04.25.11

Newsweek Live Chat: What the Internet Can Teach Us About Sex

In this week's Newsweek, Jessica Bennett talks to the authors of A Billion Wicked Thoughts about what the largest sex study in history reveals about human desire. On Thursday, April 28, at noon ET, she'll host a live chat with scientists, Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam. Join in the conversation.

11:59
Ogi Ogas: Hi, this is Ogi Ogas. This is our first public online chat about our findings, so we're shivery with anticipation.

12:00
Sai Gaddam: Hello! This is Sai Gaddam. I am the co-author of A Billion Wicked Thoughts. We'll discuss what the world's largest experiment about human desire reveals about what men and women really like.

12:00
The Daily Beast: Hi Ogi! Hi Sai! And hello to all our readers. Thanks for stopping by today. Newsweek's Jess Bennett is here to host the chat. Jess, take it away...

12:01
Comment From Fiona Marissa
Hi! Thanks for hosting and holding this chat!

12:01
The Daily Beast: Note to our readers leaving comments....we see them! They come through on our end in a queue, and we'll approve one-by-one so Ogi/Sai/Jess have the time to answer them. So keep your comments coming.

12:01
Jessica Bennett: And I'm Jess Bennett, the author of The Daily Beast piece looking at this nutty (and by nutty I mean fascinating) book-- read it here:

12:01
Comment From eenupfi
hiii!

12:02
Comment From Lupe
Hello everyone

12:02
Comment From xmasri
heyy

12:02
Sai Gaddam: Hi everyone!

12:02
Jessica Bennett: Thanks for joining, all. And ask away-- no need to hold back... we are talking about... sex

12:02
Comment From Caitlin
Hello

12:02
Comment From Meriadoc
Hi. Quite interesting topic. Is there a real biologic basis to describe internet sex addiction as similar to cocaine or other drugs?

12:03
Comment From Alan
cool, how long will this last for

12:03
The Daily Beast: Alan: ~30 minutes.

12:04
Ogi Ogas: @meiadoc: We don't know that Internet sex addiction is necessarily a widespread problem. Men around the world routinely access online porn.

12:05
Jessica Bennett: @Ogi: How many men? A lot, yes?

12:05
Comment From Fiona Marissa
What can you tell us about sex and the brain, paricularly as it relates to unconscious/hidden thoughts that may or may not translate into action? I ask because I hear and see both men and women talk a lot about sex, but very few who can integrate their sexuality into their 'normal' lives/routines. Thanks!

12:05
Ogi Ogas: More than 100 million men in North America accessed online porn in 2009.

12:06
Jessica Bennett: @Ogi: How many women accessed porn in the same time-period? I'm guessing... a lot less.

12:06
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12:06
Comment From Jason
More studies keep coming out about porn's negative effects on our sex life, and the generation weened on instantly available porn hasn't even hit their 30's yet. Are we all doomed?

12:07
Sai Gaddam: @Fiona, we focus on sexual desire. Sex is an interplay of many different factors conscious, cultural, emotional, and physical. And yes, there are many things we don't share about our sexuality.

12:07
Ogi Ogas: Between one in three and one in four visitors to the major porn video sites, such as PornHub, XNXX, Xtube, etc.

12:07
Ogi Ogas: are women.

12:08
Comment From Random Reader
My husband cheated on me because he says he wasn't attracted to me because I'm "heavier." I was heavier when we met and haven't gained a pound and we had an, um, healthy intimate relationship. Now we are getting divorced but I'm puzzled as to how he could be attracted to me and not attracted to me at the same time.

12:08
Ogi Ogas: @Jason: what studies are you referring to? We haven't seen such research.

12:09
Jessica Bennett: @randomreader: i won't speak on behalf of these guys, but one thing i found interesting in their research is that men prefer overweight women to underweight women by 3 to 1. @ogi @sai -- that right?

