Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ask Dr. Efficient, the Love Guru:
Dr. Efficient Answers All, #6

Warning: The following is an adult entry. If you are underage or simply do not want to read about sex-related topics, stop now.

All opinions are those of Dr. Efficient.

Dr. Efficient's sixth guest column finds him back in the gym, eating healthy, meditating, rescuing stray pets, and giving pro-self-love talks to middle schoolers around the country.

As usual, both questions he answers originated with U.S. women who chose to remain anonymous.

Is it okay that my dog watches me having sex, or could that cause lasting mental damage?

It's not clear whose mental health you're concerned about, so this question requires a four-part answer to cover all the parties involved:

1. Me. I don't give a shit. Unless you're ugly. If you're ugly, then I don't want to think about you having sex, and I feel sorry for your dog.

2. Your dog. For the sake of convenience, I'll henceforth refer to your dog as Olivia. As far as Olivia's concerned, watching your lover's pimply butt pumping up and down between your thighs is the most natural thing in the world. Like most of God's creatures, dogs hump in public. In Why Is Sex Fun?, UCLA physiologist Jared Diamond describes a dog's opinion of human sexual practices: "Here's the weirdest thing of all: [they] close the bedroom door and have sex in private, instead of doing it in front of their friends like any self-respecting dog!" You're part of Olivia's pack, and she wants to be there for all of your bodily functions.

3. You. Your mental health is already questionable. As a species, humans prefer privacy during sex. This preference spans cultures and so is presumably evolutionary in origin--though no one is quite sure why this preference evolved. The desire for sexual privacy may relate to the fact that human females show no visible signs of ovulation (a trait that is quite rare among primates), a quirk that leads humans to screw constantly whether it's the right time of the month to make babies or not. The desire for privacy may also relate to the amount of care required by human children, which caused human parents to evolve to be more-or-less monogamous, and turned sex into a tool to cement the pair bond between mates. Diamond writes in The Third Chimpanzee, "Not only have all signs of female ovulation vanished, but the act of sex itself takes place privately, to emphasize the distinction between sexual and nonsexual partners within the same close group." So in rejecting the human preference for privacy during sex you are, like a monk or a vegetarian, defying your evolutionary programming. No good is likely to come of this.

4. Your lover. For the sake of convenience, I'll henceforth refer to your lover as Dirk Studly. Unless you're of long acquaintance and you're confident that Dirk shares your peculiar predilections, you're being rude. Since sexual privacy is the norm, you should assume that Mr. Studly would prefer not to fuck with your dog watching his hairy man-ass jackhammering away. You could ask, "Do you mind if my dog watches us fuck?", but (a) Dirk will assume you're a total perv and (b) he'll probably say he doesn't mind even if he does because he doesn't want to jeopardize his chances of getting laid. So just stick Olivia in the bathroom and tell Dirk, "I'm going to lock the dog up so you don't have to worry about whether your pasty asscrack is winking at her while you thrust." If Dirk's really your soul mate, he'll tell you not to bother.
If a man's only sexual thought is to implant as many seedlings as possible, why are they so picky about their partners? Wouldn't any female do?
Picky relative to what? Compared to women, the only yardstick available, men are stunningly unpicky.

In 1978, Florida State University psychologists Russell Clark and Elaine Hatfield recruited male and female students as accomplices. The students were instructed to approach members of the opposite sex on campus and proposition them with the winning pick-up line, "I have been noticing you around campus. I find you to be very attractive. Would you go to bed with me tonight?"

When young male researchers thus propositioned female students, not a single woman said yes. When young female researchers thus propositioned male students, 75% accepted! The authors write, "The men that said 'No' even gave apologies, i.e., 'I'm married' or 'I'm going with someone.' In contrast, the women's response to the intimate requests from males was 'You've got to be kidding,' or 'What is wrong with you? Leave me alone.'"

The researchers repeated the experiment four years later with similar results.

On the other hand, men aren't entirely unselective. When offered sex, one man in four said no. To understand why, we must turn from the cold science of evolutionary biology to the rather colder science of economics. Economics, you'll recall from your college days, is the study of how people reconcile infinite wants with finite resources. Men want a great many things--sex, but also food, shelter, violence, more sex in the future, etc. But men have limited time, money, and attention. Any man will turn down sex if the expected costs exceed the expected benefits. A man may be sufficiently tired or hungry that he'd rather spend his time eating or sleeping. He may consider the woman who's offering him sex to be so unattractive that fucking her would lower his social status and hurt his chances of fucking more attractive women in the future.

A man may also mistrust a woman's offer of casual sex on the grounds that sex is less casual for women than for men. For example, when surveyed about their preferences in long-term and temporary sex partners, men rate promiscuity and sexual experience as negatives in a long-term sex partner but positive in a temporary sex partner. Women, on the other hand, find promiscuity equally distasteful in candidates for short-term and long-term relationships. David Buss writes in The Evolution of Desire, "Women's desires in a short-term sex partner strongly resemble their desires in a husband.... Men's preferences, in marked contrast, shift abruptly with the mating context. The constancy of women's preferences in both scenarios is consistent with the theory that women see casual mates as potential husbands."

Men know this and understand that relationships initially advertised as being all sexual reward with no cost ("Would you go to bed with me tonight?") may in the end require non-trivial effort to extricate themselves from. It's important to understand up front the terms of the transaction. Hence the old joke that men don't really pay hookers for sex; they pay them to go away afterward.

As long as you keep sending in questions, Dr. Efficient will return soon! Email your queries to me or send them via the Contact page on my site.


Michelle said...

Amazing, simply amazing. Thank you, Dr.Efficient!

Todd said...

I don't really get these posts...

Mark said...

Fair enough.


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