Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Evol. Psych Introduction Cont'd

Comrade PhysioProf sent me this link to a blog posting that discusses the female orgasm in terms of how evolutionary psychology views it. 

(I've been a busy bee remodeling my kitchen, so I just got around to reading it.....just now)

Holy SHIT. I need to c&p some of this crap because I can't possibly paraphrase without using the f-word 3 times in every sentence:

Scientists have found that the pleasure women get from making love is directly linked to the size of their partner’s bank balance.

They found that the wealthier a man is, the more frequently his partner has orgasms.

“Women’s orgasm frequency increases with the income of their partner,” said Dr Thomas Pollet, the Newcastle University psychologist behind the research.
He and Nettle tested that idea using data gathered in one of the world’s biggest lifestyle studies. The Chinese Health and Family Life Survey targeted 5,000 people across China for in-depth interviews about their personal lives, including questions about their sex lives, income and other factors. Among these were 1,534 women with male partners whose data was the basis for the study.
They found that 121 of these women always had orgasms during sex, while 408 more had them “often”. Another 762 “sometimes” orgasmed while 243 had them rarely or never. Such figures are similar to those for western countries.
There were of course, several factors involved in such differences but, said Pollet, money was one of the main ones.
He said: “Increasing partner income had a highly positive effect on women’s self-reported frequency of orgasm. More desirable mates cause women to experience more orgasms.”
This is not an effect limited to Chinese women. Previous research in Germany and America has looked at attributes such as body symmetry and attractiveness, finding that these are also linked with orgasm frequency. Money, however, seems even more important.
David Buss, professor of psychology at the University of Texas, Austin, who raised this question in his book The Evolution of Desire believes female orgasms have several possible purposes:
“They could promote emotional bonding with a high-quality male or they could serve as a signal that women are highly sexually satisfied, and hence unlikely to seek sex with other men,” he said. “What those orgasms are saying is ‘I’m extremely loyal, so you should invest in me and my children’.”
The author of the blog, Amanda Marcotte, tears this research a new asshole as I would have done. She does a fantastic job - go read it. 

I'm going to comment on only one piece of this, because anything else would just be echoing what Amanda already said. Read this piece of it again:
He said: “Increasing partner income had a highly positive effect on women’s self-reported frequency of orgasm. More desirable mates cause women to experience more orgasms.”
They didn't increase a fucking thing. It's presented as though it was experimental research, when it was just a fucking survey! They also didn't manipulate "desirability" of these women's mates!!! It didn't "CAUSE" a fucking thing!

BAD, BAD, BAD science!!!!!! 

How do they know what made the mates more desirable?? Maybe it's BECAUSE these women are having a whole bunch of orgasms from sex with this particular dude! I mean, seriously - isn't it common sense that the better the sex is with a specific person, the more you're going to desire them??

It is going to be awhile before I delve into this field for my blog series, because I get way too pissed off when I read the journal articles - especially the "conclusions" sections where they pull BULLSHIT out of their ASSES and call it SCIENCE. 

Before I start offering my criticism to the body of work that exists out there, I need to calm the fuck down so I can do it from a detached point of view and can thus avoid the "of course you think it sucks, you're a woman" rebuttals. 

In the meantime, I'm gonna go stare at the balance in my checking account and see if it gets me all hot and bothered....

Fuckers.

16 comments:

PhizzleDizzle said...

talk about bullshit. they should do a "study" linking orgasm with female income, then maybe they can conclude that rich people have better sex instead of this tenuously shitty conclusion.

all i know is, i have good sex and mr. phizz ain't rich, so fuck that shit.

Ambivalent Academic said...

Ditto what Phizz said...except I'm having great sex with BH, not with Mr. Phizzle Dizzle.

BH is also decidedly NOT rich - hell I'm making more $$$ than him right now I'm a grad student. He's an all-around fantastic guy, bedroom prowess included. Frankly, more $$$ would be nice but I really don't see that increasing my sexual satisfaction simply because I don't see how it could get any better than it currently is. NOTHING to do with my partner's income.

I hate all this correlation = causation bullshit. Terrible ass-monkey "science". Correlations are often interesting but don't insult my intelligence by trying to pass off coincidental relationships as cause-and-effect and expect me to buy it.

Here's an alternative explanation: higher income = greater wealth = fewer financial worries = less overall anxiety = better/more orgasms. Also not necessarily causative but if you're hunting for a causative hypothesis to explain this interesting correlation that's where I'd start.

But hell, what do I know.

Oh yeah, and self-reported sexual satisfaction surveys...do you trust them?

PhizzleDizzle said...

I know, right? Correlation/causation is such bullshit, and this relates to this falsifiable discussion.

