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The Internet and Human Sexuality

Posted on Oct 14, 2011

By Robin Shamburg

(Page 2)

To a human male searching the Internet, this translates into pornography, where exaggerated and tumescent sex organs can be ordered up at whim, often devoid of any distracting context. And these disembodied images are just as popular with gay men as with their straight brothers. In fact, the researchers discovered, for every female body part that heterosexual men fancied (breasts, vaginas), there was an analogous male body part (chests, penises) sought after by homosexuals.

According to Ogas and Gaddam, the male brain’s desire software can best be compared to Elmer Fudd. Bugs Bunny’s perennial antagonist, Fudd is a solitary, trigger-happy hunter with a single goal in mind: rabbit. Just as the human male can be aroused by artificial breasts, the cartoon Fudd will point his gun at anything remotely resembling his target—Daffy Duck dressed up as a rabbit, for instance, or a pair of bunny ears set up by Bugs to trick him. But even when he’s been fooled, he’s undeterred. He reloads and gets back out there. Every new day is a chance to bag a rabbit.

For female arousal, however, context is everything. It’s why Big Pharma and biotech companies have yet to develop a Viagra for women. It takes more than increased blood flow to the vagina to make a female want to have sex; she also needs to be mentally stimulated. This is a far more daunting and complicated process, one that can’t be kick-started by disembodied images of male genitalia, no matter how attractive.

So when women are looking for online stimulation, their aphrodisiac of choice is the written word. Literotica, for example, is the most popular erotic story site on the Web, with more than 200,000 sexy stories—the vast majority of them written by women—and 5 million visitors per month—the vast majority of them women. These stories pique female desire in a way that is all about context. By the time the heroine beds down with the man (or men, or woman, or whatever) the reader knows what she needs to know to engage her unique circuitry. She knows who’s having sex, why and—just as in real life—where this relationship is going.


book cover


A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the World’s Largest Experiment Reveals about Human Desire


By Ogi Ogas (Author), Sai Gaddam (Author)


Dutton Adult, 416 pages


Buy the book

According to Ogas and Gaddam, this need is an evolutionary imperative. “When contemplating sex with a man, a woman has to consider the long term,” they write. “This consideration may not even be conscious, but rather is part of unconscious software that has evolved to protect women over hundreds of thousands of years. Sex could commit a woman to a substantial, life-altering investment: pregnancy, nursing and more than a decade of child raising. These commitments require enormous time, resources and energy. Sex with the wrong guy could lead to many unpleasant outcomes. If a man abandons her, she would face the challenges of single motherhood. If the man turns out to be cruel, he might injure her or her children. If the man turns out to be weak or incompetent, he might fail to protect her from threats.”

Because of these risks, the female brain has developed a highly sophisticated kind of vetting software. A man must pass the test in order to be considered arousal-worthy. According to the authors, if a man is Elmer Fudd, a woman is Miss Marple. Agatha Christie’s fictional detective is a shrewd judge of character with a deep knowledge of the darker side of human nature. The detective skills of the female brain were developed over generations, as amateur female sleuths investigated the characters of potential mates in a wide variety of situations. “Like the fictional Miss Marple,” Ogas and Gaddam conclude, “a woman’s Detective Agency mulls over a variety of evidence concerning a potential partner’s character, weighs clues from the physical and social environment, and examines her own experiences and feelings before permitting—or pursuing—sex.”

When so much of modern life is lived online, Ogas and Gaddam’s data collection methods may make some people uncomfortable. Granted, there is a technical and ethical difference between analyzing Internet traffic patterns of personal proclivities and collecting personal information. But how difficult would it be for a motivated computer tech to connect the dots between a fetish for rubber dresses and the fetishist’s home address? His credit card numbers? His employer’s phone number? In 2006, AOL released the search histories of more than half a million users; this data set contained all the Internet searches of certain AOL users over the course of three months. Typically, many of the searches contained sexual terms. Although the users’ names were not included, this incident was considered a public relations disaster for AOL; CNN Money named it one of the “101 Dumbest Moments in Business.” It was also considered a treasure trove for researchers, with some of the data being used for Ogas’ and Gaddam’s research.

To see long excerpts from “A Billion Wicked Thoughts” at Google Books, click here.

More recently, Facebook has come under fire for transmitting users’ identifying information to advertising and Internet tracking companies through many of its popular applications, and yet Facebook’s membership continues to grow. Have we become used to trading a little bit of personal privacy for social convenience? Is this a case where the ends justify the means?

For people looking for a long-term relationship where they are not only loved but desired, that answer may be yes. Ultimately, Ogas and Gaddam’s ambitious and thought-provoking book delivers a message of hope. If there’s one thing their exhaustive research reveals, it is this: No matter who you are, slender or obese, young or old, there is a group of people out there who will find you attractive. All you have to do is go online. And for a person who is looking for instant gratification—no matter how exotic or debased—the news is just as good. For this, the authors cite what has become known as Internet Rule No. 34: If you can imagine it, it exists as Internet porn.

