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Science and sex: unstimulating

An announcement just before the holidays that British scientists weredeveloping an implant to stimulate pleasures centres in the braincaused the usual flurry of headlines that every new scientific solutionto our seemingly increasingly lousy sex lives seems to cause.

An announcement just before the holidays that British scientists were developing an implant to stimulate pleasures centres in the brain caused the usual flurry of headlines that every new scientific solution to our seemingly increasingly lousy sex lives seems to cause.

Headlines everywhere announced the discovery of a so-called “super sex chip” that was set to turn us all on at the flip of a switch.

Never mind that the implant is meant for people who suffer from “anhedonia,” a condition I’d never even heard of until now but that apparently results in an inability to enjoy or experience pleasure from such activities as eating and sex. Or that the currently “intrusive and crude” technology requires surgery to connect a wire from a heart pacemaker into the brain and needs about 10 years worth of development.

Blame Woody Allen for launching our obsession with instant sexual satisfaction. He introduced the “Orgasmatron” in his cheesy 1973 movie Sleeper, a phone-booth-like machine that induced instant orgasms in those who entered.

Since then, we’ve been on a mission to find a quick fix, effortless solution to our sexual dissatisfaction.

Viagra, of course, has been the star of the show; the magic blue pill that had formerly sexually unsatisfied couples suddenly dancing down the street and singing “Good Morning.”

And, when the makers of Viagra didn’t succeed in coming up with a female version, others have stepped in and pharmaceutical labs are currently hard at work developing a nasal spray, an injection, and a pill to treat Female Sexual Dysfunction, a condition that didn’t even exist a decade ago.

I sympathize with men and women who experience legitimate sexual problems, in some cases as a result of physical or psychological issues. But the drive to find a magical scientific solution to boost our flaccid sex drives is disturbing.

Whatever happened to good old-fashioned seduction? Bah, who has time for that these days? That requires effort and communication and actually doing some things that reawaken your sexual self. A pill would be so much easier. But the fact is, even if a pill or an implant or a spray can stimulate desire or guarantee an erection or an orgasm, it can’t guarantee good sex.

That requires some good old-fashioned elbow grease. Or at least a good lube.

– Josey Vogels is a sex and relationship columnist and author of five books on the subjects. For more info, visit www.joseyvogels.com

 
 
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