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Psych me up (the science of sex and relationships)

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Sex Makes Everything Less Disgusting. Our biological drive to do it conflicts pretty directly with our biological drive not to get involved with other people's bodily fluids.

Sex Makes Everything Less Disgusting

How do we ignore the obvious grossness of sex for long enough to propagate the species? Maybe, researchers say, by turning off our disgust reflex whenever we get turned on. Earlier studies have asked this question in a variety of ways. Not Exactly Rocket Science. Married couples are happier when they commute in the same direction. What we do with our bodies can trigger metaphorical associations in our minds, having knock-on effects for perceptions and attitudes.

Married couples are happier when they commute in the same direction

For example, holding a warm drink can lead us to judge a person's character more favourably, presumably through activation of warmth-related personality metaphors. Washing our hands can make us feel less guilty, via activation of thoughts to do with purity. Most demonstrations of this kind have looked at immediate effects. A new study claims that physical actions that activate metaphors can also have long-lasting psychological implications. The Internal Clitoris.

Consider this: In over five million years of human evolution, only one organ has come to exist for the sole purpose of providing pleasure—the clitoris.

The Internal Clitoris

It is not required for reproduction. The best and worst sex (and science) stories of 2010. This year seems to have just flown by, and what a busy one it was for research and stories about sex.

The best and worst sex (and science) stories of 2010

From philandering footballers to STI statistics we certainly got to hear a lot about relationships. Here are some of the main stories I think made up the year in media, sex and science. The year began with the launch of the Home Office’s report on Sexualisation of Young People a problematic review which received lots of media coverage but very little critical attention from the press. It sadly overshadowed a far more detailed and useful similar report that came out just beforehand on Sexualised Goods, Commissioned by the Scottish Parliament. (You can find discussions critiquing the Home Office review here and here with a history of sexualisation reviews from other countries and open access tools to evaluate them here) January was also noteworthy for being the month all our G spots went missing. Did you know Facebook caused syphilis? Everything You Wanted to Know About Semen-Collecting Robots (and Then Some)

The relation between sexual orientation and penile... [Arch Sex Behav. 1999] - PubMed result. Female orgasm captured in series of brain scans. After orgasm, activity in the hypothalamus and nucleus accumbens gradually calms down.

Female orgasm captured in series of brain scans

Illustration: Corbis Scientists have used brain scan images to create the world's first movie of the female brain as it approaches, experiences and recovers from an orgasm. The animation reveals the steady buildup of activity in the brain as disparate regions flicker into life and then come together in a crescendo of activity before gently settling back down again. To make the animation, researchers monitored a woman's brain as she lay in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner and stimulated herself. On men and how they should dance « the.soft.anonymous. It’s a common scenario.

On men and how they should dance « the.soft.anonymous

You’re at a wedding reception, the speeches are over, and a DJ starts doing his thing in the corner of the room, obscured behind a wall of tacky disco lights. Before long, the complimentary champagne begins to work its magic on the revellers. Hens can pick future fathers by ejecting sperm. Feral chickens have developed an effective countermeasure to avoid being fertilised by a forceful, sub-standard mate.

Hens can pick future fathers by ejecting sperm

Zoologists from Oxford University observed hens forcibly ejecting sperm after copulation, as if to lower a male's chances of fathering the next generation, and putting a selective pressure on chicken dads. On average, 80 percent of the ejaculate is expelled. Large quantities suffered a higher risk of ejection, but a larger proportion of smaller ejaculates were expelled leaving less sperm to fertilise an egg. Let’s hear it for the boy. A fascinating study just published in the Archives of Sexual Behaviour looked at the link between women’s vocalisations during sex and the timing of orgasm during heterosexual encounters, finding that there was little connection with female climax but a strong link with male ejaculation.

Let’s hear it for the boy

The researchers draw the ego-denting conclusion that women’s moans and sighs are not an involuntary reaction to male sexual prowess, but a way of exerting influence over their partner’s sexual response. When death is an aphrodisiac. What effect do thoughts of death have on a typical person's desire for sex? The short answer is that it depends. Armed with insight from terror management theory and attachment theory, Gurit Birnbaum and her colleagues have made a start unpicking the detail of when and for whom death is an aphrodisiac. Research on terror management theory has shown that people respond to mortality reminders by bolstering their own cultural view, derogating opposing views, and shoring up their self-esteem.

