Catholic Gender differences VS Gender stereotypes


The Catholic Church teaches that men and women are different but where does this teaching end and gender stereotypes begin?
My ’ inspiration’ for this post is the recent thread about “refusal” of sex in marriage and daycare as a grave matter.
There were so many concerns in that thread that I wouldn’t know where to start but one thing that was unnoticed was the gender stereotyping.
There seemed to potentially be reinforcement by some that men are more sexually interested then women and that women would be more likely to refuse sex due to tiredness,headaches,generally disinterested etc…
and that men are more likely to bond through lovemaking and perceive the “refusal” as a personal rejection.
What I wonder is is this a Catholic viewpoint that men and women are like that,or is this more of a gender stereotype that only some people are like?

Personally,I am not yet married and I am quite anti feminism,I believe that men and women are different
but I also have a healthy sex drive and don’t fit the old stereotype of a woman who is turned on by her husband doing the dishes,vacuuming etc.

It’s the old stereotype “men need sex and women need love”
There was even an American book written with this title I think.

Do you agree that this stereotype is factual or not factual?

Do all men perceive being turned down sex (in marriage) as a rejection?

Regarding the refusal (in marriage) of sex itself, and “owning each other’s bodies”, obviously most priests must know this is controversial topic in today’s society as I’ve never heard any priests talk this topic here (Australia).
I think they are being prudent because they are aware it could be perceived a certain way,considered that there are already women worldwide still who are at the receiving end of sexual violence or coercion.

Could this mentality even turn sex into an idol?

I came across this article which although is not Catholic I think it is well written.


I’m not a social scientist/psychplogist so there’s that disclaimer. But it seems to me most qualified medical/psychological resources are willing to admit there’s an observable, consistent, cross-cultural difference between female and male sexuality (and many other things) ON AVERAGE.

The question is always how big is this difference? The answer is usually not very much. But the point I’m trying to make is that it’s not wrong to note the difference if one also keeps in mind that the distributions over lap quite a bit. So let’s say the average man has a 55 out of 100 on some characteristic we’re trying to measure like sex drive. And the average woman has 50/100. Well, if you took a random man and woman, you’d be better off getting that the man will have a higher value, but the average woman, at 50 is still probably higher than many many men with a low sex drive.

So many of these generalizations are pretty much just true, but they’re just observations on massive data sets and at the individual level there is lots of variation amoung both sexes. That’s just how statistics work.

Sorry if it’s too mathy I’m a mathy guy.


The church says we are different but they haven’t authoritatively elaborated on these differences. The stuff that past Saints/clergy brought up are stereotypes.

As for the sex thing, stereotype based on average differences. There are women who can’t seem to get enough and men who can.


The Church merely acknowledges what even a small child can see—men and women are different.

But even a small child can see exceptions to the averages, and the Church acknowledges that too.

Ie, the Catholic Church won’t declare “women do the dishes, men fix the car”. But it’s silly to pretend that the averages don’t exist, or that men tend to think and act a certain way, and women in a different way.

It’s all about nuance, which quite frankly, most people have a hard time with, until it supports their own agenda.


I often hear stereotypes in a Catholic homily, such as the idea that women like to shop. But they are a shorthand for communication purposes, to get some other idea across, and never the main point. I don’t assume that a married couple will fit the stereotype described in your post. It is possible that a fair number of couples will, though. It is like “verbal skills”. Yes, many women have them, but some don’t, and some men are very skilled verbally. You have to treat each person or each couple as they are, not as they are imagined to be.


I don’t mean so much gender differences in general-these things are obvious (except for exceptions with some people).
I mean more the stereotype that women generally don’t want to have sex and that sex is “men’s love language” and that men feel rejected when “denied” sex.

Personally I think that women’s sex drive on average is probably lower then men on average but still quite “up there” and not low (except for maybe due to pregnancy etc) .
Also isn’t it a bit immature or insecure if a husband feels rejected if a wife didn’t feel like sex?

I don’t get where some Catholics (referring to the other thread) get the notion that women are often disinterested in sex when we live in a culture where women are “pushing sex” in the sense of certain female singers/pop culture the women are often singing about sex or have their bums out etc…


I agree that many women do have quite an interest in sex. Furthermore, I think in some cases their husband has less of a one.

Regarding how a person feels when their spouse turns them down for the evening, I think a lot depends on the continuum of the relationship and the mutually agreed upon framework of how the two relate to each other that has evolved over many years. I say many things to my spouse that make perfect sense in our framework that would seem erratic or crazy in the generic framework of the world’s expectations. It also depends on how the declining spouse does the declining, and what else they communicate to their spouse in the near time. Being immature is really common for living people. Aren’t we all still half-baked? We have emotions that do not track with reason and reality. So what matters if that is the case is how the person goes on after being hit with a rejection.

I note here that I did not read the other thread…

I see that what a woman wears is strongly influenced by the culture around her, so I don’t take away much from a singer leaving her bum out. Likely it is a business decision that reflects the culture in which she sings.


Feminism is many things, not just the abolition rights stereotype. It about equal pay, equal opportunity, freedom from misogyny/rape, etc. I’m sure why anyone could be against that.


