The purpose of this essay is to explain how the concepts of "Belief versus Knowledge" and "Multiple Truths" are central to the understanding of cross gender communication. The differences between what is perceived as masculine and feminine styles of communication and the obstacles that exist and hinder proper communication processes between the sexes are discussed. In so doing the author proposes to highlight particular aspects of sexuality pertaining to gender and communication.
Slater and Muir state that "A belief is a mental representation of a proposition about the world" (231). In simpler terms it can be said that a belief, as a result of underlying emotions or spiritual convictions is held to be true. Knowledge meanwhile refers to explicit information gleaned from study or experience that has its basis in hard fact. Believing is not the same as knowing but often beliefs are treated as facts. Beliefs are determined by a number of factors like religion, societal norms etc. In this particular context beliefs and knowledge or beliefs parading as knowledge are crucial factors in cross gender communication.
For the religiously inclined sex and lust are usually portrayed as the epitome of evil. Sexual intercourse must be tolerated for the purpose of procreation and is not to be enjoyed or desired. Further societal or peer pressure dampens sexual enthusiasm. For instance, it is believed that a big penis is a prerequisite for studs and an hourglass figure is essential for a woman to be desirable, therefore men worry about the size of their penises while women obsess about their bodies and this detracts from sexual enjoyment and healthy sexual expression. According to Dreyfus, "fears of rejection, failure, criticism, feelings of embarrassment or awkwardness, body image concerns, performance anxiety, anger towards a partner or women in general, or lack of attraction towards a partner, all play a part in reducing or eliminating the sexual response" (175). Therefore these extraneous variables stemming from belief constitute the complex amalgam that is sexuality and inhibit communication between the sexes. Men are usually loathe to discuss these issues and avoid them completely, while women stew in bewilderment and hurt while wrestling with their own conflicting beliefs about sexuality. Therefore a thorough understanding of the beliefs that color attitudes and influence behavior is necessary for effective communication.
Carugati states that "The multiple truths are found via an approach that continuously attacks currently held beliefs from multiple points of view" (154). There are few questions in the world to which completely satisfactory answers have been found. Conflicting evidence and contradictory viewpoints usually exist. Therefore in the words of Lattal and Laipple, "Because competing explanations may each lead to successful working, there may be multiple 'truths'" (48).
With regard to sexuality, the concept of "Multiple truths" may be used to explain gender differences in