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What tool designed this ‘survey’?

March 23rd, 2005

Dr Petra

Some of you may have read the following story in today’s newspapers…

Men who can use their toolkit measure up in bed
A survey of 2,000 adults by DIY accessory manufacturer ____ has revealed that men who take their time over DIY are better in bed than those who rush the job. Nearly two thirds of women questioned said that men’s attitude to how they carried out home improvements was reflected in their lovemaking skills. Just over half agreed that men who put in the groundwork on a job such as laying a floor would be equally as conscientious in bed. Men also claim that their slow hand skills impress the ladies. 71% of men say their partners are bowled over when they take their time over DIY preparations. ____ brand manager _______said the findings show, ‘It’s all in the preparation, with the best time investment being 75% in preparation before moving onto the task itself’.

Hooray! Now all sex therapists have to do is send men straight to carpentry classes and all will be fine. Sex researchers don’t have to worry with tedious old studies, simply asking a man to lay a floor or put up shelving will reveal all about his sex life!

This story took up space in newspapers that could have covered genuine sexual problems, or perhaps testicular or ovarian cancer, or even relationship difficulties.

Too worthy? Okay, how about a real “do it yourself” feature about masturbation tips and techniques? There’s plenty of evidence about how that improves your health and lovelife.

‘Surveys’ like this break all the rules of genuine sex research. Apart from taking up space where useful or even saucy information could be shared, they assume everyone is straight. They reinforce gender stereotypes – the guy’s doing the DIY not the girl. They’re judgemental by frowning upon men who ‘rush the job’ (i.e. come too soon), and mistakenly separate foreplay (‘preparation’) with sex (‘the task itself’). All errors a reputable sex researcher wouldn’t make with their survey.

They wouldn’t be allowed to. They’d have to have ethical permission and an actual point to their work before they could proceed. But when it comes to people promoting products you can just call up 2000 people to ask about their ‘lovemaking skills’. (Or more likely, call up 500 people and times the results by four).

Ethics, values, and even being useful need not apply.

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