Sunday, October 6, 2019

Historical Traumas and the Roots of Political Distrust: Political Inference from the Great Chinese Famine

Historical Traumas and the Roots of Political Distrust: Political Inference from the Great Chinese Famine. Yuyu Chen, David Y. Yang. October 2019. Draft.

Abstract: Political trust is the foundation of authoritarian regimes’ legitimacy, and it is often sustained by propaganda. When does propaganda reach its limit, and what are the consequences when propaganda is falsified? We study the causal effect of the Great Chinese Famine (1958-1961) on survivors’ political distrust. Policy failures led to the Famine, but the propaganda blamed drought for the disaster. Information that directly contradicted the propaganda — experiences of severe Famine in the absence of abnormal drought conditions — was quasi-randomly available to some citizens, but not others. Using a nationally representative survey, we employ a difference-in-differences strategy to compare individuals who were exposed to different intensities of the Famine across regions with different levels of drought during the Famine. The Famine survivors inferred the government’s liability from starvation experiences and the drought conditions, and they were more likely to dismiss the propaganda and blame the government for the Famine if they observed regular weather conditions during the Famine. As a result, these individuals expressed significantly less trust in the government. Costs of falsified propaganda are substantial, since the dampened political trust has turned into a stable political ideology. The distrust persists even half a century after the Famine, has been transmitted to the subsequent generation, and has spilled over to a broad range of political attitudes unrelated to the Famine.

Keywords: Political Trust, Political Attitudes, China, Authoritarian Regime, Persistence
JEL Classification: D83, P26, Z13

Following bilateral hippocampal lesions, patient have more frequent déja vus and prescience episodes

Déjà vu and prescience in a case of severe episodic amnesia following bilateral hippocampal lesions. Jonathan Curot, Jérémie Pariente, Jean Michel Hupé, Jean-Albert Lotterie, Hélène Mirabel & Emmanuel J. Barbeau. Memory, Oct 6 2019.

ABSTRACT: Several studies pertaining to déjà vu have consistently made a connection with the perirhinal region, a region located below the hippocampus. This idea is strengthened by the fact that déjà vu is an erroneous sense of familiarity and that familiarity appears to largely depend on the perirhinal region in healthy subjects. In this context, the role of the hippocampus is particularly unclear as it is unknown whether or not it plays a role in the genesis of déjà vu. We report on the case of OHVR, an epileptic patient who suffers from severe episodic amnesia related to massive isolated bilateral damage to the hippocampus. In contrast, the perirhinal region is intact structurally and functionally. This patient reports frequent déjà vu but also another experiential phenomenon with a prominent feeling of prescience, which shows some of the characteristics of déjà vécu. She clearly distinguishes both. She also developed a form of synaesthesia by attributing affective valence to numbers. This study shows that déjà vu can occur in cases of amnesia with massively damaged hippocampi and confirms that the perirhinal region is a core region for déjà vu, using a different approach from previous reports. It also provides clues about a potential influence of hippocampal alterations in déjà vécu.

KEYWORDS: Déjà vécu, recollection, hippocampus, familiarity, recognition memory, perirhinal cortex, synaesthesia


To our knowledge, this case study is the first to report on
the experience of déjà vu in a patient with severe episodic
amnesia and massive isolated hippocampal atrophy. In
addition, our patient also reported unusually frequent
experiential phenomena with a prominent feeling of prescience
as well as synaesthesia.

Two types of subjective experiences
In one of the most recent and exhaustive reviews on déjàexperiences
in epilepsy, Illman et al. (2012) suggested that
inconsistencies about déjà-experiences stem from a
problem of definition. These authors distinguished in particular
déjà vu, an inappropriate sense of familiarity, from
déjà vécu, an erroneous sensation of recollecting contextual
information. These qualitatively different phenomenological
experiences may rely on functionally independent
neural substrates: déjà vu – a “pure” familiarity experience –
that relies on a network of brain structures that process
familiarity, including most notably the perirhinal cortex,
and déjà vécu – a “recollective” experience – that relies
on a network centred on the hippocampus (Illman et al.,
2012). OHVR could clearly differentiate between two types
of subjective phenomena: one without prescience that
appears to match the definition of déjà vu and another
associated with prescience. One question is whether or
not the prescience experience is related to déjà vécu. In
the following sections, we discuss these two types of experience
in OHVR along with their possible neural correlates.

