Are There Gender Differences When it Comes to How we Approach Sex, Emotions and Relationships?

Olga Wolstenholme's picture

It’s been a little while since I’ve graced these pages with my presence, but like I had said, I was taking a little break. Unfortunately, I will be doing the same during the Holidays, since I’ll be at my Mom’s and probably won’t have regular access to a computer, but for now here are a couple thoughts to ponder.

I often hear people begin sentences with: “Guys are ….” and “Girls are…”. I do it too, it’s sometimes hard to express something without using mass generalizations as a tool to get an idea across. I’m not saying it’s alright, just that it’s easy. Clearly, in our society there are distinctions created between the sexes, which is risky ground to cover especially since the divisions aren’t exactly as clear cut as all that (which is a good thing). That is an easy concept to grasp on an individual level, but when having a discussion about “an idea” it becomes more difficult to keep it all on an individual level and that’s when it’s sometimes easier (and more dangerous) to generalize.

I think that raises an interesting question: Is there really a biological and gendered division between how individuals approach sex, emotions and relationships or are we simply socialized to think and act like there is? It’s a complicated question and certainly one that needs more than a single blog post to get to the bottom of, but I would be really interested in knowing your opinions on the matter.

The stereotypes are clear when it comes to issues of sex, emotions and relationships, to a point where I don’t even have to list them, but where does it all stem from? Simply put, are “men” and “women” wired differently? Personally, I like to think that there are no biological gender differences except for the obvious one: physical. That being said, I can’t deny  the impact of socialization when it comes to gendered classification. “Women” are portrayed as more emotional when it comes to sex and relationships while “men” are given more freedom in that area (the freedom of detachment).

Movies like “He’s Not That Into You” seem to offer superficial truths about how each sex approaches relationships (sexual or otherwise), but are these classifications beneficial or simply another hinderance to our individuality. Western society certainly gives a lot of importance to the individual in terms of personal freedom and assertion, I’m not saying whether that is a good thing or not, but it definitely has a huge impact on the way we perceive ourselves. It’s ingrained in me to resist classifications of the sort and if there’s one thing that pisses me off it’s being told (especially by a man) that I am acting like such a “woman” because of so and so. I feel that statements like that strip me of my agency as a person, as an individual, and that it puts me in the impossible situation of having to either resist or embrace the stereotype, which ultimately always feels like being stuck between a rock and a hard place.

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