Someone forwarded me this article the other day, which talks about how people tend to get romantically involved with people who are about as attractive as they themselves are.
“Beautiful people marry beautiful people and less beautiful people marry less beautiful people,” the article quotes an MIT professor of the painfully obvious. “And the really ugly people marry farm animals.” (Disclaimer: The second part of that quote was made up.)
The article says that “more attractive people placed more importance on physical attractiveness above other features in selecting their dates. Less attractive people placed more weight on other qualities, such as sense of humor.” I think this is a great self-esteem boost. All those people who’ve turned you down for dates because they thought you were obnoxious or arrogant or boring or painfully unfunny? They were ugly. See, attractive people wouldn’t care about such superficial factors as personality.
And now, let’s talk abour porn. The authors of a paper called “Rapid discrimination of visual scene content in the human brain,” summarized in this article, showed a bunch of photographs to people to study the brain’s response to erotic vs. non-erotic images. They conclude that “[t]he subjects’ brains reacted 20% faster to erotic images than to all other pictures.”
Now, I might be being immodest, but I like to think that, if I had been included in the study, my performance would’ve increased the mean from 20 percent to at least 30. Look, when the boss walks into your office, you quickly glance over all the open documents on your computer screen. If you’re fast, you quickly close all the porn. If you’re slow, you get fired and starve to death. It’s clear where the evolutionary trend is heading and I think I’m well ahead of the times.
Another conclusion of the experiment was that women’s brains are just as fast at spotting erotic images as the men’s. Along similar lines, we have this study which shows that men and women get aroused equally fast when watching pornographic videos, calling into question the belief that men are more easily excited by pornography than women. The study claims that about the only difference between the genders is that “men experienced a greater decrease in desire to masturbate [than women] … following [a] humorous film”. (I’m not really sure what to make of that statistic. Personally, I don’t know of a better way to spend a quiet evening at home than with an episode of Mr. Bean and a bottle of hand lotion.)
Of course, men and women do respond to pornography in fundamentally different ways. As summarized here, this study concluded that, while straight men are turned on only by straight porn and gay men are turned on only by gay porn, “both heterosexual and lesbian women tend to become sexually aroused by both male and female erotica, and, thus, have a bisexual arousal pattern.” That sound you just heard was a drunken cheer from the frat-boy crowd.
So, what conclusion can be drawn from all these studies? Well, for one, that there are apparently lots and lots of psych researchers who do nothing but show porn to people all day long. Am I the only one who suspects the only reason that these studies come about is that experimenters are asked to justify why they’ve spent their grant money on a “Hot College Sex Sluts IV” video? “Oh, you noticed that, did you. Uh, it’s for, um, this experiment that I’m running. Really.”