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Apr 30

3/7g The Process of Sexual Development in Male/Female Differences

Welcome back to the discussion on why most males and females are so different.  We discussed the three common views in our last post: evolution, the enviroment we grew up with and that our genes are programed with the differences.

However, I am suggesting a forth and better alternation, especially to the evolution arguement.  However, we do need some more information before we can launch into this fourth view.


1.  We are ‘Pre-wired’ in the womb

About 6 to 8 weeks after conception, hormones dictate our development.  All foetuses start out female until the male hormone, testosterone, kicks in and the fetus becomes male.  Research tends to support the hypothesis that much of the male / female differences and characteristics begin to develop at this time.

2.  Male and female brain stems develop different

As the fetus develops, a female hormone, oestrogen, causes her brain stem to grow more connections between the right and left-brain hemispheres.  Since most female fetuses develop more connections, this allows them to switch brain sides quicker and more often. This ‘multi-tracking’ ability shows up clearly in most females.

Most males develop fewer connective fibres, which means more definite ‘compartments’ develop within the male brain.  Therefore they need more time to switch from one compartment to another.  They are able to concentrate on one thing with more focus than most females.  A young mother needs to answer the phone, watch the biscuits cooking in the over, mind her four year old and check on the progress of the washing machine …. all at once?

Speech is the main form of communication with most females.  In fact, most women process information by speaking out while they are thinking through issues.  (ex.  ‘rational male’ vs. ‘intuitive female’ working out budgets).

A common male complaint is: “She’ll talk me to death if I let her!”  WHY?  Talking about her problems is how most women get relief from stress.  She wants to be heard, not have the problem fixed right then and there.

Again, from research, many women speak an average of 6,000 to 8,000 words a day.  She will also use another 8,000 to 10,000 gestures, facial expressions, head movements and other body language signals to relate her message.  In contrast, most males speak an average of 2,000 to 4,000 words with some 2,000 to 3,000 body language signals.


Mike and Teena:

Teena:  “Hi, Darling!  It’s good to see you back home.  How was your day?”

Mike:  “Good………”

Teena:   Brian told me that you were going to finalise that big deal with Peter’s company today.  How did it go?”

Mike:  “Fine……….”

Teena:  “That’s good.  He can be a really tough customer.  Do you think he’ll take over the   company?  Will he take your advice?”

Mike:  “Yeah……….”

            And so on …..  As a result, Mike feels interrogated and becomes annoyed.  Teena just wanted to hear about his day, add suggestions and express concern.

Hearing her ‘thinking out loud’ process often taps into the male’s need to problem solve and fix things.  When women ‘share their concerns’, most males feel nagged.

Learning to just listen is a necessary skill for male / female relationships.  Males often talk in ‘conclusions’ while she is still in her ‘helpmate’ commission, bringing him information to help solve the problem.

The best way to get a male to listen is to provide advance notice and have an agenda.

An interesting YouTube on this topic is:

Howver, the video has not been released to the public to put on this blog.  Sorry…but click the link and watch the video if you have time.

4.  Typical Facial Male / Female Differences  

Look at the difference in facial expressions between Mike and Teena.  A typical ten minute sequence of a woman showing she is listening the expression

——– >

Can you guess the same range of facial expressions used by a man in the same ten-second listening period:

Sadness     Surprise  Anger  Joy Fear  Desire    ….all with fewer changes in their faces expressions.

(Pease, Allan and Barbara.  Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps, page 63, 105-106, Pease Training International, New South Whales, Australia, 1998.)

5.  Other Differences

a)  Women tend to be more relationship orientated while men tend to be more problem solving orientated.  More men fit the logical / rational mode while women work more with their emotions and intuition.

b)  Most females are better at English and language skills, relationship and speech orientated activities.  In fact, most little boys are overwhelmed with the language abilities of little girls of their age.

c)  Most women have a stronger sense of sensory perception such as changes in moods, can hear different pitches in voice and show more awareness of non-verbal communication processes.  Most women have a greater variety of cones in the retina, which allows more varieties within colours while the cones for most males receive more basic colours.  More female brains decode the information at a quicker rate than most male brains.

d)  Most females can see at 45° wide-angle vision, while most men see in a narrower ‘tunnel vision’.  Males concentrate on a single source in a more restricted range of vision.

e)  Females show more intuition, or what has been called the 6th sense.  This allows most women to read distress signals in babies and to detect emotional and physical pain – essential in nourishing and mothering skills.  As a result, most women hear better, read ‘between the lines’ and can identify details over most men’s abilities to do so.

f)  Most women have a quicker and sharper sense of smell and taste compared to most men.  One study suggests that some females can detect the state of a man’s immune system within 3 seconds of meeting.

g)  By 17, most girls can function in life skills as a mature adult versus most males who mature later in life.

As we can see there are many differences between males and females before we even get to adulthood and are absorbed more into the culture around us.  Join us next we continue with these differences that make us who we are …. plus we still have to explore that forth alternative to evolution, nature, nurture or ……

Susanne Fengler, Blog Author

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