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The Myth of the Passive Female

Updated on July 7, 2014
Women Are More Sensual Than Previously Believed
Women Are More Sensual Than Previously Believed | Source

Research on Primates

Darwin suggested that males fight for the sexual favours of the females who in turn choose the best male to father their babies. He couldn’t imagine that females could solicit more than one male. That’s nonsense according to biologist Sarah Hardy.

The truth she says is that the female of all species is not designed to be sexually passive and monogamous. Quite the opposite in fact. Hardy’s research on primate females has thrown up new rules to the mating game: the female actually may have a more powerful sex drive than the male and seek out more sexual partners too.

Studies Have Found That Female Primates Are Not Monogamous
Studies Have Found That Female Primates Are Not Monogamous | Source

Promiscuous Primates

In her classic study on the sacred Hanuman monkeys of India – ‘The Langurs of Abu: Female and Male Strategies of Reproduction’, Hardy shows that the female langurs actually manipulate males in order to “make the best of a bad lot”. On Mt. Abu Hardy noted that the black faced females often sneak away from their ‘harem masters’ to ‘steal’ sex with wandering males. She was struck by the fact that the violent males (harem masters) killed all the unweaned infants. This ensured that the females were ready to copulate again as soon as possible after the birth of their babies.

AIDS From Vervet Monkeys

Hardy realised the females were doing all they could to make sure that at least some of their infants survived by seeking their fathers outside the harem. She wonders what the Victorian and prudish Darwin would have thought of female sexuality if he’d lived in the 17th century of the sexually assertive female. Now, now Darwin! Didn’t someone tell you that the female has more orgasms than the male? Hardy points out that it is not by mere chance that AIDS evolved in vervet monkeys because of their promiscuous sexual behaviour.

Women Are Not Inherently Monogamous
Women Are Not Inherently Monogamous | Source

The Passive Female Myth Explodes

Says Hardy,”Human females are much more likely to be cloistered than any other primate females. Female baboons may be beaten up by males and you have beatings occurring among chimps and gorillas. Nevertheless females of these species have lot more freedom of movement than humans. One thing’s for sure: The days are gone when females were looked at as passive objects in a landscape defined by active male protagonists. The amazing thing is how quickly it happened.”

Women Don't Identify with Other Women

But Hardy has a disturbing, and I think rather apt observation to make about female nature. She believes that women identify not with their own sex but with their own families. This is why they are constantly competing with each other. Studies have shown that when you put them in a group, they compete with each other, not with the men. And this is the most crucial factor that has contributed to the exploitation of women.

Women Compete With their Own Kind

This observation of Hardy’s makes a lot of sense to me. Women compete not with the men but with their own kind. As though men are a different species or something. I know of several females who have been hounded and bitched at by their female bosses who have even tried to usurp the credit due to them. Woman against woman is not uncommon. And then we carp about being unfairly treated by the opposite sex.

But hey… if we can beat them at the sex, why can’t we beat them at work? Think about it.

Why Do Women Spend More Time Looking at Other Women


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    • SANJAY LAKHANPAL profile image

      Sanjay Sharma 3 years ago from Mandi (HP) India

      It were the social inhibitions that didn't let the sexuality of the women to come out. The taboos vanish when you visit an alien place. There are examples of polyandry in the far flung areas of Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh and even Mahabharata is no exception.