Chapter 12. Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases

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Statistics Canada says Canadian men are almost twice as likely to use cannabis as women. New data from the National Cannabis Survey today shows 16 per cent of Canadians over 15 years old report using pot in April, May or June. That's down slightly from 17.5 per cent in the first three months of the year. Almost five million Canadians consumed cannabis in some form during the three month period. One quarter of men, and 16 per cent of women, reported they plan to consume it in the next three months. The survey suggests men are more likely to use cannabis daily or weekly than women, and are also more likely to use it for non-medicinal purposes. About four in 10 marijuana users say they bought cannabis illegally. Smoking the drug remains the most common way of consuming it, with 68 per cent of men and 62 per cent of women consumers choosing this method. At 14 per cent, women were almost three times more likely than men (five per cent) to have consumed cannabis through "other methods," including edible and topical variants. Recreational marijuana became legal in Canada last October and Statistics Canada is tracking consumption habits every three months. ©2019 CBC/Radio-Canada.

Keyword: Drug Abuse; Sexual Behavior
Link ID: 26506 - Posted: 08.16.2019

By Katie Camero For humans, slight variations in temperature don’t mean much. But for some turtles, they mean the difference between whether embryos come out male or female. Now, scientists have evidence that these embryos have some power over their sexual destiny: By moving to slightly warmer or cooler spots inside their eggs, freshwater turtle embryos can help determine their own sex. Not everyone is convinced. But if the new finding holds, this behavior could potentially save some turtle species from extinction by balancing their sex ratios. A reptile’s sex depends on hormones produced during development. For crocodiles, many fish, some lizards, and most turtles, those hormones in turn depend on external temperatures. Cooler temperatures typically lead to more males, and warmer temperatures generally lead to more females. That means a shift of just 2°C can make all of the offspring one sex. As average global temperatures rise, such a strategy could doom some species, including the already-endangered Chinese pond turtle (Mauremys reevesii). As weather warms, warmer eggs produce more and more females—leaving them fewer males to mate with. Wondering whether turtle embryos could respond to rapidly changing temperatures, scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing examined the behavior of the Chinese soft-shelled turtle (Pelodiscus sinensis). They discovered that the embryos could in fact move between cooler and warmer spots inside their paperclip-size eggs, they reported in 2011 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. © 2019 American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Keyword: Sexual Behavior
Link ID: 26477 - Posted: 08.02.2019

By Knvul Sheikh It’s a myth that black widow female spiders always kill and consume their mates. But courtship remains perilous for males, cannibalism or no. The terrain, navigated in the dark, is challenging. The female’s web releases come-hither pheromones, but only about 12 percent of prospective males manage to reach it. And once there, they can expect to face male rivals competing to pass their genes on to the next generation. Usually, this results in wild displays of machismo. The males slash the female’s webs to make them less enticing to others. They deposit “mating plugs” in the female’s body to block rival sperm. Why not simply avoid the competition and seek out females’ webs empty of other males? But male black widows actually seem to thrive on the competition, according to a study published Wednesday in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. Researchers found that male black widows find potential mates faster by following the silk trails left behind by other males. “Males have to race to find females,” said Catherine Scott, an arachnologist at the University of Toronto Scarborough in Canada and the study’s lead author. “It makes sense for them to try to use all the tricks they can to find females as soon as possible, even if there are other males that have already found her.” If a male arrives an hour or two late at a female’s web, he still has a chance to interrupt the courting rituals of other males, and could still be the first to mate with the female, Ms. Scott said. Males typically make their way to a rendezvous by following female pheromones back to their source. But those signals must be at just the right distance, and uninterrupted by shifting winds and other factors. © 2019 The New York Times Company

