Interesting Orgasm Research, Reported in the Press with a Dose of Sexism
The Telegraph, a UK newspaper, puts out some interesting stuff. I was quite disappointing, however, in their reporting on some very cool research on the role of women’s emotional intellegence in the bedroom. The headline shouts “Intelligent women enjoy sex more than ‘bimbos’, research finds: Women with brains have more fun in bed than the average bimbo, new research suggests.” What sounds like interesting research was baddly butchered in this article. Unnamed Telegraph writer, I would like to invite to you discuss your choice of language over tea. Topics covered will include both sexism and inaccurate reporting.
Lets focus the good stuff from this fascinating study and pretend that the “b word” was never used, shall we? We all love good research with findings that can be applied in favor of sexy talk and fantasies! (more after the jump)
When it comes to social research, one way to look at good studies is to divide them into two categories. A study could have a “wow” factor, in that it seeks to offer unique and surprising knowledge. It could also have a “build on it” factor by supporting past findings or things we suspect to be true (but haven’t studied), and enhancing our ability to apply the findings through policy, outreach, or other avenues. Sometimes, a study demonstrates both qualities with different audiences. I love that kind of study, and this appears to be one of them. Those who study sexual pleasure will be pleased to see our hunches, and past research, confirmed. General audiences may be surprised to learn the value of emotional intelligence to pleasure. Lets explore!
It’s common for clients I work with to expect, perhaps even hope, that I will be able to read their minds when it comes to their deepest and most vulnerable sexual thoughts and feelings. It’s strong indicator that there are also communication barriers with their lover/s, at least when it comes to those topics. Who doesn’t struggle with that, at least from time to time? It’s one of those situations that most of us can identify with; it’s both normal and unfortunate. Now, I’m certainly not in favor of telling every little thing to your lover. However, good things can come from learning what one’s needs are and then learning how to express them. Even though we often worry that communicating certain things about our sexual selves (or even learning those things) will kill the lust and maybe even the relationship, it often turns out that secrecy or ineffective communication are real perpetrators. I’m thrilled to see that Dr. Spector’s research suggests the same thing. This kind of awareness and communication can be considered a component of emotional intellegence, and his study found that it enhances how orgasmic women are with their lovers and even by themselves!
The article also says that Dr. Burri, another researcher for this study, recognized the potential importance of fantasy to their findings. Fantasy is a wonderful way of discovering and exploring what turns us on. Some of us have very active fantasy lives, filled with vibrant mental images of naughty goodness. Others still cling to fantasy, but in a more subdued and socially acceptable way. And there are many of us who just don’t do that anymore for a variety of reasons, including a fear that fantasies parrallel cheating or concerns about the content of our fantasies. Or, maybe we just forgot how to fantasize along the way. Regardless, helping my clients learn to develope, explore and understand their fantasies is one of the (many) wonderful parts of my job and can be an essential step in increasing pleasure. I’m glad to see that Dr. Burri recognizes that that this could be a very important application of their research.
The article was published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, which requires a subscription in most countries. However, feel free to take a look at the abstract, which is interesting all by itself. Also worth noting: it looks like also found no relationship between past sexual abuse and level of emotional intelligence, although I would have to read the article to see exactly what they did with those two variables.