- What in the what now? American doctors have been using a non-FDA-approved steroid called dexamethasone to try to “prevent” lesbianism, bisexuality and intersexuality (i.e. both male and female genitalia) in fetuses. Pregnant women are given the steroid if their fetus is seen to be at risk for something called “congenital adrenal hyperplasia,” which results in the development of “masculine” traits in female fetuses. Perhaps intersexuality is something that could be biologically prevented — although whether it is ethical to do so is a whole can of worms I’m not going to get into here — but what’s this about preventing people’s sexual orientations? You can read more about the dexamethasone study published last month in the Journal of Bioethical Inquiry here. [Queerty]
- An Iowa health official has rejected a ban on funding for abortions in the cases of rape and incest. [Think Progress]
- A Christian summer camp in Texas trains high school kids on how to be effective anti-abortion activists. [New York Times]
- s.e. Smith at Tiger Beatdown on why we should stop using the phrase “free birth control” when talking about health care reform. [Tiger Beatdown] Keep reading »
Tag Archives: biology
Just kidding! There was a slight miscalculation. Men don’t actually think about sex every seven seconds. I always thought that 8,000 sexual thoughts a day seemed like an oppressive estimate. New research says that men are not the wild, hyper-sexualized beasts science made them out to be. Men’s sexual notions happen more like once every hour. Much more manageable. The study, done at Ohio State University, found that in addition to their sexual thoughts, guys actually think about (gasp!) other things during the course of a day like eating and napping. The men in the study thought about sex an average of 19 times a day with food a close second at 18 times a day, while women thought about sex an average of 10 times a day and food 15 times. Keep reading »
In my office, Amber is telling me a familiar story. She’s come to talk about her autobiography paper for my women’s studies class, and she reads part of her rough draft aloud.
“I was 12, and this car pulled up alongside me as I was walking home from school … the driver looked a little older than my dad, at least 40. He leaned out, and I thought he was going to ask me for directions, but instead he asked me how old I was. When I told him, he laughed. ‘Damn, you got some big titties for such a little girl.’ He made this gross smacking sound with his lips, and sped away. I ran all the way home.”
Amber looks up at me. “I want to know,” she asks, “why do older men hit on younger women?” She’s 20 now, tall and graceful; she tells me that for the last eight years, older men have been approaching her. “It’s not just me,” she adds, “it happens to most of my friends, almost regardless of what they look like or what they’re wearing. It makes me feel like I can’t trust anyone, like all men want just one thing. Why can’t they chase women their own age?” Keep reading »
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison say that gender inequality is the cause of the “math gap” between boys and girls—not just girls sucking at math.
The study looked at countries in the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Index and found that girls score better at math in countries where there is more freedom, better education and financial opportunities for females. For example, girls in Iran, that beacon of women’s rights, scored low in the International Mathematical Olympiad—but in the U.S., girls are taking high school calculus at the same rate as boys. Keep reading »
We’ve all read about that so-called dastardly “hugging epidemic” that is sweeping the nation’s youth like The Jitterbug (or oral sex parties) and spurring quick-thinking middle and high schools to ban hugs.
But though we chuckle at the idea that in 2009, school administrators are whipping out the “Keep six inches between you for the Holy Spirit!” line of rhetoric, the Affection Police are actually pretty effed-up. Contrary to what Principal Skinner might have you believe, humans aren’t affectionate just because we like copping a feel—we may have a biological imperative to bond. Keep reading »
Days like this make me love my job. I spent the last hour reading an article about the human penis: “Secrets of the Phallus: Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That?” Written by Jesse Bering at Scientific American, the piece explores the research of evolutionary psychologist Gordon Gallup at SUNY Albany, who has spent his life wondering why in the hell the human penis is so funny looking. After the jump, eight impressive and interesting tidbits from his research, including how I might someday bear the child of Ryan Gosling. Keep reading »
The current issue of Rolling Stone features the Hotness Award-nominated band the Jonas Brothers. I was a nanny for an 8-year old not too long ago and while she introduced me to the magical world of Miley Cyrus, I have never been able to like the Jonas Brothers because she sang that song “Year 3000″ at the top of her lungs 24/7 and let me tell you, it was annoying. But I did learn something new from reading RS‘ profile of the hugely, insanely, mega popular band. According to Dr. Louannn Brizendine, author of The Female Brain:
“There’s a thing in biology we call synchrony. Basically, one girl affects another affects another, and it becomes a domino effect building up to that level of hysteria. They are getting all these brain hits of dopamine, and also oxytocin, which is a love-and-bonding hormone. Teenage girls have so much estrogen, which just catapults the level of dopamine and oxytocin in the brain, creating this sort of ecstatic rush in themselves and others. It truly is a state of ecstatic love.”
That explains the masses of crying teens whose fingers graze against Nick Jonas’ arm or the hoards of fans who welcomed the Beatles to America in 1964. It also explains why I contemplated suicide when I didn’t get Pearl Jam tickets in 1992 (my dad eventually forked over money to a scalper and saved my life). So, if the statement above is true, who had that ecstatic power over your teenage heart? Keep reading »