12:09
Ogi Ogas: @Jason: Sex therapists frequently recommend that couples with sexual difficulties give porn a try as a sexual aid.

12:10
Sai Gaddam:
@RandomReader: The male sexual brain can separate lust and love.

12:11
Comment From EBdM
Jessica, I imagine that would depend on one´s culture/nationality

12:11
Comment From Timmy
Male Vs. Female, who is likely to cheat ?

12:11
Jessica Bennett: @EBdM agreed

12:11
Ogi Ogas: @Jessica, @EBdM: No, in terms of online erotica, men prefer overweight women to underweight women around the world.

12:12
Jessica Bennett: @Ogi @EBdM: wow!

12:12
Ogi Ogas: However, it's important to point out that men prefer healthy weight women the most.

12:12
Jessica Bennett: I'd love to hear whether you guys have a response to @Timmy's question-- about whether it's men or women who are more likely to cheat. Did your research delve into that atall?

12:13
Comment From Liz
Could that be because weight tends to correlate with breast size?

12:13
Jessica Bennett: @Liz good question! Bigger breasts = heavier weight = men more attracted?

12:14
Sai Gaddam: @Timmy: This doesn't answer your question directly, but the male sexual brain is easier to satisfy because it is like an OR gate: any one interesting cue is enough. The female sexual brain is like an AND gate and requires many more cues for arousal to be triggered. But cheating doesn't just hinge on the sexual; there are so manyother factors at play.

12:14
Ogi Ogas: @RandomReader: Unfortunately, our research only looks at sexual arousal and sexual desire.Relationships--which involve so many emotional, social, sexual, financial, and family factors--are far more complicated. And each relationship between twopeople is unique.

12:15
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12:15
Comment From Joseph D.
would you say that fetishes that some consider bizarre are abnormal? If two consenting adults want to experiment with coprophilia for example?

12:15
Ogi Ogas: @Liz: an excellentquestion. However, the attraction to larger breasts seems to be relatively independent from the attraction to heavier weights.

12:16
Jessica Bennett: @joseph @ogi @sai first off-- i'd like to know what "coprophilia" is...

12:16
Comment From Random Reader
And I have to say I haven't had trouble attracting men though I'm guessing if I get healthier that number would increase as I am otherwise fabulous. See how my sparkling personality shines through here?

12:16
Ogi Ogas: @Liz: But there does seem to be a similar evolutionary principle underlying the attraction to larger breasts and heavier weight, what biologists call "asymmetric fitness."

12:16
Comment From Caitlin
From my experience ( I work in a topless bar) men tend to prefer women with average size breasts

12:16
Comment From ted
I would think that men prefer healthy weight women bit not overweight women.

12:17
Ogi Ogas: @Liz: Basically, it's a safer strategy for the male brain to prefer a woman with a few extra poundsthan a few less pounds, and to prefer a woman with a slightly larger breast(often indicating more estrogen) than a slightly smaller breast.

12:18
Ogi Ogas: @ted: It turns out that men prefer health weight women the most, but they prefer overweight women to underweight women. There is also a very significant population of men who are only aroused by overweight women.

12:18
Comment From Meriadoc
I agree. Healthier rather than over or underweight

12:18
Comment From Liz
Thanks, that's really interesting!

12:18
Ogi Ogas: @ted: It turns out there are many more websites featuring heavy ladies (504 sites in the Alexa Top Million; Fat Tube, Sugar Fat Girls, and Hippo Girls are some examples). There are only 182 explicitly dedicated to skinny ones (such as Skinny Teens Naked).

12:19
Jessica Bennett: So interesting!

12:19
Ogi Ogas: Sorry, the Alexa Top Million is our list of the most popular adult websites in the world, around~40,000 sites.

