Helen Fisher: Why we love, why we cheat

H/T to Justin J. Lehmiller.

This is a bit long but I found it very interesting:

This TED talk is centered around this observation of human brain systems:

Millions of years ago, we evolved three basic drives: a sex drive, romantic love, and attachment to a long-term partner. These circuits are deeply embedded in the human brain.

The comments are very hostile and complain about her feminist agenda, that she incorrectly described the mechanism of how anti-depressants work, and “humans” were very different a million years ago, and other stuff unrelated to her basic points.

I didn’t really pick up on the feminist agenda. I presumed she had good data on women worldwide are entering the workplace and tending toward achieving economic parity with men. It certainly seems plausible to me.

I gave her a pass on a few things that weren’t 100% correct in their details because they were unrelated to her main point and when giving a talk it is easy to misstate something that isn’t your main point (100,000 years versus 1,000,000 years for long term human/ape brain circuitry development).

Given that, I found it fascinating to just have the model of the three different basic drives. It explains some things such as what is described in Sex at Dawn- How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships. And it also explains some almost shocking comments I ran across today (“GB” means “Gang Bang”). This is representative:

S.: I’m headed out solo on Wednesday and my wonderful hubby will be with me on Friday! Anxiously awaiting my first GB experience on Friday. Let’s have some fun party people!

How do you resolve that with the typical model of romantic monogamous love and marriage? The typical model doesn’t explain that and therefore has to have some extreme exceptions or we need a better model. I think we need a better model and Fischer’s model might be that model.

What ball game?

XKCD gives me the intro:


Be sure to check out the image caption by hovering over the image with your mouse.

My hobby results in conversations similar to this:

Someone: What did you think of the game?

Joe: Which game?

Someone: The Hawks.

Joe: Is it the Sea Hawks? [If I could pronounce it differently I would say “See Hawks”.]

Someone (hint of confusion in their voice): Yes.

Joe: They play football, right?

Someone (they get a shifted eyed look, perhaps looking for an escape route): Yeah…

Joe: Good! Glad I got that right. Do they play with a spherical ball or the funny oblong one?

Someone (grim look): [Crickets]

Joe: I missed that game. I was probably shooting, having sex, or doing something else fun or productive. Was the game on Sunday? There seemed to be a lot of woman interested in me the other day.


Here is an interesting chart (via Justin J Lehmiller) which is “data from the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior (NSSHB) [1,2]. The NSSHB was conducted in 2009 and involved a nationally representative U.S. sample of over 5,000 adults. In the table below, you can see the frequency of penile-vaginal intercourse reported by married men and women of different ages”:


Obviously comparing yourself to others in your age group is interesting. But what I found most intriguing was comparing the frequency reported by the married men versus the married women.

It’s difficult to say for certain because any given couple may not fall into the same age range, but look at the frequency for women ages 18-24 and men 18-24. The percentage of married men in that age range who claim to be having sex 2-3 times per week is 45.8% but the percentage of women claiming the same frequency is only 35.3%. That is a difference of over 10%. What does this mean?

I see three possibilities:

  1. Misreporting. The men have a upward bias and/or the women have a downward bias.
  2. A significant number of the women in this age range are not married to men in the same age range.
  3. A significant portion of the sex the married men are having is with someone who is not married.

Any ideas as to what is really going on?

Posted in Sex

High heels

I’ve occasionally blogged about high heels before. Supposedly they improve women’s sex life because they “directly work the pleasure muscles linked to orgasm”. As I pointed out it would seem to me there are better ways to directly work those muscles without the risk of breaking an ankle, but whatever. I don’t have any real interest in them. But this article was very interesting to me (H/T Glenn Reynolds):

Scientists from the Universite de Bretagne-Sud conducted experiments that showed that men behave very differently toward high-heeled women. The results, published online in the journal “Archives of Sexual Behaviour,” may please the purveyors of Christian Louboutin or Jimmy Choo shoes — yet frustrate those who think stilettos encourage sexism.

The study found if a woman drops a glove on the street while wearing heels, she’s almost 50 percent more likely to have a man fetch it for her than if she’s wearing flats.

Another finding: A woman wearing heels is twice as likely to persuade men to stop and answer survey questions on the street. And a high-heeled woman in a bar waits half the time to get picked up by a man, compared to when her heel is nearer to the ground.

I could see myself being more likely to help them pick up something. But answering survey questions? Really? That just doesn’t resonate for me. I have never picked up a woman in a bar and only go to a bar when Barb wants to hang out with some of her friends. I therefore I have zero personal data on that point as well.

