10 Strange Facts About Sex
On the surface, sex should be the simplest thing in the world—find someone you like, retreat to the bedroom, and spend the next half hour apologizing. But the reality is very different. Deep down, sex and attraction are weird and complicated things, and our subconscious minds are capable of producing all sorts of bizarre and sometimes comical stuff.
10Most Transsexual Porn Is Watched By Straight Men
Anyone who has spent even a fraction of a second on the Internet knows that there’s a lot of porn out there. And a lot of that porn caters to some pretty specific tastes. Take transsexual porn. Videos of women sporting penises—usually fake penises—seem fairly niche, but analysis shows they’re almost obscenely popular. Want to guess who’s watching all this transgender action? That’s right—it’s almost exclusively straight men.
A couple of years ago, two neuroscientists, Sai Gaddam and Ogi Ogas, decided to analyze roughly 1 billion Internet searches from over 100 million people and publish the results of this masochistic experiment. What they found was that transgender porn is the fourth-most popular type of adult website on the entire Internet, and its audience is overwhelmingly male and heterosexual. This agrees with a recent study done by Northwestern University, which claimed that over half the male audience for transgender porn was straight, with the second-largest group, bisexuals, accounting for only 41 percent. In other words, a huge number of guys apparently like their women equipped with something extra.
9Straight Men Love Looking At Penises
It sounds contradictory, but straight men apparently enjoy looking at penises almost as much as they do vaginas. As part of their research for their book A Billion Wicked Thoughts, Sai Gaddam and Ogi Ogas—those two again—ranked Internet searches in terms of popularity from their NSA-sized database. Their results showed that search terms for female genitalia are only just more popular than search terms for male genitalia, by a factor so small there’s practically zero difference.
Other research the pair did seems to bear this out, too—an analysis of the 40,000 or so most popular porn sites in the world found that over 1,000 were heterosexual sites with an emphasis on comically large penises, while a “porn aggregator” site that listed the top 100 sexual images on the web by rating included 21 that were purely close-ups of male genitals. The inference is that many straight men like nothing more than to stare at another guy’s junk.
Now, there are a few theories as to why this might be—our primate brains interpreting other men’s erections to mean there’s an available female nearby, for example—but nothing’s certain. All we know for a fact is penises are surprisingly, weirdly popular among guys who are 100 percent straight.
8Your Sex Life Affects Your Wages
It should come as no surprise that most of us are happier when we’re having lots of sex, but wealthier? Unless you’re working part-time as a gigolo, that shouldn’t make any sense—how on Earth can your sex life be related to your wages? But according to science, that correlation doesn’t just exist—it can be objectively measured.
Earlier this year, a researcher from Anglia Ruskin University analyzed a year-long study of Greek household finances, and found that those who had sex four or more times a week earned significantly more than those who didn’t. Now, before you try anything as absurd as upping your sex drive in hopes of a raise, it should be pointed out that one probably doesn’t cause the other. Instead, the sort of people who have lots of sex are most likely to be happy, energetic, and have high self-esteem—exactly the type who flourish in a corporate environment. So if you’re a naturally miserable, sexless low-earner, there’s probably not a lot you can do about it.
7Porn May Make You More Tolerant
Of all the things we associate with the porn industry—dead-eyed women, STIs, and rampant drug addiction—tolerance is rarely mentioned. After all, the entire point of porn is that someone—usually female—is being degraded. But a study in the journal Communication Research found that those who regularly indulge in porn may be more tolerant than those who do not. According to the researchers, there’s a link between the amount of porn someone watches and how accepting they are of gay marriage.
The theory goes that exposure to the world of Internet porn—where anything can and must have sex with everything else, on one page or another—teaches straight men to be more accepting of non-traditional couplings. Once they’ve made the cognitive leap that not all sex has to be strictly hetero, the next step in acceptance—”therefore gay marriage is fine”—comes more easily. It sounds absurd, but Communication Research is a proper academic journal, so either they’re onto something, or some college professor is now laughing at all the academics he just successfully trolled.
6Cycling Can Make You Impotent
If you live in a modern city, chances are you or someone you know cycles just about everywhere. And while that may be great news for the environment, it’s less great for your love life. It turns out that cycling with the wrong saddle can make men less potent.