12:19
Comment From ted
That makes sense

12:20
Comment From Dan
I think there is comfort in an overweight woman, plus Liz has to be right...it's the breasts

12:21
Sai Gaddam: @Joseph: If it is consensual and between adults, it is their business. But whether such interests (Jess, coprophilia is a sexual interest in feces) are 'abnormal' or 'normal' is a statistical question and we'd refrain from moralistic labels. We are actually wired to label any unusual (to us) sexual practice as 'deviant' even if many millions of other people, or other cultures, engage in them.

12:21
Ogi Ogas: @Caitlin: actually, someone else did a study and did find a correlation between breast size andtips--bigger breasts equals more tips. On the Web, men definitely prefer porn with larger breasts by substantial margins, though there are plenty of fans of small-breasted women. The Japanese call them DFC, or Delicious Flat Chest.

12:21
Ogi Ogas: @Caitlin: the study was at a strip club, I forgot to mention.

12:22
Comment From Alan
When you guys say women are more AND gates, what kind of AND's do you mean?

12:22
Ogi Ogas: When you look at men's preferences for body weight, breast size, and butt size, men prefer healthy(not average!) weight the most, and favor larger over smaller.
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12:23
Ogi Ogas: It's the opposite for feet, since men prefer smaller feet.

12:23
Ogi Ogas: All of these body preferences are correlated with estrogen (even feet, since it appears that estrogen influences bone growth in feet).

12:24
Jessica Bennett: To @Alan's question, can you guys explain a little bit what makes the female sexual brain so much more complicated?

12:24
Comment From Fiona Marissa
@Ogi ... lol ...

12:24
Jessica Bennett: My favoritequote-- when I was interviewing you guys -- was when @Sai said, "If the male brain is like a single toggle switch, then the female brain is "the cockpit of an F-1 fighter jet"—chock full of wires and buttons and interconnected fuses.

12:24
Comment From Caitlin
That's interesting

12:24
Sai Gaddam: @Alan: Sorry, the OR and AND gates are from computer science terminology. What we mean is that any one cue is not enough to trigger arousal. A guy needs to be tall AND handsome AND competent AND have a good job


12:25
Ogi Ogas: @Dan: It's true that in most BBW porn (i.e., visual erotica with heavy women) the women also have oversized breasts. But fans of the genre talk about the entire shape, size, and feel of the woman, not just her breasts.

12:26
Ogi Ogas: Our data shows very clearly that there is an enormous international audience for porn with overweight women.

12:26
Comment From Liz
@Alan Like with a search engine - women need the combination of factors, but any one factor will work for men

12:27
Comment From Meriadoc
OK. How about the big historic dilemma: For women, does penis size matter?

12:27
Ogi Ogas: @Jessica: The "ANDgate" vs "OR gate" is one of the most fundamental differences between male and female sexuality.

12:27
The Daily Beast: Keep those comments/questions coming, we're reading, approving, and answering as fast as we can. Thanks!

12:28
Ogi Ogas: For men, a single sexual stimulus can be necessary and sufficient. (When it is, it's called a fetish--or a paraphilia, in the clinical literature.) For women, a single sexual stimulus is almost never necessary or sufficient.

12:29
Comment From Fiona Marissa
@Meriadoc ... be interesting to see the answer. I heard a woman say the person who said size doesn't matter was a guy with a small penis.

12:29
Ogi Ogas: Interestingly, though fetishes almost exclusively occur in men, there's an analogous erotic obsession that occurs almost exclusively in women: objectum sexualis. Women who have this fall in romantic love with inanimate objects, like fences or Ferris wheels. One woman suffering from objectum married the Eiffel Tower. If it was a man, he'd just try to have sex with it.

12:30
Sai Gaddam: Here's an illustration of a 'BBW' (not a nude! but might be a little NSFW)

One thing that surprised us was how parallel gay male interests are to straight male interests. Here's an illustration of a 'Bear' (a big rugged man?)

Gay male interest in 'Bears'parallels the straight male interest in 'BBWs'

12:30
Comment From John
Women have told me that my bigger sized penis makes a difference. I'm not sure if it is purely visual or psychological, or physical.