By this account, the effect of death on libidinous desire will depend on the meaning that sex has for a person. An initial study with 36 women and 40 men in Israel found that thinking about death led the men, but not the women, to say that they'd be more likely (compared with controls who thought about a dentist visit) to take part in a casual, one-night stand with a person they'd met at a pick-up bar. BIRNBAUM, G., HIRSCHBERGER, G., and GOLDENBERG, J. (2011). To the Victors Go the Orgasms, Says Study on Post-Election Desire. Basketball games, elections and other head-to-head contests seem to affect the testosterone of people who care about them.

To the Victors Go the Orgasms, Says Study on Post-Election Desire

Some studies have found that testosterone production goes down in fans of the losing side (for example, among male McCain supporters after the 2008 Presidential vote). And others found the hormone goes up among supporters of a winning team. My big fat geek wedding: Tears, joy and oxytocin - life - 10 February 2010. Editorial: How to put science into romance WE'D booked the venue, chosen the bridesmaids' dresses and even decided on the colours of the table decorations.

My big fat geek wedding: Tears, joy and oxytocin - life - 10 February 2010

But finding a refrigerated centrifuge and a ready supply of dry ice in rural south-west England was proving tricky. Then there were the worries about getting blood on my silk wedding dress, and what to do if someone fainted. Basics - Skipping Spouse to Spouse Isn’t Just a Man’s Game. Men with brown eyes are perceived as more dominant, but it's not because their eyes are brown. White men with brown eyes are perceived to be more dominant than their blue-eyed counterparts. However, a blue-eyed man looking to make himself appear more dominant would be wasting his time investing in brown-coloured contact lenses. A new study by Karel Kleisner and colleagues at Charles University in the Czech Republic has found that brown iris colour seems to co-occur with some other aspect of facial appearance that triggers in others the perception of dominance.

Sixty-two student participants, half of them female, rated the dominance and/or attractiveness of the photographed faces of forty men and forty women. Men's sexual tastes broaden when they are stressed. Men are drawn to a wider range of women when they are feeling stressed out, according to research into the psychology of sexual attraction. People are usually attracted to partners with similar facial features to their own, but after a brief but stressful experience, men's preferences changed to include a wider variety of women, the study found. Relaxed men who took part in the study rated women on average 14% less appealing if they looked very different from themselves compared with women who looked similar.

But a group of stressed men found dissimilar women 9% more attractive. Tears as chemical signals – smell of female tears affects sexual behaviour of men. In an Israeli laboratory, Shani Gelstein is harvesting a woman’s tears. The volunteer is watching the end of the boxing film The Champ. As she weeps, she holds a vial under her eyes to capture the fresh drops. Sustainable Love - Tara Parker-Pope on Happy Marriages. Do We Drink Because We're Monogamous, or Are We Monogamous Because We Drink? - Our latest Freakonomics Radio podcast is called “Do More Expensive Wines Taste Better?” It features some research presented by the American Association of Wine Economists, whose members include Karl Storchmann, managing editor of the group’s Journal of Wine Economics. Storchmann wrote to us the other day about an interesting working paper the AAWE has just posted: “Women or Wine?

Monogamy and Alcohol,” by Mara Squicciarini and Jo Swinnen. From the abstract: What effect has the internet had on our sex lives? Sealed with a kiss - and neuroscience. So, Delaying Sex Improves Marriage Quality? Maybe Not ... - mariawolters's posterous. The G-spot 'doesn't appear to exist', say researchers. Feminism and romance go hand in hand. Public release date: 15-Oct-2007 [ Print | E-mail Share ] [ Close Window ] Downright sexy: The contrasting effect of vertical position on the perceived attractiveness of men and women. If you're hoping to increase your online appeal to the opposite sex, you might want to consider where on the screen you place your photo. A study that's in press at Social Cognition has shown that women rate men's photos as more attractive when they're placed near the top of the screen. Love ballads leave women more open to romance « SAGE Insight.

Moody men are more attractive than happy men. Helen Thomson, biomedical news editor. The Language of Love: Word Usage Predicts Romantic Attraction. What distinguishes a fling that ends in tears from long-term love? Past research suggests that the most successful couples share common interests, values and personality traits. Now new research published in Psychological Science proposes that the simplest words lovebirds use to speak to each other also make a difference—both in determining how attracted they are and how likely they are to stay together.

James Pennebaker and his colleagues at the University of Texas at Austin recorded 40 men and 40 women as they participated in a speed-dating exercise in which they talked to 12 strangers of the opposite sex for four minutes apiece. Later, the subjects rated each date based on how much they seemed to have in common and whether they wanted to see the person again.