The Female Brain … Part 2

It seems my last blog stimulated a bit of controversy. Some emotions ran awfully high, which surprised my naive self. Some commentors condemned the book I mentioned, The Female Brain (which they admitted they were not familiar with … some sort of prejudice seemed to be operating …), as they condemned me, too, for blogging about something I learned from the book.

The Female Brain was not written for a middle-aged man like me … I’m sure it was written for women (as are most books these days) … and by a female researcher who is a scientist with feminist leanings. Nevertheless, I learned much from it.

Oh yes, I’ve known about the power of hormones before, but The Female Brain went into biological detail in a clear way that made it possible for me to better understand things in some depth. Yes, I had heard that the brain structures of men and women are significantly different, but I had not known much about the hormones and their effect on our brains until I read this book, which says a lot about the male brain, too.

As a man who has been consciously trying to develop his own intuition for many years (with some help from classical divination systems), and as a passionate lifelong learner, I found the scientific arguments for how much greater an intuitive aptitude my women friends have to be fascinating. I came to understand how biology plays a part, on top of women’s superior ability to intuit things, which is supported throughout their natural development by a comparative abundance of estrogen and oxytocin. As Dr. Brizendine puts it,

“The female brain has tremendous unique aptitudes — outstanding verbal agility, the ability to connect deeply in friendship, a nearly psychic capacity to read faces and tone of voice for emotions and states of mind, and the ability to defuse conflict. All of this is hardwired into the brains of women.”

More psychic? When I think about it, that does ring true!

In another section of the book, highlighting a major difference between women and men, she points out:

Between the ages of eight and fourteen, a girl’s estrogen level increases ten to twenty times, but her testosterone level rises only about five times. A boy’s testosterone level increases twenty-five-fold between ages nine and fifteen. With all that extra sexual rocket fuel, teen boys typically have three times more sex drive than girls of the same age — a difference that will persist through life. And while boys have a constantly rising level of testosterone through puberty, girls’ sexual hormones ebb and flow each week — changing their sexual interest almost daily. If a female’s testosterone drops below a certain level, she’ll lose sexual interest altogether.”

My next read will be: The Male Brain by the same author.

Pray tell: Do you think it’s worthwhile for people to explore (and talk about) the differences between males and females of our species? Or must we play it safe, be politically correct and simply deny that such differences could possibly mean much? Or, do you think it’s basically impossible for men and women to understand each other or much improve, through that understanding, how we get along in relationship? Comments?

2 thoughts on “The Female Brain … Part 2

  1. Paolo:
    I think we (women) object to feeling invalidated when a male partner throws out our hormones as the reason we are upset about something. True, hormones may play a part in how we express our upset but chances are, we would have been upset anyway, we’d just have kept quiet or not made a fuss.
    We (men and women) are indeed different but males don’t like being told their desire is banal and meaningless just because it’s testosterone-based.
    Also, hormones in women have been used as the argument for not electing us as leaders (“can you imagine a woman with her finger on the button?”). Men’s testosterone, which causes competitive behaviours, is responsible for conflict. Men shouldn’t have their finger on the button.
    I like it that you care enough to explore science as well as meta-physics. Just make sure you factor in that, regardless where we are in our cycle or our reproductive life, our values deserve respect.

  2. It really helped me when my daughter was pre-pubescent to realize she was just in a prolonged PMS state. When she finally got her period she was easier since I could count on sanity returning after a day or two. When my son hit pre-puberty and early adolescence, my realization that he was chronically PMS with no hope of a relieving period, helped me view his emotional fits with some objectivity until he was almost eighteen and his hormones finally stabilized.

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