Conversation Starters: Rabbit Rabbit
Before you could drop by drugstores at 3 a.m. and purchase 15 varieties of pregnancy test, most women just waited it out—you knew one way or another eventually. But in the 1920s, scientists discovered that an animal injected with a pregnant woman’s urine would display enlarged ovaries after several days. The most common animal used for this kind of test?
Yep, a bunny. Their lives deemed “not worth” preserving, rabbits were killed in order to have their ovaries examined, leading to the popular misconception that the phrase “the rabbit died” meant you were pregnant. Fortunately for our furry friends, modern pregnancy tests were eventually developed, and there was no need to continue the rabbit test. Three cheers for science! (Not to mention reliable birth control.)
At the most basic level, a hormone is a chemical made in one part of a living thing that travels around and affects other parts of that thing. Hormones are as old as the hills, and probably evolved when life on Earth was nothing but cells bobbing in the primordial seas. The special organs in human bodies that make hormones—including ovaries and testicles—came much later.
Once a Copper T is in place, copper ions separate from the coiled copper wire and begin to alter the biochemistry around the uterus. ‘Alter’ sounds like a strong and permanent word, but it really isn’t. The copper ions leach into uterine fluids and the cervical mucus — when these fluids come in contact with sperm, the copper ions sound the death knell for the squiggly beasts.
Sex on TV: Masters of Sex
When I first heard this new show on Showtime was starting, I thought it was going to be about people who have mastered the act of sex. Seems like it would fit the title, right? Boy was I wrong. Showtime’s Masters of Sex puts a new, sexy spin on the science of sex. The show is about how sex happens.
As an individual studying health at a university, I’ve learned about Masters and Johnson’s theory on the stages of sex. But you never really learn how the theory was founded. And I’m paying all this tuition for what? Well, guess what! Showtime is supplementing my education. The first episode of Masters of Sex introduces viewers to how the study about the science of sex started.
William Masters said it himself; we know so much about life, but not how it starts. So BAM, after learning that many females fake orgasms, he starts a study about the stages of the sexual response by monitoring brain waves, heart rate, and other physiological activity. His assistant-turned-research-assistant-turned-famous-co-author Virginia Johnson recruits friends and coworkers to participate in the study where the participants have sex and use sex toys (including one with a camera).
BUT WAIT. Uhm…people are having sex, with people they don’t know, and no contraception is being used. If people are having sex even with people they do know and don’t want to get pregnant, they should still be protected. Yes, I know it’s in the 1950s and I wasn’t even an idea in my parents’ mind yet, nor were they probably even a thought in my grandparents’ mind, but there had to have been some sort of contraception available. We aren’t talking about the supermarket of options we have today (thank gosh for that!). But condoms and the diaphragm were definitely available at that time and it would not have cost that much money for Masters, especially as a gynecologist, to purchase some for his participants to at least keep them safe from both pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Episode 1 is intriguing. And once you get over the fact that individuals are having sex and people are studying their actions—and you are watching it—you can laugh. It’s not a serious show. I laughed so loud a few times I think people in the office thought I was insane (and I may very well be). We see Dr. Masters’ fellow completely and hopelessly in love with Ms. Johnson and cringe at his obsession with her. But as someone who is passionate about preventing unplanned pregnancy, I also found it irking that no protection is used…so far.
And for the individuals participating in the study, remember that there is someone always watching—it’s Dr. Masters and Ms. Johnson.
Alanna Perlstein is an intern with the Entertainment-Media team of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and a junior at University of Maryland, College Park. Originally from Highland Mills, NY, Alanna spends her downtime at school involved in her sorority and enjoying life before she becomes a “real person.”
ASAP Science (of “Morning wood" and "Science of orgasms" fame) has yet another super-cool, super-informative video—this one’s on how emergency contraception (EC) works. Not only does it have cute drawings and explain a complex scientific process in under 3 minutes, it also debunks the common myth that emergency contraception causes abortion. BONUS: It has a nice explanation of how the pill works, too.
If all the myth-busting whets your appetite, we’ve got an article on EC myths that might be of interest. And while you’re thinking about EC, why not read about the all-time most effective method of EC you can get your little animation-loving hands on?
A study found that the quality and frequency of orgasm actually increase with age. The percentage of women who reported experiencing orgasms during sex increased a full ten percent from age 18 to age 50. Well that gives us something besides retirement to look forward to.
Five Fun Facts from Trojan’s “Charged” Sex Life Survey
Trojan Brand Condoms released their Trojan Charged Sex Life Survey to uncover what Americans are doing in their bedrooms (or anywhere else we’re getting it on). Apparently we’re doing it more often than we were in 2011—hopefully using birth control responsibly when it’s not for procreative purposes. The survey had all sorts of titillating tidbits, but here are five of our favorites:
1) Americans may be having more sex, but the bad news is it’s not as satisfying as the sex we were having last year. The bright side? We’ve still got five months, so if you’re looking to spice it up (and it turns out most Americans are), we’ve got five sex positions to get you started.
2) Midwesterners are the most sexually adventurous Americans—but they also tie with the Northeast for having sex the least number of times per year. We’re thinking maybe they spend all their time planning their adventurous sex and not having it.
3) The survey says that Southerners are the most likely to fake an orgasm and to say their sex life needs to be “charged.” This regional trend doesn’t seem to include Atlanta or Miami, both of which top the chart of sexually “charged” cities.
4) Ever sexted or had phone sex? Apparently more and more Americans are using technology to connect in a sexy way to their partners. (And remember, you can also use your cell phone to connect in a sexy way with your birth control.)
5) Who would have thought that, in spite of scary Funny or Die videos, 74% of men would say they’re open to using a vibrator in the sack? Only 70% of women said the same—which still leaves us with a lot of open-minded people. If this is a revelation and you want to pick up a vibrator to do some research of your own, you may want to try a sex shop so you can check out your options in person. (If you’re nervous about walking into one, we have a Frisky Friday for that.) Or there’s always the internet.
Do you think the survey shows an honest view of Americans’ sex lives or sex in your city?