I’ve been known to take the piss out of scientists who think people make decisions about sex the way they make decisions about what stocks to invest in, nice and rationally. My published references even include “Sex is fun, remember?”. In my experience, a hard-on (or its female equivalent, a wide-on) tends to disrupt rational decision-making. And I’ve just found a scientific paper that proves it.
In The Heat of the Moment (pdf), scientists Dan Ariely and George Lowenstein asked collage boys to say what they would do to get laid. Would they buy a girl a nice dinner? Would they consider sleeping with a woman over 40 (!!) And what would they do to stay safe? Would they use a condom even if the girl might change her mind while they went to get one? (Please! Don’t they know what watch pockets are for?) Using a one-handed keypad the boys answered the on-screen questions twice. One time flaccid, another time “in a state of arousal”. Yes, the boys were paid US$ 10 to wank while they answered questions — the “arousal” round of questions was accompanied by on-screen porn.
No prizes for guessing the results. Men were more likely to want sex (even with a 40 year-old) when they were “aroused”. They were more likely to go further to get it when they were aroused (some would even lie to a woman that he loved her. Imagine!) And they were much more likely not to bother with a condom.
It’s a lovely, tongue in cheek piece of research. The authors conclude:
“In sum, the current study shows that sexual arousal influences people in profound ways. This should come as no surprise to most people who have personal experience with sexual arousal…At a practical level, our results suggest that efforts to promote safe, ethical sex should concentrate on preparing people to deal with the ‘‘heat of the moment’’ or to avoid it when it is likely to lead to self-destructive behavior. Efforts at self-control that involve raw willpower are likely to be ineffective…”
You can buy that most people have sex because they want to, or you can just say no.
Thanks to KH. And to the 77% of aroused men (and 58% of flacids) who said they would have sex with a 40 year-old.