Science of Sex – Female Viagra

Would you, could you? Ladies, if there was a little blue pill for women, would you take it or not? That’s the question that’s been on my mind lately in light of articles I’ve read on the subject. There’s been a lot of talk about how unfair it is that men have a cure for their sexual disfunction, but women don’t. Now pharmaceutical companies are all racing to change that. But is this a good idea? The fact is, female sexual disfunction is different from male sexual disfunction. One article I’ve read points out that while “men need a place for having sex, women need a purpose.” In other words, Viagra-type drugs may not do it for women simply because the problem isn’t physical (or just physical), it’s mental/emotional.

The number one complaint women have regarding their sex lives is that they’ve lost interest in having sex, whereas with men it’s that they’ve lost the capacity to have sex (i.e. they can’t get an erection). Which makes me wonder why female sexual disfunction is being treated like a medical condition in need of a pill in the first place. I know the reasons why my libido isn’t as lusty as it used to be, and it has nothing to do with being physically incapable of having sex. A lot of it comes down to the facts that A) I have two small children who just about wear me out; and B) when I’m not chasing after the kids, I’m working, which also wears me out. My problem isn’t inability to have sex; it’s stress and sleep deprivation, two factors that have an amazing capacity to kill sexual desire. A pill isn’t going to cure my reasons for not feeling the need to breed.

Of course, I suppose there is a physical side to my less-than-lusty libido. I am now in my 40s, and so my body doesn’t do or want to do the things it used to do. Hormone levels have changed, as they are supposed to with age. There have been some forays into looking at hormone therapy to fix these problems, but again, if my body is supposed to undergo these changes, do I really want to turn back the clock by flooding my system with testosterone of some other chemical?

I guess what I’m asking here is do I miss the libido and sexual drive of my 20s, enough to want to take a pill and ‘cure’ things? Well, yes and no. I really would enjoy being ready to have sex at the drop of a hat again, like I did back in my youth, but I also recall that I got very little done beyond bedding the Hubster back in those days (in fact, it’s a wonder he and I managed to graduate from college, we were that busy with each other). My memories of our early relationship are just one big blur of sex, sex, sex, pizza, and sex.

The fact is, there is more to life than sex and the occasional pizza (and yes, this is coming from an erotica writer). And there’s definitely more to a relationship than just sex and pizza (yep, still coming from an erotica writer). Sexual relationships change over time and that’s not a bad thing. The Hubster and I are still madly, deeply in love with each other even if we’re not constantly tearing each others’ clothes off. We do kinky stuff like talking instead, or going out to museums. You know, boring old-fart stuff. And we like it.

If however, you are not happy dealing with a lower libido, and if you think a lack of libido is killing your relationship with the one you love, then again I ask.

Would you, could you take a little blue pill to cure it all?

Here are a few articles on the topic of femal Viagra, including the drug f:

The Search for a Female Viagra

Failed anti-depressant drug could be ‘women’s Viagra’

New trials of female sexual dysfunction drug (Flibanserin) will be reported this week

‘Female Viagra’ discovery claim

Science of Sex – Penises in the Wild

File this one under “just when I thought I’d seen everything.” After writing last week about how scientific research has shown women respond to visual stimulation (like say, pictures of penises), I came across the following two examples of penises in the wild.

First and foremost, the discovery of the Cambrian era Herpetogaster collinsi. This little gem of an extinct creature not only looks like a penis, but it also has the most interesting fronds attached ton the end. With appendages like that, it makes one wonder why it died out. Certainly not from an inability to perform in bed.

The second creature is a current-day wonder known as the geoduck (pronounced gooey-duck). While the Herpetogaster collinsi looks like a kinky little sex toy, the geoduck reminds me more of porn star Ron Jeremy.

Of course, if neither of the above instances of natural penises in the wild tickle your fancy, take a look at a few stone beauties in the Haeshindang Folk Village, also known as the Penis Park in South Korea. Granted, this last link is more cultural than scientific, but still, you have to admit these penises are pretty wild.

So that’s your bit of Science of Sex for this week! Enjoy.

The Science of Sex – Porn for Women? porn for women

I want to thank my good friend Mich for pointing out the above xkcd episode to me and the rant blog post it has inspired. Have you heard of these books? Porn for Women? Are you amused or insulted by them? Honestly, this ranks right up there with the idea that women have a universal mating strategy, which has been revealed in the titles of romance novel (see last week’s Science of Sex for details on that little gem). This series of books seems to imply that women are only aroused by attractive, clean cut men doing housework, changing diapers, etc. In other words, doing the house work many women do day in and day out. We don’t get off on imagery of people actually engaged in sex acts, and god forbid we’d ever actually want to look at a naked man.

