What Women Want-What Men Want: Why the Sexes Still See Love and Commitment So Differently

By John Marshall Townsend | Go to book overview

2
Emotional Alarms

The Link Between Sex and Love

Is love so small a pain, do you think, for a woman?

-- Euripides, Medea


Love and Commitment

HAVE MEN AND WOMEN BECOME more alike in their sexual behavior and attitudes? It is true that more women are engaging in premarital and extramarital sex than ever before, and often without a great deal of courtship and commitment before they decide to become intimate with a man. But have differences between the sexes really disappeared? Have some women been able to separate sexual pleasure from a need for affection, future commitment, and emotional bonding? What percentage of young women engage in sexual intercourse with no expectation, or hope, of emotional involvement? What are the motivations and emotional reactions of these women? How do they compare to men in this regard? I was interested in these questions and wanted to know if the hard-won gains women have made in the professions and workplace have helped them acquire a different view of sexuality.

Among the people I interviewed was Ingrid, a 24-year-old, second-year medical student. 1 Her classmates generally considered her to be one of the most attractive women in the class, and in her own words, Ingrid was attracted to men who are "fun, good-looking, and successful." She feels the medical student she dated for a year possessed these qualities. Now she thinks such men do not want to make commitments: "They just want to have fun and concentrate on their work." Several months into the relationship her partner began to feel confined, and complained that he wanted more time alone and to be with his friends. The relationship began to deteriorate. They fought and she announced that if he could not devote more time and energy to her,

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