Friday Weird Science: Which porn gets you hot, baby?

UGH. First off my apologies for the weird scheduling. I have no idea why it posted itself four days ago.
And I have to start this with a personal porn anecdote. You KNOW you wanna hear it.
ResearchBlogging.org Woodard et al. “What kind of erotic film clips should we use in female sex research? An exploratory study.” Journal of Sexual Medicine, 2008.


Growing up as a naive young geeky lady in suburbia, I never saw porn. During my junior year of college, this came to the attention of a few friends of mine, and it turned out that most of us ladies had never really seen porn. Moreover, we didn’t really want to have our very first porn experience with some guy who was gonna be all like “I wanna get you hot, baby…” and then pay attention to nothing but the porn like that one episode of “Sex and the City”. We decided we needed to see porn in a safe environment. One where we could laugh at it and get our nerves out.
And so, we held a party. The WCP party. Wine, Cheese, and Porn. Dress was business formal, attendance by invitation only (both men and women invited), and we served filet mignon, mango spoonbread, and a lovely selection of wines and cheeses. And we watched “Deep Throat”. Being the total geeks we were, we spent a lot of time wondering how the movie really compared to the Nixon administration.
Of course, it was only later that someone told me that apparently “Deep Throat” is some kind of artsy porn, and wasn’t representative of the generality of porn out there. Still, it was a great party. And of course, none of the girls were really turned on at all. I mean, it was all angled, and posed, and the music was terrible, and WHAT THE HELL WAS THE PLOT?! A clitoris in the back of her throat? Please.
It has since occurred to me that, because of this porn issue, there is probably a lot of gender disparity in studies of sexual function between men and women. After all, if you’re showing women porn clips that are known to turn men on, you might be getting a wrong result, and then, *poof*, out comes the paper in Science saying how all women are frigid and porn doesn’t work. So I’m very glad that there are people out there addressing this problem.
But seriously, there are actually many uses for using erotic film clips in research. These are especially important in studies of female sexual dysfunction, and they are also used for basic science studies on sexual orientation in men and women. The problem is that, without knowing what stimulates men and women, and whether they respond differently to different types of clips, the erotic clips used could be skewing the data.
Of course, people have known for a long time that women respond to “traditional” pornography differently than men. It’s not surprising. A lot of pornography produced by men contains degradation and objectification of women, so while women may be turned on physiologically, they can also feel shame, or just disgust. Not only that, there are more societal taboos placed on women viewing pornography than on men, as well as the possible threat to self-image seeing all those silicone breasts floating around…
It turns out that, since about the early 1980’s, there have been some female porn directors (some of whom were former porn stars themselves), making porn for women, by women. Interestingly, what seems to appeal most is that most of these pornographies are made from a woman’s point of view, rather than from a man’s. So of course, it’s easier for women to identify. Subsequent studies have found that women find women-centered erotica more subjectively stimulating (the mental aspect), but they find it to be equally physically stimulating compared to man-centered erotica. Part of this could be due to the fact that the women said they felt more shame and guilt watching male-centered porn, though a level of disgust apparently persisted regardless of viewpoint.
And of course there’s the question of emotion. I’ve always heard that that women require more emotional context to become physiologically aroused, which is of course why they prefer romance novels to porn. It turns out that this is a myth, though the concept was first introduced by Kinsey (they famous Kinsey of the Kinsey Sexual Reports) in the 1950’s. Since then, one study found that women has LESS of a psychosexual response to emotionally based erotic material than men, but no one has been able to replicate it (Jakobovits, 1967). Most studies show no difference, so it doesn’t seem that the erotic clips need to be put into context.
