An interesting twist on gender stereotypes about sex… that would be the act, not the gender. (Caution – not suitable for those under 18. Or my mother.)

I found this article today, which happened to be linked from another one about sex toys going green (i.e. environmentally-friendly, not the actual color). A couple of researchers at Emory University did a study wherein they showed a group of men and women various still photos of couples having sex. They then outfitted their subjects with an eye-tracking device to determine exactly where they were looking on the photos, and for how long.

The results? Somewhat unexpected, at least in my mind: the men stared at the women’s faces for longer, whereas the women quickly moved on to the more, um, relevant parts.

(The worst part is, women on birth control were “interested in the overall view of the photos and ‘background’ items like jewelry,” whereas women not on the pill were “more interested in areas normally covered by clothing.” Dangit! Jewelry??? That really does say something about what the Pill does to one’s sex drive. Sad, really.)

But I digress. In this culture obsessed with women’s bodies, it is sadly surprising that the men actually focus on a woman’s face when it comes down to the actual deed. The researchers’ theory is that men have to rely on facial cues to tell when a woman is aroused, whereas with men it’s a lot more, well, obvious. Fair enough. However, I think this theory somewhat sanitizes a rather touching fact about men’s seeming preoccupation with sex and the female body. In the end, evolution seems to have rewarded those men who pay attention to their partner’s face during intercourse. I find this quite sweet, in a way.

As for the women, well… no explanation is given for their preoccupation with the actual nuts and bolts of the issue (pun very much intended). Just goes to show that we are actually the horny beasts around here – unless, that is, you happen to be on the Pill. Then you’re much more concerned with the aesthetics of the situation. Go figure.