It’s these kinds of stereotypes that aggravate the hell out of me. I know from long experience that I am a visual creature, and I respond strongly to erotic and sexually explicit images. My preference, being heterosexual female, is for images of nude males, and I don’t think I’m the only one. Unfortunately, the rest of the world hasn’t caught up with the idea that hetero women might want to look at pictures of actual penises, and of course the rest of the male bodies that go with them.

However, there has been some research lately that showed women’s brains responded just as strongly as men’s brains to erotic imagery. And another study funded by the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience in Atlanta has shown that men and women look at sexually explicit photos differently, but not in the way researchers might have predicted. Men were more likely to look at faces first, while women (depending on their hormonal state) focused more on genitals or contextual elements of the photographs.

Imagine that. Women might actually look at images of genitals before looking at anything else in a picture. It’s a crazy concept that’s right up there with the radical idea that women might actually want to see images of men on the covers of erotica books. Kind of blows certain stereotypes about women right out of the water, doesn’t it?

There’s even more discussion on the topic of women who watch porn here – Take a look and tell me what you think. Oh, and if you’re looking for some sexually explicit imagery with male nudes to enjoy, I can provide that too. (Just scroll down to the “pin-ups” section of my art gallery.)

The Science of Sex – Female Mating Strategies Laid Out In Romance Titles?

Welcome back to “The Science of Sex,” a new blog topic I’m doing that looks at the scientific aspects of sexuality and how they might apply to the erotica genre.

This week’s topic is an article that ran in the UK Guardian, entitled “Evolutionary psychologists turn attention to romantic fiction.” The basic gist of the article is that scientists analyzed 15000 book titles from Harlequin Romance, looking for words that might indicate what women look for in a mate. (Definitely read the article for specific details; it is very interesting). Researchers hypothesized that certain key words would be more likely to show up in titles, reflecting the interests they believe women readers have in finding a suitable mate and reproducing.

Words like ‘love,’ ‘bride,’ ‘baby,’ and ‘marriage’ showed up most often, as did occupational titles like ‘doctor’ and ‘cowboy.’

What’s interesting to note here is that the researchers “…concluded that Harlequin romance novel titles were ‘congruent with women’s sex-specific mating strategies, which is surmised to be the reason for their continued international success’.” (This quote comes straight from the UK Guardian article linked to above). This statement, and the key word analysis itself, has me scratching my head a bit. Granted, I’m not a psychologist or evolutionary scientist. However, I’ve got two degrees, both in communications, and was required to conduct a research project for my master’s degree and take courses on qualitative and quantitative research methodology, which is just a fancy way of saying I know a little bit about how research is done and what research findings may or may not actually mean.

For starters, I think it’s interesting the scientists analyzed the titles of 15000 romance novels, but even the most frequently occuring word in those titles – love – only showed up 840 times. If I’m doing my math right, that’s about 5.6%. That’s not a very high percentage. Secondly, I’m not sure how the appearance of words like ‘love,’ ‘bride,’ ‘baby,’ and ‘marriage’ (the most frequently appearing words) are a reflection of “women’s sex-specific mating strategies…” I mean, honestly, I expect to see the words ‘love,’ ‘bride,’ ‘baby,’ and ‘marriage’ show up in romance novel titles because the topic of the book is romance. Just like I’d expect to see words like ‘rocket,’ ‘planet,’ and ‘alien’ show up in a science fiction title or the words ‘death’ and ‘murder’ show up in mystery and crime novel titles. Those words are an indication of the genre of the book.

Analysis on the frequency of occupational words like ‘doctor’ and ‘cowboy’ did seem to jive more with the idea that yes, romance titles reflect what women are looking for in a mate, but again those words didn’t show up frequently enough for me to think their appearance was statistically significant.

And then there’s my final problem with this research. The scientists looked at the novel titles for one publisher and only one publisher – Harlequin. I’m curious to know if they looked at the titles of other romance publishers, would they be able to replicate their results? In other words, would the words ‘love,’ ‘baby’, ‘marriage,’ ‘doctor,’ ‘cowboy,’ etc., show up with the same frequency in another 15000 titles from a different romance publisher? Would they show up more often? Less often? Remember that titles often reflect the brand image of a publisher, so it’s possible that maybe these words showed up so frequently in Harlequin’s titles because Harelquin wants to project a particular brand. Therefor the findings might not hold steady across all publishers. It’d be interesting to see what key words these researchers might find showing up in small, independent publishers and e-publishers. And it’d be really interesting to see what they might find analyzing the titles of erotic romance and GLBTQ romance novels. And if they were to take a look at paranormal romance titles… Can you just imagine what they might make of ‘occupational titles’ like ‘vampire’ and ‘werewolf’?

