Category Archives: Sex

Guest Blog at Scientific American – second guest post: We all need (a little bit of) sex

As I noted yesterday, the Scientific American Guest Blog is about to get really busy! Already today we have another new post – We all need (a little bit of) sex by Lucas Brouwers (blog, Twitter). Go and check it out and post comments (it takes a second to register).

Quick & dirty: misleading sex surveys in women’s mags (video)

Christine Ottery, on her awesome new blog Women’s Mag Science (check older posts) did a very interesting interview with Dr. Petra Boynton about the way sex surveys in women’s magazines are done, and how misleading they often are. Watch the video:

The quick and dirty world of women’s magazines from Christine Ottery on Vimeo.

Unity without U is nity – Angela Shelton at #140conf (video)

Angela Shelton (@angelashelton), an Asheville NC native, gave a powerful talk at the 140conf in NYC this week:

Never go anywhere unprepared

Shy about openly carrying condoms around your pocketbook? Well, hide them in a tasteful little case – a variety of styles, including, for those with a sense of humor and fun, these Kitty cases, pre-packaged with two condoms each:
kitty condom cases.jpg
Conflict of Interest: this is Bride of Coturnix’s store (look around for other items). Every item sold puts money in our joint account. Which is good for me as I am owing tons in taxes…..

Books: ‘Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex’ by Mary Roach

A few years ago, I read Mary Roach’s first book, Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers and absolutely loved it! One of the best popular science books I have read in a long time – informative, eye-opening, thought-provoking and funny. Somehow I missed finding time to read her second (Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife – I guess just not a topic I care much about), but when her third book came out, with such a provocative title as Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, I could not resist.
And I was not disappointed. It is informative, eye-opening, thought-provoking and funny. The language we use to talk about sex (and death) is so rich, and so full of thinly (or thickly) veiled allusions, that playing with that language is easy. Puns and double-entendres come off effortlessly and yet never seem to grow old. And the effect of interspersing serious discussion of science with what amounts to, essentially, Kindergarten humor, makes the humor effective. I guess it is the effect of surprise. The same humor in a different context (or outside of any context) may not be as effective or funny. The book made me laugh out loud on many occasions, startling the other B-767 passengers on the trans-Atlantic flight a couple of weeks ago (if it was B-777, as American Airlines promised, I would have slept, but the smaller airplane made that impossible, so I read about sex instead).
I should not point out any specific examples of research described in the book – there’s so much of it – as I don’t want to take the wind out of Scicurious’ sails: she uses the book as a starting point for many of her Friday Weird Science posts.
And I will not even attempt to write a real book review (see the review by Scicurious and the series of posts on The Intersection for more details. Also check out Greta Christina and Dr.Joan for different takes).
Instead, I will mention something that I kept noticing over and over again in each chapter. An obsession of mine, or a case of a person with a hammer seeing nails everywhere, you decide.
On one hand, the history of science shows a trajectory of ever improving standards of research, more and more stringent criteria for statistics and drawing conclusions from the data, more and more stringent ethical criteria for the use of animal and human subjects in research, etc. As the time goes on, the results of scientific research are becoming more and more reliable (far from 100%, of course, but a huge improvement over Aristotle, Galen or the Ancient Chinese who could write down their wildest ideas with authoritative flair).
On the other hand, the language of science has become, over time, more and more technical and unintelligible to a lay reader. The ancient ‘scientific’ and ‘medical’ scripts, the books of 300 years ago, the Letters to the Academy of 200 years ago, the early scientific papers of 100 years ago – all of those were readable and understandable by everyone who could read. Of course, in the past, only the most educated sliver of the society was literate. Today, most people are literate (ignoring some geographical difference in the rates of literacy for the moment). But even the most educated sliver of the society, unless they are experts in the same scientific field, cannot understand a scientific paper.
Thus, as the science gets ever more reliable through history, it also becomes less and less understandable to an educated lay reader. Why is that so?
In the past, the educated lay reader was the intended audience for the scientific and medical writings. Today, the intended audience are colleagues. The papers are hidden behind paywalls and accessible only to people in big First World research institutions where the libraries have sufficient funds to pay for journal subscriptions. The communication to the lay audience is relegated to the non-experts: the media (which does an awful job of it) and science writers (who often do a great job, but their audience is severely limited to self-selected science aficionados).
I have been wondering for a while now (see the end of this post for an early example – and we had an entire session on the topic at ScienceOnline’09) if Open Access and the new metrics (that include media/blog coverage, downloads and bookmarks – all requiring that as many people as possible can understand the paper itself) will prompt authors of scientific papers to write keeping broader audiences in mind. Even if the “Materials and Methods” and “Results” sections need to remain technical, perhaps the Abstract, Introduction and Discussion (and in more and more journals also the “Author’s Summary”) will become more readable? At least the titles should be clear – and sometimes funny.
Last week I asked (on Twitter, FriendFeed and Facebook – but FriendFeed, again, proved to be the best platform for this kind of inquiry) for examples of witty, normal-language titles of scientific papers. You can see some responses here and everyone reminded me of NCBI ROFL, the blog that specializes in finding wacky papers with wacky titles. Many, but certainly not all, of such titles indeed cover the science of sex.
Do you see this trend towards abandoning unreadable scientese (at least in titles) happening now or in the near future? Is it more likely to happen in OA journals? Do you have good examples?
In the meantime, watch Mary Roach – see why humor is an important aspect of science communication to lay audiences:

Science Cafe – Durham: Uncovering the Mysteries of Human Fertility: On Sex, Fertile Days, and Why the Rabbit Dies


Science Cafe
July 14, 2009 | 7:00 P.M.
Uncovering the Mysteries of Human Fertility: On Sex, Fertile Days, and Why the Rabbit Dies
Speaker: Allen Wilcox, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Everyone knows where babies come from, but few people appreciate the extraordinary and in some cases completely weird processes that have to work right in order for a new life to form.
Dr. Wilcox will discuss the key steps of human conception and early pregnancy including the window of days in which a woman can conceive, some of the factors that affect a couple’s chances of conceiving, and the new options for infertile couples created by modern technology.
Periodic Tables is a monthly gathering where curious adults can meet in a casual setting to discuss the latest science in plain English. At Periodic Tables, you will chat with your neighbors and local experts about interesting and relevant science happenings right here in the Triangle and beyond. No lengthy PowerPoint presentations, no drawn-out seminars, no confusing jargon. Simply smart and relevant science in a relaxed atmosphere. There is no such thing as a stupid question.
Come out and join us for a lively conversation at Broad Street Café at 1116 Broad Street (919.416.9707).

Sex Week on Deep Sea News

It is Sex Week on Deep Sea News.
It started with The Sand Dollar Love Shack: A Special Echinoblog to DSN and followed by ‘Sleezy’ sponge sexuality and more is yet to come for the rest of the week.

Mating slugs

I know PZ has recently posted a picture and a video of slugs mating. But these pictures were taken here in North Carolina, by blog reader Kris Barstow, who says:

The year was 1999 plus or minus a year, the site was a few miles from Asheboro, NC. I don’t recall the season, but it was warm, and there is definitely a chill there in the cold seasons, so I assume spring or summer. It was about half an hour after sunrise; I was walking my dog. I would occasionally carry my camera “just because …”
I saw these two acting strangely on the surface of the wooden shed. They actually attached themselves, then went into freefall. They twined around each other, and then a moist pouch was extruded below them. White froth was present but in moderation.
I don’t recall what exactly happened after that. They remained suspended for some time, and the likeliest thing is that I left them to their passion.

So, can someone identify the species?

Book Club: ‘Bonk’ by Mary Roach

I loved Mary Roach’s ‘Stiff’ when it first came out, so I was excited to see that Sheril started a book club reading the third book, Bonk, by the same author. My copy just arrived, so I will be participating as much as I can find the time.
Some of my SciBlings have already read and reviewed the book, e.g., SciCurious, or have the book and intend to read it, like Brian and Dr.Joan.
Sheril introduces the book here and begins the club, strangely with Chapter 5, here. Join in.

‘Ooops – condom broke!’ – tell the Scientist!