Keyword: Sexual Behavior; Evolution
Link ID: 26476 - Posted: 08.01.2019

By Brooke N. Dulka As you read this article, your brain has begun a series of complicated chemical steps in order to form a memory. How long you keep this memory may well depend on whether you are a man or a woman. Some scientists think that the reason for this difference may be estrogens. Women are disproportionately affected by Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and memory loss. In fact, almost two thirds of Americans living with Alzheimer’s are women. While researchers across the globe are still working to uncover the basic mechanisms of learning and memory, it is now known that estrogens help to regulate memory formation in both males and females. From a cultural and societal standpoint, when people think of estrogen they probably imagine pregnancy, periods and woman-fueled rage. Most people probably don’t consider memory; but maybe it’s time we all start thinking about estrogens’ role in memory a little more. Karyn Frick, a professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, studies the connection between estrogens and memory. She and her students are among the scientists working to uncover the basic cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying memory formation. Part of Frick’s research focuses on how estrogens enhance memory, particularly through their action in the hippocampus. © 2019 Scientific American

Keyword: Hormones & Behavior; Learning & Memory
Link ID: 26470 - Posted: 07.31.2019

Carolyn Wilke Most frogs lay oodles of eggs and quickly hop away. But some poison dart frogs baby their offspring, cleaning and hydrating eggs laid on land and piggybacking hatched tadpoles to water. A peek inside the brains of these nurturing amphibians reveals that in males and females, two regions linked with caring for young are the same — a finding that may provide clues to the neural underpinnings of parental behavior, researchers report online July 17 in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. From humans to crocodiles, many creatures tend to their young. “But we actually understand very little about how the brain makes parental behaviors,” says Eva Fischer, a neuroethologist at Stanford University. To study how such care is wired into the amphibian brain, Fischer and her colleagues looked at neural activity in three poison dart frog species with different parenting strategies: Dendrobates tinctorius, among whom the males take care of the young; Oophaga sylvatica, whose females do the parenting; and Ranitomeya imitator, whose offspring are cared for by a monogamous male and female pair. The researchers collected and quickly killed 25 frogs while the amphibians were toting their tadpoles to water, in order to study the brain while it was still influenced by the parental task. Another 59 brains from non-caregiving frog species or caregivers’ partners were also included in the study. The researchers froze the frog brains and sliced them like loaves of bread. They stained the layers of tissue to pinpoint which nerve cells, or neurons, were turned on. In all three species, a brain region called the preoptic area was lit up with activity in caregiving frogs, but not in those of non-caregiving animals. |© Society for Science & the Public 2000 - 2019.

Keyword: Sexual Behavior; Evolution
Link ID: 26451 - Posted: 07.26.2019

Briar Stewart · A Canadian-born researcher is helping to launch the first substantial study of transgender athletes in a bid to better understand how transitioning and hormone therapy affects athletic performance. The issue of how to include transgender women in competition is centred around rules, rights and biological differences. And the debate about what constitutes an unfair advantage is heated, which is why medical physicist Joanna Harper hopes science can steer the conversation. "Until we have several of these larger-scale studies done worldwide, it's hard to be truly definitive on anything," she said. Harper, who is also an adviser to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), will be moving to the U.K. this fall to help lead the research into transgender athletes. The work will be carried out at Loughborough University, through its School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences. Personal motivation It was Harper's own experience that motivated her to try and track transgender athletes both before and after a gender transition. Harper, who is originally from Parry Sound, Ont, but is now based in Portland, Ore., has been a competitive runner for decades. When she was younger and racing as a male, her marathon time was a very quick two hours and 23 minutes. But once she started her transition in 2004 and began taking testosterone blockers and estrogen, her pace slowed. "Within nine months of hormone therapy, I was running 12 per cent slower," she said. "That's the difference between serious male distance runners and serious female distance runners." Harper, now in her 60s, still competes, racing alongside women. She wins some events and loses others, which is why she asserts that if trans women can become hormonally like other women, competition can be "equitable and meaningful." ©2019 CBC/Radio-Canada.