But how do we know which clips to show? For this study, they recruited a whole bunch of women, all of whom had to have seen porn before (57% were single, 76.2% were heterosexual, and 19% were bisexual, 4.8% unknown, 2/3rds were white, and 33% had higher than a master’s degree). They sat them down and showed them 90 different clips of erotic film, picked from the “top rentals” list of an adult video store (I’d love to be a researcher on this study…”Hi, I’d like to see your top rentals? I’m doing…a study…for science…and I need to see your porn…”). At first they had them watch the videos in the privacy of their own homes, but apparently after the first few, they decided on a controlled environment, as otherwise the ladies tended to keep the DVDs too long.🙂 The women were asked to rate the clips with positive values if they found it pleasant/it turned them on, and negative values if it was unpleasant/it turned them off. The authors then analyzed the results, breaking them down into mental vs. physical appeal.
The end results fell into 5 categories (the contents of some clips will overlap):
1) Mentally appealing and physically arousing: clearly the best kind of porn for women, the clips tended to feature vaginal intercourse, the missionary position, male or female, female on male, cunnilingus, and, interestingly, outdoor settings.
2) Mentally unappealing with physical arousal: these clips included fellatio, cunnilingus, rear-entry anal or vaginal intercourse, threesomes, male on male, female on female, and self and partner masturbation.
3) More physically arousing than mentally appealing (they were both, but more physical than mental): all of these had heterosexual behavior, half were male on female, the other half female on male, and vaginal intercourse was in 75%. This seemed to be physically arousing, but perhaps mentally boring kinds of porn, none of them made it to the top tier.
4) Mentally unappealing and physically unarousing: Women apparently don’t really like male on male, fellatio, or anal.
5) More mental than physical: these included the missionary position, male on female, vaginal intercourse, and a small percent included bondage. And that outdoor setting was there again!
So clearly, if you’re going to show porn to women, stick to the #1 category. What I found rather interesting about this study was the male on male bit, and the fact that women (the majority of whom were straight) seemed to find it relatively unappealing. I’d always heard that guys like girl on girl, and girls like boy on boy. And from the large amount of horrible slash-fic (if you don’t know what that is, look it up, and I hold no responsibility for anything you may come across. Stay AWAY from the Harry Potter stuff. Don’t say I didn’t warn you…) that girls write out there, I’d figured it must be true. I’ve apparently been lied to.
The other thing I thought was good about this is that, using the results from this study, I can now write the ULTIMATE romance novel. And so can you! Take the results from the top category, combine them, throw in a few adjectives and something about bodice-ripping, and you’re a best seller. It’s like mad libs. Behold, SCICURIOUS! BEST SELLING ROMANCE NOVELIST!
He was standing too close to her. She looked up, and his eyes seemed to devour her with their hunger. All around her, the world seemed to fall silent, the crashing of the waves on the rocks reduced to the merest rush. The salt spray that touched her bare shoulders tingled against her hot skin.
He bent his head, running his lips along her shoulders, her neck, tasting the salt against the sweetness of her. Against her will, she felt her head fall back, as his lips left hot trails against her flesh. His hands circled her waist possessively as she rested her palms against his bare chest. She could feel him fighting to keep his desires in check, but she cared nothing for propriety, not here, not now. She tilted her lips toward his, and whispered his name, her voice husky with desire.
Her words bore through the walls of his restraint, and he pressed her against him, feeling her soft curves against his hard flesh, the heat of his need for her. His fingers tore impatiently at her bodice, tearing the delicate fabric as he slid her dress down over her hips. The shock of cold air and sea spray made her gasp, and she cried out as first his hands, then his lips found the fullness of her breasts.
blah de blah… I have no idea how they’re going to get naked, it’s late and I’m tired, but THAT WAS SO FUNNY TO WRITE. Anyway, end result is that she ends up on top of him in the sand (or on the rocks, or the driftwood, or something), with waves on them. Because everyone knows outdoor scenes are hot. Ask the porn study.
Terri L. Woodard, Karen Collins, Mindy Perez, Richard Balon, Manuel E. Tancer, Michael Kruger, Scott Moffat, Michael P. Diamond (2007). What Kind of Erotic Film Clips Should We Use in Female Sex Research? An Exploratory Study The Journal of Sexual Medicine DOI: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2007.00641.x

