E is for Erotic Plasticity

The term erotic plasticity describes the degree to which a persons sexuality and sexual desire can be influenced by situational, social, and cultural factors.

It is thought that women have higher erotic plasticity than men, meaning that female sexuality is more flexible and responsive to external influence. 

It’s considered that after puberty mens sexuality remains relatively rigid, whilst female sexuality or at least sexual behaviour is more likely to be influenced by factors such as religion, culture, and education.  Even so, men are still affected by such external factors to varying degrees.

Not all research has supported this gender difference in erotic plasticity, but there is evidence for the dimorphism in farm animals.   In a 2001 experiment baby goats were raised with sheep, and lambs were raised with goats.  The babies were surrounded only by the other species, completely segregated from their own species until they reached sexual maturity.

At this stage they were reintroduced to groups of their own species and it was found that the male goats and sheep refused to mate with members of their own species.  Boy goats only wanted to bang sheep, and boy sheep only wanted to bang goats.  Meanwhile the lady goats and sheep would happily get humped by either species.

Although it can be argued that the males of these species sexual rigidity could be due to a higher degree of effect of their foster species.

Adorable little baby goats who will probably grow up to have a sheep fetish via Flickr

Adorable little baby goats who will probably grow up to have a sheep fetish via Flickr

Baumeister, R. F. (2000). Gender differences in erotic plasticity: the female sex drive as socially flexible and responsive. Psychological bulletin, 126(3), 347.

Kendrick, K. M., Haupt, M. A., Hinton, M. R., Broad, K. D., & Skinner, J. D. (2001). Sex differences in the influence of mothers on the sociosexual preferences of their offspring. Hormones and Behavior, 40(2), 322-338.