Keyword: Hormones & Behavior; Sexual Behavior
Link ID: 26444 - Posted: 07.24.2019

Scientists say they may have discovered why more women than men have Alzheimer's disease and dementia. It has always been thought that women living longer than men was the reason. But new research presented at an international conference suggests this may not be the whole story. Differences in brain connectivity and sex-specific genes linked to risk could explain the numbers, the researchers say. Most people living with Alzheimer's - the most common cause of dementia - are women. In the UK, about 500,000 women have dementia, compared with 350,000 men. Most people who develop the disease are over the age of 65 but it is not a normal part of ageing. Alzheimer's disease can affect younger people too. Researchers from Vanderbilt University Medical Centre studied brain scans of hundreds of men and women, looking at the pattern of a protein called tau. One of the characteristic features of Alzheimer's is the build-up of proteins called tau and amyloid in the brain. When they form toxic, tangled clumps, this causes brain cells to die, leading to memory problems. The researchers found differences between the sexes in how tau was spread across regions of the brain. Women appeared to have better connectivity between the regions where tau protein builds up - and this had implications for the brain, the study said. With this higher connectivity, women's brains may be at risk of faster spread of tau - and of cognitive decline. Dr Jana Voigt, head of research at Alzheimer's Research UK, said the study revealed "sex-specific differences in brain connectivity that could contribute to differing Alzheimer's risk in men and women". © 2019 BBC.

Keyword: Alzheimers; Sexual Behavior
Link ID: 26434 - Posted: 07.20.2019

Nicola Davis The belief that men are more likely to get turned on by sexual images than women may be something of a fantasy, according to a study suggesting brains respond to such images the same way regardless of biological sex. The idea that, when it comes to sex, men are more “visual creatures” than women has often been used to explain why men appear to be so much keener on pornography. But the study casts doubt on the notion. “We are challenging that idea with this paper,” said Hamid Noori, co-author of the research from the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Germany. “At least at the level of neural activity … the brains of men and women respond the same way to porn.” Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Noori and his colleagues report how they came to their conclusions by analysing the results of 61 published studies involving adults of different biological sex and sexual orientation. The subjects were shown everyday images of people as well as erotic images while they lay inside a brain-scanning machine. Noori said all participants rated the sexual images as arousing before being scanned. Previously studies based on self-reporting have suggested men are more aroused by images than women, and it has been proposed that these differences could be down to the way the brain processes the stimuli – but studies have returned different results. Now, looking at the whole body of research, Noori and his colleagues say they have found little sign of functional differences. For both biological sexes, a change in activity was seen in the same brain regions including the amygdala, insula and striatum when sexual images were shown. © 2019 Guardian News & Media Limited

Keyword: Sexual Behavior
Link ID: 26423 - Posted: 07.16.2019

By Nicholas Bakalar Hormone therapy for prostate cancer is associated with an increased risk for dementia, a new study has found. Androgen deprivation therapy, or A.D.T., is used to treat prostate cancer of varying degrees of severity. It can significantly reduce the risk for cancer progression and death. The study, in JAMA Network Open, included 154,089 men whose average age was 74 and who had diagnoses of prostate cancer. Of these, 62,330 received A.D.T. and the rest did not. In an average follow-up of eight years, the scientists found that compared with men who had no hormone therapy, one to four doses of A.D.T. was associated with a 19 percent increased risk for both Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, and the risk increased with the number of doses. At five to eight doses the increased risk was 28 percent for Alzheimer’s and 24 percent for other dementias. The lead author, Ravishankar Jayadevappa, an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, said that for advanced cancer, A.D.T. can be a lifesaving treatment and should not be avoided because of any increased risk for dementia. But, he said, “Patients with localized cancer should be looking at the risks of dementia, and possibly avoiding A.D.T.” © 2019 The New York Times Company