48 Responses

  1. Looking at the study I would think that they’re stretching for their results on male-male. According to what they record, 5 of the movies they used involved male-male out of 90 videos. This study was also done in Michigan which they admit may confuse results since subjects are self-reporting and Michigan is conservative. You’ll note that women also apparently weren’t turned on if characters weren’t white. Accordingly 25% out of 5 of the male-male resulted in respondents being turned on and not mentally engaged. I’m also not quite sure how 7 male-male clips made it into the not arousing or mentally enaging pile [they made up 7/9] if they only had 5 to start with? None of them made it into the more mentally engaging than physically arousing pile either

  2. I find it interesting that these women seemed to oinly be shown pornography that fits within the classical definition of “normal sex.” I have always been intrigued by a study a I read about 10 years ago that said that the more educated a woman is, the more fetishy her tastes are willing to be. I wonder if we assume that these women were turned off because the porn was too extreme when, in fact, the opposite is true?
    For the record, Dr. Isis is very, very educated.

  3. Wow. That was a bit intense for 8am coffee reading. But following up Dr. Isis’s comment, I do wonder what smart women would want to see.
    In the name of science, of course.

  4. mars: excellent points. I think part of the reason the samples included so little male on male or fetish stuff is because these were deliberately selected from the top rentals at the adult store they picked. So that could have skewed the data, as male on male and fetish probably have smaller audiences than the more traditional stuff.
    Also, I’m not sure they would want to test less traditional stuff, as this is an exploratory study for future studies, and I imagine they will be wanting “stock” clips for most of the time, and those would probably be more traditional. Additionally, porn created by women tends to lean toward more conservative sex.
    Clearly we need to conduct a study in the name of SCIENCE!

  5. Excellent post, SciC! Two points:
    (1) I suspect that there is much more within-gender variability in taste for pornography than between-gender.
    (2) You clearly have a “Plan B” for your professional future if you decide science isn’t for you!

  6. PP: I really hope that by “Plan B” you were referring to “romance novelist” and not something like, say, porn star.
    And yes, there probably is much more within-gender variability. It also occurred to me that they were only using clips from professional pornographic videos, and it’s possible that women would react with less disgust to porn made by amateurs, which may possibly be easier to relate to.

  7. Clearly we need to conduct a study in the name of SCIENCE!

    I’m in as a subject, in the name of science of course. I’ll send you a couple of videos to use in your studies, but you’re not getting my amateur stuff. That stays in the Isis family vault.

  8. Isn’t that a lot of bisexuals for an exploratory study? Oh, but there’s only 21 women; probably just noise.
    Anyone else find it funny that they used the “have previously viewed pornography” as an inclusion criteria “as required by our institutional review board”. Was there someone on the board who said “no porn virgins! you don’t want to scar them for life with this stuff!”?
    For the record, Dr. Isis missed my banana joke.
    Though if her remembered study is true, and this study is also true… maybe more educated women prioritize mental appeal over physical arousal?

  9. As for the girl/girl, boy/boy porn question, I just wanted to say, as someone that has seen what might be a frightening amount of porn, that I find girl on girl action kind of boring. Sure, it’s fun to watch for a minute or two, but it tunes out, for me, pretty quickly. I think the proponents of it being some hetero male viewing ideal might be predominantly people that start every other observation with the words “I’m not gay, but” and manage to feel awkward about seeing anything featuring a penis. Not to say they don’t watch “straight” porn, but that perhaps they feel the girl on girl videos make up for that.
    The outdoors thing is interesting. I’d imagine, to be really scientific about it, you’d have to come up with viewings to compare components of the scene versus response, such as light, color, etcetera, or if it’s really the composite idea of being outside. Heh, of course that would required tailored videos, which might lead to some interesting arrangements between a studio and research body. That or you’d end up with scientist porn, which could be the next big thing.

  10. That or you’d end up with scientist porn, which could be the next big thing.

    That’s genius, Fargo! Scientist porn! If you want to go into business together, shoot the domestic and laboratory goddess an email because I am totally ready to peace out of this place today.

  11. PP: I really hope that by “Plan B” you were referring to “romance novelist” and not something like, say, porn star.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAH! Yes, romance novelist!

  12. yes, the “outdoor” angle is intriguing — possibly just a back-to-nature, primitive instinct and turn-on, or is it, for some at least, more of an exhibitionism turn-on from the risk of being seen or caught in act???
    (I s’pose the same question can be asked of nudists: is it just the freedom and naturalness that feels good, or is there more likely some exhibitionist element that is being fulfilled?)