You must have been sleeping if you have missed SciCurious’ post Friday Weird Science: Condoms and ‘Blunt Puncture’ the other day. If you missed it – go now and read it.
But, the comment section also produced the idea that Sci should do an anonymous survey of the readers who have experienced condom breakage so she can do the analysis targeting the questions/factors not considered by the original article she blogged aboout, make a cute graph or two, and generally have a good excuse to blog about this topic yet again 😉
So, now you need to do the survey. A couple of minutes of your time and it’s fun. And it’s all for the sake of science!!!

The six secrets of squid sex

w00t! Miriam Goldstein had a piece published in Slate! The real references to that piece arehere.

The Internet is for Porn

Hmmm, I am wondering if this is connected – adult sites are feeling the crunch so….are they now funding scientific consumer research?

What is wrong with the picture?

Serbian Ministry of Health, as part of their fight against AIDS, inserted a condom inside a women’s magazine this month. The condom is German-made, named “Bumper-Bumper” and in a fun-looking package:
[Image from]
The timing is unfortunate (I’m sure it was planned months in advance and was too difficult to pull back at the last moment) – this was mailed out just 2-3 days after a guy in Belgrade killed his wife – a pretty brutal case of domestic violence that everyone is talking about (this is not something that happens often there).
Question #1: Why are condoms not sent to men? Are the guys there not reading any magazines? Sports? Tech? I am sure there is some research that shows that this is more efficient, but aren’t the guys those who should care of this thing?
Question #2: what is wrong with the picture?
Hat-tip: Danica

The hook-up culture

Amanda is in the middle of reading Michael Kimmel’s Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men and has posted the first, preliminary review, with some very interesting explorations by the commenters as well (I guess the MRAs did not get there yet to ruin the discussion). The review is focusing on the societal gender roles as the cause of the hook-up culture as well as the perception of it as being negative.
Much younger, sarahmeyers looks at the setting for the hook-up culture and identifies her own – highly urban, career-oriented, highly-connected (online and offline).
Possibly related:
Hooked on Hooking Up, Or What’s Wrong With Conservative View Of Marriage
Teen Sex, ‘Hooking Up’, Gay Marriage, Femiphobia and Bush Victory Are All Interconnected
Stephanie Coontz On Marriage
What is the Future of the Institution of Marriage?
Books: ‘The Sex Lives Of Teenagers’ by Lynn Ponton
Teen Parenthood for the X-box generation

Stephanie Coontz On Marriage

Stephanie Coontz On Marriage You probably know that I am quite interested in the history, current state, evolution and future of the institution of marriage, mainly because it is an important indicator of societal attitudes towards sex and towards gender-relations, which is the key to understanding political ideology. Between May 29, 2005 and February 23, 2006 I frequently mentioned Stephanie Coontz and particularly her latest book – Marriage, A History, e.g., in New History Of Marriage, Stephanie Coontz On Marriage, Op-Ed on the ‘End of Marriage’, Don’t Know Much About History…. and What ‘traditional’ marriage?. Amanda of Pandagon also wrote two good posts about it: Nothing to it and How to save your marriage (or at least give it a fighting chance). While I never really reviewed the book, here is a post with some thoughts and several good links to other people’s reviews as well as her own articles:

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Book Review: George Lakoff “Moral Politics” and E.J.Graff “What Is Marriage For?”

This was first posted on forums on July 10, 2004, then republished on Science And Politics on August 18, 2004. That was to be just the first, and most raw, post on this topic on my blog. It was followed by about a 100 more posts building on this idea, modifying it, and changing my mind in the process. You can see some of the better follow-ups here. Also, I have since then read Marriage, a History: From Obedience to Intimacy, or How Love Conquered Marriage by Stephanie Coontz, which is a much better and more scholarly work than E.J.Graff’s book. Below the fold is the article with mild edits (e.g., omitting the pre-election hurrays!):

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I hope you don’t faint while reading this post….

…but if you do, I hope it was enjoyable! And edifying, of course. Kind of science that is amenable to experimentation at home.

I just blushed, groaned and hyperventilated….

