10 things you didn’t know about…

Mary Roach takes the cake with her TED presentation on “10 things you didn’t know about orgasm”. Did you know that paraplegics can have orgasms by stimulating parts of their body not typically connected with sexuality, just above their sense-deprived bodyparts? That embryos masturbate? Or that there is a woman who can have an orgasm by brushing her teeth? A very entertaining topic and talk!

I like Mary Roach’s reduced presentation: ten slides, each with a short phrase, white on black (and a few rivetting photos and a film thrown in). It goes wonderfully with her lively and natural delivery. She’s a natural-born presenter, so why have competing slides? Less, as almost always, is more. Critical body language note to self and others: Don’t walk around too much in front of audience, stand still!

We’ll be watching this talk at Morphosys this week (a course with about 6 or 7 students, half of them scientists, half lab technicians) and I’ll ask each participant to create a short individual presentation using the model “Ten things you didn’t know about…” on a topic of their choice.

PS: Update after the class: Things went quite differently. We wound up talking about the Danish government plan for happy pork – and animal farming in general – and then about sex research and reproductive medicine – and then collected 10 things you didn’t know about biotech. Having people do actual presentations at the end of a long, hard day when it’s as dark outside as if it were winter is no-go.

Sex and … grammar?

I’ve got a fun job, writing an exercise a week for learners of English. We think up a topic related to the magazine and a grammar issue that should be addressed, or a set of vocabulary items and an approach to learning them, and then I’m off and running. It’s funny: The more bizarre the task, the more it gets my creative juices flowing. This week I have to write something to accompany the title story “Sex in America”, and it’s going to be in the “grammar” section. So: Sex and grammar?? Hmm… These are some quotes I’ve found quite amusing fishing around the Internet for inspiration:

  • Remember, if you smoke after sex you’re doing it too fast. ~ Woody Allen
  • When a man talks dirty to a woman, it’s sexual harassment. When a woman talks dirty to a man, it’s $3.95 a minute. ~ Author Unknown
  • Men get laid, but women get screwed. ~ Quentin Crisp
  • Tell him I’ve been too fucking busy – or vice versa. ~ Dorothy Parker
  • I’d like to meet the man who invented sex and see what he’s working on now. ~ Author Unknown

Taken from Sex Quotes compiled by Aparna Chatterjee.

Women want bonobos?

Meredith Chivers is an expert on what women want. She says there’s a total disconnect between what a woman says she thinks is sexy and how her body reacts. In this study, women were physically aroused by almost everything, including bonobos having sex. Chivers explains that female sexuality is deeply divided: “physiological arousal reveals little about desire.” One explanation that makes great sense is her “evolutionary hypothesis that stresses the difference between reflexive sexual readiness and desire.” Women have “learned” to respond genitally to bad sex and rape in order to survive. So, to make a long story short, arousal is not consent.

Read it: Daniel Bergner, New York Times