Trust us – the explanations you’re about to hear will bring a whole new level of understanding to your relationship.
In many ways, the sexes have grown more alike over time. Women pump iron; men help pick out wallpaper patterns. Women join the military; men get manicures. Even our minds are 99% identical, according to scientists. But that curious 1% is responsible for the big-time differences that we all know exist between the male and female genders. Some of those disparities are the source of minor frustrations; others, major sparks. ‘Men and women have very contrary ways of communicating and expressing love,’ says Dr Mona Lisa Schulz, author of The New Feminine Brain (Free Press). ‘By accepting our differences and making an effort to speak each other’s language, we should be able to get along better while still keeping things hot.’
In other words, simply figuring out where he’s coming from can prevent misunderstandings and fights. With the goal of awareness (and maybe empathising) in mind, we asked experts to explain the important dissimilarities in how men and women think. The reasons will astound you.
We may not be as strong as men, but our senses kick their senses’ asses – particularly smell, which is linked to emotions, memory (areas in which we’re more advanced) and sex. Women’s noses and brain circuits are especially sensitive just before ovulation – to both ordinary scents and male pheromones (chemicals released through male sweat). These increase a female’s sex drive at the time when she’s most likely to conceive, says Dr Daniel G Amen, author of Sex on the Brain (Three Rivers Press.)
According to Allan Pease, author of Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps (Three Rivers Press), anthropology comes into play here too. ‘Odours aided in survival by alerting women to danger and enabling them to smell when fruits were ripe for gathering,’ he says. Maybe men’s less evolved sense of smell explains why they take such pleasure in farting contests… Hopefully, they’ll catch up to us soon.