Monday, June 19, 2006

Another predictable research - Men misinterpret and oversexualize cues

Ask any woman and she'll tell you that without the need for a scientific research:
Call it ego, machismo or downright delusional behaviour, but men are more likely than women to "oversexualize" conversations and incorrectly assume sexual interest, a new study says.

The study doesn't explain why this happens, but don't we girls know why - it's called being friendly:
"Behaviour that looks like she is engaged in the conversation, may actually be taken as signs of sexual interest, as opposed to what she intends, which is friendliness,"...

What I did find interesting in this article is that this could lead to further studies that might explain the roots of sexual harassment and date rape.

The researchers claim that all men are susceptible to this. Some "more sensitive" men are less susceptible. Hence the article ends with advice to both genders:

For men the recommendation is to take a step back and remember that you probably misinterpret her reaction to you.

For women it's the following:
be aware this may well be a judgment he is making almost regardless of what you're doing.
Yes, yes, we know...

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17 comments:

Trée said...

Mmm, must be something in the blogosphere tonight. This is the second post where I've had to admit, I don't understand women. My goal, therefore, is to try to do as little harm as possible. :-D

Hope and trust you are well Melly. Tell your mom I miss her blog.

Deborah said...

My husband and I both get misunderstood by the opposite sex. It's amazing how sex-crazed people are.

Melly said...

Trée darling, not to call you sensitive or anything, but I get the feeling you're one of the better ones ;)

And thanks, I'll let her know.


Deborah, oh, I definitely misunderstand the opposite sex on occasion, but I don't tend to think that any guy who's just talking to me is giving me sexual signals... LOL :)

Nienke said...

I think they should do a study on why they do such stupid, waste-of-time-and-money studies.

melly said...

I'm with you there, Nienke :)

redchurch said...

I think it all depends on how 'friendly' the woman is being.

Being engaged in conversation is not a sexual cue, at least for me. But if she bats her eyes, tilts her head, laughs a little too much at the corny jokes, touches or initiates affectionate physical contact... it's a much different story.

But it also depends on the length of the relationship. Of course I'd expect a long-time female friend to hug out of the blue, or initiate physical contact. But someone I've just met (whether male or female) will throw me off guard by being 'too nice.' In the case of a woman, early physical affection would suggest she's interested.

But then... some people are just more touchy-feely than others.

I have known a few women to exploit this gray area. They're called teases for a reason... I don't think they are the norm/average, but they do exist and have to be taken into account. And unfortunately they tend to lead guys into thinking that all women who are physically affectionate to 'friends' must be secretly in the throes of desire!

In other words, if you've just met the guy... don't be so touchy-feely with someone you barely know. He WILL take it the wrong way.

The sexual thing is one angle, but some men also internalize this stuff very seriously. When they see signs of affection, they get hopes up, and if it turns out to be a 'wrong cue' they get depressed, lose self-esteem, and this perhaps can lead to sexual aggression.

Since I've never been much of a 'player' I guess I'm in the sensitive camp, but I can certainly understand how things get misinterpreted. There do exist some, *ahem* 'friendly' women out there.

I sexualize most the cues my wife sends out, and she's fine with that. ;)

Melly said...

Eric, you make some good points and it's good to hear the male perspective. I already know the female's ;)
Naturally I would say that if a guy gets depressed because he misinterprests cues it's his problem and his problem alone. A woman cannot be accountable for being friendly.
But what's interesting is that the study claims it has nothing to do with how much the woman is friendly (like to what degree), she would almost always be misinterpreted by most men.

whiskeypail said...

you will all most likely hate this:
http://whiskeypail.blogspot.com/

but it should be noted that unless its completely apparent, i dont sexualize any action...it just happens that im around a lot of drunk and horny girls.

Melly said...

LOL, Whiskeypail.
You're a very lucky guy, I'd say :)

redchurch said...

The sexual aggression comment from the study fascinates me though. It makes perfect sense to me, because a lot of male sexual aggression is fueled by embarassment or rejection. It's a basic male primate tactic to prove dominance through sexual terrorism. Gotta love our inherited evolutionary psychology. We're such animals!

A great book on human relations in general is Chimpanzee Politics : Power and Sex among Apes. Absolutely fascinating. I see so much of humanity in those chimps. :)

I try not to get so morally indignant over human behavior these days. When I see something offensive, I just picture a chimp doing the same thing and suddenly relax. We can't fight our inherited nature... and should instead seek to find civilized expression of our natural instincts.

How many of society's problems are caused by the fact we're removed from a natural environment, and forced to do things outside of an evolutionary routine? That's not to say we should all live in the jungle, but... perhaps spend more time around trees, and getting more exercise? :)

Modern lifestyles have their negative side effects.

whiskeypail said...

you make a very good point, redchurch, and though implied, you all need to remember that our only instinctual goals are to fuck and to survive. voluntary sexual partners are secondary according to instinct.

Melly said...

Eric, I hear what you're saying.
But as always, and perhaps an obvious reminder is that our instincts do not absolve us from bad behavior and from our strive to be better than chimps at the very least :)
(BTW, I'm not sure "a lot of sexual aggression is fueled by embarassment or rejection" - do you have anything to support that?
The other thing is of course - boo hoo. As I said, first, the study shows that males misinterpret cues regardless of female behaviour and second, it is onle the male's problem he misinterprets cues, no one elses! And that is something I haven't heard from you yet, and maybe because it's obvious).

Whiskeypail, I don't know you so I'm not sure how serious to take you. My instinct :) was to laugh, assuming the best about human behavior and assuming that while you may talk in earnest about insticts, you do know we are more than our instincts. Sorry if I sound preachy, but as I said, I don't know you (yet) but hope to get to know you better.
Oh, and if you don't mind, I try to keep this blog PG-13.

whiskeypail said...

language schmanguage.

i was only half joking. this reminds me of a conversation i had with a friend about how the typically physical alpha male has become the successful, or wealthy alpha male. security comes in different forms these days.
it also reminds me of several friends of mine who all play the numbers game. if 1 out of 10 girls is interested in them, then 10 out of a hundred will talk to them. theyll go after as many girls they can in a night just looking for that 1 out of 100 or 1000 or whatever. any little thing a woman can do to express even mild interest is enough for them to be aggressive.

Melly said...

whiskeypail, ah yeah, language :)

You're so right about how the attributes of alpha males changed with our society.

What do you mean by aggressive and what kind of friends do you keep if I think I understand 'agressive'???

My question is, and this is something I can't figure out from your comments: I understand the so-called instincts, but do you excuse such behaviour because of them?
I assume you don't.

whiskeypail said...

i only meant that my friends would try to talk to them in a convincing manner(i.e. askin for numbers, trying to persuade them to hangout at some later date, possibly trying to "get some").
like most things, im pretty agnostic regarding human behavior. right and wrong dont mean much since morality is so subjective. the only thing that makes sense to me is to follow the ol golden rule and to do whatever i want to within that rule set.
it seems to be workin out ok.

...and those instincts are what got us here to begin with...

Melly said...

Whiskeypail, something resonates true with what you're saying about right and wrong, yet for me, I'd rather live my life without hurting anyone.

whiskeypail said...

well of course, i didnt mean to imply you should hurt people in your pursuit of happiness. as long as you dont hit me in the face you can swing your arm wherever you want...or, something like that.