Image of Marilyn Monroe via reading.sexy.
I’m reading Mary Roach’s superb nonfiction book about the science of sex right now (while editing an erotica collection and writing the intro for Best Women’s Erotica 2009). She’s definitely squeamish about kinky sex and BDSM (sad!) and a little nervous about sex in general, but it’s still an extremely entertaining and informative read. Highly, highly recommended. And yet… the best part might just be the footnotes. To wit, and according to Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex:
* In 1999, a German team of researchers reviewed 21,000 autopsy reports and found only 39 cases of fatal heart attacks during sex.
* There are an estimated 11,250 sex-related deaths a year in the United States, putting it on par with Hep C, brain cancer and food poisoning.
* Kinsey liked to masturbate with a toothbrush. Inserted in his urethra. Bristle end first. (My legs are crossed as tight as possible right now.)
* In parts of Africa, Haiti and Indonesia the wet vagina is seen as a disgusting turnoff. To dry it, they use shredded newspaper, cotton, rock salt, detergent, bark and dried animal excretia. Aside from Bonk, in my sex ed work I’ve encountered many HIV-related discussions about the difficulties doing HIV prevention in these regions because an affinity for dryness — erm — rubs up against what’s needed to prevent HIV, namely condoms and intact, unabraided vaginal walls/cervix (which requires lubricant). I’ve been told that a popular topical agent is talc. (Cross and uncross legs.)
* An Italian study done in 2002 found that absolutely everyone in a group of 67 men seeking surgical penis lengthening has penises within the normal range (from 1.6 to 4.7 inches, flaccid).
* Vaginismus is when a woman has a “clamping vagina” which has uncontrollable muscular spasms and makes penetration impossible or painful. Recently, the newest use for Botox is to paralyze vaginal muscles for vaginismus, as well as it works for Joan Rivers’ face.
* The collagen fibers surrounding the corpus canvernosum of an erect penis are as stiff, by weight, as steel.
* According to a 1990 survey, 40% of women ejaculate — expelling a substance from their urethra during orgasm, especially orgasms from the G-spot region, a substance which is not urine. In 1970 a study was conducted to verify that, like men, women dependably get nocturnal erections (of the clitoral kind, 3-5 times a night). And in case you were curious, and I know you are, to enter a lubricated vaginal opening it takes approximately 1-2 pounds of force. Mmm, surface friction.