  13. brb, going to research this with the lady of the house

  14. Yeah, but did you check the control group?
    Ansel Adams photograps.
    Eliot Porter photographs.
    Nature gets me excited. People I can do without.

  15. Holy unexpected post!
    Porn is a very interesting thing. We can get turned on by things that actually disgust us, and it’s like our body can react without the mental component. I bet there’s a neuroscience thing to be had here – 2 different parts of the brain, maybe? We should get an fMRI and show people porn and watch what lights up on the scan. I bet those #1 videos show a lot more activation overall, and the other stuff reveals a split.
    I’m about the least homophobic person on earth, but the guy-on-guy stuff just doesn’t do it for me. I’ve never known another woman who was turned on by men’s gay porn. I know women who get turned on by girl-on-girl but wish they didn’t. LOL. Freud could have a field day with this stuff.
    There seems to have been primarily 2 options in hetero porn – the so-called “women’s” porn that uses cheesy plots and is mostly laughable, and then the hardcore men’s porn that’s all about penetration and “money shots.” There isn’t much that’s in-between, and it’s not like most of us have the time or energy to go looking for it.
    Personally, I find that my imagination serves up way better material than anything I can find online or at a video store. I bet there’s a congruence involved for women and porn – is it something we would come up with on our own?
    Maybe that’s a study I should do. Have a bunch of women write about their fantasies, find out which ones are most common, then show a different group of women some videos with those and other fantasies in them and compare the ratings.
    Where would I get funding for that……..

  16. Interesting that they found women are not excited by masturbation scenes. I heard that sites like beautifulagony.com and ifeelmyself.com have predominantly female audience.

  17. > I suspect that there is much more within-gender variability in taste for pornography than between-gender
    HAHAHAHA! PinkoProf is an equalitarian fundie wacko straight out of the Sociobiology Study Group! Just what I need for my latest investigation… your assignment should you choose to accept it is to actually google some porn before the next meeting of the study group, Professor. Now, we won’t put you on the spot. The IRB has made a dispensation so that you can be enrolled without avouching that you have already viewed porn in the past. I was able to convince them that a person of your good taste is at no risk of getting addicted to such crap: notice that 98% of it is completely tasteless and revolting, unfeeling garbage. You can then look up findings that the large majority of men have looked at significant amounts of porn and the great majority of women have not. See if you can deduce the hidden connection. Fill in the data sheet with a “1” if you can, and a “2” if you cannot.
    Now, after exposing yourself to such raunchiness in the service of knowledge, you’ll more than deserve a bit of recreation. So let me reveal the secret that will direct you to something far more refined, an Eros worthy of its deification: get on google videos and dial up “XXX-treme biodeterminist gender-essentialist redheads.”
    sincerely,
    “Dr.” Eric J. Johnson
    Rabid Genetic Determinist and Ululating Libertarian Idealogue

  18. Coturnix, that’s probably just a surrogate marker for general coarseness, but the correlation is much less than 1.00.
    Closer to the point are the civilian prettiness instead of some numb meretrix, and the focus on the face, mentality, dendrites. (While Freud may deserve to be ejected from the western canon, he correctly assessed the human groin as animally titillating but not beautiful.) All told, you find yourself on a supra-neanderthal plane of taste, thus the female preponderances in question. Innate gender differences under this heading are marked and favor the fairer sex.

  19. Uh, Isis, if you remember what that study was, do tell. It might settle a, um, domestic debate. (Apparently I’m overeducated).

  20. Interesting that they found women are not excited by masturbation scenes. I heard that sites like beautifulagony.com and ifeelmyself.com have predominantly female audience.
    You mean to tell me that porn sites keep stats on the gender of the people that visit their sites? Boy am I naive…

  21. oh man, true story. a trainee about the department lo many years ago published a romance novel. hmm, never found out if it was a one-off or a continued career… so, there is precedent scicurious.

  22. And yes, there probably is much more within-gender variability. It also occurred to me that they were only using clips from professional pornographic videos, and it’s possible that women would react with less disgust to porn made by amateurs, which may possibly be easier to relate to.

