I read the article, and sticking to the original topic at hand, it makes a lot of sense to me.
Well, it surprises me, but not once I stop and think about it.
Some examples of how/why we can know this to be true, that the body does not always match or reflect a person's actual felt desire:
*a man may see his naked wife, or even feel her caress on his body, and he may feel a great deal of desire for her....yet his body may fail to respond. Does the experience of ED in this instance mean that he does not desire her and is not aroused by her? We read over & over again that, no, lack of erection does not mean lack of desire.
*a couple may engage in PIV or other sexual act, only to have one or both of them not reach orgasm. Does this mean they aren't enjoying it? Usually not. More often, this might be due to being tired, or perhaps in a series of close-together sessions and the male has not fully recovered yet (able to have an erection again, but not yet another ejaculation), or perhaps for a female (or male), they used a position that is enjoyable but not conducive to orgasm. The intercourse, if you asked the non-orgasmic spouse, was still enjoyable, still pleasurable, just lacked orgasm..
*a man may see an image, a person, either in a movie or TV or real life, and his body may respond with an erection. Does this mean he actively desires to have intercourse with that person on that screen, or that lady on the beach? Does this mean he's actively "lusting after" someone other than his wife? Or does it simply mean his body responded to an outside trigger? For the most part, we would say the latter, it's an involuntary response, and there's no conscious thought connected. (We can flip this and say the same of women, I'm sure, just that oftentimes the physical signs of simple arousal aren't as obvious to a woman as to a man, as mentioned in the article).
*as mentioned in the article, both men and women can & do experience orgasms in their sleep, often not even connected to/as a response to a "sexy" dream, but just as a biological reaction to something. Again, no connection between the orgasm/arousal and actual felt/known desire.
In most/all of the above scenarios, we're able to easily admit that there's a disconnect between the physical signs & the mental state of arousal. Especially when we are the one experiencing the disconnect; for example, women the world over are likely to feel insecure, doubt, etc. if or when their spouse has an episode (or episodes) of ED, especially if she or they are not knowledgeable about male biology, effects of aging, etc. It can take a great deal of reassurances (or a bit of reading on biology) to convince her that his unresponsive penis does not mean he, himself, isn't still aroused by her, attracted to her, and desirous of her.
Some women, and some men if they were aware of their wife responding similarly, would feel jealous & insecure to know that their husband had an erection every time (insert name of whatever actress, or whatever level of dress) came on the screen, convinced it must mean he prefers that body type/hair color/style of dress over her own....yet those same husbands would honestly report that their desire for intercourse & intimacy is for their wife, period, no matter what their body might be doing below the belt. Even a wife who might feel a similar reaction herself when (insert name of actor, style of dress, etc) is viewed still might not quite believe it when her husband says the same. Why? Because we are insecure creatures. Here again, the overall health of the relationship can go a long way to alleviating such mistrust/disbelief, along with knowledge of biology. A husband who is attentive to his wife, compliments her, spends time with her, seeks her out, will likely find it easier to convince his wife of the disconnect than one who spends all his time at the office or out late, never notices or says a word if his wife cuts her hair, tries out new makeup, gets a new dress....yet if the 2 make themselves aware of the biological responses (such as reading an article like the one linked, or the many articles on TMB front page links) it goes a long way to understanding....biological response does not equal mental arousal.
So...I guess I suggest that the "problem" of disbelief does happen, in both directions, such as in the above scenarios, even while the "problem" of explaining our side of things to the disbeliever frustrates us to no end. Why then, when we as women know full well that we can enjoy sex with or without orgasm (and that orgasm does not automatically mean we enjoyed the encounter), do we still succumb to insecurity, doubt & distrust if our husband experiences ED, or inhibited ejaculation, or erections he didn't ask for in response to someone else?
Why, if a man can & will argue passionately that his ED or IE do not mean he doesn't desire his wife, greatly, does he still succumb to insecurities and doubt and dissatisfaction in the marriage bed when his wife doesn't orgasm every single time they're together....and why does he, knowing that his body responds with erection even when he does not consciously want sex, at all, still argue that if his wife did experience orgasm, she must therefore love sex a lot more than she implies/states, and thus he succumbs to confusion when this orgasmic wife of his doesn't desire sex more often, isn't more willing to engage, etc. Flip it around...a man may experience erections in response to various things, yet still be a low drive male. Or, heck, "every time" the couple does come together, he probably does have an orgasm...yet he can still be low drive.
Why then are we so one sided in all these things, able to see & understand how we, ourselves, respond but not always able to translate that to our spouse? Does the man in the hypothetical, who argues his wife "loves" sex because she orgasms, yet she has a low drive....has he himself never experienced that disconnect before? Never had an erection that wasn't driven by actual sexual desire? Never had sexual desire that didn't have an accompanying erection? If he has, perhaps that is the way to start understanding his wife. If he hasn't....perhaps that is the thing we ought to remind him of.
I do think, though, in the end our understanding of our spouses goes back to overall marital health. At some points in my marriage, I'd have been a lot more likely to be the jealous, mistrusting spouse if I noticed my husband with an erection in response to, say, a nude sunbather on the beach. Now, I'd recognize a biological (not emotional) reaction and ignore it. At similar points, I'd have been hurt, confused, insecure, doubtful, etc, if he'd had trouble getting or maintaining an erection, or reaching orgasm. Now, again, I'd realize the biology behind it, and enjoy the intimacy without the intercourse (or try again later, etc). LIkewise, at various points my behavior in the marriage was such that if I'd been unresponsive to him, avoiding sex even though my body responded favorably, he likely would have had serious insecurities about that. Maybe even more so if I avoided sex (or willingly gave "duty sex") but failed to respond. I believe now, though, he too would understand biology as the culprit, nothing more.
That's the key, I think.....how do we convince ourselves, and our spouses, that sometimes biology is the only culprit in these disconnect situations. That a lack of response is merely a biological glitch of the moment, not a judgement or statement on how much we did or did not enjoy things.....(in those cases when that's true), or that a biological response is not always indicative that there was a simultaneous mental enjoyment/arousal.
Is it because, in the latter, it means we must need to work on the relationship outside the marriage bed, which is a heck of a lot harder than just having more sex? Is it because, if there is a physical response (the wife orgasms, but never initiates sex despite this "obvious enjoyment"), yet no emotional enjoyment...we must admit that perhaps we need to correct some of our own behaviors that might be impeding our spouse's emotional connection/enjoyment? Ouch. I don't want to do that, I want you to tell me (if I'm the hypothetical person) that my wife must be a gate keeper, or a refuser, or somehow or another the problem must lie with her. That's so much easier. I don't want to have a role to play here, to fix things. I don't want to be at fault. Clearly I'm doing great, since she does "obviously enjoy" it when we do have sex!....yet.....hmmm. Maybe not. Maybe we have to do some hard searching and see what the root of the problem is, after all.
But, maybe by thinking of all these other areas where we *know* there's a disconnect (if anyone remembers what I started this monsterously long post with..), maybe that can help each of us to understand when our spouse claims there's a disconnect, but we're hesitant to believe him/her. I'd venture a guess that most of us have experienced one or the other of these various disconnects, ourselves or our spouse, and can understand and acknowledge at least some of them as being "Oh, yes, that's clearly a physical only response, not a mental one..." and then if we can acknowledge that, we can extend that understanding to the other problematic areas of disconnect, and begin to at least believe our spouse...and then recognize that maybe that means there's more we need to work on to bring about change (or to accept these differences, depending which one we're talking about).