Mary Roach—one of my very most favorite writers of all time—wrote an awesome book about science and sex called Bonk. In it, she describes having sex with her husband in an MRI machine as part of a study on what exactly happens to the inside parts of people when they’re sexing. It’s a really fascinating experience to read about. The difficult intersection of personal private stuff and universal human science stuff is never more illuminated than when you are reading about a dude taking Viagra so he can stay hard enough to stuff his dick in his wife in the cramped, unsexy confines of an MRI tube.
It also stuck with me because I was surprised to learn how difficult it is for researchers to get grants to study human sex and sexuality. The reason Mary Roach volunteered to do the study was that they couldn’t find anyone to do it, and she wanted to see the results. There is a lot we don’t know about how sex works! And so when I saw a link to an article last May about MRI images of a woman having an orgasm, well, I was all over it. It’s pretty neat what goes on in there.
Now, though, we can all do ourselves one better. Over on XOJane.com, Kayt Sukel, the woman whose hot hot brain pixxx are featured in that New Scientist article, writes about what it’s like when the entire internet can see your inside parts.
There is no nudity or sexual content in the brain image — there’s no real way of knowing, barring the image captioning or the accompanying story, just what I was doing when the snapshot was taken. And yet, just the word orgasm paired with a brain had the power to take this story round the Internet and back again. But like most sex research, it seemed to go viral for all the wrong reasons.
I had expected an old boyfriend or two to get in touch and say something like, “So that’s what your brain looked like when we were together!” But I wasn’t prepared for just how far and wide my “big O” would go.
Reporters from London to Bogota were getting in touch to ask me questions like, “How old were you when you first had sex?” and “Where is your G-point?” (Sex terms, apparently, don’t translate so well).
Strangers across the globe posted the story to message boards and forums, where the big debate seemed to be whether I was hot or not (the jury’s still out).
It became a picture meme, with the words “I came” typed below in all caps. And I received all manners of emails, tweets and Facebook messages requesting dates, calling me nasty names and asking for nudie pics.
Oh, internet. You sure know how to punish people for doing cool stuff and telling you about it. Anyway, both the original article and the behind the scenes one are great reads, if you’re a person who is interested in lady orgasms. Which you should be! Yes, even you.