You can't say there is causation here in the first place, because correlation != causation. But the fact that they didn't bother to check that it was SPECIFICALLY male income, and not income overall, makes this whole thing a farce. If good orgasms also correlate with chick income, then you could draw the conclusion easily that is has something to do with wealth, and not to do with caveman-providership. How hard would that be? Infinitely more "buyable" than this drivel.

And AA, hooray for men who do their jobs in the sack, even if they don't with their paychecks (I kid, I kid!) :)

Ambivalent Academic said...

I agree that the study is flawed by not looking at net income from both partners (ar even the woman's income specifically...higher salary = higher self-esteem = more/better orgasms?).

But even if it did, could you make the conclusion that it has to do with wealth? Or maybe some other factor that also correlates, but is causatively independent of wealth?

My favorite illustration of the correlation/causation fallacy was an example given by one of my undergrad profs.

Correlation: Students who drink less soda score higher on exams.

False Conclusion: Caffeine consumption impairs mad exam skillz.

Alternative Explanation: Soda-drinkers are also more likely to a) get less sleep, b) eat more junk food rather than a well-balanced diet, and c) get distracted.

You could argue that secondary correlations A and C might implicate caffeine indirectly, but in the case of B, soda consumption is merely indicative of another possible cause for poor exam scores. In this case, the hypothesis is that poor diet could be a causative agent for poor exam scores...soda consumption is merely a metric or even another correlation of the "real" cause.

Professor in Training said...

Haha - as I started to read your post my fingers were itching to slam out a comment saying that the study was a crock of shit but you then said the exact same thing! Absolute fucking nonsense.

I'm glad to hear you're all having great nooky with your respective partners, btw!

And I'm not overly surprised that PP is reading posts about female orgasms :)

Professor in Training said...

Almost forgot ... I don't care enough to find out for myself, but was this "study" published in Cosmopolitan or a similarly respected quality research publication!??

JLK said...

The study is all over the internet on news websites around the world. It took some digging to find the actual journal article.

It appears in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior:

http://www.ehbonline.org/article/S1090-5138(08)00117-7/abstract

I'll look for the full-text article through my MRU's database at some point, but it won't be today.

PhizzleDizzle said...

AA, you make a good point and I wrote badly. I think the more important thing is not that you could make a "conclusion" that it's about wealth (because you'd then have to check that it's NOT everything else), but that you could pretty definitively say it's NOT caveman-providership.

This logical discussion is difficult without p's and q's :).

Anyway, good sex has to do with a lot more than money, anyway. I think we all agree on that!

Ambivalent Academic said...

Phizz - I miss p's and q's! By the way, Lewis Carroll wrote a bunch of AWESOME logical tests/problems with all his fantastical made-up words, which are even more fun than p's and q's.

They're included in Barnes & Noble's "Complete Works of Lewis Carroll"...a beautifully illustrated leather-bound edition available for less than $20.00. If you're as much a geek for logic problems as me (philosophy degree, what can I say?) I think you'll really like them.

I'm considering creating a weekly blog feature where I include one warm-up and one real problem -- what do you think?

PhizzleDizzle said...

I think I could like your blog *even* more than I already do :). That sounds cool.

Isis the Scientist said...

Oh sister, I don't know what kind of shenanigans PP is sending you, but I assure you that article is a load of crap.

JLK said...

But Dr. Isis, that load of crap has been published in a major journal, along with lots of other loads of crap that look just like it.

Comrade PhysioProf said...

Before I start offering my criticism to the body of work that exists out there, I need to calm the fuck down so I can do it from a detached point of view and can thus avoid the "of course you think it sucks, you're a woman" rebuttals.

You don't need to "calm down" in order to dissect the shit effectively. Just sayin'.

Candid Engineer said...

Ha, yeah, this is a real good one. I know for one that I had the most frequent and outstanding sex with my husband when he was making the least money. :)

Also, I would like to know why less than 10% of these surveyed women have orgasms every time they have sex?!?! These chicks are getting the shaft.

Juniper Shoemaker said...

I hate all this correlation = causation bullshit. Terrible ass-monkey "science". Correlations are often interesting but don't insult my intelligence by trying to pass off coincidental relationships as cause-and-effect and expect me to buy it.

Amen.

Many anthropologists LOVE evol psych. My favorite former professor can't stand it, and he went out of his way to beat its typical sociobio ridiculousness into our heads. Here's an interesting article he called my attention to:

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=four-fallacies

Have fun in Mexico!

JLK said...

Thanks for the article, Juniper.

I'll probably refer back to it when I continue my post series on Evol Psych, as the author makes quite a few good points.

My main focus, I think, is going to stick to whether or not this line of research as it stands holds the promise of any benefits at all to society or if it will cause more harm than good. We'll see, though, as I delve further into the articles I have stored on my HD.

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