failure of femininity of those who have clitoral orgasms, he is clearly totally out of his range of understanding.  When Lawrence tells women they should be hidden, he is simply defining what he has no experience of. 
If I said men should, for example, not be allowed in public because they cannot control themselves, I assume you would think that a stupid stereotype based on total lack of understanding of differences between the vast majority of men and rapists. 
So it is quite possible to say Lawrence did not understand women; he didn't seem to understand most men either.  The only love scene in Women in Love is the two men wrestling on the rug.  There is not a shred of love between any man and woman.  Yet men and women do often love each other, as do men and men or women and women.  Unfortunately, Lawrence thought the sexual function (and source of pleasure for women) was exclusively giving pleasure to men.  Well.
>>> Peter Montgomery 01/29/09 12:06 AM >>>
SO what does it mean to say that xyz writer did not understand women?
----- Original Message -----
From: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">Nancy Gish
To: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">[log in to unmask]
Sent: Wednesday, January 28, 2009 8:50 PM
Subject: Re: Men women sex - The scientific pov.

It depends what one means by "understand."  It's a William James question.  We assume that because we share language, we can share much and understand much about one another.  But there are experiences one can not really "understand" without any direct knowledge--at least I think so.
In any case, this is not a yes/no question and does not have a definitive answer.  It is semantic.

>>> Peter Montgomery 01/28/09 11:31 PM >>>
Which raises the question,
can one human being understand another?
----- Original Message -----
From: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">Nancy Gish
To: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">[log in to unmask]
Sent: Wednesday, January 28, 2009 8:13 PM
Subject: Re: Men women sex - The scientific pov.

Despite the scientific work in this article, which I read, the question remains as absurd as when Freud asked it.  There is no one thing women want.  And if they respond to more sexual images than men, we do not know that it is just because women are innately more polymorphous (though I think they very likely are more open to experience, in practice) or whether it is just that men, especially in this culture, are taught to be so much more inhibited.  Tell it Socrates.  Or many other cultures where a range of sexuality is not just blanked out or suppressed.
Like men, women are individuals with many many kinds of response:  there is not an essential "woman" whose desire can be identified and generalized.  Note "the feminine soul" as if there were such a thing but not a "masculine soul."  Or "a woman" but infinite possible men.  It's a meaningless question.