Sex clubs provide an opportunity for researchers to tackle research questions about human sexuality in a naturalistic environment (as opposed to the more rarified environment of the laboratory). In a forthcoming paper
to be published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior
, researchers Michelle J. Escasa, Jacqueline F. Casey, and Peter B. Gray set out to investigate how men's salivary testosterone levels would fluctuate (in comparison to a baseline measure) once they entered the sex club and either viewed (but did not participate) in sexual activity, or participated in sexual activity. They predicted that men's testosterone levels would arise across conditions but more so when engaging in sexual activity. Furthermore, they hypothesized that changes in testosterone levels would be linked to men's ages. Specifically, they predicted that the extent of the testosterone spikes would be negatively correlated with men's ages.
Here are the key findings:
(1) Men's T levels increased by 36% when in the sex club.
(2) Men who participated in sexual activities had an increase of 72% in their T levels whereas those who only watched had an 11% increase in theirs.
(3) Contrary to the authors' prediction, T increases were not correlated with men's ages.
Note that two of the authors are women. Hence this study can't be a manifestation of "sexist male evolutionary psychologists" seeking to justify male promiscuity (unless of course the female scientists were "brainwashed" or "coerced" into conducting this study by the evil patriarchy).
Incidentally, in one of my earliest posts (see here), I discussed a study that I had conducted with John G. Vongas wherein we investigated the effects of conspicuous consumption (e.g., driving an expensive Porsche in downtown Montreal) on men's testosterone levels. This work has since been published in a special issue on the biology of business in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes (see here for the abstract).
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