Wednesday, February 8, 2012

...Maybe It Does Work...

So last week I spoke a bit about some elements of a former life and I spoke about my geeky love of research.

It might be a good segue to this post I wrote a while back but couldn't figure out when or where to post.
Be forewarned…
This post features a topic matter of a mature nature, and contains (sort of) adult language.
If last week’s discussion made you blush, or you know you’re not supposed to be reading this, you might want to skip this one.

Of course if you like a little sex with your science, read on.

First, watch this. Lovely bed linen, by the way.

Either his hands are up a little too high, or the chick he's imagining has a gigantic head.
Okay, I'll leave that one alone, but he brings up a very interesting point in this video about looping music and reliving the moment.

It reminded me of an experiment I conducted years ago where I convinced some friends to participate in an experiment that we came (no pun) to call “Pavlov’s Dirty Dogs.”

So you are familiar with Pavlov’s dogs, yes?

Nobel Prize winner Ivan Pavlov was a Russian psychologist, physiologist, and physician best known for defining classical conditioning concepts. The details of the experiment can be a little complex, but in short, he would ring a bell before serving dogs their dinner, and eventually just the sound of the bell made the dogs salivate with anticipation.

Our experiment assumed that you replace the dogs with humans and ask the questions:
  1. Can the bell be replaced with a specific piece of music?
  2. Can the salivation be replaced with, uh, as the French say, le petit morte. Hm. "Little death." That's a pretty good expression for it.

Basically, I hypothesized that if you play the exact same piece of music while stimulating yourself to your personal pleasure peak, you would eventually spontaneously orgasm from only hearing the chosen piece of music.

So like a good little scientist I will give you the background, etc, or if you can’t help yourself, scroll on down to the results.

I recruited 11 girls willing to participate, and talk about it. I emphasized “talk about it” because I can think of a few that didn’t respond well to hearing about it, but I’m reasonably sure they went off and tried it on their own.

Our experiment had a few limitations:
  • We only tested females
  • Age range was limited to 18-24
  • It had to be a solo act.

The third provision was established because at least one participant had multiple partners at the time and we didn’t want the “end” results to be affected based on the performance of the stimulant.

Yep, we were that serious about it. Let me tell you, friends, I was a two-time state Science Fair champion and I earned my accolades.

We required three sessions per week, no more or less because we didn’t want anyone to have more opportunities to be conditioned to the response. Participants were to play their chosen song without stimulating themselves one day a week in order to check the response.

But herein you will see all the possible experiment flaws.
  • All results were self reported so we have no way of knowing if anyone was enjoying “alone time” more than three times a week. Did they miss a session? Were they truly always alone, or did they receive any assistance or, uh,  encouragement?
  • If you are self stimulating on a schedule in the name of science, it’s possible you just aren’t in the mood and this could affect the outcome (Hahahaha. Oh, the puns, the puns.) 
  • Since since students can be busy, and not have time to get in three sessions a week, might someone opt to knock three out in one night?

Ultimately, we have no way of proving for sure if anyone did any stimulation outside of the given parameters.

We didn’t limit any other sexual activity with partners because we definitely knew, frankly that wasn’t going to happen, so even there we don’t know if participants used their chosen song during couple activity. And if they did, did they use it every time or just once or twice, or who knows…

During the first check in, we realized we made no restrictions around method: vibrators, hands on, or hands-free. (Surprised how many at how many guys had no idea that women could do this without using hands, but alas, tis true.)

Yes, it was quite complex, but we persevered, determined to prove that music can make you (sorta) spontaneously combust in ecstasy.
Our experiment lasted 60 days with one check in at the half way point.


I made that big and bold for you in case you didn’t want to be bother with the details…

At the end of 30 days, two girls reported feeling at least “happy” whenever they would play the song, all others reported no change but were enjoying the effort.

At the end of 60 days, not a single participant reported having an “O!” whenever they would play their song without stimulation but…
  • One admitted feeling “tingly”
  • One would hear buzzing in her ears, but indicated no signs of calf pain (vibrator users are laughing right about now)
  • Five reported experiencing a lift in mood, smiling or bursting into giggles whenever their song would play.
  • Two reported wishing they had picked a different song.
  • One claimed to have occasionally smelled lubricant whenever her chosen song played.
  • One finally figured out the most popular hands-free method
  • Three were determined to keep trying until they could make it happen.

I wonder if they ever did.

In conclusion, we were unable to fully duplicate the Pavlov experiment's results. Consider this not a failure, but the discovery of one more reason you shouldn't call a woman a b!tch.
As the French say, les chansons de la semaine...

Seriously, this song was stuck in my head. It was only during editing that I realized the irony.
Grace Jones – Slave to the Rhythm

The Sylvers – Misdemeanor

And if it does work, does it work forever?
And is the body responding to the music, or is the music a catalyst for the memory of a spectacular event?
Stereolab - The Flower Called Nowhere

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