In high school our choir teacher Mrs Smith taught us a song that quickly became one of our favourites. It was only later that I discovered that it was a song about the ‘battle of the sexes’ and it was only then that these lyrics made sense:
“Anything you can do I can do better, I can do anything better than you!”
Looking back, it would probably have been better if we had a boys choir doing the boy part and the girls doing our part. Altos trying to do bass is awkward. Girls do not make good boys in plays and vice versa.
Men and women (boys and girls) are different and our bodies are the clearest evidence of that. Contrary to what some like to argue there are some innate differences that male and female are born with, we are not just “socialised” into our respective genders. For Trench Coat Thursday I want to explore these differences and hopefully make some interesting TCT-esque observations on the way. Here we go!
“Men are like waffles, women are like spaghetti.”
Unfortunately, I did not coin this phrase (I wish I had)! It is the title of a book by Bill and Pam Farrell where they discuss the differences between the way women and men process information, communicate and relate. Men are like waffles because they tend to compartmentalise things, whereas women tend to make connections, everything is linked to each other, like spaghetti.
Did you know that there is a scientific basis for this? Females have 10 times more white matter than males do, white matter is what enables us to make connections between different parts of the brain. In relationships, the implications are huge. It means that often, a conversation between a man and a woman is like a game of broken telephone. He says, “Have you gained some weight this holiday?”, she hears: “You’re fat. Everyone’s staring at you because you look like a Jersey cow.”
Or am I just speaking for myself?
“Men are from Mars, women are from Venus.”
If you are a woman who has sometimes felt like she is talking to an alien when you are taking to man then you may not be that far from the truth. So says the writer of the bestselling book Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. After writing what must have been a three page email, I have often found myself irritated by the two-word replies that I get from my guy friends: “OK thanks.” What about all the questions I asked? Apparently, “OK thanks” translated means: “Everything you said sounds good to me. Thanks for letting me know…” etc.
The fact that women express themselves better is not just because we spent our lives watching talk shows and reading while the boys played video games and kicked a ball outside. In a female foetus, the part of the brain that processes language is more developed than in a male foetus, and that difference persists in adulthood. If we trace things back, evidence shows that girls speak earlier than boys and that girls tend to be better at languages in school than boys are.
“Men Are Like Microwaves, Women Are Like Slow Cookers.”
If there is one thing that I have heard repeated over and over in sermons about the difference between men and women’s sexuality, it is the above. Put differently, men have a broadband connection, women have a dial up one. I think that this point is relevant for single and married people. If I have not made it clear, I believe that sex must be between a man and woman who are married to each other.
As a single person who is not having sex it is important to know the different ways that sexuality works between the sexes. Women have a larger limbic cortex which is responsible for emotional intelligence. You will find that a woman’s sexuality is very much connected to her emotions. Women, have you noticed how you can find a man completely unattractive at first but as you get to know him better the attraction grows. Conversely, women will tend to find emotionally stunted men unattractive as time passes even of they found him physically attractive initially. Knowing this, for women (and men), emotional boundaries are really important. Remember that where there is inappropriate emotional intimacy, physical intimacy will quickly follow.
Men have a bigger hypothalamus and this is the part of the brain that regulates ‘mating behavior’. That expression is too primal for my liking! Anyway, the hypothalamus is responsible for sexual behavior and the fact that it is bigger in males is part of the reason why men tend to have a higher sex drive than women. It is the part of the brain that releases hormones that are responsible for physical attraction. This is important to note for a man because his need to have self control in the sexual arena is more urgent than it is for women, do not take it for granted. It is also important, I think, for driving men into marriage and out of bachelorhood. If women knew how very important sex was to men I think they would not give it up so easily when men apply a little bit of pressure. When faced with the option of lifelong celibacy vs lifelong commitment, most men probably view the former with trepidation. Take a note of Paul’s wisdom when he says:
“… it is better to marry than to burn with lust.” 1 Corinthians 7:9
Women, do not give it up before marriage. Men, no ring-a-ling, no thing-a-ling.
“I would catch a grenade for you.”
I will be honest, I am a sucker for Romantic Action movies. I just made that genre up. In a movie, the more at risk the man’s life is on the woman’s behalf, the better. And guess what, men were created to take risks! Again, it is not just a result of socialisation. The chemical composition of a male’s brain is such that when they face a risky situation the pituitary gland is more like to excrete large quantities of endorphins, the pleasure hormone. As a result, challenging situations are more pleasurable for men than they are for women.
Of course, not every man or every woman will conform to these categories. If you are a woman who identified with characteristics associated with men, or vice versa you are atypical and that is okay! The point is that male and female have been created differently by God (Genesis 5:2), it is not just a ‘religious statement’ but a reasonable one. Louann Brizendine, a neuropsychiatrist put it this way:
“There is no unisex brain. Girls arrive already wired as girls and boys arrive already wired as boys. Their brains are different by the time they’re born, and their brains are what drive their impulses, values and their very reality.”
I really enjoyed this week’s TCT topic, what do you think?
Thanks for reading.
Research is from a National Geographic interview that was done with Dr Louann Brizendine for the show “Brain Games”. If you are looking for more of her research, Google her and add “The Female Brain” and/or “The Male Brain” to find her academic publications.