Sex writing isn’t easy. How much do you show? How much do you leave to the audience’s imagination? Is Christian Grey’s member hardening, quivering, or stirring? Sexy scribblers have to face the big questions. And for most scientists, the answer to those questions is jargon. Rather than address procedure or findings frankly and openly, academic papers tend toward the pathologically clinical.
For this reason (and for the hell of it), we decided to translate the best sex advice from the steamiest academic journals for, well, lay people.
1. Benefit Provisioning
According to a study titled, “Women’s mate retention behaviors, personality traits, and fellatio,” psychologists at Oakland University determined through interviews with 401 women that they “perform fellatio as part of a Benefit-Provisioning mate retention strategy.”
Translation: Feel free to enjoy receiving pleasure, but remember that the person giving it might be doing you a favor.
2. Escalation Processes
Courtship in Portuguese clubs got hot and heavy in the anthropological field study “Heterosexual Seduction in the Urban Night Context: Behaviors and Meanings.” Just how far did people get? “When this escalation process evoked positive responses, it generally culminated in the complete synchrony of movements between the two bodies.”
Translation: Feel free to grind on people, but only when they’re into it.
3. Adopting Social Poses
Here’s how nonverbal flirting works best, according to University of Washington anthropologist David Givens: “Adoption of a submissive-affiliative social pose enables a person to convey an engaging, nonthreatening image that tends to attract potential mates.”
Translation: Don’t creep on people.
4. Decremental Centerfolds
Arizona State sociologists compared the way men and women perceive Playboy-style erotica in the seminal: “Influence of Popular Erotica on Judgments of Strangers and Mates.” The bottom line? “Decremental effects of centerfold exposure were found only for male subjects exposed to female nudes.”
Translation: Comparing your partner to a photoshopped model is unfair to both of you.
5. Adaptive Low WHR
In a study that analyzed the way men perceive womanly curves, “Assessment of Waist-to-Hip Ratio Attractiveness in Women: An Anthropometric Analysis of Digital Silhouettes,” Polish anthropologist Krzysztof Kościński wrote, “low and average waist-to-hip values were chosen more frequently than above-average values or values below the normal variation of the trait. This preference pattern mirrors the relationship between WHR and mate value, suggesting that the preferences are adaptive.”
Translation: If a girl walks in with an itty-bitty waist and a round thing in your face, go ahead and get sprung.
Agentic Lesbian Characteristics
“The traditional stereotype of the typical woman has been described as ‘nice, but incompetent,’ “ wrote German psychologists, in the introduction to 2014’s blockbuster “Ironic Effects of Sexual Minority Group Membership: Are Lesbians Less Susceptible to Invoking Negative Female Stereotypes than Heterosexual Women?” The researchers tasked almost 300 subjects to evaluate lesbians or straight women during hypothetical job interviews. “‘Typical lesbians’ are regarded to have more typically masculine (agentic) characteristics such as task competence than the typical woman does. We thus hypothesized that if a woman displays behavior coinciding with the stereotype of the typical woman, it is more readily interpreted as stereotypically female if performed by a heterosexual woman than by a lesbian.”
Translation: If someone asks about your sexuality during a job interview, slap them in their stupid face.