Girls and boys are different. I know, shocking revelation, right? But seriously, on a regular basis I'm reminded how very different we are.
Last night on American Idol, Scotty McCreary won the whole thing. I honestly wasn't that invested anymore since my favorites (James Durbin and Pia Toscano) had already been voted off. But hubs declared that he knew it was going to be Scotty a few weeks ago because of the "girl crush" factor--meaning Scotty had cornered the Bieber/preteen vote and no other segment of the population had a chance of overcoming the force that is girls obsessively crushing.
Basically, he believed that even if Lauren Elena was the hottest looking teenage girl ever, teen guys (or any guys) wouldn't get that fervent and vote 200 times online for her. Dudes just don't do that.
This then started the conversation about how girls (and grown women) get all swoony over certain actors, musicians, etc. and that he just doesn't "get" that. Of course, my boyfriend of the week posts (and romance novels) were used as an example.
So here's the basic summary of the conversation:
Dude logic (hubs): Why do girls want to obsess and drool over people like Jared Leto and Alexander Skarsgard when they know a) they will never actually be with that person and b) you have a husband or boyfriend you already love at home?
Chick logic (me): It's fun. And it's a group activity--girls swooning over boys together. And women are largely fantasy based in their sexuality. Guys are too, but whereas guys are more about the visual fantasy (some random naked girl in a p0rn video), girls are more relationship/character/idea based (we want to KNOW about the person, they are sexy not just because of the way they look but because of the character they play or image they portray, how they act, etc.) I'm sure this has an evolutionary basis of men wanting to spread their jeans, er, genes and girls wanting to lock down a guy to kill bears for them or whatever.
Dude logic: But I don't look like Jared Leto/Ian Somerhalder/etc. So does that mean, you really want someone that looks like them vs. someone who looks like me?
Chick logic: One has nothing to do with the other. And Jared and Ian would be too short for me in real life anyway. :) It's not about that. Oh and those men I swoon over in romance novels--they don't even exist. So it's not about reality. (Plus, my hubby's hot, so really, he has no worries there, lol.)
Dude logic: But if I were swooning over Carrie Underwood or something, that wouldn't bother you?
Chick logic: I've accepted that I will never look like Carrie Underwood. She's not my competition. Like her if you want. (I have a little girl crush on her anyway, so couldn't blame him.)
Dude: Y'all are complicated.
So what this all comes down to for me is that guys need not get their ego bruised when women pick up a fictional crush or read their romance novels. Those men are not competition. It's just fantasy fun. And for any guy who is married to a woman who reads romance novels, he probably learns pretty quickly that this habit does nothing but benefit him. Here's the deets from a great article (Readers of Romance Have Better Sex Lives) on the topic:
Psychology Today states that women who read romance novels make love with their partners 74% more often than women who don't. Why? Because, according to a scientific study conducted by Harold Leitenberg of the The Journal of Sex Research and Psychological Bulletin, when women fantasize frequently (as they do when they read romance novels), they have sex more often, have more fun in bed, and engage in a wider variety of erotic activities.
Many therapists now go so far as to recommend reading steamy romance stories to boost a woman's sex drive. Their reasoning: "taking part in enjoyable activities such as walking with a partner, listening to music, having a glass of wine, taking a bath, or reading a romance novel can help put women in the mood for sex. These activities can help women shift into their "sex self" from their role as mother, wife, employer, or employee," says Carol Rinkleib Ellison, PhD, a psychologist and author of Women's Sexualities. Christiane Northrup, M.D. of Women's Health Wisdom also says: "Consider reading novels or renting movies that contain sexual content to help you get in the mood."
For those of us that enjoy a steamy romance novel on a regular basis--this is not new news. We've been trying to tell mainstream nay-sayers this all along. We women are turned on by "emotional stimulation" the way men are aroused visually. Though more and more romance authors are leaning toward more erotic romance, women don't always require graphic sex scenes to become aroused. After reading an emotionally intense love scene, a woman feels more open to the "idea" of making love--or "in the mood" for sex.
So there you have it. Reading romance novels is good for all involved (so go pre-order mine now ;) Link in the right hand corner.) And hold on to your hats if anybody every figures out how to really do p0rn videos with a real plot and good acting, tapping into that emotional component for women. The p0rn industry could look very different...because men haven't cornered the market on dirty minds. Women just haven't found many films that can live up to the fantasy reels we can create in our brains or in our books.
So what do you think of this discussion? How do you view the differences? Does your significant other ever call you out on your fictional crushes or romance reading?