12:31
Comment From Meriadoc
Does penis size matter to women?

12:31
Ogi Ogas: @Meriadoc: we found very, very important differences in men and women's attitudes towards penises.

12:31
Jessica Bennett: We're going to have to wrap this up shortly-- but we'll let @Sai and @Ogi get to the penisquestion first... seems to be a big one (no pun intended :)

12:31
Ogi Ogas: It turns out that straight men are very sexually interested in the penis.

12:31
The Daily Beast: @Jess, +1.

12:31
Ogi Ogas: Straight men search for penises almost as often as they search for vaginas.

12:31
Ogi Ogas: And straight men are especially interested in large penises.

12:31
Jessica Bennett: @Ogi: really?!

12:32
Comment From Fiona Marissa
@Ogi ... interesting

12:32
Comment From Fiona Marissa
@Ogi ... rotf lmao

12:32
Comment From Guest
Can I respond to Meriadoc - Of the men I have been intimate with, the ole saying 'It's not the length it's not the size, it's how many times you can make it rise' proved this to be true. At lease to me, he turned me into a nymph (4-5 a day) which nobody else was able to

12:32
Ogi Ogas: Penises are one of the 7 most popular sexual searches among straight men. We analyzed about 10,000 romance novels, and the penis is not one of the 100 most commonly mentionedmale body parts.

12:32
Comment From Dan
Penis envy?

12:32
Comment From Fiona Marissa
@Ogi .. I think they like to see the phallus penetrating the vagina more than they like to look at the vagina

12:32
Ogi Ogas: Freud suffered from penis envy, not women!

12:33
Jessica Bennett: So the whole obsession with size... male-created?

12:33
Ogi Ogas: So in all our primate cousins, the penis is a prominent and versatile social tool. Males pay close attention to other males' penises. It appears that human men may have inherited some of this.

12:34
Ogi Ogas: In addition, the sight of the penis might be what biologists call a "sperm competition cue" that triggers arousal in order to sexually compete with other males.

12:34
Comment From Fiona Marissa
@Ogi ... like that theory

12:34
Comment From Mandy
this was a fascinating dicussion, will buy the book

12:35
Comment From Meriadoc
Quite interesting

12:35
Ogi Ogas: As a man, one thing I found interesting about the treatment of the penis in romance novels is thefrequency with which women describe a penis' blood. "The blood coursed through his penis." or "hot blood throbbed in his penis" are quite common. Most men probably don't associate hot blood with their manhood.

12:35
Sai Gaddam: @Fiona. Yes, most searchers are looking for penises in context, not just images of penises. But this is because the penis is a sexual cue for men. Anime porn provides a good example of this. Not only do they feature gigantic penises on men, they also sometimes have them affixed to petite women.

12:36
Comment From Fiona Marissa
Hmm ... yes, must have been Freud that was envious ... I love them, not envy them :-)

12:36
Jessica Bennett: Thanks everyone for tuning in-- we've gotten a couple comments saying the discussion was a little male-focused, but I can assure you there's much more about women in the book as well.

12:36
The Daily Beast: If you've enjoyed today's chat, go pick up the authors' book: 'A Billion Wicked Thoughts.' You can read our review, and a bit more on their study, in this week's Newsweek. To our guests, Ogi and Sai, our host, Jess, and all the readers...thanks so much for spending some time with us today. We'll see you again soon!

12:36
Ogi Ogas: Heterosexual sitesdevoted to large penises are some of the most popular sites on the Internet.

12:36
Ogi Ogas: There are 1,072 Web sites in the Alexa Adult List that feature heterosexual porn with large penises such as Monsters Of Cock, Mr.Biggz, and Teens Like It Big. The number of Alexa sites devoted to small penises? Just three: PinkyDick, Little-Cock, and My Tiny Dick.

