Men have lower attention spans than women
||“Ce qu’il y a d’ennuyeux dans l’amour, c’est que c’est un crime où l’on ne peut pas se passer d’un complice.”
“The tiresome thing about love is that it is a crime that one cannot commit without an accomplice.”
… except where they count:
20. Diversion during coitus. We have already pointed out (p. 384) that effective female responses during coitus may depend, in many cases, upon the continuity of physical stimulation. If that stimulation is interrupted, orgasm is delayed, primarily because the female may return to normal physiologic levels in such periods of inactivity. This appears to be due to the fact that she is not sufficiently aroused by the psychologic stimuli to maintain her arousal when there is no physical stimulation. We have pointed out that the male, on the contrary, may go through a period in which physical activity is interrupted without losing erection or the other evidences of his erotic arousal, primarily because he continues to be stimulated psychologically during those periods.
Similarly, because the male is more strongly stimulated by psychologic factors during sexual activities, he cannot be distracted from his performance as easily as the female. Many females are easily diverted, and may turn from coitus when a baby cries, when children enter the house, when the doorbell rings, when they recall household duties which they intended to take care of before they retired for the night, and when music, conversation, food, a desire to smoke, or other non-sexual activities present themselves. The male himself is sometimes responsible for the introduction of the conversation, cigarettes, music, and other diversions, and he, unwittingly, may be responsible for the female’s distraction because he does not understand that the sources of her responses may be different from his.
It is a standard complaint of males that their female partners in coitus “do not put their minds to it.” This is an incorrect appraisal of the situation, for what is involved is the female’s lack of stimulation by the sorts of psychologic stimuli which are of importance to the male. Such differences between females and males have been known for centuries, and are pointed out in the classic and Oriental literature. From the most ancient to the most modern erotic art, the female has been portrayed on occasion as reading a book, eating, or engaging in other activities while she is in coitus; but no artist seems to have portrayed males engaged in such extraneous activities while in coitus.
Various interpretations may be offered of these differences between females and males. Many persons would, again, be inclined to look for cultural influences which might be responsible. But some sort of basic biologic factor must be involved, for at least some of the infra-human species of mammals show these same differences. Cheese crumbs spread in front of a copulating pair of rats may distract the female but not the male. A mouse running in front of a copulating pair of cats may distract the female but not the male. When cattle are interrupted during coitus, it is the cow that is more likely to be disturbed while the bull may try to continue with coitus. It explains nothing to suggest that this is due to differences in levels of “sex drive” in the two sexes.23
[23 As examples of the fact that the female is more easily distracted, see: [Frank A.] Beach 1947b[“A Review of Physiological and Psychological Studies of Sexual Behavior in Mammals
”, Physiological Review
, 27, 1947, pp. 240-307]:264 (bitches will eat during coitus, most male dogs refuse food in this situation; female cats may investigate mouse holes during coitus). Robert Bean, director of Brookfield Zoo, reports (verbal communic.) females of various species eating during coitus.] There are probably more basic neurologic explanations of these differences between females and males (p. 712