I am attracted to tall women. But what I find is that after “prying” my eyes from her face at something approaching my eye level I look at her feet. If she is wearing heels my interest is severely degraded. So, to me, high heels are negatively associated with attraction.

Barb has an interesting “relationship” with high heels too. In addition to being difficult for her to walk in them she says that when she wears them it’s as if people don’t see her. She is nearly 6’ 1” in her bare feet so with high heels she is pushing 6’ 4” and many people end up looking at something approximating her bellybutton (she has very long legs, much longer than mine). For her to make eye contact with people while wearing high heels involves hand gestures, verbal cues, and sometimes offering them a stepstool.


Barb: She told me about her “Vertical Vixens” group of female friends. It’s a group of women, all over six feet tall, that go out together occasionally.

Joe: Would this be opposed to the “Horizontal Vixens”?

Barb: Only a guy would have that as his first thought.

Actually, that wasn’t my first thought. It was just the first thought I allowed myself to express. But correcting her on that point would not have been in my best interest.

I have “a thing” for tall women.

Dr. Joe’s cure for prevention of prostrate cancer

News you can use:

Sleeping with more than 20 women protects men against prostate cancer, a study has suggested.

Men who had slept with more than 20 women lowered their risk of developing cancer by almost one third, and were 19 per cent less likely to develop the most aggressive form.

In contrast, men who slept with 20 men doubled their risk of developing prostate cancer compared with men who have never had sex with another man.

Researchers at the University of Montreal believe that intercourse protects men, and men who are more promiscuous have more sex than those in monogamous relationships.

Does Obamacare provide this preventive care to all men? Or do they need to have a family history of prostrate cancer?

But more entertaining would to be a “fly on the wall” when some guy tries to sell the story of “preventive care” when they get caught fooling around by their spouse.

Posted in Sex

Mind blowing

I found this experiment mind blowing (Can Previous Mating Partners Influence The Traits Of Future Offspring?):

Perhaps not surprisingly, DNA paternity analyses confirmed that the most recent male partner had indeed sired the offspring in the vast majority of cases. However, the scientists also found that the size of the offspring was strongly related to the size of the female’s first mating partner. At the same time, offspring size was unrelated to the size of the most recent partner, even in cases where there was definitive evidence that the most recent partner was the father. That’s right—the young flies tended to look more like mom’s first mate than they did their dads.

As mentioned in the article we may have a lot more to learn about how traits are inherited.

Posted in Sex

Habitat destruction update

I posted on this topic nearly seven years ago. We now have an update on the risk of species extinction due to habitat loss of this well known species:

Every few years an alarm is raised; habitat loss puts this species at risk. “Pubic grooming has led to a severe depletion of crab louse populations… an environmental disaster in the making for this species,” said one entomologist (who also happens to work for a company that specializes in ectoparasite control).

Will the noble pubic louse Pthirus pubis, which once grazed the rolling plains of our crotches in great herds, be driven into extinction? Do we need to erect habitat reserves for crab lice conservation in New Jersey? Will these insects that “swing from hair to hair” in our undergrowth someday only be known from medieval kings and mummies?

The short and curly answer is no, even with new evidence in a research paper that links hair removal to declining crab lice infection rates:

Pubic Lice: An Endangered Species? Dholakia, S., et al. Sexually Transmitted Diseases: 2014. Volume 41.  Issue 6: 388-391.

It’s good to know the general pubic is doing their job of habitat conservation to save this species for the enjoyment of our children and grandchildren.

There’s a moral here

From the New York Post (H/T @michellemalkin):

The wild night began Saturday in a tavern in College Point, Queens, where boat owner Craig Gallo, 51, James Benenato, 60, and Mary Ann Belson, also 60, began chatting between drinks, another source said.

Neither of the two men had met Belson before.

Gallo, who lives in New Jersey and works for a financial company on Long Island, invited them aboard for a moonlight cruise. And before very long, the boat was rocking.

The joyride ended abruptly at the end of Runway 22, where the boat got impaled on a lighting stanchion.

Before the wreck, “a consensual three-way sex endeavor was going on,’’ the source added.

“There’s a moral here: If you’re feeling amorous aboard a boat, I suggest you drop your anchor before you drop your pants.’’

I don’t have a boat but perhaps this is news you can use.

