Ever heard Christian resources tell you that the male sex drive is something that women can’t possibly understand?
That men are visual in a way that women never will be? That sex matters to a man in a way that it doesn’t to a woman?
It’s all over our Christian resources, and much of it is evidently based on claims from neuroscience. Most famously, Shaunti Feldhahn in For Women Only talks about how male and female brains are different when it comes to sex, so much so that we’re almost different species.
And then others have used her work and her claims to say that men are visual and so women must be modest, and this is why men lust and have porn problems.
There’s only one problem: Is this was science actually says?
It’s Rebecca here on the blog today (and on the podcast) since my mom and dad are on vacation in Maritime Canada. My mother (Sheila) thought this was a great topic for Connor and I to tackle while she was away, since we’ve actually taken neuroanatomy courses and she hasn’t.
So in today’s podcast, Connor and I dissect all the footnotes that Shaunti uses, and that Gary Thomas uses in his new book Married Sex where he makes similar claims, and asks if the science they reference actually says what they say it says. Are you ready?
We don’t have a YouTube version this week, since they don’t have the equipment to do different audio and video feeds, so it’s just audio for now!
Timeline of the Podcast
0:45 What is a Meta-analysis?
5:30 Why you can’t be flippant about neuropsychology research
11:15 The most recent Male/Female brain research
19:15 The most recent conclusions
22:00 “Men are visually stimulated in a way women can NEVER understand.”
33:30 Sexual differences in the brain
What Does the Neuroscience Actually Say about Gender Differences and Sex Drive?
Many Christian authors have used neuroscience to claim that men and women are almost different species, to the point that women can never understand men’s visual nature or men’s sex drive. There are “male” brains and “female” brains, and we’re really very different and can’t understand each other. These claims are then often used to support the idea that men face incredible temptation and incredible sex drives, and need women to help them out.
But is this what the science that they reference in their footnotes actually says? These books have influenced all of evangelicalism–but are their interpretations of neuroscience right?
We’re going to dive in! Building on our work from last week where we suggested that you vet resources to see if they’re healthy, we’re going to walk through how to vet these ones as well and see if the science claims are accurate.
I hope everyone listens to this podcast, because it’s important! And please, share this one! We’ve got to get this message out there.
Things Mentioned in This Podcast:
- Our wonderful sponsor Femallay, a women’s wellness company with reusable menstrual products, vaginal suppositories to make sex easier (and more fun!), teas, and more.
- Our Patreon! Support disseminating our research for as little as $5 a month (and join our super active Facebook group, get unfiltered podcasts, and lots more).
- The Great Sex Rescue
- The 2019 Metanalysis and the 2021 Metanalysis
- The Nature review dissecting The Female Brain; the New York Times Book Review dissecting The Male Brain; and the neuroscience blog dissecting it
Sheila Wray Gregoire
Blog Contributor, Author, and Podcaster
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