Contradictory impulses on mate selection

From the New Scientist:

Facial attractiveness and smell give us contradictory messages about how to select mates, new research has revealed.

Previous research on smell suggests that humans prefer odours from potential partners who are genetically dis-similar. But new research in which women rated the facial attractiveness of men suggests the exact opposite. So sight and smell appear to be giving contradictory messages about which partners to choose.

…Although the results appear to contradict those applying to smell, Roberts and his colleagues offer an explanation to resolve the paradox, based on the notion that kith and kin – despite having similar MHC – can offer cultural and social advantages in child rearing.

The team suggests that “filtering” for mates takes place at two levels – the first based on facial likeness to select someone not too distantly related, and the second based on smell, essentially to avoid in-breeding.

Beautiful agony – neuroscientists reverse engineer the female orgasm

From Wired, how science is trying to capture the next big thing: Female arousal drugs:

“…the science of sexual arousal is still young. Viagra revolutionized the field in the 1990s. The little blue pill that gets blood flowing to the right places at that special moment became a blockbuster for Pfizer, spawning Eli Lilly’s Cialis and GlaxoSmithKline’s Levitra. Millions now take these drugs to kick-start an evening of private recreation.

Flush with success in the fight against “erectile dysfunction,” the pharmaceutical industry set out to develop Viagra for women. First, researchers simply gave women the same pill that worked so well for men. The good news: The drug does pump a woman’s genitals full of blood. But it won’t necessarily get her frisky.

The results were surprising and frustrating to the pharmaceutical industry, which had assumed that what was good for the gander would be good for the goose. Julia Heiman, a psychology professor and director of the Kinsey Institute, conducted some of Pfizer’s Viagra studies and found that while some women “really noticed their genitals” and felt aroused, others “barely paid attention” to them and weren’t aroused at all. In other words, signals originating from these women’s genitals just weren’t translating into conscious desires. That insight put a new target in researchers’ sights: the female brain itself. “The brain is where things are made sexual,” Heiman explains. “It’s the organ that causes us to be attracted to certain body types or looks. That kind of preference isn’t processed in the genitals.”

Sperm-free sex keeps hens happily faithful

From the New Scientist: “Possessive cockerels use fake sex to keep their hens faithful. By merely mounting females – without bothering to waste precious sperm – cocks ensure their partners will not go looking for male competitors to fertilise them, a new study suggests. The finding may explain why males of many species – from insects to mammals – engage in seemingly meaningless sperm-free sex.

“Copulations that appear to be successful, but with no semen transferred, are almost ubiquitous,” says Tommaso Pizzari at the University of Oxford, UK, co-author of the study. “It suggests that this behaviour may be rather more than an accident or a by-product of males running out of sperm.”” MORE

Orgasms: a real ‘turn-off’ for women

From the New Scientist:

For women, it seems, sex is a big turn-off, reveals a brain scanning study. It shows that many areas of the brain switch off during the female orgasm – including those involved with emotion.

“At the moment of orgasm, women do not have any emotional feelings,” says Gert Holstege of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.

The results of the study are striking. As the women were stimulated, activity rose in one sensory part of the brain, called the primary somatosensory cortex, but fell in the amygdala and hippocampus, areas involved in alertness and anxiety.

During orgasm, activity fell in many more areas of the brain, including the prefrontal cortex, compared with the resting state, Holstege told a meeting of the European Society for Human Reproduction and Development in Copenhagen on Monday.

In one sense the findings appear to confirm what is already known, that women cannot enjoy sex unless they are relaxed and free from worries and distractions. “Fear and anxiety levels have to go down for orgasm. Everyone knows this but we can see it happening in the brain,” he explains. MORE

Brutally Honest Personals

From Esquire Magazine: The singles…are real people with real issues. Some are overweight. Others are crippled by debt. Quite a few live with their parents. But they all have one thing in common: They are available. And they’ve put themselves out there with the hope of finding someone willing to accept them at face value. So, please, scan their profiles. You may not get exactly what you want, but at least you know exactly what you’re getting.

Guide to Escorting

In Good Company by Kay Good

No dear Johns, this book is not a handy guide on asking for blankets in Italy or how to hook strippers without paying their pimps.

Rather this is a “groundbreaking guide for both complete beginners and seasoned professionals…[which] explains how to make sex-work work for you”.

The blurb reminds readers that “Escorting is not for everyone…but for those wanting to make the most of this lucrative trade this unique no-holds-barred guide is all you need.”

Pre-order on Amazon.co.uk.

Meet the new Brazilian wax: Sphincter bleaching

From The Australian:

“”In the last couple of months I’ve had a lot of requests, so I’ve started some experiments,” says Sydney beautician Anna Marsiano from The Bees’ Knees salon.

“I’ve got one client who’s a divorced woman with a couple of kids. She was looking at a Playboy magazine with her new boyfriend and he was making some comments about how clean and light the women looked. My client started to get a little paranoid.”

Marsiano says she uses a herbal brand popular in the Philippines as a facial whitener. It is applied to the dark pigmentation around women’s rectums as well as to their vaginal areas. Marsiano says the product does not damage the skin and has “rejuvenating” properties.”

Ladies, seeking a consensually male-dominated relationship?

…help is at “hand”:

“…this site, [is] for those drawn to consensually male-dominated relationships.

I strongly believe that the sexual connection is vital for a good relationship, and that if that goes awry, the relationship is in danger. So for me, Taken In Hand is about creating the sort of relationships that instead of sliding into stale, sexless, Platonic friendships (if they are friendly at all!), stay vibrant, exciting, passionate, and white hot in the long term. (That is not enough, of course. There also needs to be deep intimacy, openness, a connection more generally, etc., so this web site is about much more than just the sexual connection.)”  MORE