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May 12, 2007

Study: Men More Stimulated By Sexual Images Than Women; Also Consume More Pornography

More outside-the-box, wildly-counterintuitve and deeply informative "news you can use" from our very serious and professional media.

Who knew?

Men find photos of the opposite sex much more "rewarding" than women, new research claims today.

The "new research" is based on exhaustive study of 100,000 years of human history conclusively proving the frigging obvious.

According to the study men take the same pleasure out of looking at an attractive female form as they do from having a curry or making money whereas women do not take any significant reward from looking at pictures of men. The survey published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B said that brain scan studies show that "reward centres" are triggered in men when they gaze at a woman's face or body whereas they are not in females. It also shows men are more likely to make an effort to view pictures of the opposite sex and pay out money.

The findings shed light on why men are much greater consumers of pornography than women and why sales of Playboy have always exceeded those of Playgirl, according to Dr Benjamin Hayden at the Centre for Neuroeconomic Studies, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina.

"One natural inference is that men are more willing to pay to see these images," he told The Daily Telegraph.

Give this man a Nobel stipend, stat.


...

This study shows that photos follow the same principles, and that more attractive photos act like larger rewards, said Dr Hayden. Rewards also offer incentives to work harder and they can be traded for other kinds of rewards, which is why men exchange money for pictures of naked women.

It should be said that this doesn't explain the "why" at all. It merely confirms the "is" that we always knew. The headlines erroneously claims the research explains why men are more willing to pay for nudey pics, but it does not such thing.

Especially informative is the caption under a pic of men's girly-mags:

Men consume more pornography than women

I feel like Han Solo after C3PO tells him the obviously-broken hyperspace drive isn't working. "Really? Chewie, take The Professor into the back and hook him up to the ship's computer..."

Somewhat related -- and not safe for work; this isn't porn per se, but a cutesy half-clever parody/homage to porn -- is this video of stats about porn, drawn on to the body of a porn-posing lightly-clad woman:

One thing to keep in mind about those various figures tossed out about how many billions porn makes a year: A persuasive article (sorry, no link, can't remember where it came from) made the case that those numbers are almost certainly wildly overstated, verging on complete crank. The media always credulously reports these figures, given their interest in sensationalism and their distaste for fact-checking.

Basically there's no real hard (ahem) data on how much the porn industry actually makes, no real professional industry group which can provide rigorous analysis and firm-ish numbers. It's all guestimates, and the numbers are provided by the porn industry itself, which has good reason to inflate how much money they're making: making a lot of money tends to legitmize an otherwise disrespected occupation, so porn people, like strippers and prostitutes, have a natural incentive to make wild claims about just how much green they're rolling in. A bigger number also tends to "prove" porn is mainstream, which is something they also strive for; and a bigger number helps with lobbying the government not to regulate or criminalize their strange industry.

Plus, some have alleged that porn is largely owned by the mob, which always needs businesses to own in order to launder money made from outright-illegal businesses. Can't say you made $20 million selling coke on your 1040A, so you claim you made all that money through your ownership of Dirty Filthy Schoolgirl Footwhores Entertainment Group.

Not sure if that's true, either, but it would make sense. The mob likes shady businesses, especially those whose actuall profitability is difficult for the IRS to verify. It also explains why there's so much damn porn -- surely the thousands of new pornos released a year can't all be profitable, can they? But if the goal of your business isn't to make profit, but rather to credibly fake profit, the delirious welter of new porn titles every week makes sense.

And -- $2.6 billion just on internet porn? Who pays for internet porn?

Thanks to someone for the first link. I got the second one here, an MSNBC blog featuring a particularly tech- and science- heavy linkfest.


Related: Not safe for work, so see it before Monday. Hot, animalistic public sex between pillowy chairs. Good stop-motion animation shows two chairs really going at it in most of the major positions. Well done and pretty funny.

But -- not safe for work. Yeah, it's chairs, but they're really going at it.


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posted by Ace at 10:02 PM

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