Love and Gender: Do Women and Men Love Differently?
December 29, 2016 by Armin A. Zadeh
Woman sensitive and emotional. Men are pragmatic and indifferent. Gender stereotypes are still very much alive despite the fact that research has debunked many of these biases. Falling into the trap of preconceptions based on sex is easy. After all, women and men do, in general, look and act differently. Research on sex hormones have found a number of different effects of testosterone and estrogen on many organs – including the brain. Enough for some to conclude that men and women are from different planets, at least according to a popular 1980’s book entitled “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”. The author acted in good faith to demonstrate the importance of adjusting to different personality traits in relationships but, unfortunately, reinforced the myth of women and men being different creatures altogether.
It turns out, however, that behavior is much more complex and can’t be reduced to the consequences of a few hormones. Among many factors, individual genetic make-up and cultural influences weigh particularly heavily. Additionally, behavior is often modified by expectations. For many centuries, societies set particular gender roles which most individuals felt inclined to fulfill. Only the past few decades have revealed the fact that essentially any function in a society can be filled by either a man or a woman. When adjusting for expectations, research surveys found rather small average differences between women and men in regard to their thoughts on romantic relationships, family, and sex – and even for these differences it remains controversial if they truly are due to biologic or social reasons.
As we know, men can be very sensitive and emotional. Women can be very pragmatic and indifferent. Predicting behavior or character traits simply based on gender is not only unsound, it is disrespectful - just like any other prejudice. At the core of love is recognizing the uniqueness and the individuality of a person. Applying stereotypes is fundamentally contrary to love – regardless of the context.