We innately know that if our relationships are flourishing life is better. Yet our attachments to the opposite sex creates significant challenges (so do LGBT.). One of the iconic reads is the book Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus (written by John Gray) – but is this just a myth or reality?
The advancements in Neuropsychology, Neuroscience and brain imaging are beginning to shed new light on the “sex” of our brains and challenging the belief male v female. Daphnia Joel’s (amongst others) research is beginning to shatter the belief (see NCBI article PMC3176412). The emerging field of Epigentics (the environment affects the expression of genes) is leading us to understand that our expression is influenced by our inner and outer worlds.
Pre and post natal influences affect the structure and working of our brains as well as being xx or xy chromosome. The developing brain in-Utero is non-gender until a burst of testosterone at about 8 weeks if the xy chromosome is present and this is not the end of the story. In fact, it now seems that for most of us our brains are indeed “intersex”. In the latest study of its kind scientists looked at the brains of brain 1,400 participants – only up to 8% had either “all male” or “all female brains”. Dr Joel states: “that people shouldn’t be classified by their gender alone and that society needs to re-think its attitude towards gender.”
A simple example is that in a burst of anger a females brain will surge with testosterone, switching it’s gender in a flash. I think this research will challenge many of us on what we take as fact about gender. Science is always shifting the boundaries, challenging our beliefs and lets not forget we did once think the World was flat.
Our own experiences point to that men and women think and use their brains differently. Men seem have brains of individual box sets as opposed to women who have spaghetti like structures. One finding which is interesting in Dr Gottman’s research is that in arguments 80% of the “pursuers/ chasers” are women.Womens brains light up like a Christmas tree and keep firing once activated. What is unclear is how much of these gender differences are created through our cultural, societal inputs and conditioning.
Regardless of the evidence we still need to harmonise and learn to live in loving relationships with each other and I have to say that I don’t see same sex relationships having an easier time of it. Clearly, the challenge is living in close relationship with other Human’s. I believe it is an impossible task not to have conflict and difference , however, those manging this with flexibility and openness are the happiest.