…as I was reading this! But it’s science! Thus, not NSFW by definition….

An eye-catching yet flawed bar graph

Discussed at these sites, among others:
Chart junk-ies
When bar charts go bad
World’s Most Expensive Places to Have Sex.
Catch the flaw(s).
Click here to see large.
Go under the fold to see small:

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Sex, Gender, Reproduction

I have not done a Friday Weird Sex Blogging post in ages, and I won’t do today either, but others did some cool blogging on various related topics: from gender disparities, to gynecological procedures, to weird animal/plant sex, so here is a little collection for this weekend:
My take on Mr. Tierney’s article:

Again, I can’t predict what the gender breakdown of any profession would be if we didn’t live in a rather patriarchal society. Maybe it wouldn’t be 50/50 if everything else was equal. But it’s not. I hate to use the P-word, but consider the environment our girls are being raised in. Until societal pressures can really be controlled for, I’m not sure that we can really say what people’s “natural tendencies” are. And that goes for men, too. Gender stereotypes are stupid. And Tierney’s insistence that girls just don’t like some things isn’t terribly inspiring (or new).

Blogging my mammogram:

At the urging of my colleague Abel, who liveblogged his own vasectomy, I’m documenting my first mammogram. Given that I had pretty much no idea what to expect going into this, I’m hopeful that this post will demystify the experience a little for those who know they probably should get mammograms but have been putting it off.

The pros and cons of screening mammography: reading my ‘patient instructions’:

However, to the extent that most of us who are getting regular health care in the U.S. are doing it within the context of some kind of insurance, we aren’t generally making this call individually. We’re working within the framework of our health care provider’s policy, which usually tracks what insurance will cover.

Why Not? Blogging My D & C:

And that’s it! Now I am officially one of those people who shares every intimate detail of their lives with total strangers on the internet. You know, just like I promised myself I would never do. If you had asked me, when I first took up blogging, whether I’d be posting pictures of the inside of my uterus on my blog, I’m pretty sure I’d have answered “what the hell are you talking about?” And yet, here we are. Just don’t tell my mom.

World Wide Web Abortions:

In theory, I think it’s pathetic (not to mention potentially high-risk) that some patients have to resort to DIY specialized medical care just because they happen to be pregnant. In practice, when your reality is that your access to proper medical care is at the mercy of strangers, it’s preferable to obtain care from (apparently) competent strangers like Women on Web, rather than some unqualified black marketeer.

Sex and the over seventies – what the research really said:

Media coverage has stuck to this, although a lot of coverage has focused on the ooo-isn’t-it-shocking-that-wrinklies-are-having-sex angle, and in many places misquoting or misunderstanding the study data. This is probably because most journalists didn’t read the original research or editorial, and based their stories on the press release. Of the journalists I spoke to who were writing their coverage yesterday the majority were not interested in getting reportage of the study right, but simply wanted me to find them a seventy year old couple who didn’t mind talking about their sex lives or having their photograph included in the paper.

Lonesome George not so lonesome:

George, a Pinta island tortoise who has shown little interest in reproducing during 36 years in captivity, stunned his keepers by mating with one of his two female companions of a similar species of Galapagos tortoise.

This Friday’s Weird Science: Foot-binding:

This is where Dr. McGeoch got his idea. He notes that ancient Chinese historians who lived during the Tang Dynasty talked about women with their feet bound, noting that they were, perhaps, a little more “sensitive” in bed than those who had big feet. So foot binding was considered conducive to a better sex life. Dr. McGeoch hypothesizes that, because the girl’s feet were kept small, broken, and atrophied, she might get a structural reorganization in her somatosensory cortex, where neurons were recruited from the feet to the genetalia, resulting in a stronger signal from the genitals. Of course, this would remain to be seen (and I would not want to be the lab rat for that experiment), but it’s an interesting idea.

Not quite viagra!:

…It’s a penis shaped fungus! A Stinkhorn in the family Phallaceae. I came across this in a unit about fungi I did last year and just found it funny… a bit immature perhaps…

Virginity Pledges Among the Willing, and Defining “Willing”

I briefly noted this study yesterday, but now W. D. Craft analyzes it in great detail:

I am pessimistic that the authors’ more careful conclusions and recommendations will be noticed. Instead I fear we’re in for more naive calls for “abstinence education” and coerced virginity pledges.