Robin Shamburg is the author of “Mistress Ruby Ties It Together: A Dominatrix Takes on Sex, Power, and the Secret Lives of Upstanding Citizens.” She is finishing her second book, “Dungeon Confidential.”


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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 17, 2011 at 5:25 am Link to this comment

I have to be off to work right now and might have some time this
evening to slosh through this conundrum.  I will also contact the
Webmaster again, as I have already contacted him before on this
very same kind of problem.  Thank you for putting your mind to
it as it is a website peculiarity.

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By tombuck, October 17, 2011 at 5:00 am Link to this comment

nope can’t do it. I get redirected to this page
which, as you say, tells me the page cannot be found.
What’s happening, I would think, is that there is one page which deals with comment submissions, accepted or rejected, and this page is supposed to pull in an appropriate message to let you know what happened,  in this case the appropriate message would tell us why the post was not accepted. This is the page that is not being found, the snippet containing the appropriate error message and link to return to your post to correct the problem. Maybe the character count is not 4000, maybe it says it is but it’s actually set to something else by mistake, maybe we’re carrying some formatting in from, in my case Word,  or something that it is not liking (also the char. count you need to look at is including spaces, they count towards your total) but I would think that unless the censorship is very clever, ie adds up more than one shadey word to give you a total score and only if your total score is over some threshold your post is blocked then the fact that all the content will go through in smaller chunks sort of rules out censorship. if we were being really thorough I think I’d try putting your whole post through deleting one word or line at a time until it was accepted and see if that showed up what was causing it to fall over.

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By tombuck, October 17, 2011 at 4:42 am Link to this comment

it is a mystery, I’m going to put your 4 posts together and see if I can post them.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 17, 2011 at 4:17 am Link to this comment

I made an error in my last post.  The Sorry, page not found (is the
page that is given when the post is not accepted).  If I click on where
it is directing me, it takes me to the Home page of the all the articles
being advertised for the day. To get back to the article and the
commentI am trying to post, I have to use the back button.  When a
comment is accepted you get a Thanks for your comment…What would
you like to do next?  page and a link to return to the article.  Sorry but
this is a bit difficult to explain.  I might be accused of being a geek of
some sort, but I am not a computer geek.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 17, 2011 at 4:05 am Link to this comment

Hello tombuck - I’ve tried a couple of times and the entire post is
2584 characters long.  Way under the 4000.  I just tried it again and
again it was not accepted. 

I’ve been posting for over 4 years and have some familiarity with
posting with over 6000 posts having been made.  The message I
get when I try to post the four as one long post does in fact get the
message Sorry, page not found (which is the post as accepted and
then redirects the message back to the forum when clicking on the
linking line, which is the title of the article.  I took the four posts as
posted below and combined them without any changes and it will not
post as one. Very odd indeed since they are posted separately. 

When this first happened I did have some extra text that contained
the reference “Sexual Motivation” in Psychological Review, March 1966
by Richard E. Whalen, as it was relevant to what I was saying, but I
removed it when the entire post would not post as I thought maybe the
word sexual was censored for some unknown reason.  I was trying to
edit the unaccepted post before I tried breaking it up into four parts. But
it still would not post a a unified comment.  I have in the past written to
the WebMaster about this problem as others were having the same
experience and he said he would investigate and that TD does not
censor. He had me go to a specific website and send him a bit of
information that would be found, it was an IP address, that he was going
to give to his technician, which I did.  He thanked me but never got back
with what was the problem.

P.S.  I see that the line about RIchard E. Whalen does not prevent this
post from being accepted so that was not it.  I can tell since I almost
always “Preview” check my posts for typos (not always arrrgh! and I
should but you know, we get in a hurry.)  Anyway, this very comment was
accepted and I am able to see it on the thread.  It is a mystery.

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By tombuck, October 17, 2011 at 1:49 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous your post altogether, all 4 points in one long post, seems to be a little over 3000 chars. so should not hit the 4000 char. limit. However I wonder about your statement
“I would get the message “Page Not Found,”
which is a signal that there is something censored.”
I don’t think the page not found error is necessarily an indication that something has been censored, only that the page it was trying to send you to to report whatever the error was couldn’t be found, this could be all sorts of things, a mistyped error message, or a misconfig in their htaccess file which sorts out page redirects. If you could see the actual URL you were trying to be directed to you might get more of an idea what the problem was, are you able to see that, you might have to resubmit the full post.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 16, 2011 at 6:59 pm Link to this comment

