christian yoga pose wide le Do The Chicken Walk

Continuing the sexual theme (we’ll get to the drugs and rock and roll soon I promise), in this piece I’ll be reviewing a rather ridiculus paper that I first came across (doing believe-it-or-not actual legitimate research on sexuality) as part of my psych course (yes really, if Freud taught us anything it’s that psychology professors tend to be obsessed with sex)… The title of the paper is A Woman’s History of Vaginal Orgasm is Discernible from Her Walk (no I’m not kidding). This paper, published in Belgium, is a couple of years old now, but here goes. The paper opens (read, let’s us know exactly where the authors stand) by bigging up all the benefits of penetration over, well all the stuff in between (involving the clitoris). The authors explain how clitoral sensory information is transmitted down the spinal cord directly in to the brain whilst feeling from inside the vajayjay is transmitted up a separate pathway (one of the cranial nerves). Therefore, even women who have a fully severed spinal cord can still experience vaginal orgasm but not the clit kind. ShockedWoman1 Do The Chicken Walk

The authors go on to argue on that basis that essentially sex with a willy makes women feel better than just clitoral stimulation because it results in a substancially greater release in prolactin (Gold award for geekiest chat up line ever, right there). According to the authors, inability to orgasm vaginally makes women everything from more psychologically immature to less happy with life in general. No comment.

Next we get to the weird stuff, the study goes on to cite a pretty morbid study I’ll just quote…

In older persons, slower walking speed and lesser stride length were both associated with increased risk of dependency, mortality, and institutionalization in a three-year follow up period

Seriously? A study was needed to find that old people that walk slow are probably going to pop their clogs before their peers that are still merrily bouncing along. The answer is yes, that actually happened. For the record, (something the current study neglects to mention) the sample in this study was “chinese men over 70 years of age”.

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Old Chinese Men

I wouldn’t dispute this study on old chinese men (and cardiovascular discorder), just question why it was cited in relation to… er… dutch university age women and their sex lives. I could have cited a study about Granny Smith apples harvested in melbourne and it would have been more relevant. The only thing that connects that study to this one is that it’s to do with walking.

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Okay I'm struggling to find "safe for work" images on this one alright

So far so good, next the study cites possibly the weirdest piece of academic research I’ve ever seen, as definitive fact, brace youselves for the least politically correct thing you’ve heard all year…

Relative movement of hips and shoulders provide fairly accurate indicators to differentiate (in different directions) male and female homosexual and heterosexual walkers.
wtf Do The Chicken Walk
WHOOOAH… at some point I’ll get round to tearing apart this nutty paper, if you want to beat me to it please go ahead, I really can’t be arsed to read this bollocks right now so for now I’m going to concentrate on the text in hand. So on to the intriguing bit… the method.

The researcher went up to 20 (a pretty tiny sample for such a broad claim) dutch female psychology students and persuaded them to fill in a questionairre about how often they did it, and in which ways. Of those 20, 4 dropped out (only four??). The researcher then filmed the women walking up and down the street in either two conditions, imagining they were on a beach and imagining they were with a man they liked. “Participants were blind to the hypothesis”, read participants were very, very confused.

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The videos were then rated by two “professors of sexology” and two research assistants. The rating was based on…

“free, fluid, energetic, sensual manner of walking (with an emphasis on energy flow through the rotation of the pelvisand the spine)”
This presumerably is contrary to the traditional, legs crossing, hips swinging, cat-walk style sexy walk. However there was no measure of this (or any other type of walk) The sexologists were correct 81.25% of the time. Supposedly this is higher than the score the average group of lads on tour would get if asked which out of a line of of ladies they guessed were likely to get around a lot. (Obviously this little matter was not tested because it would ruin the position of the “sexologists” entirely, and in fairness this study was pretty lucky to get through ethics in the first place.)
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An exploration of the data (i.e. putting all of the data into a stats ananalysis program to see what stand out – 9 times out of 10 something will just out of pure randomness) suggested that:

(stride length + vertebral rotation) is greater for vaginally orgasmic women

The experimenters admit this is probably a random finding, which begs the question of how this study ever got published in the first place… and yes, I’m not making this up this was a genuine study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, Volume 5, Issue 9 (p 2119-2124). The whole text is available free to download here and if you feel you need to keep it for prosperity here is the PDF.

Bizzarely, this paper isn’t a rare occurance, theres whole volumes of this stuff (add the word psychology for the truely nutty ones), presumerable because sex sells and the fact that this paper is being reproduced two years later, in this blog only goes to prove that rule. (Oh dear, have I broken rule #1 already?).

As I am (thank god) no-longer studying this area of psychology as part of my course I’m not going to be coming across as much of this from now on so if you find a particularly ridiculus or earth shattering piece you come across that you’d like to see reviewed just drop it to neurobonkers@gmail.com. Happy walking!

A big thank you to Ben Goldacre for bringing this back to our attention on his twitter.

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