Sexual Desire and Gender by Pepper Schwartz and Virginia Rutter – Book Report/Review Example

The paper "Sexual Desire and Gender by Pepper Schwartz and Virginia Rutter" is a delightful example of a book review on sexual and gender studies. Sexual desire and gender by Pepper Schwartz and Virginia Rutter discuss the roles of various factors in the context of human sexuality and sexual behavior. They argue that although sex is a basic biological need, various factors affect sexual preferences and the choice of a partner among human beings. Human sexuality like that of any other species springs from the primeval urge to procreate. Where humans differ from other species is that sex for humans is not only to procreate but also for pleasure. Human sexuality is governed by a whole range of cultural social and individual differences that affect norms of sexual behavior. However, I wonder if today when peoples of the world migrate so seamlessly our culture and race really deciding factors in sexual preferences or as the authors so succinctly put it “many so-called sexual choices are not choices at all but are dictated by the body.” (Schwartz, page 188) One thing that is clearly evident from the data they present is that men and women approach sex and sexual desire differently and have different expectations from it. The institution of marriage is a result of a phenomenon where human beings are gendered as man and woman, and a man necessarily accepts a woman as his wife and vice versa. Although I agree with the authors that today, when same-sex marriages are being accepted in many parts of the world, beliefs about the role of gender in marriage, are being challenged; even so this is only a minuscule proportion of human society and the majority still adheres to the age-old norms of gender. The role of nature and nurture provide some clear explanations. Biological explanations point to the male and female hormones that dictate their sexual behavior. More recent research points to the theory of sociobiology and the intrinsic human impulse to achieve immortality by passing on their genes to future generations. Sociobiologists and evolutionary psychologists aver that reproductive strategies shape sexual desire, pointing to the fact that older men prefer younger women who are more fertile, while younger women pick older men for their ability to provide better for children of the union. However what is missing here I think is that in most societies in the world, a lot of importance has always been given to the woman’s virginity and hence the younger she was the more chance there was of her being a virgin. So sexual desire is “a complex mix of anatomy, hormones, and the brain” (Schwartz, page 192) and yet society and human biology dictate sexual possibilities. Romance and the expectations of the partners are crucial to sexual activity since in today’s context sex is not only a means to reproduction. The mental makeup and expectations of each partner I think are crucial to the pleasure and satisfaction that the union brings to each.