Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Sex on the brain

From New Scientist : Sex on the brain: What turns women on, mapped out
It's what women have been telling men for decades: stimulating the vagina is not the same as stimulating the clitoris. Now brain scan data has added weight to their argument.

The precise locations that correspond to the vagina, cervix and female nipples on the brain's sensory cortex have been mapped for the first time, proving that vaginal stimulation activates different brain regions to stimulation of the clitoris. The study also found a direct link between the nipples and the genitals, which may explain why some women can orgasm through nipple stimulation alone.
Some have argued that women who derive pleasure from vaginal stimulation do so because their clitoris is being indirectly stimulated, but the current findings contradict this. "They support the reports of women that they experience orgasm from various forms of stimulation," says Beverly Whipple, also of Rutgers University, who was not involved in the current study.

Komisaruk also checked what happened when women's nipples were stimulated, and was surprised to find that in addition to the chest area of the cortex lighting up, the genital area was also activated. "When I tell my male neuroscientist colleagues about this, they say: 'Wow, that's an exception to the classical homunculus,'" he says. "But when I tell the women they say: 'Well, yeah?'" It may help explain why a lot of women claim that nipple stimulation is erotic, he adds.

Something that tends to cheese women off : having male doctors tell them what they must be feeling, when said male doctors have no actual evidence to back up what they say.

Next time, believe her, OK doc? Because the MRI images show that your arrogant ideas aren't actually true, as any woman could have told you - and female medical professionals probably did, you just ignored them.

On a personal note, it's obvious my neural anatomy (in this area at least) is strongly female, and always has been. It's good to have the peripherals match the device drivers at last. That's all I'm saying on the subject.


Eric TF Bat said...

Ah, right. One of the last taboos for a Sensitive New Age Bat like myself, who prides himself on his awareness of all manner of issues relating to the myriad types and modes of human existence, is the question of what particular "plumbing" a transexual/transgendered/generally-not-Alan-Jonesian person might happen to have. One cannot ask, because (a) it's a bit embarrassing, and (b) it really should not and godsdammit DOES not matter, whatever one's primitive impulses may say. So I'm entirely happy that I now don't need to ask, even if I did need to ask, which I didn't... if you see what I mean. Ahem.

Goodness, you do make life difficult for us vanilla people. You're so inconvenient!

Sarah Wilson said...


I really like your "device driver" analogy, it seems to fit well with the topic and is a good "mental/visual" aid.

This also explains how when I am by myself, eyes closed, mind wandering, what I feel above affects below. It just drives me... now what was I saying? lol

Methinks there needs to be more body mapping studies like this. Who know what else we could find. Then again, how many of these will result in a "duh" response.


Zoe Brain said...

Eric - I never did have standard plumbing for my appearance.

That I kept to myself. Now I do look standard. Things match, both in appearance and in the neurology too.

The 1985 (mis)diagnosis was "undervirilised male syndrome". To see what that looks like, there's this post.

Mine wasn't quite so severe - or rather, in view of the later diagnosis of "severely androgenised woman", rather more so. Enough to cause an initial misdiagnosis of my sex at a fertility clinic anyway.

While in terms of gender I'm about as standard as any girl who was brought up as a boy, and lived as a man as best she could, could be.. in terms of biology, things aren't nearly so clear.

Calie said...

Zoe, you had me laughing with that analogy of peripherals and drivers! Very interesting post.

Calie xx

Beth Elliott (yes, that one) said...

This bears out what I always say ... your brain is your friend! (A bipolar friend of mine might quibble, but we're cheering on her brain anyway as her balance center recovers from an accident.)

I'm with you on the strongly female neural anatomy; it quickly became apparent to me that the device drivers were in place to make the peripherals operate properly ... no "dry run" in my case.