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Sex and science stuff – 09/04/09

April 9th, 2009

Dr Petra

Here are a few of the sex/science stories that have caught my attention over the last few weeks.

Filmmaker Liz Canner’s documentary ‘Orgasm Inc’ will be showcased at the Hot Docs film festival this May. Liz has worked tirelessly on this project to expose how Female Sexual Dysfunction is misrepresented and marketed. I’ll be blogging about the film in a future blog, but am giving you a heads up here so you’ve got time to buy tickets to the screening (btw this event’s in Canada, but hopefully we’ll be seeing screenings in the US and UK soon).

Mindhacks have had two very interesting recent blogs. The first summarises new research on the Transgendered brain, while the second unpacks a study claiming women prefer men who drive flashy cars.

Belinda Brooks Gordon has managed to sensibly critique recent misreporting of prostitution statistics in a clear and well-balanced Comment is Free piece in The Guardian (Red mist obscures red light statistics). It’s worth reading the responses to her piece, most of which are positive but some – from anti-prostitution supporters – indicate a worrying misunderstanding of how ethical social research operates.

Cory Silverberg has two fantastic blogs uncovering how new laws seek to discriminate against disabled people who make sexual images of themselves, and highlighting a problematic piece of research that claims you can profile potential partners who might have an STI.

Following open access publication of research on how some therapists have offered therapy for homosexuality despite no evidence suggesting such approaches are effective or necessary (see press release including an audio interview with researchers here). The researchers have established a website for therapists and clients to share information on cases where people have been offered treatment/therapy for homosexuality. They are particularly interested in hearing from people in developing countries and in communities where homosexuality is taboo. Their website is called Treatmentshomosexuality and you’re invited to share this link with anyone working in the area of therapy/sexuality. On the back of the news coverage for this research, spoof website The Daily Mash offered their take on ‘cures for gayness’.

Ben Goldacre has just published his ‘missing’ chapter from his Bad Science book. The chapter wasn’t published in the first edition as Goldacre was criticising vitamin salesperson Matthias Rath who had promoted vitamins over standard HIV medication and had worked hard to dissuade politicians and the public from using anti-retrovirals. The chapter – ‘The Doctor Will Sue You Now’ is available for free on Ben’s Bad Science website, and also as a pdf. You are welcome to circulate this information, and given the unimaginable amount of damage Rath has caused, it is important that you do so. Particularly if you are involved in healthcare and particularly if your work involves any form of medical education and work around HIV.

Finally, humour website The Onion has managed to poke fun at the uber-serious pornography/prostitution debates we’re increasingly seeing in our media. It’s deliberately provocative. So please don’t watch if you’re likely to be offended by people mocking what’s usually an untouchable issue. If you are able to grasp ironic takes on the media and discussions of sex work, knock yourself out with new research that finds ‘Children Exposed To Pornography May Expect Sex To Be Enjoyable’

And with that I’m off to enjoy a nice long weekend. Wishing you all the best – whether you’re celebrating Easter, Passover, or just eating lots of chocolate.

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