Keyword: Alzheimers; Hormones & Behavior
Link ID: 26384 - Posted: 07.04.2019

By Dana Najjar Four days after the birth of our daughter, my husband and I brought her home from the hospital. We were exhausted but giddy, ready to start our new lives. For nine months I had imagined what those first weeks at home would be like: sleepless nights, bleary-eyed arguments, a few late-night tears, all bundled up in the soft happy glow of new motherhood. In short, an adventure. But none of that materialized. What I came up against instead was a sheer wall of blinding panic. We had left the hospital with instructions to wake our newborn up every three hours to feed, but by the time we got home and settled in, five hours had elapsed, and nothing would rouse her long enough to nurse. She lay limp in my arms, drifting in and out of sleep, howling uncontrollably just long enough to tire herself out. We took our cues from the internet and tickled her feet with ice cubes, placed wet towels on her head and blew onto her face, but only managed to upset her more. And somewhere between trying to persuade her to latch for what felt like the hundredth time and willing my body to stay awake, it struck me that I had made a terrible mistake, one that I could never unmake. My stomach lurched, my hands and feet went numb and my heart began to pound. © 2019 Scientific American

Keyword: Depression; Hormones & Behavior
Link ID: 26359 - Posted: 06.26.2019

New statistics suggest almost one-quarter of mothers experience either postpartum depression or an anxiety disorder in the months following birth, and that younger mothers are most at risk. The Statistics Canada survey analyzed the experiences of 7,085 respondents who gave birth in 2018 between January and the end of June. The women were surveyed online and by phone five to 13 months after delivery. The data found 23 per cent reported feelings consistent with either postpartum depression or an anxiety disorder — feelings that are more intense and longer-lasting than the so-called "baby blues" and may not resolve on their own. The rate ranged from 16 per cent in Saskatchewan to 31 per cent in Nova Scotia and was especially high among younger respondents. Among those under the age of 25 — numbering between 500 and 550 respondents — 30 per cent reported mental-health issues. That's compared to 23 per cent of mothers aged 25 and older. The survey also asked mothers about drug use and found 3 per cent used cannabis during pregnancy and 3 per cent used cannabis while breastfeeding. In addition, 1 per cent reported opioid use during pregnancy, including medical use and non-medical use. The survey was conducted in conjunction with the Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada and involved data collected from Nov. 29, 2018 to Feb. 5, 2019.

Keyword: Depression; Hormones & Behavior
Link ID: 26354 - Posted: 06.25.2019

By C. Claiborne Ray Q. When the chicks have just hatched, how do chicken farmers tell future hens from future roosters? A. Sexing hatchlings is important for the egg industry. Roosters do not lay eggs, obviously, and they are not needed in order for hens to lay eggs. But it is surprisingly difficult to tell hatchling males from females; there are no external genitalia, and the internal equipment is only subtly different. Though some breeds may show early differences in feather color, often it can take weeks for obvious signs of gender — like combs, wattles and behavioral traits — to emerge. An alternative to waiting was developed in the 1930s by two Japanese researchers, Kiyoshi Masui and Juro Hashimoto. It is called venting or vent sexing. Sign up for Science Times We’ll bring you stories that capture the wonders of the human body, nature and the cosmos. Ideally, about 12 hours after hatching, the chicken-sexer gently squeezes open the multipurpose vent under the tail called the cloaca and exposes a key area of the interior. Several folds of mucus membrane can be seen, and the male sex organ, if present, can be found visually or by touch in an indentation on the second fold. It is a tiny bump, about the size of a pinpoint. It takes a lot of skill and practice to use this method without harming the chicks, so it is mostly done by trained chicken-sexers — who are often well paid for their expertise. © 2019 The New York Times Company

