It may also be that some men understand women only too well, be it their
emotionality or their sexuality or both. They know women well enough to know
exactly how to upset them in these matters, indeed how to inflict serious emotional pain.
How that translates into the knowledge of some mail writers no doubt needs refinement.

I suppose if one were a Lawrence scholar, one might want to challenge the degree to
which sexuality in his writing reflects his own sexuality.

A lot of students' only impression of Lawrence is the much anthologised
"Horse dealer's Daughter." I suppose one could comment on how it reflectis
D.H.L's knowledge of women/sexuality, althoguh does it not really reflect his concern
for changeing social circumstances and their repercutions on both men and women.

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Nancy Gish 
  To: [log in to unmask] 
  Sent: Wednesday, January 28, 2009 10:40 PM
  Subject: Re: Men women sex - The scientific pov.

  "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: Nancy Gish 
    To: [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: Nancy Gish 
      To: [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.  

      >>> Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]> 01/28/09 10:41 PM >>> 
      ----- Original Message ----- 
      From: Kate Troy 
      To: [log in to unmask] 
      Sent: Tuesday, January 27, 2009 3:08 PM 
      Subject: Re: : By The Way 
      Hemingway didn't understand women well, either. Certainly Eliot didn't. 

      first part of NY Times article, with link to the rest: 

      What Do Women Want? 

      The New York Times 
      January 25, 2009 

      Meredith Chivers is a creator of bonobo pornography. She is a 
      36-year-old psychology professor at Queen's University in the small 
      city of Kingston, Ontario, a highly regarded scientist and a member 
      of the editorial board of the world's leading journal of sexual 
      research, Archives of Sexual Behavior. The bonobo film was part of a 
      series of related experiments she has carried out over the past 
      several years. She found footage of bonobos, a species of ape, as 
      they mated, and then, because the accompanying sounds were dull - 
      "bonobos don't seem to make much noise in sex," she told me, "though 
      the females give a kind of pleasure grin and make chirpy sounds" - 
      she dubbed in some animated chimpanzee hooting and screeching. She 
      showed the short movie to men and women, straight and gay. To the 
      same subjects, she also showed clips of heterosexual sex, male and 
      female homosexual sex, a man masturbating, a woman masturbating, a 
      chiseled man walking naked on a beach and a well-toned woman doing 
      calisthenics in the nude. 

      While the subjects watched on a computer screen, Chivers, who favors 
      high boots and fashionable rectangular glasses, measured their 
      arousal in two ways, objectively and subjectively. The participants 
      sat in a brown leatherette La-Z-Boy chair in her small lab at the 
      Center for Addiction and Mental Health, a prestigious psychiatric 
      teaching hospital affiliated with the University of Toronto, where 
      Chivers was a postdoctoral fellow and where I first talked with her 
      about her research a few years ago. The genitals of the volunteers 
      were connected to plethysmographs - for the men, an apparatus that 
      fits over the penis and gauges its swelling; for the women, a little 
      plastic probe that sits in the vagina and, by bouncing light off the 
      vaginal walls, measures genital blood flow. An engorgement of blood 
      spurs a lubricating process called vaginal transudation: the seeping 
      of moisture through the walls. The participants were also given a 
      keypad so that they could rate how aroused they felt. 

      The men, on average, responded genitally in what Chivers terms 
      "category specific" ways. Males who identified themselves as straight 
      swelled while gazing at heterosexual or lesbian sex and while 
      watching the masturbating and exercising women. They were mostly 
      unmoved when the screen displayed only men. Gay males were aroused in 
      the opposite categorical pattern. Any expectation that the animal sex 
      would speak to something primitive within the men seemed to be 
      mistaken; neither straights nor gays were stirred by the bonobos. And 
      for the male participants, the subjective ratings on the keypad 
      matched the readings of the plethysmograph. The men's minds and 
      genitals were in agreement. 

      All was different with the women. No matter what their 
      self-proclaimed sexual orientation, they showed, on the whole, strong 
      and swift genital arousal when the screen offered men with men, women 
      with women and women with men. They responded objectively much more 
      to the exercising woman than to the strolling man, and their blood 
      flow rose quickly - and markedly, though to a lesser degree than 
      during all the human scenes except the footage of the ambling, 
      strapping man - as they watched the apes. And with the women, 
      especially the straight women, mind and genitals seemed scarcely to 
      belong to the same person. The readings from the plethysmograph and 
      the keypad weren't in much accord. During shots of lesbian coupling, 
      heterosexual women reported less excitement than their vaginas 
      indicated; watching gay men, they reported a great deal less; and 
      viewing heterosexual intercourse, they reported much more. Among the 
      lesbian volunteers, the two readings converged when women appeared on 
      the screen. But when the films featured only men, the lesbians 
      reported less engagement than the plethysmograph recorded. Whether 
      straight or gay, the women claimed almost no arousal whatsoever while 
      staring at the bonobos. 

      "I feel like a pioneer at the edge of a giant forest," Chivers said, 
      describing her ambition to understand the workings of women's arousal 
      and desire. "There's a path leading in, but it isn't much." She sees 
      herself, she explained, as part of an emerging "critical mass" of 
      female sexologists starting to make their way into those woods. These 
      researchers and clinicians are consumed by the sexual problem Sigmund 
      Freud posed to one of his female disciples almost a century ago: "The 
      great question that has never been answered and which I have not yet 
      been able to answer, despite my 30 years of research into the 
      feminine soul, is, What does a woman want?" 



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