The Trouble with Blood Flow Sex Studies: Monkey Sex, Desire, Consent, and Objectification

Photo of two bonobos.
Studies show: Monkey sex is sexy, even if it’s with bonobos. (Courtney Boulton/Creative Commons)

Anna Pulley at NYMag takes a look at the women are bisexual study. Some key points:

  1. Earlier studies using the same method found that women experienced genital arousal viewing videos of Bonobo sex. However, we’re not bombarded with headlines that women are into chimps (or furries.)
  2. Women are more likely to exhibit arousal nonconcordance, significant differences between genital arousal and subjective “turn-on.”
  3. Of course, arousal does not equal consent or desire. Pulley uses the example of rape scenes in movies, but I think there’s a strong argument that physical arousal happens sometimes as a defense against injury during sexual assault.
  4. Sexual objectification of women is ubiquitous:

Another kink in the study’s “never straight” conclusion is that we are all culturally conditioned to sexually objectify women. It’s practically our part-time job, and its disastrous ramifications have been linked to substance abuse, body shame, eating disorders, and even poor math performance in women. It wouldn’t be all that surprising then if women saw yet another image of an attractive woman dry-humping a hamburger (or equivalent stimuli) and her genitals responded accordingly, even if — EVEN IF — she did not actually want to have sex with a woman, or a sandwich.


As a bisexual lady, I of course want there to be more bisexual ladies in my pants, but not without the involvement of their brains, cognizant awareness, and sexual identities. Because when it comes to sexual desire, there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye.