Sep 15

Pathologising Passion

Did you know that wearing socks in bed may improve your sex life?  It’s true: in a study, 80%  of people wearing socks came, compared to 50% of those with no socks on.  Brain scans carried out during sex (there were no diagrams so I’m a bit hazy on the details of how, exactly) showed that different areas of the brain are active in men and women during sex: in male brains, emotion centres are deactivated and the focus is on sensations transmitted from the genitals to the brain; in female brains, the response is more complex, combining emotions, physical sensation and the relaxation of brain areas processing anxiety and fear.  The more hyaluronic acid a person has in their face, the more attractive they appear.  After a break-up, brain scans show that the same parts of the brain light up when someone is shown a picture of their ex and thinks about time they spent together as when they experience physical pain by having a hot probe touch their arm.  A study during which men watched porn with a device attached to their penis that measured arousal, showed that homophobic men are most sexually aroused by gay male porn.  60% of normal people have ongoing “sexual desire” problems and 80% of women say they make their loudest ohs and ahs when they’re not enjoying sex and want their man to hurry up and come so it’ll be over with.  Exploring your date’s “Sociosexual Orientation” (i.e. why they have sex) can help you decide if there should be a second date or you’re likely to be fatally incompatible in bed.

I know all these things because I read about them in scientific studies which, of course, means they must be true.  They’re quite interesting in an anecdotal sort of way, but I don’t really see why the studies are necessary or quite what the point of them is.  Scientists have their say about every single aspect of our lives, from what we eat and how much exercise we do to how much sleep we need and how many compartments there should be in our recycling bin.  Now they’re dissecting sex by attaching devices to penises that measure girth (increased girth being a sign a man’s turned on) and immobilising people’s heads in CAT scans so they can see which bits of their brains light up most during sex.  I admire people who take part in these studies because I’ve no idea how anyone could get turned on immobilised in a room full of labcoats, but the results are hardly likely to be reflective of people who aren’t under scientific scrutiny.  Who’s to know what’s going on in the brains of people who are just frolicking in their bedroom?  It could be that, left alone, people’s brains light up all over the place – not just in localised spots that indicate men feel no emotion during sex while women experience a gamut of them.  Tying desire to evolution already took half the romance out of it and now we’re supposed to have sociosexual orientations that determine why we have sex, none of which allows for just fancying the pants off someone, and a barrage of statistics telling use what, why, how and where we’re doing it.  We can’t even keep our socks on without there being some scientific reason for it – it’s got to be because, if I wear socks, I’m 1.6 times more likely to come than if I’ve got bare feet.  These statistics and percentages serve no purpose, aside from the faint possibility they might make one of the 80% of women faking it in deafening tones feel a bit better because she knows she’s not the only one having crap sex.  I don’t think there’s a place for science in the bedroom (or wherever your sociosexual orientation dictates you like having sex).  It’s one of the few places where we aren’t likely to run into science and all its predictions/explanations/investigations – unless, of course, you’re sleeping with a scientist in which case, frankly, it’s your own fault.  As far as I’m concerned, it’s my bedroom and I’ll keep my socks on if I want to – or not, if I’m willing to risk a 37.5% drop in the likelihood I’ll come.



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