When I started this blog, one of this first myths I wanted to tackle was that women weren't horny. (My counter-evidence consisting largely of "fuck, I'm horny.") Figleaf has a refinement he calls the Two Rules of Desire:
1) It is simultaneously inconceivable and intolerable for a woman to have sexual desire.
2) It is simultaneously inconceivable and intolerable for a man to be sexually desired.
I want to be careful how I present these. Obviously they're not true. And they're also not that widely believed; tons of women know they're horny for men and tons of men know that and love it. But they form a sort of infrastructure for a lot of misconceptions about gender and sexuality, from "sluts are psychologically damaged" to "pretty boys are gaaaaay." These two rules are the base myths that lead to Cosmo sex tips and "evolutionary" pop-psych and everything that Maxim has ever printed that wasn't about sports cars.
How they apply to some of my personal bugbears:
Cosmo - It is inconceivable for a woman to have sexual desire, so here's some tips on how to be attractive to him and how to please him in bed. When we do speak about your own sexuality, we'll assume you've barely thought about it so we'll either ignore it, or write "how to have an orgasm" articles that assume you've gone twenty-odd years and never touched your down-theres before.
Radical feminism - It is inconceivable for a man to be sexually desired, so heterosexual sex (or if not sex itself, any deliberate sexiness) must be all about pleasing men out of fearful or brainwashed submission. When a woman insists that no, she really desires guys and kinda likes them as people besides, this only shows the depth of the brainwashing or her lack of commitment to the cause. I've seen radical feminists propose a sort of Lysistrata solution to patriarchy, where we all withhold sex and sexiness until the happy-bunny Revolution comes; it's usually compared to a "strike" but for me it would be a lot more like a hunger strike.
PUA - It is inconceivable for a man to be sexually desired, so here's how to trick the bitch into giving it up. NO HEY REALLY IT'S ALL ABOUT SELF-IMPROVEMENT AND CONFIDENCE SO STOP BEING DIFFICULT BITCH.
Evolutionary psychology (not necessarily as a whole but when used as shorthand for "pop-psych articles about relationships that compare people to elephant seals and/or Neanderthals") - It is inconceivable for a woman to have sexual desire, so here's some misapplied animal analogies and poorly-researched assumptions about "cavemen" that explain that she may think she's horny but she's really just looking for genes for her babies. Ladies love them some babies.
PROGRAMMING NOTE: I know updates have been sparse lately and that's partly because I've been sick with the Lung Crud for the last month. I finally went to see a doctor today and got a bunch of medications and hopefully I'll be feeling sexier soon.
(It's also partly because of Fallout 3. But I didn't tell the doctor about that because I don't have a problem, I can quit whenever I want.)