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Untrue

Why Nearly Everything We Believe About Women, Lust, and Infidelity Is Wrong and How the New Science Can Set Us Free

By Wednesday Martin PhD
12-minute read
Audio available
Untrue by Wednesday Martin PhD

Untrue (2018) aims to challenge the long-held assumption that women are less interested in sex than men. Diving into history and the details of the human body, Untrue reveals that not only do women have strong sexual desires, they’re wired to seek satisfaction from a variety of partners.

  • Women curious about female sexuality 
  • People who want to learn more about sexuality, gender, and society
  • People with an interest in social anthropology

Wednesday Martin is an author and cultural critic with a doctorate in comparative literature and cultural studies from Yale University. She’s written about issues of gender, sexuality, and parenting for publications like the New York Times, Harper’s Bazaar, and the Atlantic. She’s also the author of Stepmonster and Primates of Park Avenue – a New York Times best seller. 

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Untrue

Why Nearly Everything We Believe About Women, Lust, and Infidelity Is Wrong and How the New Science Can Set Us Free

By Wednesday Martin PhD
  • Read in 12 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 7 key ideas
Upgrade to Premium Read or listen now
Untrue by Wednesday Martin PhD
Synopsis

Untrue (2018) aims to challenge the long-held assumption that women are less interested in sex than men. Diving into history and the details of the human body, Untrue reveals that not only do women have strong sexual desires, they’re wired to seek satisfaction from a variety of partners.

Key idea 1 of 7

Women aren’t inherently more monogamous than men, and they’re just as likely to cheat.

In movies, TV series, and real life, there’s a phrase that often comes up when men cheat: “That’s just what men do.”

A friend or family member might say this, or someone relishing the latest gossip. These people – and society at large – believe that being unfaithful is something men are inclined to do. And women? As far as society is concerned, they’re naturally monogamous. So, while news of infidelity generally sets tongues wagging, when the guilty party is a woman it’s seen as more scandalous.

The key message in this blink is: Women aren’t inherently more monogamous than men, and they’re just as likely to cheat.

If women are wired for monogamy, then their sex drives should sky-rocket – or, at the very least, stay the same when they have long-term partners, right? 

Well, this is far from the case. Several studies show that women’s sexual desire takes a hit in long-term relationships. In 2017, a survey on sexual lifestyles and attitudes published in the British Medical Journal revealed that women living with their partners, or who’d been in relationships for longer than a year, are twice as likely as men to lose interest in sex.

And they don’t only lose their sex drives in monogamous relationships; research shows that women do something about it and cheat as often as men do. A 1993 study at the University of Cambridge, England, found that men and women were practically on par when it came to cheating. Almost 20 years later, an online survey by The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction revealed similar results.

When it comes to women’s sexuality, the idea that cheating is unusual for women isn’t the only thing we’ve been misled about. Another common belief is that women cheat because they want an emotional connection, not sexual pleasure. 

Ashley Madison – the dating website for people who are married or in relationships – helps debunk this idea. When sociologist and academic Dr. Alicia Walker interviewed women using the website, she learned that they were specifically looking for sexual partners, not new romances or companions. The women were otherwise happy, although sexless, in their current relationships.

This would shock the likes of Charles Darwin and English gynecologist William Acton, who thought women weren’t very sexual – and that those with high sex drives were abnormal. But, as we’ll find out later in these blinks, the human body suggests otherwise.

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