12:37
Ogi Ogas: So let's talk about the female sexual brain, to balance things out a bit.

12:37
Sai Gaddam: a relevant excerpt from our book:

We analyzed the text of more than ten thousand romance novels published from 1983 to 2008 to determine the most common descriptions of the hero’s physical appearance. Here are the seven most frequent masculine features:
cheekbones
jaw
brows
shoulders
forehead&
waist
hips
And the seven most common adjectives used to describe masculine features?
lean
handsome
blond
tanned
muscular
masculine
chiseled
...no synonym for penis appears in the hundred most common physical descriptors used to describe the romance hero. If we wished to describe the ideal-looking hero, we could use the most common two-word physical descriptions: the perfect hero boasts “blue eyes,” a “straight nose,” “high forehead,” and “square jaw” together making a “handsome face.” His head is framed by “dark hair” which accents the “white teeth” in his “sensual mouth” curved into a “crooked smile.” He stands tall with “broad shoulders,” a “broad chest,” “narrow waist,” “flat stomach,” “strong arms,” “big hands,” “big feet,” and “long legs”—though the heroine’s eye might ultimately be drawn to his “powerful thighs.”

12:38
Ogi Ogas: In men, physical and psychological arousal are united. Men may be surprised to hear that this is not necessarily true for the ladies. A woman can be physically aroused yet mentally turned off—or downright disgusted—a finding replicated across dozens of studies. This disconnect explains why there is no "female Viagra": you can't arouse a woman's mind simply by arousing her body.

12:38
Comment From Fiona Marissa
@Ogi ... sounds good

12:38
Ogi Ogas: So what might be the reason for this feminine "mind-body problem"? It's part of the female brain's solution to the unique problem of sizing up a prospective sex partner. The female cortex contains a highly developed neural system designed to unearth and scrutinize a dazzling range of informative clues that help a woman evaluate a suitor's true character. This cortical system might appropriately be dubbed the Miss Marple Detective Agency.


12:39
Ogi Ogas: Agatha Christie’s fictional sleuth Miss Marple is an independent, elderly spinster. Others dismiss her as scatterbrained, but she is actually a shrewd judge of human character and harbors deep knowledge of the dark side of human nature. She uses her surprising analytical acumen to solve mysteries that have stumped the police. In the same intuitive way, the female brain evaluates a man's social, emotional, and physical qualities.

12:39
Ogi Ogas: The Detective Agency's sifting of the intimate, detailed clues of male character can be seen in consumer choices. Many women are willing to pay money for celebrity biographies in order to read about the private lives of Leonardo DiCaprio or Johnny Depp, but won’t pay to see their nude photos. Men whip out the credit card to gawk at a naked Angelina Jolie or Scarlett Johannsen on hundreds of celebrity porn sites (the thirteenth most popular porn site genre), though it would never occur to them to shell out cash for their biographies.

12:40
Comment From Alan
Thank you

12:40
Ogi Ogas: Thanks everyone! Boy, time goes by so fast!

12:40
Comment From Caitlin
This has been very interesting. Thank you

12:40
Comment From Timmy
thank you... very interesting topic

12:40
Comment From Meriadoc
Thank you all!

12:40
Comment From Fiona Marissa
Thanks!

12:40
Comment From John
thanks

12:41
Comment From Mandy
thanks!

12:41
Ogi Ogas: You can read more about our book on our website, billionwickedthoughts.com.

12:41
Jessica Bennett: See you guys again soon! We'll post the archive page up on The Daily Beast if you want to check it out. Cheers.

12:41
The Daily Beast: One more time: If you liked today's chat, pick up the authors' book: 'A Billion Wicked Thoughts.' You can read our review, and a bit more on their study, in this week's Newsweek.

12:41
Sai Gaddam: Thanks everyone! You can follow up with us on our Facebook page

12:41
Comment From miguel
insightful and enlightening.thanks to all.