A new book, A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the World’s Largest Experiment Reveals about Human Desire, authored by computational neuroscientists Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam shed some light on the growing female popularity of M/M Romance novels.
Here are some of their findings:
“Women prefer stories to visual porn by a long shot. The most popular erotica for women is the romance novel. That has more punch than any other kind of erotica. The second most popular would be fan fiction. This is something that has really exploded on the Internet. These are stories written by amateurs, mostly women, about characters from pop culture, movies, books, etc. Another popluar sub genre is Slash Fiction. Stories about two male characters are very popular. But the most popular fan fiction is about Harry Potter by a wide margin, followed by Twilight.”
“There are two reasons why women prefer stories, while men prefer visuals. Both come down to fundamental differences between the male sexual brain and the female sexual brain. One of the most basic differences is that the male brain responds to any single sexual stimulus. A nice chest, two girls kissing, older women — if that’s what they’re attracted to. Any one thing will trigger arousal in a male.
Female desire requires multiple stimuli simultaneously or in quick succession. It takes more stimuli and more variety of these stimuli to trigger genuine arousal.
For a guy, the most common form of [masturbation material] is a 60-second porn clip. For a woman, it can be a 250-page novel or a 2,000-word story. That’s the way to get multiple stimuli. Stories have greater flexibility to offer a greater variety of stimuli.
In male erotica, sex appears in the first one-quarter of the story [or film]. For women, it’s halfway in. There’s more time to develop the character before sex.”
“Another fundamental difference between men and women — perhaps the most important defining difference — is that in the male brain, physical and psychological arousal are united. If a man is physically turned on, he’s mentally turned on too.
With women, physical arousal and mental arousal are separate. [Research finds that women get physically aroused sometimes even when they find the situation disgusting.] The female brain is designed to be cautious, most likely because historically the woman who slept with the first guy she met might have a harder time raising children; he might not stick around. Women are designed to be cautious and gather more information.
That’s why fan fiction is all about exploring the emotions and character of the hero. In romance novels, the heroine learns about the secret inner life of the hero. That’s especially true in slash: that’s doubling up. There are two men — two masculine, strong alpha males who reveal their tender side. The emotional process of revealing true character is what’s so appealing to women.”
The Million Dollar Question, Why would women write stories about gay men?
“For women in slash fiction, it’s the psychological cues of a man’s character, stature, passion and emotional communication — slash doubles those.”
To Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2011/05/19/mind-reading-the-researchers-who-analyzed-all-the-porn-on-the-internet/
Excerpts from: Mind Reading: The Researchers Who Analyzed All the Porn on the Internet
By Maia Szalavitz Thursday, May 19, 2011