    That’s not just women, what Eric Johnson may or may not be trying to say notwithstanding. O.o

    As for the girl/girl, boy/boy porn question, I just wanted to say, as someone that has seen what might be a frightening amount of porn, that I find girl on girl action kind of boring. Sure, it’s fun to watch for a minute or two, but it tunes out, for me, pretty quickly. I think the proponents of it being some hetero male viewing ideal might be predominantly people that start every other observation with the words “I’m not gay, but” and manage to feel awkward about seeing anything featuring a penis. Not to say they don’t watch “straight” porn, but that perhaps they feel the girl on girl videos make up for that.

    My pet hypothesis has been that the core of the appeal for a lot of men is that watching (stereotypical) sex between (stereotypically warm, loving, nurturing, soft, etc.) females gives these guys a chance to vicariously experience some sense of tenderness with their arousal without feeling less manly.

  23. By the way PhysioProf, I hope you don’t find me too obnoxious… I enjoy your gonzo style and just thought it would be fun to gonzo troll you.
    It’s not that hard to think of evolutionary explanations for why female sexuality could be more sophisticated. I don’t know if what I had in mind is all that falsifiable, so it may not be real Popperian science, but whatever. Basically since females are the selective gender it behooves them to evaluate genetic quality more closely. Actually, since humans tend toward monogamy, the genders are much less disparate in this regard than in a promiscuous species, but nevertheless men are far more receptive to short-term sex and women are certainly more selective.
    Now, many geneticists hold that the average person probably has about 300 modestly deleterious alleles (see for example J Crow), and there is of course variance in this. The only traits that could index this mutational burden, if any, are traits whose quality is affected by a very serious fraction of all the organism’s genes – the larger this fraction the better, as a larger sample gives a better indication of the quality of the entire genome. Such traits would be expected to be the most complicated and elaborate of traits phenotypically speaking, just as they are so genotypically speaking. Armand Leroi thinks this is the likeliest cause of human variance in facial beauty. Obviously the most beautiful people would have been much fitter than others during most of human history, so there must be some explanation for stable variance in this trait. Evidence that quite a large number of genes affect the human face in perceptible ways, is the observation that many different genetic diseases have a facial signature useful to diagnosticians.
    Certainly the whole idea is far from proved – it hasn’t really even begun to be proved. Moreover it’s kind of hard for this hypothesis to explain why women are rather less fixated on physical beauty in a mate than men are. It “should” be the inverse of that. But these things are not unifactorial, so this isn’t a fatal difficulty. You also have to wonder what’s up with other advanced animals. Do most animals have a “face” of some kind that ranges from beautiful to not (one whose variations we may or may not perceive easily since our brains aren’t attuned to them)? It certainly seems like they should, if this hypothesis is true; how could a complicated, elaborate trait help indicate genetic quality in man, but fail to do so in other advanced animals?
    Anyway, since the sexual encounter is a complex and partially stereotyped behavior, it makes sense that it could be the kind of complicated trait that reflects the burden of deleterious alleles. If so, it would seem that females ought to invest a bit more of their brain in being cognizant of its subtleties. Even if this is all true, it doesn’t explain all gender differences in sexuality, nor does it need to – but it could help explain why women aren’t interested in simplistic forms of pornography such as some video of repetitious coition that looks like the same 0.5 seconds repeated 450 times (not very elaborate!). And why the romance novel, with its focus on intricate descriptions of intricate, partly stereotypical behaviors, is often seen as the women’s analog of porn.

  24. JLK: you know, we could probably do the fantasy study with romance novels, pick examples of each genre and see what appeals to women most, though they tend to stick to more conservative themes…
    Bikemonkey: That’s it! That’s what I’ll do if I can’t get a postdoc! And not only that, I could write romance novels that have SCIENCE!
    He pressed her against the lab bench, vials and pipette tips crashing to the floor as he tore her lab coat asunder in his passion…

  25. Then you need to read Recombinations – oldie, but goodie. One of the earliest lab-lit novels with lots of romance and sex.

