Sex studies roundup

Binge drinking, STDs, the psychology of pleasure and more.

Published September 9, 2008 9:30AM (EDT)

"Binge Drinking Is Fun -- Until the Gonorrhea Diagnosis." That headline is courtesy of the Los Angeles Times, which reports that slamming back five or more drinks is associated with risky sexual behavior among women. In a press release, study author Heidi E. Hutton summarized the findings: "Across genders, women binge drinkers are more likely to have anal sex than men binge drinkers. Within gender, women binge drinkers are three times as likely to have anal sex, and twice as likely to have multiple sex partners compared to women who do not drink alcohol. Compared to non-drinking women, women binge drinkers are also five times as likely to have gonorrhea."

Just say, "I like you." Researchers at Aberdeen University in the U.K. say they have found that people are more attracted to those who verbally or physically express their attraction to them. (Although the photo accompanying the BBC's coverage of the study suggests that eating your partner's face is also a successful mating strategy.) Researchers showed 230 volunteers four pictures of a face making different expressions. "The face is shown making eye contact and not smiling; not making eye contact and not smiling; making eye contact and not smiling; and making eye contact and smiling," reports the Press Association. On the whole, the face smiling and looking at the viewer was rated as more attractive. Not exactly revelatory, but interesting, nonetheless.

Sexual pleasure: It's in your mind. Researchers at the University of Southern California and Yale University studied survivors of cervical cancer who had their ovaries removed. They found "widespread interest and satisfaction with sex" despite an oophorectomy reducing the testosterone available in a woman's body. Lead author Howard Greenwald said, "That may mean the key to sexual satisfaction is less about biology and more about psychology."

By Tracy Clark-Flory

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