Keyword: Sexual Behavior
Link ID: 26352 - Posted: 06.25.2019

By Katie Thomas The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug to treat low sexual drive in women, the only one besides Addyi, which entered the market in 2015. The drug, to be called Vyleesi, will be sold by AMAG Pharmaceuticals and is intended to be used 45 minutes before sex, via an auto-injector pen that is administered in the thigh or abdomen. “We’re obviously thrilled about being able to bring another option to patients,” said Dr. Julie Krop, the chief medical officer of AMAG, which is based in Waltham, Mass. “These women have suffered significantly, pretty much in silence, for a stigmatized condition, and many of them have not known that it’s a treatable medical condition.” For years, the F.D.A. has been under pressure to encourage more treatments for women with low sexual drive — a condition known as hypoactive sexual desire disorder. Medications for men experiencing erectile dysfunction arrived on the market two decades ago. But these treatments for women have provoked controversy. The first product, Addyi, was approved amid an industry-backed publicity campaign painting detractors as sexist. But some opponents argued its risks outweighed its benefits. Addyi must be taken every day and cannot be taken with alcohol, which can cause fainting. Soon after it went on sale, Addyi was acquired by Valeant Pharmaceuticals for $1 billion, which then failed to promote it. Valeant sold it back to its original owners in 2017 and the drug’s sales have been tepid. Company officials declined to say how much Vyleesi would cost and said they would provide more details when the product goes on sale later this year. They said they expected insurance to cover Vyleesi on a scale similar to Addyi and to male erectile dysfunction drugs — coverage of those drugs by commercial health care plans is mixed. © 2019 The New York Times Company

Keyword: Sexual Behavior
Link ID: 26347 - Posted: 06.22.2019

Bethany Brookshire When researchers release a new finding about the brain, it’s often mice or rats who have run the mazes and taken the tests for science. People might wonder: Are rodents good substitutes for humans? Maybe for men, but what about women? That’s less likely, because most neuroscience experiments don’t use female rodents — a fact one scientist says comes from outdated ideas that should go into the scientific dustbin. For years, many scientists have dismissed female rodents as too variable to use in the lab, with tricky hormone surges that can affect behavior and compromise study results. In 2009, male lab mammals in neuroscience studies outnumbered females 5.5 to 1, according to a 2011 study in Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews. “The idea that women are primarily driven by ovarian hormones [was] a narrative put in place intentionally in the Victorian era,” says Rebecca Shansky, a neuroscientist at Northeastern University in Boston. “That has also infiltrated the way we think about female animals” in science. Male animals can be just as “hormonal” as their female counterparts, Shansky argues in an essay published May 31 in Science, and it’s time that both sexes got equal attention in the lab. Here are five things to know about the issue of sex in the study of rodent brains. In humans, reproductive hormones such as estrogen and progesterone ebb and flow over a roughly 28-day cycle. In rodents, that cycle is compressed to four or five days. Estrogen or progesterone levels on one day could be up to four times as much as on the day before. |© Society for Science & the Public 2000 - 2019

Keyword: Sexual Behavior; Hormones & Behavior
Link ID: 26342 - Posted: 06.20.2019

By Lisa Feldman Barrett My husband found me sobbing on the kitchen floor. My job was in upheaval, my travel schedule was grueling, and with two hours left before my next departure, I’d discovered that my laptop was dead. This was the moment my husband walked in to console me, and in an impressive feat of bad timing, he also asked whether I was premenstrual. I went from sobbing to supernova in about two seconds, enraged by his presumption that surging female hormones were responsible for my emotional distress. The only thing that saved him was that, a few days later, I discovered that he’d been right. I am a scientist who studies the nature of emotions. For most of my scientific career, I didn’t believe that women systematically had emotional eruptions right before their period, even though I experienced them occasionally. Studies suggested that women who believe in premenstrual syndrome, when asked about it in retrospect, tend to misremember the symptoms as more severe than they were. The evidence for PMS overall was inconsistent. Certainly, I knew of no neurological reason that women should feel, just before their period, that the world was crashing down on them. My doubt was also political in nature. During my clinical internship over 20 years ago, my boss, a psychiatrist, asked me to research how PMS prevents women from thinking clearly. I told him he was a relic of the Stone Age. Women were as consistently clearheaded as men, if not more so. But recently, a researcher in my lab, Joe Andreano, an expert on female hormones, showed me some surprising data. As a woman’s levels of progesterone and estrogen vary, so does the connectivity between two brain networks: the default mode network and the salience network. These networks play key roles in creating your emotional life. If I hadn’t seen the data with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed it. © 2019 The New York Times Company