Friday Weird Sex Blogging – Corkscrewing

Friday Weird Sex Blogging - CorkscrewingYou really think I am going to put this above the fold? No way – you have to click (First posted on July 7, 2006):

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“Sex in Space” not so exciting after all…

Or so says Talia in her book review.
I recently ordered a bunch of stuff from for me and others, and all orders arrived nicely except this book which never appeared (lost in space?). Perhaps I should not worry, according to the review.

The Spitzer files…

Lindsay Beyerstein: Spitzer linked to prostitution ring
Spitzer’s Nixonian hubris
Sex and taxes: How Spitzer allegedly got caught
Spitzer and Suspicious Activity Reports and sex stings
Enough is enough: Feds probe Spitzer’s records back to 1999
Amanda Marcotte: Cut out the stand by your man routine
Ask for facts, get the facts
Elizabeth Pisani: Spitzer’s true folly
Spitzer: cementing a cross-party tradition of hypocrisy
Spitzer: some better ideas for the lapsed abolitionist
Calling “These women”: tell us about your disorders…
Scott Swenson: RealTime: Prostitution Pledge for Politicians
Ed Cone: Aarfy never paid for it in his life

Patricia Brennan on bird genitalia

News from SCONC:

On Thursday, March 27 at 4 p.m., the Zoology Department at NCSU will host a seminar from Patricia Brennan of Yale University entitled “The Biology of Avian Genitalia: Form and Function.” Brennan’s work on the genital anatomy of waterfowl has revealed the existence of a “sexual arms race” between males and females. Unlike 97 percent of bird species, male waterfowl have a phallus, and it can range “from a half-inch to more than 15 inches long.” The seminar will be held in 101 David Clark Labs. Refreshments will be served in the lobby at 3:45.

Friday Weird Sex Blogging – The Birds Do It….
More on duck phalluses and uteri

In Space, Holes are a problem

We have already covered, in quite some detail the problems of passing gas in space. Not so much a problem inside a spaceship, but potentially a problem on a space walk, especially if the said activity, if particularly powerful, produces a rip in the scafander. The air leaves and it’s all over for you. Perhaps those beans tasted too well last night, eh?
The holes in the hulls of spaceships and in space-suits are incompatible with human life.
Then, there is the perennial question about sex in space. Did they or didn’t they? Officially, nothing ever happened. Unofficially, sure it did. Between astronauts down on Earth and most likely on spaceships. But it is difficult.
And out on a space-walk, it is even more difficult. Again, there is the problem of holes. How do you design a spacesuit for this? One with a female condom and another with a male condom? And what if the condom breaks? Poof! You’re dead. Not to even mention the problem of action+reaction forces….
So, if holes are such sources of horror in space, why, oh why, is there a gun on the Space Station? To ward off aliens? To shoot an ex-sex-partner when he farts?

The Dangers of Blogging, or, the Quest for Male Contraception

dice.jpg“Why isn’t there a birth control pill for men?” is the latest “Ask A ScienceBlogger” question. I am sure my SciBlings will rise to the occasion and explain both the biological and social barriers to the development, production and marketing of such a pill. I will be more light hearted, with a brief look at alternative methods proposed over the years intended to make guys temporarily infertile. Let’s start with this delightful, funny, yet informative, movie:

The movie can be found here, via Science of the Invisible (Thanks for the heads-up).
Perhaps this quack had a point after all! Would you mind getting mildly electrocuted so you could have unprotected sex for a while?
One of the factors often invoked to explain the decrease in male fertility in the developed world is the fashion of wearing tight jeans (didn’t work for me – look at my kids!), which increases the temperature in the scrotal region. Perhaps we can learn from the dolphins and devise ways to do exactly the opposite: kill sperm by heating the testes. People have actually tried this, sitting in hot baths for hours every day, with some anecdotal success.
Or we can infect men with norovirus. There is no way they will have sex at all if they are spending their time in the bathroom, trying to make the tough decision of which way to turn when projectile ejection of liquid is happening simultaneously at both the cranial and the caudal ends of the body.
Finally, going to the chemicals, there is an unwanted side-effect of some anti-depressants: Though there’s no problem with getting an erection (for hours!), they make it almost impossible to achieve orgasm or ejaculation. Perhaps we can study the underlying mechanism of this effect and devise a complex time-release pill that would work sort-of like this: first, Viagra gets into the system, ensuring erection; then, the drug mimicking the effects of anti-depressants kicks in blocking ejaculation; and finally, after a prescribed time, an anti-Viagra compound is released, effectively ending the show with no damage done.
What do you think, would guys go for it?
Or should they (as the movie above suggests) just blog around the clock?


..that is adolescence. And the research on what adolescents find attractive. For a few years. Until they gain the gift of speech and hearing, look up, and find beauty in the mind. Unfortunately, some never do.

Facebook, after weeks of pressure, still bans breastfeeding photos!

I thought the LiveJournal debacle taught them a lesson. I guess not. Melissa posted about this a couple of weeks ago, and Tara did it today again because the issue has not been resolved yet. So did PZ Myers (Janet Stemwedel and Dr. Joan Bushwell also chime in). Facebook is deleting pictures of breastfeeding and banning users who post them. Now that Facebook is not just for college crowd, there are more and more moms and dads on the network, proudly showing off their offspring to the world. Including offspring in the moments of feeding bliss.
But, you know that in this country there are a lot of dirty old men who find that scene somehow sexual (what kind of sick upbringing results in such sexual perversion, I wonder?), including, apparently, someone in the upper echelons of Facebook. Join the fast-growing Facebook group and send them a message. Blog about this as well. Force them to reverse this medieval decision.

Evolution of Adoption

If we are not there at the moment of birth, how come we can bond with the baby and be good fathers or good adoptive parents? Kate explains. Obligatory Reading of the Day.
Update: Related is this new article by former Scibling David Dobbs: The Hormone That Helps You Read Minds
Update 2: Matt responds to Kate’s post.
Update 3: Kate wrote a follow-up: Why help out? The life of an alloparent

Blogging Sex and Reproduction

Everyone seems to be blogging about sex (and reproduction) these days. Is it something in the air? Water? Anyway, here are some good recent examples:
Bush Administration Censored Talk On Birth Control And Sex Ed:

This administration got away with a trailblazer–using the FDA to decide a drug’s (Plan B) availability based strictly on party ideology. It set the precedent for a future administration to behave equally as irresponsible.
When a future administration institutes a one-child policy, or executes officials who don’t tow the party line, or makes stoning part of the treatment protocol for rape patients, we mustn’t forget to thank the Bush administration for its visionary conduct.

In Our Country, We Do Sex, Too:

When it comes to sex education, let’s hope India does a better job than we do

The Coolidge Effect:

It’s suggested that the renewed sexual motivation actually represents a dishabituation of the male’s sexual behavior. When the same female is repeatedly presented, the male’s sexual response toward the female gradually decreases and his copulatory efforts appear to become exhausted more quickly. That is, the male habituates to the presence of the female, failing to respond in the same way to her over time. But, presented with a novel female, the “context” of his copulatory experience changes and the male’s sexual response bounces back up to a high level. In other words, the male dishabituates in the presence of the novel female.

Make sure you tune in to the Midwest Teen Sex Show:

If you’re a teenager feel free to enjoy the podcasts and pass the links on to your friends. If you’re a parent, sex educator or therapist share the site with your kids, clients and colleagues.
This is how sex education should be – something that we actually want to see.

The sex education issues parents worry about:

Here are some common concerns or issues parents have about sex education – and some of the evidence about giving sex information to young people which perhaps politicians should consult before recommending parent-only sex education.

The scam that never enZe: the wacky world of weenie-woo:

In fact, one well-known vendor of inert phallotropics has found itself in trouble. (The headline of the linked article is priceless.) Surely you’ve seen the insanely upbeat mascot known as “Enzyte Bob” who wears a giant permagrin to match his presumably equine manhood. Well, his Berkeley Premium Nutraceuticals employers might be feeling a little more droopy than he, what with the feds angling to jerk $100 million from the company’s once-cocksure executives.

