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Online Dating’s Fatal Flaws

May 15, 2012


photo via Flickr

Researches recently published¬†a book-length article in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest¬†on the scientific flaws of online dating. They wrote a layperson’s summary for¬†Scientific American, but even that was three pages long (practically an eternity in internet time). So here’s what you need to know in a nutshell:

Online dating’s first big weakness:¬†the overdependence on proflie browsing, since studies show that singles CANNOT get a good sense of whether they’d be compatible with a potential partner based on that person’s profile.

Online dating’s second big weakness:¬†the overheated emphasis on matching algorithms, since there is no evidence supporting the claims of sites using such algorithms — the available evidence suggests that the mathematical algorithms at matching sites are negligibly better than matching people¬†at random.

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Pickup Artist Training Will Make You Feel Bad About Yourself

May 9, 2012


Here’s the dirty little secret of pickup artist training: it actually works (for both men and women), but it may well make you feel like shit about yourself. Maybe you don’t care. Maybe you just want the digits. But just in case you want to get laid and feel like a better person, you might be interested in the results of an academic study on the topic. A PhD student in Mainz, Germany, trained 17 men and 23 women in the pickup and flirtation arts — specifically, how to apply evolutionary psychology principles to the pickup scene, how to make body language work for you (lots of touching!), and how to combat anxiety. He then sent his students into the wild, with the men instructed to gather digits and the women instructed to gather drinks invitations. The before-and-after stats showed that men went, on average, from 1.07 phone numbers to 3.67 per hour, while women’s drink-invite average went from 1.65 to 3.1.

Naturally, the experience made them all feel better about their dating skills. In addition, the men said they felt more intelligent and attractive, and the women felt more intelligent and confident. (Intelligent? Really? Or do they mean superior?) So where’s the downside, you’re wondering. Well, the men said they felt selfish afterwards, and the women felt dishonest and less responsible.

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Hey Arizona, Check Out This Male Seahorse Giving Birth

April 24, 2012


The seahorse is the only male creature — outside of Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1994 movie JUNIOR — that gets knocked up, and as such has become something of a mascot to us in our line of work. Especially as women’s reproductive rights are increasingly under attack. But until someone forwarded this video to us, we had never actually seen a male seahorse give birth. It’s pretty mind-blowing and kind of, well,¬†sexual. Ejaculatory, even.

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Marrying Up Is on the Way Down

April 16, 2012

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Is there any generation that doesn’t consider itself a watershed? We’re suckers for studies that prove we were born at a true turning point. Research by the¬†Institute for Public Policy Research — a¬†lefty, UK-based think tank — shows that “marrying up” is becoming a thing of the past, and the change really started with women born in the 1970s (hi!). While there has been a slight rise in the number of women who “marry down” (we prefer to think of it as a rise in the number of men seeking “aspirational marriages”), the most significant change is that more and more women are choosing to marry men of a similar social status, rather than trying to “bag a rich man,” as the classy saying goes. ¬†Sorry, Don Draper.

Amongst women born in 1958, for example, 38% married “well” — and please take those distancing quote-marks seriously! 23% married someone from a poorer background, and about a third married someone of similar status. Amongst women born in 1970, the number “marrying up” dropped by 5%, and 45% married someone of similar status. And for women born between 1976 and 1981, only 16% married a Don Draper.

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What Would You Give Up For the Internet?

April 2, 2012


photo via flickr

A recent survey by the Boston Consulting Group asked people in the U.S. which key lifestyle habits they would be willing to give up instead of the Internet for a year. 73% would give up alcohol; 69% would give up coffee (we love how close those two figures are!); 77% would give up chocolate (really? 23% need chocolate more than they need the internet?!); 10% would give up their car; and 7% would stop showering (we’re guessing those 7% are all college guys).

But here’s the number that jumped out at us: 21% said they’d sacrifice sex for the internet. The first time we read this figure we found it depressing — just the fact that there are people out there who think this way. But then we re-read it and thought: 79% of people in the U.S. think sex is more important that the internet. And that’s kind of awesome.¬†When you think of all the online porn, all the LOL cat videos, all the Facebooking, the Tweeting, the Tumblring, the emailing, the chain-letter-forwarding, the online dating, the Netflixing, the Amazon-ing, the blogging about your kid’s first poop on the potty — add up all of that and more, and it’s still not as compelling as a roll in the hay for most people. We think that’s something to celebrate.

So… what would you give up for the Internet? What would you give up in a heartbeat — and what would you never, ever give up?