  26. As I read it the results were determined by answering questionnaires. It would be interesting to to hook the ladies up to test equipment to measure their physical responses and to compare them to the volunteered responses.
    It has been previously noted that what people report, sometimes what people experience, can vary wildy from what their bodies are doing. Levels of engorgement, lubrication and breathing rates can indicate excitation while the person either lack self awareness or won’t admit to their physical response.
    I also wonder about how including a couple of glasses of wine might change the results for the ladies. I have noted that a couple of glasses of wine can vastly increase responsiveness in the ladies. Or perhaps I just look better after a few drinks.
    I think all these aspects need to be deeply, repeatedly, intimately and exhaustively explored. To the point of clear understanding and the complete satisfaction of all questions.
    In the interest of science, of course.

  27. Physio, I’m starting to regret apologizing for trolling you. The logical recourse is to re-troll you summarily… and though one hears a lot from you on GOP corruption — you’re suddenly quiet on this little episode in the state of Illinois!… This is real disorder, this is highly irregular!!! It is wrong, it is shameful — inadmissible! It’s implausible! A disaster! It reflects on this country poorly!! It’s a problem… why in heaven don’t they zoom down to the Springfield statehouse, impeach the man ipso facto? Before he goes any farther! He ought to be harranged, and degraded! Decried! Accosted! That personage still plodding around the capital, is he!… not quite ready to pay the devil! Well I’ll tell you, it’s intractable!! Supreme court?! Incomprehensible! They need the specialists! I’ll give you my opinion: call in a swat team, call the National Guard! He needs to be brought down with a tranquilizer dart! Like a wolf or bear! Smoke-bomb his office! Get him and get him good! They should be serving him with all kinds of intimidating documents and papers!… hourly! It’s a disgrace, it is a violation! An emergency! A mockery! A farce! Bring in the authorities to surround him! To overawe him… To tackle him! The FBI should put him in handcuffs!!! Really read him the riot act for once. The CIA ought to give him an exploding cigar! He actually ought to be impeached! Turned out! Divested! Dealt with! Why, that double dealer should be sharply questioned! Arraigned! Derided! Forgotten! Lamented… Egged! Lampooned! He needs to be shown!

  28. I find it interesting that these women seemed to oinly be shown pornography that fits within the classical definition of “normal sex.” I have always been intrigued by a study a I read about 10 years ago that said that the more educated a woman is, the more fetishy her tastes are willing to be. I wonder if we assume that these women were turned off because the porn was too extreme when, in fact, the opposite is true?

    …you don’t say…
    (Well, I’m already strongly supporting my wife’s college plans, but… O.o)

  29. As I read it the results were determined by answering questionnaires. It would be interesting to to hook the ladies up to test equipment to measure their physical responses and to compare them to the volunteered responses.
    It has been previously noted that what people report, sometimes what people experience, can vary wildy from what their bodies are doing. Levels of engorgement, lubrication and breathing rates can indicate excitation while the person either lack self awareness or won’t admit to their physical response.

    I believe I’ve seen reports that this was especially true of women, though I don’t remember the particular study – IE, physiological arousal rates between male and female participants were comparable but females self-reported much lower rates.

  30. Eric: If you really want to troll Physioprof, you might want to try doing it on HIS blog. You know this isn’t his blog, right?
    But on the issue of romance novels: it used to be thought that the more complex setup of romance novels was because women required more of a psychological setup for mental and physical arousal. Kinsey believed they needed more emotional context. But studies have shown that that is not the case, that physiological and mental arousal states in women do not require more emotional stimulation than those in men.
    And Art, all for the interest of science and everything, but I think you might be better off measuring pulse rate and maybe skin flushing or something. The idea of someone attaching electrodes to my nether regions sounds like some sort of scary fetish in itself!

  31. One of my gen eds is a psychology class on human sexuality, which told us that the common way to measure arousal is a penile plethysmograph or a clear acrylic dildo outfitted with sensors.
    I’m a neuroscience student. I think sticking something like an EEG to measure nerve activity on the clitoris or glans might enrich the data from these methods, since the nerves are dense down there – human sexuality researchers already have so much data from fMRIs during orgasm, et cetera, but from my very limited amount of knowledge of research on things such as the penis and the clitoris, I don’t think anyone’s stuck electrodes on those bits.

  32. Uh, Isis, if you remember what that study was, do tell. It might settle a, um, domestic debate. (Apparently I’m overeducated).