Déjà vu in OHVR
OHVR clearly reported the frequent occurrence of “pure”
déjà vu without any prescience. She spontaneously insisted
on the idea that in this case she was a “spectator” which
matches the ideas of Illman et al. (2012) about déjà vu.
She also firmly differentiated it from the other type of
her experiential phenomena. Whether OVHR experiences
déjà vu of a similar type to that experienced by healthy
subjects is a matter to be discussed. One study compared
déjà vu in epileptic patients and healthy subjects (Warren-
Gash & Zeman, 2014) and arrived at the conclusion that
déjà vu was qualitatively similar but that in epileptic
patients it was also associated with distinct features,
including derealisation (a sensation in which the external
environment appears unfamiliar, with other people
appearing like actors and the world appearing to be twodimensional
or like a stage set, as defined by the DMS-IV
and ICD-10. For a review see Hunter, Sierra, & David,
2004). OHVR’s déjà vu seems to fit well with this report.
She was aware that her sense of familiarity was inappropriate
(Brázdil et al., 2012; Illman et al., 2012). The knowledge
that the sensation is wrong is a major aspect of the déjà vu
sensation (O’Connor & Moulin, 2010). Our patient’s description
was consistent with those by O’Connor and Moulin
(2008) and Martin et al. (2012) as she explicitly reported
that her inappropriate sense of familiarity could initially
start with specific objects (e.g., “glasses” or “a pen”) and
secondarily and quickly expanded to the entire situation
and environment. Her déjà vu lasted a few seconds as in
control subjects. However, the feeling of derealisation
associated with her déjà vu was more pronounced than
for control subjects.
What makes OHVR unusual is that she suffers from
severe episodic amnesia due to massive and isolated bilateral
lesions of the hippocampus. Despite the lack of specific
experimental tasks to evaluate recollection and familiarity
specifically, OHVR’s case is highly suggestive of an episodic
amnesia: performance on context-rich and relational
memory tests was severely impaired, both clinically and
on neuropsychological tests, and with both verbal and
visual material (standard score on both the Logical
Memory and the Family Picture subtests delayed recall:
1). Such results match the finding that OHVR’s hippocampi
were severely damaged. In contrast, the performance on
context-free memory tests such as semantic memory (standard
score on the Information subtest: 9) or recognition
memory tests, where performance can rely on familiarity
(Face recognition subtest or Doors recognition), showed
that these were considerably preserved. Context-free
memory largely depends on anterior subhippocampal
structures (Barbeau, Pariente, Felician, & Puel, 2011; Jonin
et al., 2018; Vargha-khadem et al., 1997), including the perirhinal
cortex. The perirhinal cortex appeared to be preserved
in OHVR both structurally (MRI) and functionally
(PET). Therefore, this case report suggests that déjà vu
can occur in the absence of recollection and a functional
hippocampus and appears to correspond with the hypothesis
by Spatt (2002) and Illman et al. (2012) that déjà vu
depends on the activation of a neocortical familiarity
system. A debate between the respective roles of the
entorhinal cortex and the perirhinal cortex still remains to
be solved however. In the study by Bartolomei et al.
(2004), déjà vu was induced more often by stimulation of
the entorhinal than the perirhinal cortex. However, the
exact effect (i.e., local excitation or inhibition) of these electrical
stimulations is largely unclear and it is difficult to infer
from this the exact role of each structure. In OHVR, hypometabolism
of the right entorhinal cortex was observed.
Overall, these observations seem to confirm that the
rhinal region is as a core region in déjà vu but the role of
the entorhinal and perirhinal cortices in this experiential
phenomenon must still be clarified.
At first sight, OHVR’s case seems to suggest that recollection
or the hippocampus plays no role in déjà vu.
According to this hypothesis, it is a dysfunction within the
perirhinal region / familiarity system that induces déjà vu,
possibly in relation to epileptic activities in this region.
However, an alternative hypothesis is that it is a dysfunction
between the perirhinal region and the hippocampus
that is at the origin of déjà vu. Although OHVR’s hippocampi
were massively damaged in comparison to the
usual standards, the possibility must be considered that
some neuronal activity remains in this structure, enough
to trigger erroneous signals that are misinterpreted in the
perirhinal region. A hypothesis stemming from this
finding is that the more severe the atrophy of the hippocampi
(in isolation, i.e., with preserved subhippocampal
structures), the more déjà vu there might be. However,
this specific hypothesis should be tested in future studies
in epileptic patients, which would help to clarify whether
or not the hippocampus plays a role in déjà vu.

