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More on sex being 400% ‘better’

March 2nd, 2006

Dr Petra

Previously I’d expressed some concern about research claiming intercourse is ‘400% better’ than masturbation. This week on Mind Hacks a member commented how the original study doesn’t make such grand claims as sex is 400% better.

This is a fair point, the original research paper is more modest. However, given that all the newspaper coverage ran with the idea that sex is 400% better this must have come from a press release. It’s unlikely that just one paper came up with the headline and others followed, it would have come from a central release.

And when it comes to press releases it’s your responsibility as an academic to check them before they go out. Your media office or the journal who’s press releasing your research will always run them by you, and I’ve learned from experience that being casual at this stage can cause you professional problems later.

So although the research was more conservative, it’s really not acceptable to then have a press release that either doesn’t represent your research, or overstates your findings. Unless as a researcher you’re happy for this to be the case.

Regardless of the claims of the research, there’s still the problem that the evidence underpinning this study wasn’t contemporary, and many of the ideas suggested simply don’t fit with current evidence.

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