She told me that when she asked Kurt Freund, a scientist on that floor who had developed a type of penile plethysmograph and who had been studying male homosexuality and pedophilia since the s, why he never turned his attention to women, he replied: She is now formulating an explanatory model of female desire that will appear later this year in Annual Review of Sex Research. But it will offer too a glimpse into the role of relationships in female eros. Chivers said she has considered, too, research suggesting that men are better able than women to perceive increases in heart rate at moments of heightened stress and that men may rely more on such physiological signals to define their emotional states, while women depend more on situational cues. If stimuli that cause physiological response — but that do not elicit a positive rating on the keypad — lead to increased erotic fantasies, masturbation or sexual activity with a partner, then she could deduce a tight link.
After 12 years together, the pair separated and Cypher — like Heche — has returned to heterosexual relationships.
What Do Women Want?
Among the lesbian volunteers, the two readings converged when women appeared on the screen. They responded like men. But when the films featured only men, the lesbians reported less engagement than the plethysmograph recorded. Chivers was constantly conjuring studies she wanted to carry out, but with numberless aberrant spikes to detect and cleanse, how many could she possibly complete in one lifetime? We spoke, then, about the way sexual fantasies strip away the prospect of repercussions, of physical or psychological harm, and allow for unencumbered excitement, about the way they offer, in this sense, a pure glimpse into desire, without meaning — especially in the case of sexual assault — that the actual experiences are wanted.