Tuesday, January 03, 2012

According to Masters & Johnson

I’d heard that Masters & Johnson, the sex researchers, had studied gay people, but that their final report was riddled with homophobia. In her book on sex research Mary Roach reads the M&J report and lets us know, not only is it flawed by homophobia, the gay people come off as better lovers than hets.
They ‘tended to move slowly … and to linger at … [each] stage of stimulative response, making each step in tension increment something to be appreciated …’ They teased each other ‘in an obvious effort to prolong the stimulatee’s high levels of sexual excitation.’
Those are some of Roach’s excerpts from Masters & Johnson, thus Roach’s elisions and interpolation. Some of the couples were singles randomly assigned by the researchers. For the shy among us, you might note that all the couples, male/male, female/female, and female/male, performed under lights in a lab while being observed. All must have been pretty confident about their ability to showcase their skills.

According to Masters & Johnson a woman would get about as turned on by her female lover’s arousal as by anything happening exclusive to herself. This, you might or might not be surprised to learn, was not the case with hets. The goal in het sex is climax, with both boys and girls trying to push their partners to rapid release. M&J call this “goal orientation, … trying to get something done,” with main focus on the genitals, and by that I mean the penis.
Meanwhile, the homosexual men lavished attention on their partners’ entire bodies. And the gay men, like the gay women, were adept at the tease.
The gay lovers “talked far more easily, often, and openly about what they did and didn’t enjoy. Gay men and women simply seemed more comfortable in the world of sex.”

And the homophobia? Where did that come in? “Masters & Johnson spent the second half of the book touting a therapy for helping homosexuals convert to heterosexuality.” Oh. One can see how that would overshadow the research’s positives.

source: Bonk: the curious coupling of science and sex by Mary Roach

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