"Men do not share women’s desire to be desired. Instead, they emulate their bonobo brethren: The internet is saturated with penis self-portraits from every nation on Earth. At any given moment, one in four cameras on the webcam network ChatRoulette are aimed at a penis."-Ogi Ogas
A new scholarly journal has published its inaugural issue,1 with a ground-breaking cover article by Dr. Ogi Ogas and Dr. Sai Gaddam on the evolutionary underpinnings of exhibitionism, from primates to humans. A précis of this trenchant paper (by Dr. Ogas) recently appeared in Wired:
The Urge to Sext Naked Self-Portraits Is PrimalOver the past two years, more photographs of bare-naked celebrity anatomy have been leaked to the public eye than over the previous two centuries: Scarlett Johansson snapping a blurry self-portrait while sprawled on her bed, Vanessa Hudgens posing for a cellphone in a bracelet and a smile, Congressman Wiener touting a Blackberry and a mirror in the House Members Gym, Jessica Alba, Christina Aguilera, Miley Cyrus, Ron Artest, Charlize Theron, Chris Brown, Bret Favre, Rihanna, Pete Wentz, Ke$ha, and dozens more. This flood of celebrity skin has prompted folks to wonder, ‘Why are so many famous people exhibitionists?’ The source of all this au naturel flaunting lies not in the culture of fame, but in the design of our sexual brains. In fact, research has unveiled two distinct explanations: Female exhibitionism appears to be primarily cortical, while male exhibitionism is mainly subcortical.
You mean there have been neuroimaging studies of sexting and other forms of exhibitionism?
No, not really. The other definitive sources for this piece are Girls Gone Wild, MySpace, Facebook, an adult networking site, primatologist Frans de Waal's Peacemaking Among Primates (1990), and Reddit’s heterosexual Gone Wild forum (2010).
The précis also coincides with the release of the paperback version of A Billion Wicked Thoughts, their authoritative treatise on internet sex. Some of you might remember Ogas and Gaddam from the Neurofanfic queries of 2009, when the proto-title of their book was Rule 34: What Netporn Tells Us About The Brain. Some of their innovative research involved polling the writers and consumers of online fanfic:
I'm a cognitive neuroscientist at Boston University writing a book for Dutton (an imprint of Penguin) about how the Internet reveals new insights into some of the oldest circuits in our brain which control romantic attraction and sexual behavior. I was very much hoping you might be willing to chat about Crack Van on LJ.. . .For our research, we're quite interested in learning about how people creatively use text and fiction to express and explore sexuality. If you're willing, we'd like to ask questions about Crack Van and about adult fanfic in general. If you'd like, we'd be happy to include a positive mention of you and/or Crack Van in the book (or respect your privacy, if you'd prefer).If you have any questions about our research or book, please don't hesitate to ask! I look forward to hearing from you! :)Dr. Ogi Ogas
Department of Cognitive and Neural Systems
However, some were not prepared for such forward-looking methods, so the poll generated an enormous amount of controversy in the fanfic community. [They're a very prolific bunch.] For a summary of this fantastic dialogue, I recommend Sex, Lies and IRB Tape: Netporn to SurveyFail at Neuroanthropology.
And I urge you to check out the other titles in this prestigious academic series, the Journal of Speed Dating Studies and the Journal of Facebook Studies.
For more on the gendered evolutionary roots of sexting, see Jezebel and the Columbia Journalism Review.
1 Disclaimer: this post is a spoof, and these are not real APS journals.
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