A subjective experience with a prominent feeling of
Our patient also frequently experienced a second type of
subjective phenomenon with a prominent feeling that
she describes as feeling like she could predict the future.
Some features of this subjective feeling match the
definition of prescience and corresponds with the conceptual
definition of déjà vécu by Illman et al. Experimental
evidence following the re-creation of a déjà vu sensation
in a virtual environment suggests that déjà vu may be
related to an illusion of prediction (Cleary & Claxton,
2018). Interestingly, despite making a clear distinction
between both phenomena, OHVR also acknowledged
that the phenomenon with prescience could occur sometimes
with pure déjà vu, but it was always after déjà vu,
which could be suggestive of evidence of certain dynamics
between these two experiential phenomena. To some
extent, OHVR’s case also supports the idea of some proximity
between déjà vu and prescience as both coincided
chronologically with the development of anterograde
amnesia and hippocampal dysfunction. This seems to fit
data from healthy subjects since approximately 16% of
them report feelings of prescience at least once a year
while having a feeling of déjà vu. Another 17% also know
about this feeling in association with déjà vu (Mumoli et al.,
2017). From this, it can be logically deduced that if familiarity
is experienced first and if this feeling persists over a
few seconds, it could lead to the feeling that the future
could be (or should be) predicted. Therefore, déjà vu
with prescience would be more intense and last longer.
This hypothesis can easily be tested in healthy subjects.
Nonetheless, other theoretical concepts include prescience
as a feature that helps to separate two déjà-experiences,
déjà vu and déjà vécu. Supposedly, déjà vu is devoid
of any feeling of prescience whereas déjà vécu integrates it
in association with emotions, source or context and
content (Illman et al., 2012). OHVR spontaneously insisted
on a distinction between her “déjà vu” and this other
feeling she could not name precisely (she sometimes
named it “prediction”, sometimes “support”). To the question:
“Are they two different phenomena for you?” she
answered: “Yes”, although she never used the terms déjà
vu or déjà vécu to describe this phenomenon. To the question:
“Are they concomitant or not necessarily linked?” she
also responded: “Sometimes, but not necessarily”. In fact,
OHVR’s feelings of premonition featured some aspects of
déjà vécu. She spontaneously emphasised that she was
an “actor” during prescience (while being a “spectator”
during déjà vu). This agency component is a feature of
autonoetic consciousness during recollection (Metcalfe &
Son, 2012; Piolino et al., 2003; Tulving, 1985) and this
state of consciousness may correspond to a dysfunctional
recollection during déjà vécu. She also clearly experienced
an erroneous sensation of time, which was absent from her
déjà vu experiences. However, and this is inconsistently
with Illman’s definition of déjà vécu, she never related
this experience to a “prior experience”. In brief, OHVR
clearly makes a distinction between two different types
of experiential phenomena, déjà vu, and a second one,
which resembles déjà vécu. This second phenomenon is
close to but does not exactly fit the definition of déjà
vécu (Illman et al., 2012). Further investigations of déjà
vécu are therefore needed.
This is an important discussion as the conceptual
entity of déjà vécu lacks a clear neuroanatomical substrate.
Therefore, OHVR’s second phenomenon could be
a way to approach the neural substrate of déja-vécu
and its components. To date, only 4 cases of prescience
have been described and studied in detail, but they were
not related to déjà vécu (Sadler & Rahey, 2004). These
authors found prescience phenomena in only 3 of 927
epileptic patients and they also quoted a fourth case
reported by Gloor et al. (1982). Prescience in experiential
phenomena seems to be infrequent but may have been
underestimated because of a lack of detailed reports.
Interestingly, Sadler and Rahey (2004) also asserted
that prescience must be distinguished from déjà vu,
since the 4 patients they described could clearly make
a distinction between the two phenomena. One of
their patients had an unknown aetiology and two had
bitemporal interictal spikes (two had bilateral temporal
seizures and only right discharge-induced prescience,
for two no seizures were recorded). Our patient has
similar epileptic characteristics (bitemporal epilepsy of
unknown origin).
During the transient phenomena associated with prescience,
she experienced an erroneous relation to time,
giving her the brief impression of being able to foresee
the future. A damaged hippocampus, severely impaired
in her case, could support such a symptomatology and
an erroneous temporal arrangement of the sequence of
events. Projection into the future is an inseparable mechanism
of episodic memory (Addis & Schacter, 2012; Klein,
2013). The recovery of an episodic autobiographical
memory involves a mental travel back to the past, but individuals
also become aware of their own identity in the
future (Tulving, 2002, 2005; Tulving, Voi, Routh, & Loftus,
1983). Tulving (1985) and Klein, Loftus, & Kihlstrom (2002)
have shown that amnesic patients may have difficulty imagining
the future. Hassabis, Kumaran, and Maguire (2007),
in a functional MRI study, demonstrated that the construction
of new scenes involves a network comprising the hippocampus,
the parahippocampal gyrus, the retrosplenial
cortex and the posterior parietal cortex. Therefore, the
same brain regions are activated when patients think of
past or future events (Addis, Moscovitch, & McAndrews,
2007; Okuda et al., 2003). Consequently, the episodic
system may contribute significantly to imagining the
future (Addis et al., 2007). Addis and Schacter (2012)
suggested that 3 processes might be particularly dependent
on the hippocampus: (1) allowing access to details
stored in memory to develop new scenarios, (2) combining
these different details in a spatio-temporal context (3)
encoding simulation of a future project in memory so
that it can influence future behaviours (Addis & Schacter,
2012). In addition, “time cells” that encode different successive
moments of an experiment and recognize the time
intervals between each episode have been discovered in
the hippocampus (Eichenbaum, 2013; MacDonald,
Lepage, Eden, & Eichenbaum, 2011). Therefore, the hippocampus
might be an essential structure for learning
sequences of events, allowing the brain to distinguish
memories for conceptually similar but temporally distinct
episodes, but also to associate temporally contiguous representations
linked to independent experiences (Ranganath
& Hsieh, 2016). Considering the roles played by the
hippocampus in the projection into the future and the temporal
organization of memory representations, we hypothesize
that prescience might be directly related to
hippocampal dysfunction in parallel with the preservation
of subhippocampal structures, at least in epileptic patients.
In fact, OHVR’s cognitive profile is the opposite of the
impaired familiarity/intact recollection of epileptic patients
who experienced déjà vu as reported in the study by
Martin et al. (2012). One possibility could be that in OHVR
a feeling of familiarity might be an indication of impending
retrieval, i.e., interpreted as prescience, which might never
happen due to hippocampal damage.

