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The 7 Weirdest Things Science Has Taught Us About Sex

Posted by on April 7, 2016 in Conscious Living, Relationships & Sex with 2 Comments

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By Anna Pulley | AlterNet

Science has made many groundbreaking discoveries through research and experimentation (and sometimes guessing and getting lucky). But sometimes we wonder how certain experiments came to be in the first place. For instance, the study that found the smell of Good ‘n’ Plenty candy increases vaginal blood flow, or the one that asked “What might be the minimal stimulus required to excite a turkey?” With that in mind, we found some of the most bizarre sex and relationship studies to share in the collective what-the-f*ckery. Enjoy.

Related Article: 9 Sex Positions That Practically Guarantee An Orgasm

1. Turkeys will mate with a head on a stick.

Let’s start with the excitable turkeys. In the far-out 1960s, researchers Martin Schein and Edgar Hale of the University of Pennsylvania determined that male turkeys would try to mate with female turkeys who, well, were half the gals they used to be. Researchers started by removing from the female a wing, a tail, etc., part by part, until all that was left was a head on a stick, which the male turkey determined was still good enough to have sex with. And you thought men were unfussy when it came to sex partners! The male turkey would not, however, try to mate with the opposite setup — a turkey body with no head attached. Good to see male turkeys have at least one standard. Researchers theorized that male turkeys were neither leg nor breast men, but that they mostly cared about female turkey faces, which is kind of sweet if you forget about the rest of this barbaric study.

2. Male cologne turns women off.

One of the amazing tidbits from Mary Roach’s excellent book Bonk, is a study from the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, which determined that men should step away from the Drakkar Noir immediately, as it repels women. Specifically: “Men’s colognes actually reduced vaginal blood flow.” To come to this groundbreaking conclusion, foundation director Al Hirsch had women wear surgical masks scented with 10 different aromas, and then hooked them up to a vaginal photoplethysmograph to figure out what scents turned them on, if any. Hirsch also supplied unscented masks as a control just to be sure women weren’t getting aroused by the surgical masks themselves. Hirsch figured out that women aren’t so keen on cologne, and they were also turned off by the scent of cherry and “charcoal barbeque meat.” What did turn the women on was a mixture of cucumber and Good ‘n’ Plenty candy. Hirsch thought this might be because women associated the candy with “fond memories of Grandma’s back yard,” which we can all agree is the most arousing image in existence. But now we know we should all be dousing ourselves in cucumber and granny candy to attract women. Thanks, science.

Related Article: Women: Here Are 14 (Surprising) Things That Happen to Your Body When You Get Turned On

3. How often does sex kill people?

Sex is great and all, but should we worry about getting killed while doing the deed? Sex researcher Leonard Derogatis’ aimed to find out in his 1999 study on coitus and fatal heart attacks, aptly titled “The Coital Coronary.” A team of German researchers reviewed more than 21,000 autopsy reports to conclude that sex very rarely leads to death in men. Phew! Sex caused a fatal heart attack a mere 39 times in all those reports, and “in most cases sudden death occurred during the sexual act with a prostitute.” Lest you think Leonard was prejudiced against sex workers, he also said those stats were misleading because when men die boning their spouse, they’re much less likely to get an autopsy, as opposed to when they die having sex with a stranger. He estimates 11,250 sex-related sudden deaths in the US each year, which is on par with death by food poisoning, though the latter arguably makes for a much less interesting cocktail party story.

Related Article: Feel Like Sex Is Addictive? Blame These 5 Happy Chemicals Your Body Makes When Making Love

4. Masturbating a dolphin won’t get him to “talk.”

Perhaps the weirdest (and squickiest) study involved a dolphin-cohabitation experiment in the 1960s by neuroscientist John C. Lilly. Lilly thought he could teach dolphins to talk if they were around humans enough, and given the proper time and training. So he had his associate Margaret Howe live with a dolphin named Peter in a house that was partly flooded, so that Peter could swim around but Margaret wouldn’t drown. Soon, however, Peter began to “woo” Margaret, and when she didn’t respond, he became violent. Eventually they had to ship Peter off to the dolphin brothel so he would leave poor Margaret alone, but Lilly worried he would lose his training if he spent too much time with his own species, so back to Margaret he went. When Peter again tried to woo her, Margaret, fed up, gave Peter a happy ending. While “discovering” that a human could sexually satisfy a dolphin is a certain kind of uh, groundbreaking, Lilly’s study did not lead to any dolphins learning the alphabet. So he tried another approach — giving the dolphins LSD. It was around this time, unsurprisingly, that Lilly’s work began to be discredited, and he lost his funding.


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  1. 259432724394417@facebook.com' Shibshankar Chakraborty says:
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