The Adult Film Industry: Time to Regulate?

For medical reasons, if nothing else.

Sexual Activity Reported In Dreams Of Men And Women

I wonder if this new study was designed better than this one:

In a detailed study that served to investigate the actual nature and content of sexual dreams across a large sample of dream reports from men and women, approximately eight percent of everyday dream reports from both genders contain some form of sexual-related activity.
The percentage of women that reported such dreams can be due to the fact that either women actually experience more sexual dreams now than they did 40 years ago, or that they now feel more comfortable reporting such dreams due to changing social roles and attitudes, or both, according to new research.
The study, authored by Antonio Zadra, PhD, of the Universite de Montreal, focused on over 3,500 home dream reports collected from men and women. Sexual intercourse was the most common type of sexual dream content, followed by sexual propositions, kissing, fantasies and masturbation.
The study found that both men and women reported experiencing an orgasm in about four percent of their sexual dreams. Orgasms were described as being experienced by another dream character in four percent of the women’s sexual dreams, but in none of the male dream reports. Current or past partners were identified in 20 percent of women’s sexual dreams, compared to 14 percent for men, and public figures were twice as likely to be the object of women’s sexual dream content. Multiple sex partners were reported twice as frequently in men’s sexual dreams.
“Observed gender differences may be indicative of different waking needs, experiences, desires and attitudes with respect to sexuality,” said Zadra. “This is consistent with the continuity hypothesis of dreaming which postulates that the content of everyday dreams reflects the dreamer’s waking states and concerns — that is, that dream and waking thought contents are continuous.”
An abstract of this research was presented June 14 at SLEEP 2007, the 21st Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.

Blogging For Sex Education linkfest

Renegade Evolution has collected the links for yesterday’s Blogging For Sex Education day.


Remember to Blog For Sex Education. Put this logo on top of your post if you like. Then paste your permalink in the comments of this post and Renegade Evolution will put together a linkfest.

Blog for Sex Education on June 4th

It’s simple. Just write a post on June 4th that has something to do with sex education. Add this logo on top of your post and leave your permalink in the comments of the logo post.
Spread the word….

Give the spherical cow an orgasm!

Good luck

More on duck phalluses and uteri

Of course, I was not the only one commenting on the recent duck phallus paper. You should check out the other blogospheric responses, e.g., by Carl, PZ, RPM, Grrrl, Laelaps, Neil, Belle, Zuzu, Guru and many others.
Unfortunately, most people link only to each other, or to the press release, or to the NYTimes article. The articles are fine, but they are simplified for the mass audience. If you are a scientist, you should read the original paper to get all the details.
Furthermore, many commenters on blogs have asked some very good questions about the research which remained unanswered, e.g., about the teleological language used in the article, the male bias, the individual variation within species, the season-to-season changes in males, and the appropriateness of the use of terms like “rape” in the context of animal behavior.
There is a place for asking (and answering, if you have the expertise) those questions – at the discussion forum of the paper itself where two good questions have already been asked. Just click here.

Monday Weird Sex Blogging….

…because weird sex does not only happen on Fridays….
Remember this? Many have asked themselves (I did) where does it go, i.e., what kind of female genital tract can accomodate such a large penis. But one person actually did not stop at wondering but set out to find out. You can find out who and how and why in Carl Zimmer’s today’s NYTimes article about today’s PLoS-One paper.

My Serbian readers will die laughing when they read this….

A guy ‘jebo jeza’, ahem, literally fucked a hedgehog in Serbia and ended up in the ER. Do kids there these days don’t even know their slang? ‘Jebo jeza’ means something along the lines of ‘being in big trouble’ or ‘having everything go wrong for you’. This guy accomplished that for himself, I guess….unless this is, as is likely, an urban legend.

I can feel it in my bones….

Sperm Cells Created From Human Bone Marrow:

Human bone marrow has been used to create early-stage sperm cells for the first time, a scientific step forward that will help researchers understand more about how sperm cells are created.