Acquired synaesthesia in OHVR?
In our patient, her disease (of unknown aetiology) was also
associated with the awareness of synaesthesia together
with a strong interest for numbers approximately three
years after onset. For example, she reported that she developed
the habit of counting all the time until she reached a
number she liked and therefore experienced a pleasurable
emotion. Synesthetic associations are thought to be
acquired most often during childhood and they may constitute
a variant of childhood memories (Witthoft &
Winaver, 2013). This so-called developmental synaesthesia
is a particular feature of subjective experience, considered
as non-pathological and shared by only a fraction of the
population. The estimated prevalence varies widely
according to the definition and criteria, from a few to
approximately ten percent (Chun & Hupé, 2016; Rouw &
Scholte, 2016; Simner, 2012; Simner & Carmichael, 2015;
Watson et al., 2017). Many synaesthetes only become
aware of their particularity late in life, when they learn
about the phenomenon or start to pay special attention
to their inner life. This could have been the case for our
patient, her attribution of affective valence for numbers
having been kept at the sub-conscious level until then.
However, most synaesthetes report that they experienced
their synesthetic associations “as far as they can remember”,
even while acknowledging that they had not been
conscious of them. Our patient clearly reported not
having any synaesthetic experience before her epileptic
episodes, suggesting a causal link. However, her memory
difficulties may also have prevented her from remembering
her childhood clearly enough.
Acquired synaesthesia in adults is rare and has been
reported in very different contexts: following psychotropic
and drug ingestion (Luke & Terhune, 2013; Sinke et al.,
2012), migraine (Alstadhaug & Benjaminsen, 2010; Podoll
& Robinson, 2002), after neuropathology involving the
optic nerve and/or chiasm (Afra, Funke, & Matsuo, 2009)
or blindness (Armel & Ramachandran, 1999; Niccolai,
Jennes, Stoerig, & Van Leeuwen, 2012), after a head
injury (but without visible lesions on MRI) (Brogaard,
Vanni, & Silvanto, 2013) or a thalamic stroke (Ro et al.,
2007; Schweizer et al., 2013). In most cases, no focal brain
lesion could be identified and the diversity of the cases
makes a common neurological substrate unlikely. In
addition, acquired variants of synaesthesia seem to be
qualitatively different from developmental synaesthesia,
involving mostly low-level sensory triggers rather than
learned symbols as observed for our patient and in developmental
synaesthesia (Ward, 2013).
To date, no epidemiological study has tested whether
there is a higher prevalence of synaesthetes in epileptic
patients. Similarly, no case of acquired synaesthesia has
been reported after hippocampal lesions, or formally
associated with déjà vu. The neural correlates of developmental
synaesthesia remain to be identified (Hupé &
Dojat, 2015), and therefore, there is no indication as to
whether or not the hippocampus and subhippocampal
regions are involved. Whether or not there is any causal
link between hippocampal atrophy and the appearance
of synaesthesia in our patient therefore remains an open
question. This case clearly calls for further investigation
of synaesthesia in (temporal lobe) epilepsy in future
studies, in relation, or not in relation to déjà vu.
Temporal and extra-temporal remapping within memory
networks have been demonstrated in TLE patients (verbal
and visual encoding memory tasks during functional MRI)
(Alessio et al., 2013; Sidhu et al., 2016). Compensatory
brain activation can be observed in healthy areas, like the
contralateral hippocampus in reaction to hippocampal sclerosis
or extratemporal regions such as the cuneus or the
anterior cingulate cortex (Sidhu et al., 2016). The growing
attention of OHVR to the affective valence and personifications
of numbers could be part of a compensatory cognitive
strategy. It would be interesting to examine whether
synaesthesia occurs more often in epileptic patients as it
could be a way to explore its neural substrates.
Nevertheless, an alternative and speculative explanation
might be possible considering the strikingly preserved
amygdala volume in OHVR, despite the bilateral
loss of hippocampi. These major nodes for emotional processing
are bilaterally intact in OHVR. Amygdala and hippocampal
complex are the core nodes of two independent
memory systems, respectively emotional (such as fear) conditioning
and declarative memory. These systems tightly
interact when emotional stimuli are encountered and
when complex emotional memories are created or
retrieved (Phelps, 2004). The parietal cortex, essential for
the number processing (Dehaene, Piazza, Pinel, & Cohen,
2003), is also apparently preserved in OHVR (an apparently
normal volume, normal PET metabolism). Therefore, we
can hypothesise that there is some reorganisation and a
sort of overinvestment or dysregulation of such preserved
networks after bilateral hippocampal lesions to cope with
severe memory deficits. The implication of amygdala in
emotions and valence could suggest that a functional
network has been released from normal inhibition, reactivating
long forgotten childhood associations of numbers
with affective valence.