N-G: did you change anything about it when you posted it
in 4 parts?
  No.  I just tried to post the four posts as a whole
post and the following showed up:

Sorry, Page Not Found - We dug around, but couldn’t find that
page for you. Continue to Truthdig Website >>

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, October 16, 2011 at 5:21 pm Link to this comment

By default I am a recluse. Can’t interact well, very uncomfortable there is no other choice but be one. I don’t like it but I live with it. Just one of those who can’t do it. I would help someone if they are in trouble no matter who they are but it would be highly unlikely I would become friends with them. I have done my own research and come to the conclusion I have schizotypal personality disorder. Another spectrum disorder that has varying levels of severity. It is like having some of schizophrenia without the worse parts of it. I am highly creative which helps and intelligent enough to use the cognitive disinhibition—the brain’s failure to filter out extraneous information to my benefit. The ones who can’t become delusional. Of course it isn’t official but it takes money to get an official to see me and I don’t have it. Such is life. It is much easier in these forums.

Shenonymous when you tried to post the last long one did you change anything about it when you posted it in 4 parts?

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 16, 2011 at 3:40 pm Link to this comment

I might have to agree with you Night-Gaunt about the censorship
of TD except this was not the only time it happened, and it has
happened to others about six or so months ago.  I was wondering
if anyone on this thread had encountered the problem.  I will test
it out and try to post my comment a one continuous post.  If I
should experience “the problem”  I will let you know. Then I will try
an experiment using a little bit different language that might be
construed as referring to topics that could be censored as well as
one other test.

It is hoped you are not a misanthrope, or a hater of mankind who
dislikes or distrusts other people.  You might be a recluse, a hermit,
and possibly a cynic or an anti-feminist sexist.  But only you would
know this.  If I thought I were in that category, I would definitely be
in therapy that would help me become humanitarian since basically I
believe the doctrine that humanity’s obligations are concerned wholly
with the welfare of the human race and that humankind may become
perfect without divine aid. I work towards the ideal of humanitarianism
in my occupation and in my private life to the degree I can make an
effort to dovetail this mind set with living my otherwise ordinary life. 
I suppose as long as you believe you are ill-equipped to interact with
others, women in particular, then you are to the degree you believe it is
true.  It isn’t, I think, a matter of winning but of having insights into
one’s own psyche and finding ways to have healthy relationships. 
Perhaps you are happy without interacting with real physical others. 
Being a happy human is about all there is to this absurd existence.

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, October 16, 2011 at 2:34 pm Link to this comment

I must say it is strange the you should activate a hidden censor but only when you go to post a certain way but not others. I will say that so far I have not experienced it once over the years so your idea there is some censor seems to be wrong just by your own experience. Especially if you changed nothing and could still post. It certainly isn’t conclusive from what you have said so far to me.

Now as for women I will say up front my experience is minimal at best but would be considered in the lowest range of ability short of being a misanthrope. Just wasn’t born with the right equipment for interpersonal communication. I just don’t function well around people in general and women especially. I am taciturn and have since found out that some consider it to be a negative trait. So I can’t win there.

This gives me an outlet since we only communicate in typed words. No other aspects of personal communication is used. Much easier for me.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 15, 2011 at 8:15 pm Link to this comment

I know the 4000 character limit very well NIght-Gaunt.  It was not
the problem.  I systematically previewed each section of the post
and as each one, they would give a preview, but if I tried to post it
as a whole unified post, I would get the message “Page Not Found,”
which is a signal that there is something censored.  If there were an
excess of characters the message that it was over the limit would be
linked, and you would have to return and cut it back or make it into
two or multiple posts. I’ve pretty much figured out how to sidestep
the censoring detection by splitting it up and checking as I noted
above.  There are a few other tactics that can be used as well.  I was
just wondering if anyone else has run into this problem.  TD claims
it does not censor, but I think it has a builtin “private eye.”  LOL I
don’t really mind, since it is a private website and they can do
whatever they want, I think, in terms of comment policy. But they
ought not to pretend they don’t censor when they in fact do.

Your personal experience may not be a completely accurate perception
about the attraction factor for women if a first lookover or general audit
of a possible personal interest flails or doesn’t pass inspection that then
is the end of it.  I have not found that to be the case and so have others
in my circle of friends.  Reconsiderations have happened with favorable
outcomes.  Of course there are dependent factors and if it happens too
often, obviously an in depth personal review with behavior modification
might be constructive.  It depends precisely on how important it is to
have a relationship.  Don’t make the mistake that looks are the first
thing that women react to.  Maybe a lot of do, but not all women do.

More and more women first look for a non-egocentric, non-self-
centered person who reserves the idea of friendship that is solidly
grounded in a concern for mutual respect.  That is almost a joke to
expect these days.  It takes genuine self-reflection and a clear idea
of what exactly it is that is wanted in a relationship if a relationship
is indeed wanted.  The men who do that are an endangered species.

