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Sex and science stuff 07/01/2009

January 7th, 2009

Dr Petra

A few more sex, relationships and science stories doing the rounds that you might find interesting.

First off, here’s a story with the extra cute factor that everyone’s been talking about. German couple Mika and Anna Bell decided to elope to Africa for some sunshine and a nice wedding. Taking with them a selection of swimwear and a giant pink lilo the couple (aged five and six) got as far as Hanover train station before being spotted. The Guardian has a fantastic report and photo of the happy couple. All together now – aaaah.

In more serious news for grownups, New York magazine has a report on a recent survey suggesting binge drinkers have more sexual partners. There’s nothing wrong per se in having multiple partners, but what we do know about combining alcohol and sex is that folk are less likely to use contraception (particularly condoms), may make partner choices they’d regret when sober, and may be more prone to either acting coercively or being coerced. For years sexual health practitioners worked on the premise that alcohol led to accidental sexual encounters, although more recent evidence suggests the combination of alcohol and sex is more calculated.

Aunty Sarah has a candid and empowering report about her experience of orgasm post sex reassignment surgery (SRS). In her blog she describes her experiences of orgasm before and after SRS and reflects on the process of becoming an orgasmic woman.

Meanwhile Columbia Journalism Review picks up on the media treatment of the recent research on teenagers and abstinence pledges. CJR pick up on some media backlash where journalists (and to an extent the study’s researchers) have been criticised for implying the teens in the study were different. Actually the study makes very clear the teens being studied were virginity pledgers matched carefully with similar teens (e.g. religious and conservative) the only difference was the comparison group had not made a pledge. This clearly highlights one of the main problems we’re facing with journalism, which is that journalists don’t read source materials (you can read the whole paper on my blog linked above to show how clearly the point about the sample is made). Also journalists don’t seem to understand press releases since the one I read also seemed to be clear on the point that pledging teens were compared with similarly conservative teens, not teens in general. Perhaps this could be a useful learning case for those teaching journalism or media studies.

Mind Hacks describes a fascinating study that looks at how deodorants can boost men’s percieved sexiness. The research got men to use a spray that either contained deodorant and fragrance or no active ingredients. Researchers were not aware which participants had been given which spray. Participants could tell what they’d been given since one spray contained fragrance and one didn’t. I’ll leave you to read what happened – the results may surprise you! This study certainly adds to recent research on pheremones where traditionally it’s been suggested men seem sexier if they smell of natural sweat. It may be this isn’t quite the case.

And finally Saturday Night Live have another spoof video (featuring a celebrity guest) which pokes fun at male sexual arousal. It’s causing some controversy. Some practitioners think it’s very funny, others feel it’s exploiting a serious problem of premature ejaculation. You decide….

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