“Why does he look at other women like that?”
“It turns out there’s actually a function in the male brain, in certain situations that does not physically exist in the female brain in those same situations.”
What is this function?
To illustrate this function Shaunti uses an example both men and women can relate too regarding food.
“Let’s say you’re really hungry; you haven’t eaten all day. You walk into a room, and you see food across the room.”
When we encounter the food and we’re hungry, something biological happens.
“It’s this gut level, physical response, and you’re very compelled to want to consume that food.”
The reaction of being drawn to something like food is a result of the activation of a part of our brain called the Nucleus accumbens.
“There’s a biological, involuntary reaction that your body has, that center is lighting up when you see food across the room.”
The automatic reaction to want to consume the food kicks in. Then, our thought centers take over to help us decide if we should eat.
“Your cortical centers at the front of the brain kick in and that’s when you look around and you make a choice of whether to eat or not.”
So what does this have to do with how men look at women?
“When men see these images, it turns out that center in the back of the brain is activated. There’s this biological, gut-level response.”
Shaunti says men don’t necessarily desire the person they are looking at, so what do they desire?
“It’s a desire to look at the image, because it feels really good, and then the next moment, his cortical centers kick in, his thinking centers, and he thinks to himself,’wait, no, don’t look at that, don’t stare there.’”
For men, it is a constant struggle to avoid looking at what they are biologically and physiologically compelled to look at.
“We women don’t understand that’s what men have to do all day every day in today’s culture because they are constantly seeing these images they were never supposed to see that trigger that part of the brain.”
For women, when they see an attractive man, their Nucleus accumbens stays dark.
“We have no idea that men have this little war in their brain during that day and that our sons, when they walk by the Victoria’s Secret window at the mall, are trying to pull their thoughts away from that – there’s this biological reality they are trying to overcome.”
Shaunti hopes her research can help women support their husbands and sons by understanding the daily struggle for purity they undergo each day.