Mon 9 Jul 2012
There’s been a lot of smexy news lately. I guess those surveyors got tired of politics and decided to delve into the down and dirty. Who can blame them?
The latest women’s health/men’s health survey says that most women (52%) want sex about 2 to 3 times a week and women’s biggest complaint is not having enough sex (46.8%). This year lots of ladies are happy with their sex lives (72.4%), with the happiness scale ranking in this order – from happiest to least happy: dating women, women living with partners, single women and married women.
Most women have had 2-3 partners but 17% have had between 16 and 40 – so there have been some busy ladies out there. (You know who you are, right?) Almost 30% of women have lied to a partner about their number of lovers.
The biggest sexual mistakes men make are rushing foreplay, trying too hard to please and not communicating enough. (They won’t talk about their feelings in bed and they won’t talk about their feelings out of bed. Has anyone tried under the bed?)
Most of the women (65.3%) said that orgasm wasn’t important. (Maybe that’s why they felt they weren’t getting enough sex. ) The majority of women didn’t know whether they had found their G-spot or not.
The things ladies would most like to try in the bedroom? Costumes/role play, toys, porn with a partner, sex with another woman and watching each other masturbate.
With all that great sex the ladies have been having, I was mighty glad to hear about another study. It says that the regions of the brain that control love also control sex. This means that romance novelists are right – great sex can actually morph into great love.
“Love and sex are clearly overlapping and they are different,” says Jim Pfaus, a professor of psychology at Concordia University in Montreal who’s been studying love and libidos for more than a decade. “You can have desire for sex without love.”
However, the study found that they’re also very similar and reside in the same area of the brain. A part of the brain called the insula is cradled deed in the cerebral cortex. It influences emotions. The striatum is in the forebrain. It gets messages from the insula. So how do the messages work?
In order to map out the location of sexual desire and love, researchers reviewed 20 studies that used fMRI technology. First, they looked at the regions of the brain that lit up when sparked by love. They then compared the findings of all the papers to see what regions were activated when someone felt aroused or amorous.
What they discovered was a bit surprising — love and sexual desire both activate the striatum, showing a continuum from sexual desire to love. Each feeling impacts a different area of the striatum.
Sexual desire activates the ventral striatum, the brain’s reward system. When someone enjoys a great dessert or an orgasm, it’s the ventral striatum that flickers with life. Love sparks activity in the dorsal striatum, which is associated with drug addiction.
“You don’t make a connection that love is a drug; it acts just like drug addiction,” says Pfaus. “Anyone who has had someone break up with them feels like a drug addict in withdrawal. You end up getting cravings.”
Yet, that’s not all. Overlap between sexual desire and love was also observed in the insula. “[The insula] translates emotional feelings into meaning,” explains Pfaus. “You take the internal state and give it external meaning.”
The areas of overlap indicate that sexual desire transitions into love in many cases, and the feelings aren’t separate. “Even love at first sight, can it happen? Of course it can happen,” says Pfaus. “And when it does happen, do you want to play Scrabble with each other? When it happens, you normally want to consummate it.”
So, all that great sex ladies have been having lately - hopefully, it’s leading to love. We all know where that should lead, right?
Yep, straight to a happily ever after.