For anyone who wants to know more about sex, attraction, and how to improve his or her chances with someone cute comes this indispensable resource from Judy Dutton. Secrets from the Sex Lab takes you into the simmering world of sex researchers who have been documenting the many esoteric aspects of the erotic realm for years. With this book the laboratory door is finally open to you.
Follow the fictional couple John and Jane as they meet, flirt, kiss, have sex, and try to figure out what their attraction means and what to do about it. Backed by hundreds of scientific studies and interviews with people just like you, Judy Dutton reveals the why behind John’s impulse to rip Jane’s clothes off before he gets to know her. Even more than the science, though, Secrets from the Sex Lab gives you hands-on lessons on how to take your sex life up a notch and put science to good use.
• What’s the best way to handle someone’s hot spots?
• Are men more promiscuous than women?
• Does size really matter?
• What brings on bigger, better orgasms?
• Can a brain scan tell if you’re in love or just in lust?
• Will there ever be a women’s version of Viagra?
• Why should women plan dates around their ovulation schedule?
• Why are men with names containing i or e more attractive?
• Why do women always seem to fall for jerks?
• Why do men chase women who are much younger than they are?
Nowadays, anyone on the Web can call themselves a “sexpert” but have no more credentials than your clueless best friend. Judy Dutton interviews the real experts who devote their lives–and their graduate degrees–to the subject of sex. But all her research wasn’t done solely with people in white coats. She also hit the streets to see just what’s going on in the world of attraction. As a result, Secrets from the Sex Lab is an illuminating and accurate look at what turns us on, what turns us off, and how we can get better in the sack.
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I N T R O D U C T I O N
The Surprising Truth About Science and Sex
Tim and Sally are a baffling couple. Tim loves sailing. Sally can’t swim. Sally loves musicals. Tim would rather gnaw his own hand off than sit through Hairspray. Sally swore she’d never date a guy who watches sports. Every weekend, Tim plants himself in front of ESPN in their home in Hoboken, New Jersey, with a six-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon. Sally never drinks beer. Ever.
“We always joke that we would never have met on a dating Web site like Match.com because we’re such polar opposites,” says Tim. So what prompted Tim to propose to Sally last year?
And why did Sally accept?
For one, the sex is fantastic–and they swear they both knew it would be from the moment they met. Tim and Sally first worked at the same publishing company. Tim was in ad sales; Sally in public relations. The minute they first bumped into each other at the coffee machine, Tim started teasing Sally about using skim milk rather than creamer in her coffee. “It definitely wasn’t love at first sight,” Sally says. “At first, I didn’t even like Tim that much.” And yet, every single molecule in Sally’s body clearly disagreed with her mind. Whenever Tim came within ten feet of her, her breathing would get shallow, her mouth dry, her hands sweaty. Not that the sensation was unpleasant. On the contrary, it felt a lot like those moments in high school right before she’d step on stage to perform a role in a play–nerve-wracking but exhilarating, as if something amazing were about to happen. Could that something amazing be Tim? She decided to find out.
Sally began “bumping into” Tim regularly at the coffee machine, timing her trips for when she knew Tim would be there. Conversations over coffee morphed into lunch outings, then dinner. “Is this a work date or a date date?” Tim asked at the end of one evening with a grin. “Because if it’s the latter, don’t worry, I won’t sue for sexual harassment.” Then Tim leaned over the plate of calamari they’d been sharing and kissed her. He knew Sally wasn’t his type. Plus, the fact that they worked together was far from ideal. Still, for some unexplainable reason, he’d been wondering what it would be like to kiss Sally ever since she’d first frowned at his creamer remark by the coffee machine. As he’d hoped, kissing Sally felt great. It felt right.
After that night, Tim and Sally started officially dating. Soon, they discovered that while they didn’t see eye to eye on everything, they got along fantastically well in bed. Their health profiles also complemented each other in uncanny ways. Sally has excellent eyesight. Tim’s vision is terrible. Sally has high cholesterol. Tim’s cholesterol levels are low. Sally has never had a cavity. Tim’s teeth are soft and prone to them. “I always thought stuff like that was weird with us,” Tim says. “Did our DNA somehow know that we could balance out each other’s weaknesses and create a healthy baby? I guess we’ll have to find out someday if my hunch is right.”
Given all that was conspiring against them–different interests, personalities, an awkward first encounter over coffee creamer–how did Sally and Tim end up together? Was it fate? Luck? Or was it because of a far less mysterious force called science? Applying the clinical precision of science to the messy arena of sexual passion might seem like a strange combination, but behind closed laboratory doors, scientists have been scrutinizing sex for centuries. You’re probably familiar with Alfred Kinsey, who rocked America’s perceptions of what people do in bed in the 1950s, but he is only one of hundreds of researchers who have examined sex and come to some startling conclusions. Here are just a few of the more recent discoveries from the field of sex research:
• To find your perfect partner, you should sleep with twelve people before settling down.
• If you ride a roller coaster with your date, you will appear more attractive once the ride’s over.
• An MRI scan of your brain can reveal if you’re in love or just in lust.