Since 1997, researchers have been conducting studies on cycling and impotence, and the general consensus is that frequent bike-riding can be utterly catastrophic for your libido. In one horror story, a 28-year-old cyclist had his junk checked and was discovered to have the penile bloodflow of a 60-year-old. It’s all to do with the “classic” seat design, in which a long tip at the front results in too much pressure on your genitals, sometimes causing permanent damage. Now, obviously not every cyclist suffers from erectile dysfunction, just as not every smoker will get lung cancer. However, we’ll totally understand if after reading this you never cycle anywhere again.
5Your Wages May Affect Your Preferred Breast Size
It’s no secret that men like breasts. On the scale of things guys really, really like, they’re somewhere near the top, just above “literally anything else.” And while lazy generalizations would suggest that bigger is always better, the truth is that there are plenty of men out there who prefer smaller boobs. And weirdly, they may be the very ones we associate with having porn star–sized trophy wives.
In a bizarre experiment, 266 men were recruited from across the socioeconomic spectrum. They were each then shown pictures of five women with varying breast sizes and asked to rate their attractiveness. By a wide margin, poorer men preferred the women with comically large breasts, while the rich guys were cool with less top-heavy girls.
Interestingly, the correlation remained consistent across the scale—the poorest liked the biggest breasts, the middle-earners liked middle-sized breasts, and the top earners preferred tiny breasts. As a doubly weird bonus, a second experiment by the team revealed that large breasts are also preferred by hungry men, meaning that the thought process that governs our choice of girlfriend may well be the same as that which governs our choice of McBreakfast each morning.
4We’re More Likely To Help Large-Breasted Women
Yet even when men profess a love for smaller breasts, the evidence seems to show that something at the back of their minds still finds large breasts alluring. How do we know this? Well, there’s the fact that men are simply more likely to help a woman if she’s generously endowed.
In 2007, a bunch of French researchers took a female student out to a popular hitchhiking spot and asked her to flag down rides wearing one of three bras designed to make her breasts appear progressively bigger. They found that the bigger the bra size, the more likely men were to offer her a lift, to an almost silly degree. And it’s not just where hitchhiking is concerned that bigger-breasted women have an inbuilt advantage. A separate study of waitresses found that their tips significantly increased in line with their chest size. Again, these women weren’t necessarily more attractive than their counterparts—simply bustier. And that was enough to increase men’s feelings of altruism toward them.
3Fat Men Last Longer
Fat people attract a whole heck of a lot of unwarranted abuse from the world at large. However, there is apparently one area where they totally kick skinny butt—fat guys last on average over three times as long in the bedroom.
A 2010 Turkish study looked into the average performance times of men over the course of a year. The researchers found that fat men could keep going for an average of 7 minutes 18 seconds, while skinny guys’ partners had to put up with a mere 108 seconds. Now, the study was specifically concerned with people suffering from premature ejaculation, but the scientists did point out that those suffering were overwhelmingly slim and fit—compared to the sexually dynamite fat men. The theory goes that larger men often carry an excess of female hormones, slowing them down considerably in their run-up to orgasm. To put it in more awesome terms, there’s a very good chance that John Candy was the greatest lover who ever lived.
2Your Wages May Affect Your Performance
So we’ve established that poor people are more likely to be sexless failures addicted to large breasts than their rich counterparts. If you think that sounds unfair, wait until you get a load of this—according to Newcastle University psychologists, rich people may simply be better in bed.
By looking at data from 5,000 Chinese couples, researchers established a link between how much a male earned and how likely his female partner was to experience orgasm. Those at the very top of the pile were more likely to trigger their wife’s “O-face,” while those at the bottom presumably had to put up with unenthusiastic eye-rolling and pointed staring at watches.
Here’s where it gets controversial. The guys running the study claim this is a new adaptive function that allows women to signal loyalty to rich men, increasing the likelihood that they will marry them. Obviously this is far from proven, but there’s no denying that women are as sexually weird as guys, if not more so.
1Women Are Aroused By Monkey Sex
In 2009, Meredith Chivers decided to find out, once and for all, what women really want. She did this by inviting a large group of female test subjects to watch various images on a screen and rate how aroused they made them feel. Then, to make sure no one was cheating, Chivers also connected each of them up to a plethysmograph—a device that sits inside the vagina and measures genital blood flow. And what this device revealed was something extraordinary.
Literally all the women experienced a significant degree of arousal when watching a clip of chimpanzees having sex. It was less marked than when watching other clips, such as a man masturbating or two women kissing, but still noticeable enough to warrant interest. At the same time, none of the women actually reported feelings of arousal, suggesting that this was an automatic, physical reaction that couldn’t be helped. Good luck not thinking about that next time you’re watching the Discovery Channel.
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