On sex offender registries


California’s registry isn’t practical. Amanda Agan, a postdoctoral fellow in economics at Princeton studied sex offender registries at The University of Chicago. She explained her findings to NPR’s On the Media in 2011. She compared multiple studies, across multiple types of registries, including ones like California’s, and found that when the information is public, the pattern of recidivism (which means committing a crime again) was discouraging.

When they were in a public registry there was “a slight increase in how much they recidivated,” although “a slight deterrent effect for first-time offenders. But as the registry size grows, it seems like that recidivism effects swamps the first-time registrant effect. And so, we get kind of an overall increase in sex crimes.” Are you getting this? Sex crimes increased.

Again we find that if the government gets involved in preventive measures they make things worse.

Mixed feelings

I approve of the end result but I wish we had got there via the legislature rather than the courts:

A federal judge has issued an injunction Tuesday blocking enforcement of Idaho’s ban on same-sex marriage, saying it is unconstitutional.

U.S. District Magistrate Candy Dale issued the ruling in the case of four same-sex couples who challenged the constitutionality of Idaho’s marriage laws, which voters approved as an amendment to the state constitution in 2006.

In her decision, Dale wrote that Idaho’s laws barring same-sex marriage unconstitutionally deny gay and lesbian citizens their fundamental right to marry.

I see marriage law as being in the domain of the state legislatures. I haven’t read the court decisions but it would seem to be a stretch to find a fundamental right for same sex couples to marry in the U.S. Constitution, common law, or natural law and yet there be some question about the specific enumerated right to keep and bear arms being protected.

Quote of the day—Moms Demand Action

Moms Demand Action supports the 2nd Amendment, but we believe common-sense solutions can help decrease the escalating epidemic of gun violence that kills too many of our children and loved ones every day. Whether the gun violence happens in urban Chicago, suburban Virginia, or rural Texas, we must act now on new and stronger gun laws and policies to protect our children.

Moms Demand Action
Web page, as of April 28, 2014
[I find it very telling that if they enumerate what they think are “common-sense solutions” they don’t make them easy to find on their web site. I couldn’t find them. If they really had solutions don’t you think they would announce them all to the world? What this means to me is they are running an emotional appeal, as they have already admitted, and will push whatever restrictive law they believe has a chance of passing. Facts and logic aren’t their tools in trade.

From reading their press releases and get the facts web pages it appears that for starters they want to stop public carry, ban modern sporting rifles, ban standard capacity magazines, and eliminate “stand your ground laws”. And if they were successful doing that you can be sure they would find a lot more “common-sense” restrictions they support.

I have to conclude Moms Demand Action demands are mostly hysteria and wonder if the traditional cure for it wouldn’t bring us all some relief.—Joe]

We have interesting friends

Some friends of ours are leaving the area for a year or two and we recently said goodbye to them. We had only met them a few months ago but really liked them. They are very smart, happy, high energy people. When we went on the cruise in the Bahamas last month we invited them to go with us. There was no one else we even considered.

They didn’t go. They said they really tried to make it work but just couldn’t. The fact that it was a Disney Cruise did not seem to be an issue.

In my personal life I keep this blog in the background and don’t bring it up unless I think they are going to be okay with it. I hadn’t mentioned it to them until this last meeting. I explained it was a little controversial and could bother some people.

It turns out they have blogs that are “interesting” too.

NOT safe for work.

Blissfully Open and Compersive Times.

We have interesting friends.

Quote of the day—Glen Reynolds

Are there any TV shows where the male hosts all chortle about their masturbation methods?

Glenn Reynolds
February 19, 2014
[Probably not and I don’t really care. Part of the reason is probably because of an anti-men agenda of the media. And the other part is probably because men don’t have the capacity to enjoy orgasms at a rate that requires electric motors powered from 117V household mains to keep up with them.

But it is interesting that talk about sex in the mainstream media appears to be becoming more acceptable.—Joe]

Random thought of the day

To a certain extent guns are like sex. Once someone becomes sexually active they seldom voluntarily become asexual let alone anti-sexual. And so it is with people who learn to use guns in a safe and supportive environment.

Many anti-gun people are proud they have never fired a gun and vow to never shoot one. “Guns only have one purpose!”, they insist. They wear their ignorance with pride and yet demand they should legislate the rules of ownership. And so it is in some social circles in regards to sexual activities.

But most people would laugh and, at their most charitable, say, “How cute!” if monks who had taken vows of celibacy were demanding laws which regulated sexual behavior between consenting adults. “No one needs sex more than once a month!”, they might demand.

