Since people are writing in to ask, I will answer right here: no, I’m not planning to blog about this so-called “study” on how often people think about sex and what this means in terms of gender. I’m also not planning to link to it or analyze it. And I’m not going to do those things because the study is stupid. And the attention it’s getting from bloggers and journalists is evidence of deeply unhealthy attitudes to sexuality in this society.
I’m very interested in how people think. For years, I’ve been bugging everybody I know with questions as to how their thinking process is organized. I discovered that most people don’t think in complete sentences. Often, people’s thoughts take the form of images. Instead of telling themselves, “I need to go to work now”, they have an image of themselves going to work. Some people have a sort of a movie playing in their heads all the time.
Other people think in fragments of sentences and images. Some, like myself, think in the form of dialogues. I always choose somebody I’m speaking to in my head and orchestrate conversations with them. This can be a person I know, a character from a book, the readers of my blog, my students, etc.
There are people whose thinking is based on associations. They see something that reminds them of whatever that immediately reminds them of something else. Breaking down such a rapid process of generating associations and calculating its ingredients is next to impossible.
I’m sure there are many other ways in which people generate thoughts. However, it is really hard for me to imagine that the majority of people on this planet have complete, identifiable, easy-to-count thoughts of the “I need to have sex now” or “Sex is good” variety.
Physiological drives that this “study” attempts to quantify (food, sleep and sexual desire) are, by their very nature, not quantifiable. I couldn’t count how many times a day I think about these things because I can’t say that I have separate, concrete thoughts about these needs that could be counted. When I’m sleep-deprived (like I have been this week, for example), I can’t say that the number of “thoughts” I have about sleep increases. I slow down, my reactions are less sharp, I get irritable and drink too much coffee. I also have less thoughts about anything because my energy is low.
Only a very profound fear of sexuality would suggest to anybody that the number of sex-related thoughts is evidence of anything. An even more profound terror of sexuality is required to believe that you can quantify those thoughts and use those numbers as basis for any sort of analysis.
This obsession with quantifying the unquantifiable is really getting to me, people.