The insight comes from McGill University undergraduate Frank Kachanoff. He wondered if the sight of food would incite men’s defensive desires, much like a dog aggressively protecting its food bowl, he explained in a press release:
“I was inspired by research on priming and aggression, that has shown that just looking at an object which is learned to be associated with aggression, such as a gun, can make someone more likely to behave aggressively. I wanted to know if we might respond aggressively to certain stimuli in our environment not because of learned associations, but because of an innate predisposition. I wanted to know if just looking at the meat would suffice to provoke an aggressive behavior.”
It is the conventional wisdom in human sexuality that semen tastes bad. Anyone with minimal sexual experience knows that although many women will perform fellatio on their partners, most bridle at the thought of swallowing the ejaculate. Its flavor is frequently characterized as revoltingly bitter or salty. The “swallow or spit” dilemma faces any woman who performs such an act, and whose partner regards swallowing as a gesture of love…
Why does semen taste so foul? One answer, of course, is that the chemicals necessary to make an ejaculate effective have the side effect of tasting bad. Semen is only about 5% sperm, with the remainder of the fluid consisting of a complex mixture of compounds from the prostate gland and seminal vesicle…
But this proximate answer will not satisfy the diligent evolutionary psychologist. After all, natural selection could presumably add some sugars or good-tasting stuff to semen if it were advantageous to do so. Why does it not do so?
A moment’s reflection gives the answer.
Natural selection maintains the repugnant taste of semen so that a man’s sperm will wind up in the appropriate place: the vagina and not the stomach. So long as sperm tastes bad, women will not be tempted to swallow it, but will turn their male partner towards conventional intercourse, which of course is the only act that will produce children.
Well, there you have it! Now all we need is a way to test this hypothesis. Volunteers?
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Image: iStockphoto [not actual semen]
It’d be a great April Fools’ science story—except it’s not a joke. A scientist in Iran says men can, um, pleasure themselves and cure hay fever all in one step: masturbate for the sake of your nostrils!
Granted, neurobiologist Sina Zarrintan hasn’t actually tested his unconventional hypothesis, but he feels confident that a well-timed ejaculation can unblock the nose and soothe irritated blood vessels.
Because the nose and genitals are both connected to the sympathetic nervous system, where certain reflexes are controlled, Zarrintan says, the constricting effect of ejaculation on the body’s blood vessels frees up the inflamed vessels of a congested nose. And… voila! A feel-good trick the whole body can enjoy.
Meg Ryan made headlines this week…because of her chin. A study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences says that women with large chins are more likely to be unfaithful to their husbands. By tabloid standards, Meg Ryan has a big chin (an arguable diagnosis) and she cheated on her husband, Dennis Quaid (who, for all we know, may have been cheating as well). Given this staunch evidence, The Telegraph warns men: “Women with large chins are more likely to cheat.” Fox News reported the same thing: “Study: Women With Prominent Chins More Likely to Cheat.” The U.K.’s Mail Online had the best headline by far: “Looking for a faithful wife? Women with strong jawlines have more affairs, research shows.”
But men, before you begin to suspect your girlfriend, wife, or the girl you are dating of cheating, let’s take a closer look at this study.
Researchers from four universities in the U.S. and Canada, including Lorne Campbell from Western Ontario University, asked a group of young women about their sexual histories and fantasies. They found that women with larger chins were more sexually active.
Then, the researchers asked men to rate the women’s desirability level as a life-long partner. The men were not told about the results of the sex survey. They tended to steer clear of women with masculine features, such as large chins. The scientists reasoned that when women produce an excess amount of testosterone, it makes women act more like men and can make them more sexually assertive.
• Ever wanted to scratch-n-sniff Michael Phelps? The current issue of People features a special “Sexy Scents” section with “scratch-n-sniff” photos of hunky men and their preferred odors. (Is it chlorine?)
• Keystroke like a pro with free Gmail keyboard shortcut stickers! Just send a self-addressed stamped envelope to them via old-fashioned snailmail.