Why some people have sex for science

Who volunteers to have sex in a laboratory? I was struck by this question when reading about an experimental study of ideal sexual positions for men with back pain. For the purpose of the research, couples were filmed using motion capture and infra-red technology while they had sex.

The researchers were in a separate booth where they could hear, but not see, the participants. Electrodes were used to record muscle activity in certain parts of the body, to get an idea of force.

Other sex studies are more invasive. Penile plethysmographs measure penis circumference in response to sexual images; measuring how hard a man gets in response to porn. Women’s sexual arousal is measured by a vaginal plethysmograph; a sensor within a small cylinder inserted into the vagina like a tampon, which measures sexual arousal. Not a particularly sexy experience, one would imagine.

Perhaps some people are turned on knowing their sexual activities are being monitored by experts. If this is the case, can we generalize from the findings of laboratory-based sex studies?

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Predicting The Oscars Using A Social Justice Regression Analysis

Racist, check. Homophobic, check. Misogynistic, check. It’s Academy Awards season, which means anyone who made a movie catering to the Oscar-bait mentality that does not win one is going to cry cultural foul and invoke one of those three, but they could instead have used a little science modeling and improved their odds of taking home a statue by quite a lot.

Knowing how Hollywood culture works can’t help any of them now, but it can improve their odds for next year.  And it can help us do a regression analysis to determine who will win, using what I call the Social Justice Cycle.

In 2007, Pardoe and Simonton published a paper in Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A (Statistics in Society) showing that if you have valid parameters, you can make pretty good predictions, even in something that should be unpredictable, like how a bunch of people will vote for their favorite movie. In their case, the parameters in their discrete choice model were things like ‘awards beget awards’ – some awards are predictably correlated to other awards over time.  Then they did a regression analysis and their multi-nomial logit model took into account the independence of irrelevant alternatives.

Using that same method, we can determine an Oscar winner with startling success, just by predicting what special interests have won in previous years. That can be a road map for future directors and writers.

The Oscars, as they are called, are big prestige, even when they don’t make a lot of money, so no effort is spared to manipulate votes where possible. Everyone knows that, which should make prediction more difficult. It actually does just the opposite, because a Social Justice Cycle regression analysis can factor out irrelevant alternatives. “Selma”, for example, basically challenged the Academy not to give them an award, by making a rather mediocre film that played a little too loose with facts and history but about a topic no one in America can debate, the racial clash in America. “Argo” also reinvented history to create a better story but it was so surprising to have it appear that Ben Affleck could act and that Democrats were not incompetent during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, it took home the prize for those reasons.

“Argo” won and “Selma” will not, and why is entirely predictable.

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No Gimmick Left Behind: Psychiatry Embraces Hip-Hop Music

Psychiatry is not afraid to embrace new ways to talk about how we feel. Writing in The Lancet Psychiatry, Dr. Akeem Sule and Dr. Becky Inkster discuss their Hip Hop Psych project because, really, nothing says credibility like a Berkeley biologist or a mental health professional quoting Tupac Shakur lyrics.

Apocryphally, the music category known as hip-hop originated in the Bronx borough of New York City in 1973. The story goes that on August 11th, Clive Campbell (DJ Kool Herc) was emceeing his sister’s back-to-school party and, as he had done for some time, extended an instrumental break in a song by using the same album on both turntables and rotating the records backwards manually, letting people dance longer in a a “five-minute loop of fury” – and he talked over it. This ‘break’ dancing and MC’ing (rapping) became so popular that by 1980 even the whitest of white bands, “Blondie”, had a hit song song called “Rapture” using the style. Hip-hop is credited with making gang culture in the Bronx uncool; fighting with knives and guns was replaced by fighting over musical verse.

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Why You Won’t Have A Vaginal Orgasm This Weekend – They Don’t Exist

G-spot, vaginal orgasms, clitoral orgasms – the history of the science of sex, and men trying to figure out the sexuality of women, is littered with speculation.

It’s caused nothing but headaches for men and women alike, argue the authors of a paper in Clinical Anatomy. There are concerns about sexual dysfunction in women but they are misplaced because the vaginal orgasm does not exist.

