New research from The University of Queensland has suggested sexism could be ruining women’s chances of having gratifying sexual experiences in heterosexual relationships.
Psychologists at the Australian university found that women who internalise sexist beliefs tend to have fewer orgasms - because they accept selfishness in the sack as part of the process.
Researchers in Brisbane used the ‘Ambivalent Sexism Inventory’ to measure the extent to which two groups of women endorsed ‘hostile’ sexism and ‘benevolent’ sexism.
Hostile sexism: obvious and blatant misogyny: the belief that men are better and women are somehow inferior.
Benevolent sexism: women are innately passive and fragile, and men are stronger and take on a protector role.
While benevolent sexism may sound better than hostile, the study’s authors explain that it’s actually dangerous as it allows women to be put on a pedestal.
“Benevolent sexism assumes female passivity and romanticises the belief that women should be reliant on men,” says one of the authors.
“In this way, benevolent sexism is argued to be a form of legitimising myth, whereby prejudicial attitudes towards women are justified through the guise of care and protection.”
Researches asked women to rate a series of statements from strongly agree to strongly disagree – including statements like: “During sex, men only care about their own pleasure.”
They also asked participants to talk about their orgasms – how they had them and how often.
What they discovered was that women with benevolent sexist beliefs were more likely to feel men were selfish lovers, which they accepted as normal, and therefore they had fewer orgasms.
Researchers also discovered that the more a woman believes men are naturally sexually selfish, the less likely she is to ask for pleasure – which resulted in fewer orgasms.
Take the Ambivalent Sexism Inventory here.
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