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The Tangle of the Sexes Is Not Really That Hard to Detangle

04/24/2013 10:33 am ET | Updated Jun 24, 2013

Do you remember John Gray's manifesto about male and female differences -- men are from Mars, women are from Venus? Well, in yesterday's Gray Matter column in The New York Times , academics Bobbi Carothers and Harry Reis shared the results of gobs of research trying to determine if the differences between people are gender-based or based on the individual (my layperson's interpretation). Carothers and Reis literally looked at hundreds of studies and thousands of patients. And you know what they concluded? I quote, "Our work shows that sex does not define qualitatively distinct categories of psychological characteristics." I had to keep rereading that sentence, thinking that I must be missing something.

Well, I certainly don't want to contradict the experts, but... I have been working on women's driven businesses for a long, long (seriously long) time. I have even spent the last several years as a vagipreneur, running a female sexual health and wellness surgery. I have read dozens of studies about the differences between male and female sexuality and spoken to dozens of female health professionals. I have had the chance to speak to thousands of women (and lots of their partners) about sexual satisfaction.

And the one thing I would say with absolute certainty is that in the area of female sexuality, men are not from Mars and women are not from Venus. They are from totally different galaxies. Men and women do look at sexuality differently. They prioritize sexual activity differently on their list of priorities than do men. Women use different words than men to talk about sex. And this isn't just my opinion. In fact, the leading models of sexual response for men and women demonstrate the ENORMOUS differences. The male anatomy works like a hydraulic pump -- blood pumps in, the pump expands and the system works. But for women, the picture (or actually the model) is actually much more complex. The female sexual response cycle is a complex, interconnected maze of physiological, psychological, social, context, and behavioral factors. Her mind is inextricably linked to her responses.

So Drs. Carothers and Reis can analyze all 122 analyses and all 13,000 individual records. I say, speak to a couple of real women and see what they have to say. I don't think you will find that men and women are all that tangled up.