Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Most stupid evolutionary explanation ever?

Reading a rather interesting article from New Scientist - PET scans of women's brains during sex and orgasms. Apparently a rather large part of the brain - including parts responsible for emotion - simply "shut down" during the orgasms. It could also be seen that during stimulation, activity levels in areas responsible for alertness and anxiety went down. This they take to correspond to that women cannot climax when they are stressed and/or worried - it seems like a bit of a circular argument to me; it could just as well be interpreted as "women become less stressed when having sex". But, well, that view would of course require one to assume that women naturally enjoy sex, not only in special cases...

And then comes this absolute gem among stupid explanations: "From an evolutionary point of view, it could be that the brain switches off the emotions during sex because at such times the chance to produce offspring becomes more important than the survival risk to the individual. " Hellooo? Ever heard of 9 months pregancy? *snort*

I would be OK with someone saying something like "evolutionarily speaking, to become less anxious when mating is a good strategy since mating requires one to overcome part of ones anxiety for being physically close to another human". That might be what they were after in the first place ... but trying to explain women becoming less anxious during sex with that their survival risk becomes less important since they will have offspring is ... well, stupid.

Interesting was also that they had done the same study on men, but it was much harder. PET scan is a slow method with poor time resolution, and for the men it was over in a couple of seconds...

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