    Seconded. And, my condolences. Personally, I have nearly as much sympathy for male partners (am I assuming too much?) of women who are intimidated by their partners’ sexual adventurousness as I do for indicted televangelists. >.>

  33. Katherine: do you happen to HAVE that study where they put people in an MRI and had them orgasm? I’ve been wanting to blog that study for months now and can never find it…I would give you many metaphorical cookies!

  34. I recommend reading Mary Roach’s Bonk. It’s a pop-sci look at sex research. She and her husband took part in the MRI study while she was working on the book, I believe. I’d look it up to make sure I’m remembering correctly, but the book’s out on loan. It’s somewhat popular.

  35. “It would be interesting to to hook the ladies up to test equipment to measure their physical responses and to compare them to the volunteered responses.”
    That’s a good point to make. One of the big problems in emotion research is that people tend to lie about how they are feeling on the self-report questionnaires (people really don’t like to admit that you’ve made them sad/scared/angry/aroused). You could easily measure galvanic skin response or pupillary dilation.
    On the other hand, I ran a study that involved people looking at pictures from IAPS, and one of the conditions ended up getting some pornographic pictures. The males… responded. The females mostly seemed bored.

  36. Coturnix, you have earned a lifetime of Sci’s Weird Science love!!

  37. There’s an article in Scientific American about orgasm and the brain: http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=the-orgasmic-mind

  38. >Scicurious: And not only that, I could write romance novels that have SCIENCE!
    Well, I don’t know if any of you have read any of the Xenophiles (from the couple that brought us the Girl Genius webcomics), but it is most definitely that kind of comics, and it even has science in it sometimes…

  39. Women apparently don’t really like male on male, fellatio, or anal.

    I’ve got about a terabyte of slash fan fiction that contradicts that finding, but maybe that’s just anecdotal evidence.

  40. Women apparently don’t really like male on male, fellatio, or anal.

    I’ve got about a terabyte of slash fan fiction that contradicts that finding, but maybe that’s just anecdotal evidence.

    Reconciliatory hypothesis: Women from the groups studied don’t like admitting in clinical settings that they like watching any of these things.

  41. Women apparently don’t really like male on male, fellatio, or anal.

    I’ve got about a terabyte of slash fan fiction that contradicts that finding, but maybe that’s just anecdotal evidence.

    Reconciliatory hypothesis: Women from the groups studied don’t like admitting in clinical settings that they like watching any of these things.

    Reconciliatory hypothesis 2: the presentation of these things in the videos viewed is orthogonal to the preferences of most women in the group studied. This is especially plausible in light of the things I’ve heard about “mainstream porn” from certain women among others.

  42. I don’t see how being “geeky” has anything to do with not watching porn… in fact, I’d actually say the opposite was true. Us geek girls discovered the joys- sexual and otherwise- of the internet far earlier than the type of girl that would watch throw a party involving formal dress (eww.)

  43. don’t see how being “geeky” has anything to do with not watching porn… in fact, I’d actually say the opposite was true. Us geek girls discovered the joys- sexual and otherwise- of the internet far earlier than the type of girl that would watch throw a party involving formal dress (eww.)

    This idea is common, and seems to originate from the same societal orifice as the notion that “gay man = [comic-strip Mars-Venus joke stereotype] woman’s mind in a man’s body.”

  44. Renee: Sci needs to point out that she’s a bit older than the internet, and thus the opportunity wasn’t there. And the party was fun, and FULL of geeks. Some geeks like dressing up once in a while.

  45. First of all, Wow!, not at the study but at the writer’s talent and I would assume new-found ability for erotic literature. Secondly, I have a thought on the outdoor aspect that I wish to state, in which I sat back and pondered for a good ten minutes. As animals we carry the instinct of procreation like every other creature, but our minds set us apart from all other species on the planet. That being said, just like every other creature we are “free” to pick and choose between our potential mates, but due to psychological adjustments by our education, cultural stigmas placed upon the act of sex, and religious/family/governmental constraints we are taught at a young age, we are not “free” to commit that act where we choose. That urge for freedom, which our minds must have in order to grow, I think, lends to the particular result in the study. As thinking creatures, we desire and want that freedom and would want it in every aspect of our lives, including the act of throwing our mates down upon a public beach, mountain top, or dare I say park bench and letting our passions consume us.

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