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As John Oliver points out in this video, there’s a lot of bullshit out there masquerading as science.

But one study that does seem reliable is looking at how sex and violence are more related that we might have thought. Neurologist are looking at how nature has shaped the two. A story in Quartz describes the science:

David Anderson, a neurobiologist from California Institute of Technology, has published severalpapers showing that in mice and in fruit flies, triggers for sex and aggression come down to the same clusters of neurons. He’s due to present an overview of his work on the subject at this year’s Brain Forum in Switzerland. Anderson believes that there’s a “high likelihood” that the some of the brain circuit details he’s discovered in other animals will hold true for humans as well, suggesting that there’s an innate neurological basis for the overlap between sex and aggression. Anderson has found that a tiny cluster of neurons (relative to the size of each animal’s brain—so 10 neurons on either side of the fruit fly’s brain, and 2,000 on either side of the mouse’s brain) have a role in controlling both sexual and aggressive behaviors of males. He’s made such discoveries by genetically targeting each neuron; with that level of precision, he can turn the neurons on and off. Now he’s working to establish whether it’d be possible for these clusters to prompt both sexual and aggressive behavior simultaneously, or whether it’s an either/or mechanism.

But why are these things related? Anderson thinks it might be due in part to male aggressiveness when it comes to competition for sexual partners. The more aggressive a male is for food the more likely a sexaul partner he’ll become. Are scientist ready to claim that greedy, aggressive men have more sex? Not so fast. Human sexaulity is more complex than that, though studying the correlation could be helpful in learning more about mental illness. Scientists say more research needs to be done:

This is a further area for study, as is the question of whether the neurons trigger the motivation to conduct sex or violence, or the actions themselves. In the long-term, Anderson says, “our ability to understand the circuits that underlie natural emotional behaviors” can help shed light on our understanding of human psychiatric disorders. He hopes to “try to arrive at some general principles and fundamental insights that will help us better understand ourselves.”

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