29 May 2007

Embracing the Smut (Semenal Edition)

Here at Immodest Proposals we (meaning just me) like to ask the hard hitting questions all other blogs are afraid to ask.

Psych Today (hat tip Instapundit) reports on a poll conducted by Dr. Gallup (not to be confused with that other polling Gallup) that suggests women who engage in unprotected sex experience symptoms of withdrawal if their source of 'the good stuff' is cut off.

Perusing Dr. Gallup's blurb for the Psychology Department at SUNY-Albany he clearly has as an area of emphasis the stickey icky, here's how he describes his research areas of interest

My research interests focus on the impact of evolution on human behavior, with particular emphasis on gender differences in human reproductive competition, factors that influence mate selection, the role of female infidelity and paternal assurance tactics, the relationship between morphology and behavior (e.g., fluctuating asymmetry, digit ratios), adaptations that minimize forced copulation, effect of the menstrual cycle on behavior, voice attactiveness as a fitness indicator, semen chemistry and behavior, sperm competition, and semen displacement. I am also interested in the evolution of self-awareness and social cognition, and schizophrenia as a self-processing disorder.


Interesting stuff, but it suggests that he polled looking to confirm what he already suspected rather than testing for physical properties of semen that might go beyond evolutionary biopsychology. If he were interested solely in finding whether or not the hormone cocktail contained within semen had an intrinsic effect on mood he could have set up experiments that tested for its usefulness whether taken vaginally, anally, orally or topically and whether or not it effected women, but also men. If it's a bloodstream thing, then it would be useful not just vaginally, if it's some combination of vaginal secretions and hormones released during vaginal intercourse by women acting in combination with semen (which might explain why barrier methods of birth control prevent the same level of 'addiction'), then the other uses for the stuff should not show the same effect. Also another group to study would be whether or not women who engaged with men who've had vasectomies and thus lack sperm in their ejaculant experienced a different response compared to the women who had unprotected sex with men who are loaded with the little swimmers.

But I think what this study really shows is that Dr. Gallup really hates condoms and is just finding some evolutionary biopsychological reasons to justify not using them. Also women who have unprotected sex might be intrinsically different than women who have protected sex, and are either riskier by nature, or are in more stable relationships, both possibilities would suggest that the beneficial psychological boost they get from sex would be greater (in the case of the risk takers for the thrill, for the stable cause they are in a trusting loving relationship). Seems like the women who get depressed when missing out on their stickey fix are the ones who might be abnormal and not the other way around. And in such a small sample (293 college age women in what sounds like a self-reported survey), it's hard for me to believe that the conclusions drawn aren't just confirming the biases of the surveyor.

1 comment:

Pastor_Jeff said...

Despite overwhelming temptation, you took the high road and didn't turn the whole thing into snark or a joke. I'm impressed.

(And nice title, by the way).