Neuroscientist guest speaker divulges sexy secrets
Eastern Michigan University’s Psychology Department welcomed Ogai Ogas, a computational neuroscientist and author of “A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the Internet Tells us about Sexual Relationships,” to the Student Center Thursday evening.
Ogas shared his research regarding what arouses men and women and why using data he received from search history released by AOL and other search tools on the Internet.
He started his presentation by saying that people tend to lie to themselves about what arouses them, so they are probably going to lie to a researcher. But the digital trail on the Internet doesn’t lie.
In 2006, AOL released search histories of about 650,000 users over a three-month period and three months can say a lot about a user and what they like. Other sites like Dogpile metasearch engine and Alexa Internet, Inc. were used to get user data.
In the Internet’s earlier years, subscription sites used to be popular for pornography viewers. Users would have to pay monthly subscription fees to watch pornography on the site. Now, free sites like PornHub and RedTube are increasing in popularity.
According to the research Ogas presented, some of the most popular pornography categories that people search for have to do with youth and gay porn. Most people have a small number of sexual interests and stick to searching those. Very few people, about less than 1 percent, search for a lot of different types of pornography and extreme pornography like “granny porn,” bestiality and incest.
“Men and women are more different than you would expect and gay and straight people are more similar than you would think,” Ogas said.
Weight-related pornography such as healthy weight and heavy weight proved to be popular among men, whereas underweight porn is the least popular with men. Some other popular searches by men include “shemales,” penises, cheating wives and older women.
“It was very surprising to me the amount of men who liked overweight women, older women and penises,” said Ogas.
With women, man-on-man romance or sex, male-oriented pornography, emotional pornography, paranormal romance and BDSM erotica proved to be very popular.
Ogas pointed out that some interests didn’t make bio-evolutionary sense. These interests included shemales, facials, cheating wives and CFNM, which is short for clothed female, naked male.
Ogas said dominant/subordinate pornography seems to be the one category that arouses all genders and sexualities. It’s talked about as an atypical type of porn like BDSM, even though it’s fairly typical to be aroused by.
According to Ogas, women are more turned on by being sexually submissive, but with men it’s a fair split between preference over being sexually submissive or dominant.
Ogas also discussed sexual cues used by pornography websites. For optical illusions, we need visual cues. Similarly, erotical illusions need sexual cues. Male-targeted websites feature more video and pictures. Ogas said typically, men like to look at stuff more than talk about it. They also like to focus on age, and that can mean searching for younger or older people in their pornography.
“I was really surprised about the erotic illusions. I never understood why shemales were appealing to anyone, but I get now that it’s a combination of all these sexual cues,” said junior Jared Donovan.
Men also like to focus on parts of the body. The most popular anatomical feature among men are breasts, followed by penises.
Ogas specified that the pornography that focuses on big penises tends to focus more on the woman’s reaction to the penis than the penis itself. This could be because large penises are seen as social tools. Many men are told the larger, the better.
One especially popular type of pornography among a lot of straight men is hentai, or animated porn, as it’s a combination of all the sexual cues that men like.
Ogas also shared that women do in fact watch and like porn. Usually, naked pictures of men won’t do for women. Sites that have feminist porn and romantic porn only get about 50,000 views a month, but websites that usually cater to men, like PornHub, get millions of views a month from women. The women who do like to watch porn generally tend to prefer watching the same things that men watch.
Women who don’t like to watch porn usually like to read it. The Internet has given women the chance to explore their sexuality in a way that has never been present before. Women have taken that opportunity and created erotic fan fiction.
There is fan fiction for almost any character out there. Some of the most popular are characters like in books like Harry Potter and Twilight or anything else that contains vampires, werewolves or similar creatures. Women are generally more interested in text rather than visuals. They also like to talk about the fan fiction in discussion boards, give constructive feedback and engage in meaningful dialogue about the fan fiction.
“It was interesting that women like stories about straight men having sex with other straight men and also how popular werewolves and vampires were,” said Ogas.
Many women like paranormal erotica because it contains all the sexual cues that women tend to like. A good example is Edward Cullen from Twilight, according to Ogas. Edward Cullen is the ultimate alpha male hero. He has an old mind but a young body. He brutally kills any competition but protects the one person he loves. He is also wealthy and of high status.
“I am a psych major and geared towards the human sexuality, so it was incredibly interesting to me,” senior Jess Flake said. “A lot of what we see now tells us that violent porn makes people search for even more violent porn, and I thought that too, but I guess I was wrong. Although I wasn’t surprised about the most common search terms that he mentioned or that video is more popular with males and text is more popular with women.”