Thursday, July 14, 2011

the mind's eye: pheromones, neuroscience, sexual preferences

Video - Marilyn Monroe puffing on a phatty.

JVKohl | Human physical attraction may not cognitively equate with definitive indications of sexual preferences or definitive sexual behavior, because sexual preferences can be cognitively denied and sexual behavior can be suppressed. Thus, when comparing human and non-human animal behavior, it is difficult to separate cognitive effects, like thoughts, from unconscious affects, like neuroendocrine changes, that may be manifest as human emotions. Therefore, sex researchers cannot be sure whether they are sampling some vague unconscious affect of human behavior that is not cognitively considered by their subjects—and not considered in the study design or the data analysis.

The failure to fully consider unconscious affects that may be manifest as opportunistic behavioral tendencies leads to a lack of clear findings, and the underlying biological underpinnings of sexual preferences can readily be missed. Accordingly, the reporting of incongruous and ill-defined results that are, nonetheless, meaningfully interpreted, is problematic. Meaningful results require an important consideration in any scientific endeavor; we must first get the model right!

No model is consistently used in the scientific study of human sexuality. For example, the effect of auditory stimuli in songbirds or visual stimuli like the colorful plumage of the peacock’s tail are used as examples of sensory input from the social environment that somehow influences sexual behavior in some species. In contrast, the effect of olfactory/pheromonal input from the social environment is more typically used as an example of sensory input that influences levels of hormones and sexual behavior in mammals.

A consistent mammalian model that links olfactory/pheromonal input from the social environment to hormonal influences on sexual behavior should help to reduce disparate findings and debate over inconsistent results from studies of human sexual behavior. Currently, disparate findings and debate tend to weakly support a false nature versus nurture dichotomy. This false dichotomy might well be eliminated from further consideration if individual studies began to more fully address a causal link between nature and nurture. Such a link can be addressed within the context of a developmental model of how olfactory/pheromonal input influences sexual preferences and how these sexual preferences influence sexual behavior.

In non-human animals, a causal relationship must exist among the development of sexual preferences for attractive physical features and how these preferences are manifest in sexual behavior. This causal relationship must develop before sexual preferences or sexual behaviors are expressed. Whether or not it is acknowledged, such a causal relationship appears to exist before human sexual preferences are fully developed and long before adult sexual behavior is expressed. Extension to humans of the mammalian olfactory/pheromonal model presented here addresses a causal relationship that includes the unconscious affect of olfactory/pheromonal input from the social environment on hormones and the development of sexual preferences manifest in the expression of sexual behavior.


nanakwame said...

Smell check is important for sex, some folks like gritty and dirty sex. It made billions for cosemtic companies. The Kennedy boys smoked in DR, while Rafael LeĆ³nidas Trujillo Molina "The Goat" remained in power.

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