• There’s a genetic test that can predict who will cheat– and a vaccine may one day exist to keep cheaters faithful.
• Some people can have nose orgasms, or knee orgasms.
“If You Could See What I’ve Seen . . .”
A Day in the Life of a Sex Scientist
Sex makes us act in mysterious ways. Try as we might to explain it, all too often we’re left scratching our heads, stirred by forces that seem beyond our control or comprehension. One minute, you’re at a party digging into the cheese dip. The next, you’ve dragged someone home and are burrowing into each other as if the meaning of life were buried between you.
How does that happen?
To a certain extent, the how’s and why’s of sex may seem obvious. After all, we all know that humans are programmed to reproduce. Without sex, we would cease to exist. End of story. Still, saying sex boils down to baby making is like saying we eat so we don’t die of starvation. Scores of five-star restaurants are testament to the fact that eating is a far more sophisticated experience than can be explained by our daily requirement for nutrients. The same is true with sex. Procreation is important, but sex is also pleasurable–bed-shakingly, mind-blowingly pleasurable. What tips and tricks can we learn from all of the research being done on sex to kick things up a notch and make sex even better?
That’s where this book can help. Every day, scientists who study sex pack their lunch, go to work, and study in detail something that most of us do while fumbling around in the dark. If their advice seems a little out there, that’s because they’re pioneers, going where none have gone before, probing nooks and crannies and embarrassing topics that would make most of us blush. To conduct their research, scientists have searched for volunteers who are willing to come into their laboratory, strip down, and go at it while researchers scribble notes from the sidelines. To get a glimpse beyond what the naked eye can see, they’ve inserted “penis cameras” into women’s nether regions. Under microscopes, they’ve identified new kinds of sperm called “killers” and “blockers” that contribute to reproduction in surprising ways. On tumbling mats, they’ve forged new sex positions like the Coital Alignment Technique, which, while it might not sound sexy, has a great track record yielding orgasms. With a few well-placed electrodes, scientists invented an orgasmatron that triggers peaks with the push of a button. Really.
In her delightful and informative book Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, writer Mary Roach gives her readers a peek at life behind the doors of a sex laboratory and the personalities under the lab coats. This book reveals not only the juicy details of their discoveries, but the practical know-how that will enable you to put this information to good use in your own bedroom. Each chapter in How We Do It highlights a stage of the seduction process from beginning to end. In the early chapters, you’ll get a crash course on what creates chemistry. After that, we’ll take a tour of the naked body and all its attractions, then lift the lid on the brain and learn how to read someone’s secret thoughts. From there, we’ll romp through the wild kingdom of kinky sex, then finish up with a bang by revealing everything you ever wanted to know about orgasms.
Our guides on this journey are John and Jane. While they are fictional characters, their experiences will feel familiar to anyone who has ever faced the classic questions that crop up during the seduction process. As we follow John and Jane from the moment they meet, fall into bed together, hit their high notes, then bask in the afterglow, you will learn about the science going on behind the scenes, and how to harness these forces so they can be used to your benefit. You will also hear from real men and women like Tim and Sally (names and some identifying details have been changed) about what’s baffled them most about sex, followed by explanations that can help shed some light on these mysteries, and provide some much-needed solutions to boot.
This book focuses primarily on what happens when sex goes right–bad stuff (for example, STDs) not included. Even so, before following any of the advice in this book, you should take steps to protect yourself by using condoms, getting tested for STDs, and discussing the monogamy question with partners (for more information, turn to chapter 4). The term “safe sex” is a bit of a contradiction since sex, by definition, is never entirely safe. Still, there are things you can do to lower your risk of some nasty surprises that would undoubtedly put a damper on the fun. Take a few precautions, and that leaves less room for worrying and more room for good old sexual pleasure.
Sex scientists have seen things. Weird things. Wonderful things. And now is your chance to cash in on their hard work. By the end of your journey, you’re going to be armed with more than a few new ideas to try in bed.
Table of Contents
Introduction The Surprising Truth About Science and Sex xi
1 Why We Have Sex (Do You Really Need to Ask?) 1
2 The Laws, Bylaws, and Loopholes of Attraction 23
3 A Field Guide to Flirting 79
4 So...Want to Have Sex? 111
5 This Is Your Body on Sex 127
6 This Is Your Brain on Sex 181
7 Whipped Cream, High Heels, and a Dog (and You Thought Your Fantasies Were Weird!) 205
8 The Wild World of Kinky Sex 219
9 The Cheat Sheet 239
10 Prescription for Perfect Sex? 269
11 All About Orgasms 285
12 First Comes Love, Then Comes ... a Baby? How Conception Really Happens 321
Conclusion Where Will the Science of Sex Take Us Next? 331
What People are Saying About This
“Dutton seamlessly blends her writing gift with the eyes of scientific research to give the common folk access to the best new, tried and true information about our sexuality and some you wouldn’t have dreamed of. . . . Her book is a delicious guided tour through the ever-changing and evolving landscape of human sexuality.”
—Lou Paget, bestselling author of How to Be a Great Lover and How to Give Her Absolute Pleasure