And once such people gained control government registration of each sexual union would be “just common sense” to reduce the transmission of sexual diseases. Sympathetic courts would rule that government had an interest in protecting the safety of the citizens and the registration law, no matter how unlikely to be complied with, it has a rational basis and hence overrides the non-enumerated constitutional right to privacy.

And of course many gun control advocates really are nothing but Puritans afraid someone somewhere is having fun.

That was a first

This morning Barb and I did some errands together. One of these was for me to get a dress shirt for a party are attending tonight. While out I got a call from a friend with a well deserved nickname of “Brazen E.” which went something like the following. It was a real “first” for me.

Joe: Hello E.

E: Hi! What are you doing? Are you with your family in Idaho?

J: No. I got back last night. I’m in a dressing room at J.C. Penney’s. What about you?

E: We had a nice Christmas. I’m in a room with my daughter and can’t say a whole lot but I’m feeling pretty hormonal. I got permission from my husband and you are the first person I thought of.

J: Ahhh… Oh! So you are looking for some “benefits” from a friend?

E: Exactly! So, are you available?

J: Uhhh… [How do you say, “No” to someone who has the courage to ask for, and gets, permission from their husband to come play with you for a few hours?]

I’ll talk to Barb about it but we are pretty busy today and we are going to a party tonight. Maybe you could find someone at the party tonight. Would you like to go with us?

E: No. I don’t think so. Let me know if you change your mind.

J: I’m pretty sure it’s not going to work out. If you have another opportunity you should take it rather than waiting for me to call back.

E: Yeah. I already tried one, but he said he would rather sleep.

J: That was your husband?

E: Yes.

J: I see. Okay. Well good luck finding someone!

As I expected Barb did not think it was a good use of my time this afternoon.

More on Markley’s law

PETA is now promoting the idea that eating chicken will result in a small penis and other problems.

Well sure– If the idea that animals are essentially equal to humans doesn’t stop us from eating animals, then we might as well take the penis angle, because apparently people care more about penises (and sex) than practically anything else. It’s bound to get a few more, uh, members.

This is part of a long term trend. Leftists used to attack people they don’t like by calling us “fags” or “queers” but since they now have to pretend that they’re promoting the rights of homosexuals, they have to turn to other methods of distraction. Hence Markley’s law, and the recent PETA story is part of the same trend of using sex as a cultural/political lever.

A common phrase used back in the 1960s and early ’70s (the Vietnam war period) was “Girls say yes to guys who say no”. It’s an appeal to young, horny men, telling them straight up that they’ll get laid more if they at least pretend to help support the Progressives and the communists.

It’s a common theme among communists, to get the vulnerable young people on board, and sex is a powerful lure. Charles Manson used young women as bait to sucker young males into the group, and Sun Myung Moon, Jim Jones, the Heavens Gate Cult and others in a long line of socialist predators (but I repeat myself) followed very similar tactics. Islamists, we are told, will be treated to a harem of dozens of virgins if they die in the great and glorious jihad (and Allah will be super happy about your killing people too, but seriously; virgins!). They could just as well promote a new scientific study which finds that reading American freedom blogs will result in sexual dysfunction, and so the 72 virgins in heaven might go unsatisfied, and we wouldn’t want THAT to happen would we? If they haven’t done it already, they will.

Nothing changes. PETA has just put a slightly different twist on it, but their new spin has a lot of precedent. It is a good one though, as the left has also been trying to make us fear our food, our water, our air, and our neighbors, and this gimmick hits on at least two fronts.

And so I say to PETA; Good one, guys! Right on! You’re in good company. Keep up the good work. You’re completely insane, sure, but you’re giving it the old college try, you’re learning from your predecessors, and that deserves some respect.

Parenthetically; if animals raised for slaughter are as good and have rights the same as people, then people are no better and have no more rights than animals raised for slaughter, which is the whole point of organizations like PETA even if most of their members are clueless kids just trying to get laid. Remember it.

Quote of the day—Billll

Luring her out to the range to shoot your EBR is all well and good, but when it transpires that you have no ammo due to the national shortage, it begins to look like the old dodge of “running out of gas” at inspiration point.

August 27, 2013
Comment to Quote of the day—Amber Callipo
[I’ve “lured” women to the range with EBRs on many occasions. But in no case was there a sexual element present on my part that wasn’t established prior to the invitation to the range. I just don’t feel the connection between guns and sex like some people do and tend to be oblivious. That is until the woman makes her intentions clear that, at least for her, there is a connection.

Your mileage may vary.—Joe]