Keyword: Hormones & Behavior; Sexual Behavior
Link ID: 26317 - Posted: 06.10.2019

By Mitch Leslie If papers published in the past 6 months are right, a single number is enough to show whether people are likely to suffer a premature heart attack, land first authorship on published papers, become dependent on alcohol, or put on fat around the middle. That magic number is the ratio between the lengths of the second and fourth fingers, known as the 2D:4D ratio. It tends to be lower in men—meaning their fourth fingers tend to be longer than their second—than in women. Researchers who believe in its predictive power say it reflects a fetus's exposure to testosterone and other hormones that guide development, including that of the brain. The idea that the lengths of human fingers reveal so much stems from the work of evolutionary biologist John Manning, now at Swansea University in the United Kingdom. But the field he inspired has ballooned beyond what he could have imagined. More than 1400 papers in just over 20 years have linked the finger ratio to attributes such as personality, cognitive abilities, and sexual orientation as well as to risk of illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Researchers have even tried to use ratios gleaned from stenciled handprints on cave walls to determine whether the artists behind ancient paintings were men or women. But the notion has also riled plenty of critics, who argue that researchers who rely on the 2D:4D comparison have been seduced by a simplistic, faulty measure. Some doubters contend that the difference in ratios between the sexes is an illusion resulting from men's larger hands or that the measure itself is statistically problematic. "I'm skeptical about every single finding involving that ratio," says physiologist and biostatistician Douglas Curran-Everett of National Jewish Health in Denver. © 2019 American Association for the Advancement of Science

Keyword: Sexual Behavior; Hormones & Behavior
Link ID: 26311 - Posted: 06.07.2019

By Marisa Iati A bill in Alabama awaiting the governor’s signature would require people convicted of certain sex offenses to undergo “chemical castration” as a condition of parole — a requirement meant to keep perpetrators from committing similar crimes. The proposed law, passed by the state legislature, says a judge must order anyone convicted of a sex offense involving a child under the age of 13 to start receiving testosterone-inhibiting medication a month before their release from prison. Most offenders would have to pay for their treatment, which would be administered by the Department of Public Health, until a judge decides the medication is no longer necessary. Under the proposed law, a judge — and not a doctor — would tell the offender about the effects of the treatment. An offender could choose to stop getting the medication and return to prison to serve the remainder of their term. Anyone who stopped receiving the castration treatment without approval would be considered guilty of a Class C felony, punishable under Alabama law by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. “Chemical castration” is a misnomer, as the process leaves the testes intact, can be reversed and does not prevent a man from reproducing. It does not guarantee a man’s sexual urge will be eliminated. (There’s no consensus on whether chemical castration would be effective for women.) © 1996-2019 The Washington Post

