I stood in front of the bathroom mirror running my hands over the marks he’d left on me. Little nibbles and scratches, like sexual graffiti on my skin. Flashes of his flesh surged through my mind and I smiled as I fantasized about what we could do the next time.
Media coverage of sex research is often misleading and sensational. Whether stating that sex aids prostate health when the real benefit comes from an orgasm (which can be had alone or with a partner) or representing one researcher’s interpretation of data as absolute fact, reporters tend to drop the ball and reinforce long-held stereotypes about sexuality.
But then there are times when they just make shit up.*
A commenter recently posted what I consider an excellent example of fake (as in completely fabricated overstated) sex research news. Let’s use this wonderful hoax as a case study to learn critical thinking about sexuality research.
As pro-choice activists gather to defend Planned Parenthood funding under Title X the same exhausted fight over abortion rages on, one fraught with violence, anger and divisive rhetoric. You are either for women or against them, support babies or want to kill them. We scream our positions until we become deaf to anything but our own messages.
Many of you are terrible at what you do. You seem to care more about finishing a shoot in one day, getting the pop shot and marketing whatever cheap,crappy rendition of sexually exciting material you’ve made than creating something of real quality.You aren’t even offending me. You are boring the hell out of me.
Sadly, I cannot make the debate video publicly available. Instead I’ve done my best to recreate the night for you all.
The adrenaline in my veins amplified my heartbeat into a 50,000 watt sound system, overpowering the packed noisy debate hall.
I tried not to think of the 400 students inside nor the 350 students in the overflow areas. My eyes avoided the camera crews and saw only my stack of notes.
Did I have everything? BOOM BOOM. Would I have enough time? BOOM BOOM. Was my mouth working? BOOM BOOM. Could I… BOOM BOOM. Had I…BOOM BOOM.
Lauren Davidson, Cambridge Union Society President, quieted the hall and introduced Anna Span, the first speaker from our side. As she began her speech I split myself into two parts, one listening to her story, her work and her criticisms of Lubben, the other shaking in a public speaking panic.
Humans are not prairie voles. We are not guinea pigs or mice. We’re humans.
Pop science loves to trot out research on rodents to confirm or challenge behavioral assumptions. But what the writers often miss is that our behaviors are shaped by far more than food, fights, flights and fucking. Humans are highly complex social primates and, because of this, our responses to the world can be difficult to explain with simple biology or neurotransmitters.