Instead – and watch out, homophobes – the key to female orgasms is instead the female penis, the combined name for the clitoris, labia minora, vestibular bulbs and pars intermedia and corpus spongiosum of the female urethra. Read the rest of this entry »

Vulvodynia? Or Hispanic Men Are Huge?

A recent survey of Hispanic women in metropolitan Detroit found that they were twice as likely to list vulvar pain as white women.

Sure, they may be on the path to vulvodynia, which affects around 8 million women, or it could be that Hispanic men are just huge, while black guys get the benefit of all of the cultural mythology about penis size. The evidence? Half as many black women complained of it, according to the Obstetrics and Gynecology paper. And it was primarily listed by younger women, which means they haven’t been having sex as long and gotten used to it.
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Buy Legitimate Exorcisms: Those Internet Ones Are Bogus, Says Exorcist

Bob Larson, Evangelical Reverend of the Spiritual Freedom Church in Scottsdale, Arizona, and self-proclaimed exorcist, does not want the public to be bilked by greedy Big Exorcism purveyors in cushy geographical monopolies, so he appeared on Anderson Cooper’s show to discuss how he is bringing exorcisms to the needy – by curing them over the Internet.

Big Exorcism does not agree and I agree with their disagreement. We know that voodoo – sympathetic magic – is bogus so if you want an exorcism done right, it has to be in person. Experts agree that people possessed by demons are not going to just sit there in front of a computer screen and let someone on Skype send them back to Lucifer. But you can try. Vocativ notes one start-up is selling exorcism home-training courses for a cool $29.95.

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Charlotte McKinney

Charlotte McKinney is a model from Florida praised for her natural look.
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Men Will Ride Bikes If Women Do – And Women Will If Helmets Are Invisible

If you want more people to ride bikes and save the environment and stop obesity and all that stuff, spending a bunch of money on annoying bikes that just enrage your population (that means you, New York City) is not the answer – as always, women are the answer.

Men will ride bikes if women do. Right now, the only people riding bikes are smelly, sweaty guys who wear paid advertising and will endure smelly, sweaty girls who wear paid advertising – that cuts out a large segment of planet Earth.

If you want bikes to go mainstream, you have to shuck off the image of the smelly, sweaty zealot – bike douchebaggery – and make them transparent, so that people don’t even know you rode a bike to work. For women more than men, it means not messing up their hair and for men more than women, it means not looking like a dork in a bike helmet. Guys know they cannot look cool with some styrofoam and plastic turtle shell messing up their rap.
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Climate Change Is Happening: Manhattan, San Francisco Impacted Most

Did you know California has its own Environmental Protection Agency?  Yep, because the federal EPA is too methodical and so the state Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment has issued an apocalyptic report noting that California oceans are more acidic, California salmon populations are on the decline, Conifer forests are retreating from California, California butterflies are emerging earlier in the spring, California glaciers are shrinking and snow runoff has dropped.

Climate change is really doing a number on the coasts. In late 2012 a tropical storm, which happens dozens and dozens of times per year, turned into a gigantic Super Storm fueled by global warming in order to target media companies in Manhattan. The damage to New York City’s most important borough was so extensive that environmental activists insisted no water-sealing subway doors be installed lest that be a band aid that masks the real problem of climate change.

In California, the problem is more severe. Temperature readings from 1895 – we all know how accurate thermometers were then – compared to today show an average 1.5 degree difference.

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Psychologists Discover That Most Men Are Heterosexual

You might not know it from political posturing and the plots of upcoming network situation comedies but most men remain heterosexual.

A systematic analysis of 60 papers published between 1994 and 2012 had determined that the majority of men were still not gay, or at least bisexual. It has also been determined that male sexuality was relatively consistent – no ‘college experiment’ stuff for dudes, like women can apparently get away with. If you are gay, you are gay. Well, maybe not. Some studies have found that some men can be sort of gay – like apparently if it is late, you are drunk, he is in a dress and wearing a scarf over his adam’s apple.

A paper in Archives of Sexual Behavior measured physiological responses, the part you would expect and then also eyes. They found that most men were not lying when they said they were heterosexual. So yeah, the men of Greece are not the men of everywhere, most like girls.
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