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, October 15, 2011 at 4:52 pm Link to this comment

Were you able to check the letter and space count for the entire thing? 4000 is all that is allowed per comment load. Since you compose yours off site that may be why. But you should have been able to reduce it to at least two over four postings Shenonymous.

One thing I do know is that if you fail the first superficial test all others of deeper and deeper layers are moot in obtaining closer relations with women. Then there is always the next layer to be successful at. If you fail too often you are non-viable. There are those of us out there who end up that way. It is just the mathematics of DNA expression. You get something, you lose something else.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 15, 2011 at 9:35 am Link to this comment

1. This appears to be an article for sensation purposes only.  See the
report in the Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Activation of
Neural Pathways Associated with Sexual Arousal in Non-Human
Primates, January 2004, also Sexual Motivation in Psychological
Review, March 1966 by Richard E. Whalen.  There are hundreds of
scientific reports regarding this subject.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 15, 2011 at 9:34 am Link to this comment

2.  A much better one than this TD one, and more fun to read, is
the article “Mating for Life?  It’s Not for the Birds of the Bees,” NYT
by N. Angier, August 21, 1990.  In the non-human animal world,
desire and affection is rather limited and due to particular critical
evolutionary purposes.  While there are a few animals who mate
for life, (the California mouse is one) most often, if one mate dies
and the other is young enough to still procreate, a new mate is
sought.  Often though, a secondary mate is selected not for
procreation but to parent the already born young.  In other words,
a glorified baby sitter.  So the impulse is still on behalf of procreation
but in a somewhat novel way.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 15, 2011 at 9:32 am Link to this comment

3.  Of course there is no way of knowing if non-human animals
fantasize about encounters, so with no information, no reasonable
conclusions can be made nor any intelligent comment made about it. 
From studies of animals and watching their behaviors by many
scientists, animals do not seem to dwell on such “desire” or over-
emotionalize about it shows they spend more time on foraging than
on engaging in procreation.  The arousal of the male baboons is
inherent to the natural need to procreate and geared to that end as
all such need is regardless of the form it takes, whether it is visual,
physical contact, or mental imagery.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 15, 2011 at 9:31 am Link to this comment

4.  The human animal has plenty of “leisure” time from their ability to
have invented many ways to reduce their work hours. Work is mainly
to provide food and shelter, then sex is third in importance, though
it is an absolutely important behavior, whether it fails to procreate or
not.  With leisure time humans are able to indulge in fantasy and
what ifs, which is the basis of all science.  But the impulse for sex
originates in the procreative motive.  Their ability to fictionalize
future encounters of all kinds including sexual experiences
associates into the ability to fictionalize answers they could give
to Internet surveys.  It is preposterous to believe that any Internet
survey is an accurate account of anything.  It is foolish to believe
there are not those perverse enough not to try to influence

Some of the conclusions expressed about the arousal factor in human
women in this report is incorrect, it is much broader than they have

For some Truthdig censorship reason, my post has to be submitted in
parts.  If I try to post it as one comment, it gives the message that “The
page is not found,” which very strange since the content is completely
devoid of any improper language.  I am able to however post it in four
parts exactly as it would be in one comment.  Can anyone explain this?

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EmileZ's avatar

By EmileZ, October 14, 2011 at 12:09 pm Link to this comment

Q: How many masturbating baboons does it take to write a book about the internet?

A: Who gives a flying fuck.

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By tombuck, October 14, 2011 at 7:39 am Link to this comment

exactly EmileZ, nothing ground breaking or new uncovered.
there’s also a large element of chicken and egg. The vast majority of content, particularly in pornography, is there to generate income, therefore it’s designed to satisfy a recognised audience. If someone goes online and searches for ‘naked mud restling with alligators’ they’re not going to find very much, so won’t run the search again, but if they search for ‘cheerleaders’ they’re going to get a truckload of fresh results every time so are good to run the search again and again. So the searches run is going to be skewed towards what’s available, therefore normalising the variety of searches.

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EmileZ's avatar

By EmileZ, October 14, 2011 at 4:20 am Link to this comment

Is it just me, or have these conclusions been reached far in advance of the internet???

It has long been known that (heterosexual) males have a weakness for boobie and vaginas and lovely legs, behinds, “pretty” faces etc.

It has long been known that many women are attracted to men in positions of power, or those that exude the “alpha male” aura of complete confidence (I think men also admire that in women).

There are also those that supposedly go for the “vulnerable” types.

Everyone is different.

It all seems quite superficial and materialistic (as these studies are bound to be) to me.

Perhaps this data might be useful for the purposes of manipulation, but I don’t think it goes very far beyond that goal.

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