Gives a new meaning to the word “boner”, doesn’t it? OK, too late at night – I am losing all sense of what is appropriate on a science blog. Actually, the study is interesting besides its potential for humor.


You know how on comment threads on blogposts about evolution you, sooner or later, get a commenter saying something that reveals complete lack of understanding of even the basics of evolutionary biology? It is usually accompanied by some creationist canard as well. What do you do? If you stop to explain the basics, the thread gets derailed. You REALLY want to discuss that latest study, not go back to basics over and over again.
So, instead of explaining the basics, you post a link to the appropriate page on the TalkOrigins FAQ or Index of Creationist Claims and move on with the discussion, hoping that the uninformed commenter will actually do the homework and follow the links.
But there is no such resource for discussions about equality, particularly gender equality. Or at least there WAS no such thing. There is now – see Feminism101 (via Pandagon and Feministe). Help build it by finding and linking relevant online articles and blog-posts that explain the basics or debunk myths and mysoginist talking points.
No need to have every comment thread derailed by Man’s Rights creeps any more. Whatever they say – just link to the relevant F101 post and send them there. Then continue discussing what YOU want to discuss instead of going to the basics over and over again.

Wimp Factor

You know that I think that Wimp Factor is one of the most important yet least appreciated books about ideology and politics in recent years. So, I was really glad to see an excellent review of it by Amanda:

Regardless of you feelings about whether or not he’s got the right reasons for why anxious masculinity exists, his examination of the effects of it is right on the money.

Wow! How does one use ‘visual analogue scale’ over the phone?

But, apparently, that is the least of the problems of this study of sexuality in West European menopausal women.
BTW, a “visual analogue scale” looks like this:
You jot a mark where you feel is the best spot that reflects your answer. The researcher than uses the ruler to put a number on it. Perhaps once iPhone is out in July, this kind of research will be possible.

Sex On The (Dreaming) Brain

Blogging on Peer-Reviewed Research

Last week I asked if you would be interested in my take on this paper, since it is in Serbian (and one commenter said Yes, so here it is – I am easy to persuade):

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Oh, how thoughtful of the Intelligent Designer!

A-ha! Finally! Now I understand the connection between Creationism and the overall anti-sex sentiment of the Fundamentalists!
New reseaarch shows that E.coli swim upstream due to the Design of their flagellum! And where do they swim from and swim to? Yes, you guessed it right! And you can also watch the movie.

Friday Weird Sex Blogging – a cop-out again, and 15 minutes late…

I was in the middle of writing a serious review of a paper meant for Friday Weird Sex Blogging, when reading this paralized me (hopefully only transiently and I will finish it by next week).
So, when in trouble, I can always go back to Physics Of Sex and see if Buzz has someting new up. And he does.
Is the Select Comfort air mattress good for sex? To answer that question, a good scientist performs an experiment.
The Brownian motion of bar-hopping is something you need to know about if you are single and on the dating scene (thank FSM I am not, and hopefully never will have to be again).
And this book seems to be for the true connoisseur, though I am interested to know more details about the purported adaptive function of female orgasm. Ill just have to put it on my wish list for now, until I can afford to buy it.

Teen Sex, ‘Hooking Up’, Gay Marriage, Femiphobia and Bush Victory Are All Interconnected

Teen Sex, 'Hooking Up', Gay Marriage, Femiphobia and Bush Victory Are All InterconnectedContinuing with the last week’s topic (originally posted on March 11, 2005 – click on the spider-clock icon to see the comments, including by Mark O’Connell – who I subsequently met and blogged about, on the original post)

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Teen Parenthood for the X-box generation

Teen Parenthood for the X-box generationParenting is hard. Are you ready (re-posted from October 20, 2005)

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Hooked on Hooking Up, Or What’s Wrong With Conservative View Of Marriage

Hooked on Hooking Up, Or What's Wrong With Conservative View Of MarriageThis is two years old (February 16, 2005) but still as provocative….(also my belated contirbution to the Blog For Choice Day) and I’ll repost the second part of it next Friday.

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