Keyword: Sexual Behavior; Aggression
Link ID: 26304 - Posted: 06.06.2019

By JoAnna Klein Say you are prescribed medication for depression, anxiety or even just to sleep. Would you want to take it if you knew that the drug had only been tested on men and male animals? Rebecca Shansky, a neuroscientist at Northeastern University in Boston, thinks you might not. When she tells nonscientific audiences that researchers “for the most part don’t study female animals, people are blown away,” she said. She added: “It seems like such an obvious thing to a normal person. But when you come up in the academic and science world, it’s like, ‘Oh no, females are so complicated, so we just don’t study them.’” In 2016, the National Institutes of Health and its Canadian counterpart mandated that all preclinical research they fund must include female subjects. Now, Dr. Shansky and other scientists wonder if that requirement will do enough to improve how research is conducted. In an essay published Thursday in Science, Dr. Shansky questions whether simply adding female organisms to experiments or looking for sex differences misses the point. She warns that this is a public health problem — with implications beyond neuroscience — and says scientists should design experiments better suited to both biological sexes. If scientists don’t stop looking through a male lens, outdated gender stereotypes will continue to foster dangerous assumptions about the brain and behavior, resulting in clinical studies and eventual treatments that don’t work equally for all people on the gender spectrum. Basic research is the foundation for clinical studies and practice, and that often begins with animals, which offer controlled settings for research of human diseases. © 2019 The New York Times Company

Keyword: Sexual Behavior
Link ID: 26284 - Posted: 05.31.2019

By Susan Rudnick I was a month shy of turning 16 when a red-faced man in a white coat told me I had been born without a uterus. With a huge dark desk between us, he told me I would never menstruate, and would need plastic surgery to correct the anomaly of my vaginal opening that was a mere dimple, so that one day I would to be able to have sexual intercourse. I have M.R.K.H. These four letters stand for Mayer, Rokitansky, Küster and Hauser, the names of the four doctors who discovered the syndrome over a hundred years ago. This anatomical condition occurs during the first trimester of pregnancy, when the duct that normally forms the uterus, cervix and vaginal canal fails to develop. Ovaries do develop, but there is no menstruation. Although the condition is rare, impacting just one in every 4,500 women, for over 40 years I thought I was like nobody else. At the time of the diagnosis, he described my symptoms but neglected to tell that the condition had a name. Without a name for my syndrome, I couldn’t connect with others like me. I was left to navigate my life feeling defective, marginalized and alone. I carried my difference as a secret shame, acting as if I were just like other people. In high school I learned to pretend I had my period. I even talked about having period cramps, which I never had. Even though swimming and water ballet club were my favorite activities, I didn’t go swimming a few times so that it would seem as if I had my period, like all the other girls. There was nothing I wouldn’t do to be like everybody else. One day in college I was lying in my dorm room bed with a gaggle of women, when the conversation turned to diaphragms, something I would never need, but which seemed a rite of passage. Birth control was way beyond my knowledge base. This was in the early 60s, when abortions were still illegal, but you could go to Planned Parenthood and get fitted for a diaphragm. While my girlfriends laughed about looking at condoms in the drugstore, I spaced out. I felt like such an outsider carrying the pain of my secret. © 2019 The New York Times Company

Keyword: Sexual Behavior
Link ID: 26268 - Posted: 05.28.2019

By Megan Schmidt “The women’s winter is here. The freeze is upon us,” warns a Game of Thrones parody about men and women’s office temperature preferences. If you have a Y chromosome, you probably haven’t experienced “women’s winter.” As the video explains, women’s winter is “when spring turns to summer and there’s blossom on the trees, the office air doth turns to ice and all the women freeze.” Although the skit is now a few years old, it perfectly captures women’s daily struggle with overly air-conditioned workplaces. To some people, thermostat complaints might seem trivial. But a new study has found that cold offices do more than make women shiver. Thermostat settings geared for men’s comfort — typically cooler temperatures — may actually disadvantage women by lowering their ability to perform some tasks. The study, published in PLOS One, found that women are better at math and word tests when room temperatures are warmer. The women in the study answered more questions correctly and submitted more answers overall during the timed tests. Men, on the other hand, performed marginally better on the same tests at cooler room temperatures, the researchers found. Temperature didn’t influence performance on the logic test for either gender. Study author Agne Kajackaite, a behavioral economics researcher at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center, said the research illustrates that “the battle for the thermostat is not just a complaint about comfort levels.” When it comes to women succeeding in the classroom or in the workplace, room temperatures may make a big difference.

Keyword: Sexual Behavior; Learning & Memory
Link ID: 26266 - Posted: 05.24.2019