Anyway, that’s my two-cents worth on the topic. Again, I’m not a scientist, just someone who’s spent a little time studying research methodology, including how to analyze results. And I haven’t read the actual article yet, though I have tracked it down. You can download the PDF at this link –

Let me know what you think of this, if you agree or disagree with what I’ve said or with the findings of the research. I’m keen to hear what other people think.

The Science of Sex – a new topic for the blog

For a long time now, I’ve been trying to come up with a regular blog post topic that really defined my thoughts on the erotica genre and was pretty descriptive of who I am as an erotica writer. I don’t do romance, no straight up sci-fi or fantasy. My erotica is not simply stories of sex scenes between two or more people. I write weird stuff to be honest; stories about plants having sex, and aliens discussing gender roles, etc. During a discussion with Nobilis Reed and Ann Regentin on our joint podcast The Good Parts, I realized that I get a lot of my best story ideas from scientific articles in newspapers and magazines, like National Geographic or Psychology Today. And this got me to thinking. If I were going to teach someone what I know about writing erotica, it would be to look at science for intriguing story ideas.

For instance, a couple of months ago, National Geographic ran an article on orchids, including one particular species familiarly called the “prostitute orchid?” This particular species of orchid cross dresses as a female bee in order to lure male bees in to mate with it. While the male bee is busy getting his insectile rocks off on the fake femme, the orchid gets busy securing pollen to the bee’s nether regions. By the time the bee finally figures out he’s been duped into humping a flower, he’s already been coated in pollen (or as I like to call it, orchid sperm). The poor bee flies off in search of a real female bee, only to run into another cross dressing flower where he ends up depositing the pollen from the first orchid, thus becoming an unwitting courier in the mating rituals of flowers.

Bizarre story, isn’t it? And yet fascinating too. Imagine being the flower, trying to lure the bee in so you could hose him down with your seed. Or better yet, imagine being the bee, looking for LUV in all the wrong places. What if there were a society of sentient beings where this sort of mating was carried out as a ritual? The males and females of the species would have to rely on a member of a separate species to carry out an important and very intimate transaction in order to breed. Would the courier species charge money for their services? And how would humans react to encountering an intelligent alien species in which this sort of activity was the sexual norm?

These are the sort of ideas I love to sink my teeth into and write about. And since I think this is something that makes me a bit unique among erotica writers, I’ve decided to work on a semi-regular post that I’ll put up on Fridays called The Science of Sex. Some weeks, I’ll post links to articles I’ve come across on the web about sex and scientific discoveries in the news. Other times, I’ll give my thoughts on what I’ve read or researched recently, and how I might spin a particular bit of science news into a story idea. And folks are free to run with any ideas I come up with. I don’t mind discussing my thoughts or inspiring people to write stories of their own.

For this week, here’s a link to the National Geographic article on orchids that I mentioned above, entitled Love and Lies –

And if that isn’t enough for you, here’s an article from Web MD on the health benefits sof sex – Interesting stuff to know, and could be the basis of some intriguing story ideas. I know I’ve got one brewing in the back of my head even now!

Read it and enjoy and I’ll keep my eye out for more Science of Sex topics for future posts!

Sex on Saturday – Man marries video game?

I thought I ought to devote the occassional blog article to what’s going on in the world of sex, so here we have Sex on Saturday. These posts will be about any interesting news or tidbits I find on sex and related issues, with links to pertinent articles on the web. And for the first post, we’ve got a doozie.

Nintendo Love Simulator Wedding – a Japanese man has married a Nintendo DS video game. The game, Love Simulator, helps teach guys how to act with women, via a digital girlfriend who can coach them along. But it appears one guy has taken things to a new level by falling in love with the game itself and marrying his virtual girlfriend.

My thoughts? It’s not so far-fetched as you might think. Earlier last year, Japan introduced the robot girlfriend who goes into “love mode” when a face closes in on her for a kiss. There is also the book Love and Sex with Robots: The Evolution of Human-Robot Relationships. I’ve got a digital copy of that but haven’t read it yet. Maybe it’s time I should before someone replaces the Hubster with a Hal 2000?

In any event, how far fetched do you think it is that a person would fall in love with an automaton? Before you answer, think about any crushes you might have had on comic book or cartoon characters, or how much you love your stuffed animal collection. People have a habit of loving the inanimate and unreal for some reason.