‚Äʬ†This post¬†is a part of Sundance Channel‚Äôs¬†SUNfiltered Blog
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Naked News: The HPV Edition

March 30, 2012


poster via NCCC-online.org

We’ve been writing about sex and sexual health for more than a decade, and HPV still makes our heads swim. It’s such a complicated subject — complicated further by the emotional and political climate surrounding the vaccine — and guidelines on HPV seem to be constantly changing. It’s been in the news a lot lately, so we thought we’d review some of the latest headlines.¬†If you want to brush up on the facts, check out the CDC’s HPV page here.¬†And you can review everything we’ve published on HPV here.

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What Do We Want? An Affordable, Non-Hormonal, Long-Lasting Contraception Option for Men!

March 29, 2012


When do we want it? Now! Of course, these kind of things take time and money. And if these things don’t fit the Big Pharma money-making model (take a pill, day after day, year after year, and keep shelling out the dough for it), then getting backing and support is an uphill battle. But¬†Vasalgel¬†seems to be the little birth control that could. After three decades of research and trials in India, this method of reversible male contraception has made it’s way to America thanks to the¬†Parsemus Foundation, which is dedicated to finding low-cost solutions neglected by the pharmaceutical industry. The latest news on this front: preliminary rabbit safety and efficacy studies in the U.S. just started this month!

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What Your Outfit Color Means on the Pick-Up Scene

March 2, 2012

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photo via flickr

A recent study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology looked at why men are more attracted to women who wear red — because, according to earlier studies (not to mention the lyrics of one Chris DeBurgh), men sit closer to ladies in red and ask them more intimate questions. Well, it turns out that — stop the presses! — men see these women as more sexually receptive. And according to the study, this sexually receptiveness makes them more attractive to men. Welcome to the 1950s, folks! We hope you packed your red scarf and lipstick and your copy of Sex and the Single Girl. For women who’d rather not send the message that they’re universally, generically up for it, here are a few other color-coded suggestions we think everyone ¬†– women and men — should adopt. If we start now, it should take just a few thousand years of social conditioning for the trends to kick in:

  1. Purple means they want to drip hot wax on their lover’s back while reciting their own free verse poetry.
  2. The person in orange likes three-ways.
  3. They’re wearing brown? They’d rather cut Newt Gingrich’s toe nails than go home with anyone in this bar.
  4. A splash of green means someone just needs help completing their tax return.
  5. Yellow accessories — they like to do it to boy-band music.
  6. Someone in blue wants all dirty talk, all the time.
  7. A piece of pink flair means they just want to spoon on the couch while watching reality TV.
  8. A beige outfit implies a strong interest in pet-themed role-playing.
  9. All in white? Better bring your yoga mat and a copy of the Kama Sutra.
  10. Black means it’s not a party until everyone ejaculates.

‚Äʬ†This post¬†is a part of Sundance Channel‚Äôs¬†SUNfiltered Blog
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What The Economist Doesn’t Get About Online Dating

February 23, 2012


photo via flickr

A recent article in The Economist magazine examines a bunch of scientific papers about online dating in an attempt to figure out if any of those fancy matching algorithms are better than old-fashioned matchmakers like your grandmother. Or even if simply all that choice — and all those checkboxes! — improves your odds of finding love. Turns out there’s very little data to support either theory –¬†which leads The Economist to conclude that “love is as hard to find on the internet as elsewhere … you may be just as likely to luck out in the local caf√©, or by acting on the impulse to stop and talk to that stranger on the street whose glance you caught, as you are by clicking away with a mouse.”¬†Well, yeah. As we’ve always said, online dating is a numbers game. But what the math nerds at The Economist seem to have missed is that “acting on the impulse to stop and talk to that stranger on the street” is nothing like clicking on someone’s profile and sending them a quick message.

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We Can Resist Anything Except Temptation – and Twitter

February 22, 2012

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Researchers out of Chicago University’s Booth Business School recently conducted a study¬†on people’s ability to resist their desires. It turns out that people can resist cigarettes, they can resist alcohol, they can resist sex, and they can resist the urge to spend money… but what they really really can’t resist is the urge to engage in social and other types of media. In other words, checking email, browsing Facebook, posting to Twitter, etc.

Unlike most studies of this type, which attempt to recreate temptation in a lab setting, this experiment was conducted out there in the real world. (In the German city of Wurtzburg, to be precise — we’re not exactly sure why this place was chosen to study willpower.)¬†Researchers messaged participants seven times a day for a week to find out if they were experiencing any desires — or had done in the past half hour — and if so, whether these desires conflicted with others, and whether they resisted or gave in. Not surprisingly, willpower waned as the day went on, but at any time of day, the highest¬†”self-control failure rates” were with media. The researchers think that this is because the opportunity cost for each individual occurrence seems so low (compared to, say, having a drink), therefore we give in again, and again, and again. Resisting the desire to work was also way up there, which is unbelievably depressing.

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