Television audiences over the past several decades have experienced a growing exposure to gender stereotypes related to sexual issues. A new research article examines how those roles have affected people’s perceptions.
In one episode of “Sex and the City,” for example, one of the main characters tells her best girlfriends that “men who are too good-looking are never good in bed because they never had to be.” This is just one of the many gender stereotypes the show exposed to its audiences.
The article, published in the latest issue of Current Directions in Psychological Science, challenges the assumptions and myths that people have about gender roles in the bedroom.
According to the authors, University of Michigan psychology professor Dr. Terri Conley and her team, “the take-home message of our review article is that people should not take gender differences in sexuality at face value.”
The authors reviewed recent research and literature on gender roles and sexuality with the aim of providing a contemporary understanding of how women and men engage, think about and desire sex and romantic partners. Their review discovered that typical assumptions are not as compelling and well-founded as previously believed.
Their findings on what occurs in the real world are quite a bit different from what is often depicted.
For example, there are some who think of women as being gentle, delicate flowers – shy and timid in the bedroom, with the men being in control, taking charge and showing off their prowess.
According to the researchers, gender stereotypes about sex have been around for thousands of years and it is only in the modern era that people have begun to shake off stereotypes and challenge the existing assumptions and myths about it.
“We’re hoping that this article helps to debunk and dispel common myths and make people more aware of the social factors (rather than supposed biologically-based reasons) related to sex,” said Conley and her co-authors.
“We expect people to be surprised by the small or, in some places completely absent gender differences.”