I don’t know too many people who are arguing that women aren’t interested in sex. I think that many would argue that women tend to be more interested in the intimacy rather than simply the carnal aspect of it. I’ve heard it said that women use sex to get love while men use love to get sex. I think that sort of sells men short a little bit. I think that from a biological aspect, it generally takes more to get a woman aroused than a man and women have more physiological reasons that would make sex uncomfortable. (menstrual cycle, post partum, tearing, dryness.)


Most people support egalitarianism (hopefully, we can’t be too sure unfortunately) but are against mainstream feminism for their support on abortion/sex industry etc.


While those good things are included in feminism,unfortunately feminism has a poor public image associated when certain other things such as anti man,perpetually angry women,sometimes support of sex industry etc…


How about looking at the sex industry in a different way. Sex work is often a choice of last resort. By making is a crime you give all sorts of power to pimps and Johns. If the woman is abused or assaulted what is she to do, report that she was while committing an illegal act? Anyone who is realistic know prostitution isn’t going away. Making it legal reduces abuse and gives us a chance to control sexual diseased.

As for the angry woman thing, what’s that all about? Should Pro-life people stop being perpetually angry? Should those who feel Christianity is “under attack” not be angry? Why must promoting women’s issue be anti-man? Maybe because either they’re doing something they should not have been all along? The rise of women’s rights does not mean men are "suffering". This is not a zero sum game, people can “win” without other’s “losing”.


It’s more about legalization, it’s about actually supporting these jobs and insisting that they are empowering for women.

Anyway there’s a whole debate on legalizing prostitution and there are plenty of pros and cons being discussed about it. Making it legal has been linked to human trafficking as well. You can’t expect it to be clear cut.


Personally, I am not necessarily in support of criminalising prostitution for the reasons you mentioned and also because some women go into prostitution due to great financial desperation.
Where I live prostitution actually is legal.
I prefer for it to be addressed as a social issue rather than a criminal issue.
What I was referring to was that some feminists support prostitution/sex industry when it is by choice and not due to financial distress/duress/psychosocial issues.
Some feminists view prostitution/sex trade as empowering to women who choose it.
This is what I disagree it.I don’t agree that sex industry is empowering to women and I don’t believe women should be told this lie or that women should be sold as commodities.

When a woman feels she has to do it due to financial distress,psychological issues,or under duress that is a different story and I feel a lot of compassion for women in this situation and definitely don’t believe they should be criminally prosecuted.

Regarding “angry feminists” I am referring to the certain very vocal feminists who go beyond simply wanting equality such as equal pay for equal work but actually do have a “only one gender wins mentality” (whether they are aware of this or not).Coining terms such as “mansplaining” actually does create this unbalanced woman-man relationship balance in society and not “win win” solutions so to speak.
I’ll be controversial and say that while some feminists just want equal pay and women to be free from oppression and this is a good thing, other feminists are acting in a way of continual perceived victimhood and this isn’t good for balanced society.
Regardless of whether the issue is women’s rights or feeling Christianity is under attack etc-to be continually angry usually doesn’t get you your desired end goal like the saying “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar…”
Sometimes anger is needed and justified though such as when women in India protest against men being let off for rapes/sex assaults.


The original feminist movement might have been about that. Unfortunately, in the present day, feminism is far more exclusionary than inclusionary. Look at how pro-life groups were excluded in the March for Women. I’ve been personally told I cannot be a feminist and be pro-life (I’ve also had ardent feminists condemn me for joining the Catholic church, calling me a traitor to the gender). The experience of women of colour and poor women are often ignored and excluded.

The so-called feminist movement is responsible for the debate in Canada over whether an organization should have to sign an attestation saying they support a woman’s right to an abortion before receiving federal funding - regardless of how that violates freedom of conscience or religion.

My difficulty isn’t that people claim all this in the name of feminism. It’s that feminists just stand up and say, “But feminism is all the OTHER things too!” Well maybe it is, but I won’t paint myself with a label unless I’m willing to accept all that it purports to mean, and as long as feminism is overrun with people who are trying to dictate what I can and cannot believe or how I can and cannot behave, I see it doing little more than trying to place my under a different form of oppression.


Yes, I agree with your points and especially that you’ve noted that it is primarily a white woman’s group and has lots of flavors that you may or may not feel welcome in. What I tend to flight here, and in similar places, is that feminism is shorthand for everything is against religious, conservative, and especially male privilege. You might note that one person in this tread called it “anti-man”


To be fair. They did not say it was anti-man. They said it had the public perception of being anti-man:

I can certainly agree with her point that often feminism bears the image of being anti-man, largely because the movement as a whole condones very vocal, anti-man sentiments.


Gender is a grammatical term. It applies to words. It comes ultimately from Latin “genus” and Greek “genos,” meaning “kind” or “sort.” It can also mean “race, family, kindred.” The French word “genre” is a cognate word.

Clearly, masculine nouns, feminine nouns, and neuter nouns are not a family or race, although they are akin to each other in the way grammar is expressed. But this doesn’t come into play much in English.

Humans have sex differences. It’s amazing how people are so willing to talk about sex, but so shy about using the word for “male” or “female.”


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