What do you know about women’s orgasms? If you’re a woman you know about your own ones but you’re probably in the dark about whether they’re the same in quality and quantity as your friends’ (they’re probably not) and if you’re a man, unless you’re particularly attentive, the whole thing is most likely a total mystery. But then, mysterious is exactly how a lot of women like it I reckon.Continue Reading
Like multitudes of other women across the globe, I’ve been using oral contraception for a good few years, but although the doctors who handed me prescriptions for these tiny discs of sexual freedom were always careful to point out the health risks and check my blood pressure, none of them ever told me about the effect of the pill on how I look, how much I fancy my partner, or how jealous I am.
It turns out that the use of hormonal birth-control impacts on our sexual desire, our relationship satisfaction and our attractiveness in a multitude of ways, but before you rashly chuck your contraceptives into the bin, take note that the effects can be positive as well as negative.
Seems confusing? Scientists certainly think so, and studies of pill effects have yielded mixed findings, but new research presented by Stirling University’s Kelly Cobey at last month’s meeting of the European Human Behaviour and Evolution Association has finally shed light on the puzzle. It turns out that the important issue is not simply whether you’re on the pill or not, but whether you change your use of the pill after embarking on a relationship.Continue Reading
The actor Dame Helen Mirren has never wanted kids. “I have no maternal instinct whatsoever”, she once proclaimed. Maybe she’s got other stuff to keep her busy.
Another who has eschewed having babies is Lionel Shriver, author of We need to talk about Kevin, who calls herself an “anti-mom”. She says she has been in the perfect situation to have kids but never wanted them; they are untidy and ungrateful and would have siphoned too much time away from writing her precious books.
Then there’s historian and TV presenter, Lucy Worsley, oft quoted as saying that she’s been “educated out of reproduction”.
She’s probably right. Highly educated women do have a higher chance of not having a family. Childlessness is on the rise and has nearly doubled in the UK since the 90s, but given the extensive press coverage in recent times of high-profile or careerist women choosing to forego the child-rearing experience you could be forgiven for thinking that most of those without children are of the ‘child-free by choice’ variety. In fact they represent only a tiny fraction of the childless and hide a growing swathe of the population who would like a family but for one reason or another just haven’t managed it. While half of all women in top jobs have no children, the vast majority of childless women are low or middle-income earners. So why is childlessness on the rise?Continue Reading
All else being equal, men find especially feminine women’s faces the most sexy and appealing – think Angelina Jolie. So does that mean women who don’t have the optimal gigantic eyes, pert little nose and small chin can never quite cut it and be the apple of their lover’s eye? Well no it doesn’t, for the simple reason that all else is not equal.
I talked in an earlier post about how more masculine body shapes could give women advantages in the realm of competition for resources and so might be more preferred in a female partner in particular environments. Now in research presented at the annual conference of the European Human Behaviour and Evolution Association (EHBEA) earlier this month, Urszula Marcinkowska of the University of Turku in Finland has looked at what constitutes a beautiful face in different places.Continue Reading
As I talked about in a recent post, men, just like women, need to plan the timing of their reproduction since older fatherhood comes with increased risks of adverse health and behaviour outcomes for their kids. Children born to older dads are more likely to suffer from conditions like autism, ADHD and bipolar disorder, are more likely to exhibit suicidal behaviour, get worse grades at school and become obese.
If all that’s not scary enough, it turns out that if your dad was old when you were born then you’re more likely to be challenged in the looks department too.Continue Reading
Lily Allen is irritating feminists again. Here’s what she thinks about how women are judged:
“I don’t think men are the enemy, I think women are the enemy. I know that when I’m sitting in a restaurant and a really beautiful woman walks in, who’s skinny, I instinctively think, “Oh she’s really skinny and beautiful and I’m really fat and ugly.” Every man I speak to always says they find that kind of woman gross, and they prefer a bit more meat on their ladies. So it’s more of a competitive thing. It’s weird. It’s just really unhealthy and we’re our own worst enemy. We should stop being so horrible to each other.”
Or as Callie Beusman at Jezebel has helpfully summarized:
“Ugh, women are so mean to each other. I’m jealous of other women. But it’s ok, men say they’re disgusting and I’m better. God, we should stop being mean to each other!”
Ok so Allen is as bad as anyone else on the bitching front but actually she’s right on the money in her analysis of women’s attitudes to each other.Continue Reading
Women all know that once they’re getting into their late 30s and beyond they have to step on the gas a bit if they want to have a healthy baby, and older mothers-to-be must agonize over whether or not to test for various congenital abnormalities.
But men can wait as long as they like, can’t they? Rod Stewart fathered his eighth child at the age of 66 after all, Sir Paul McCartney his fourth at 61, and the 54 year-old Simon Cowell has only just produced his first little bundle of joy. Everybody knows that when it comes to having babies, women get past their sell-by date long before men.
Or do they? Actually the news is that guys had better look out since evidence is piling up showing they hold a much bigger share of responsibility than they probably thought for their progeny’s genetic health.Continue Reading
Remember a few posts ago I was going on about the importance of smell in selecting a mate? Well now you can throw your own “pheromone party” where guests arrive with their own smelly t-shirts ready for sniffing and choosing. See video here.
I asked evolutionary biologist Jan Havlicek of Charles University in Prague what he reckons about these parties since he’s carried out extensive research on the effects of our bodily smells. He says that given the consistent evidence showing that attractiveness of body odour affects our mate choice decisions and perhaps relationship satisfaction then it seems like a clever idea to organize lonely-heart sessions and base one’s choice on sexiness of the body odour, particularly if you are looking for someone who will turn you on.
“But”, he points out, “if one is trying to find an enjoyable mate in other contexts than the bedroom, I am afraid sexiness of their body odour doesn’t say much about their education, job or political attitudes; or whether they fancy listening to Mick Jagger or Stravinski.”
Quite. But still, pheromone parties could be fun…
Young married couples these days, and in particular the male half, are more likely to wear wedding rings to proclaim their commitment than in previous generations, but one in five coupled men and women admit to taking off their rings on occasion according to a report this week.
But what’s interesting, I think, about the research by the law firm Slater & Gordon are the differences it highlights in the behaviour of men and women.Continue Reading