Our report suggests that the perirhinal region plays a critical
role in déjà vu. It also suggests that déjà vu can occur in
patients with severe memory impairment and massive hippocampal
damage. However, it does not entirely resolve
the issue of whether or not some relation between the
perirhinal region and the hippocampus is necessary for
déjà vu to occur as some reports suggest (Bartolomei
et al., 2012) or whether the hippocampus is involved in
déjà vu at all. OVHR experienced what she thought to be
two distinct phenomena, one related to déjà vu, the
second related to prescience and resembling déjà vécu,
which supports the idea that the two should be distinguished.
Whether these depend on the dysfunction of
different brain areas or are related to a continuum,
remains to be investigated. However, OHVR’s profile
highly suggests that hippocampal dysfunction is needed
for the emergence of feelings of prescience, and more
broadly for déjà vécu.

Developments in Information Technology and the Sexual Depression of Japanese Youth since 2000: The Otaku culture, online pornography

Developments in Information Technology and the Sexual Depression of Japanese Youth since 2000. Maki Hirayama. International Journal of the Sociology of Leisure, March 2019, Volume 2, Issue 1–2, pp 95–119.

Abstract: In Japan more young people became sexually inactive in 2000s, especially since around 2005.On the other hand, Internet and digital technology were spread in the same period. In this paper, five phases of Internet and digital technology are investigated to realize what happened to the sexuality of Japanese youth associated with the technology: e-mail and SNS, online pornography, fantasy world of Otaku leisure, dating sites and applications, sexual service industry. Online pornography of extreme contents and strong stimuli with completely male-centered vision overflew in the 2000s. With the influence, both men and women have got difficulties in having real sex. Animations and games to satisfy the romantic needs and libidos of the youth gained popularity in 2000s,to overwhelm real romance and sex. In the last part, the need of cross-cultural comparative studies on technology and sexuality is insisted.

Keywords: Internet Online pornography Otaku culture Japanese youth Sexual inactivation

Modern societies around the world are said to be in the midst of a permanent revolution in sex and intimacy (Weeks 2007). It would be valuable for sociology to accurately capture these revolutions, as they affect a wide range of social life, including leisure, human rights, and family life, as well as social sustainability by replenishing the population. These revolutions are influenced by the religion, history, family system, and economics of each society and differ significantly from each other (Hekma and Giami 2014). There are also areas in the world where we doubt revolutions really occur. However, sexuality has been studied and discussed mainly as a phenomenon of Western societies. Paying attention to relevant transformations in non-Western societies will give us a clearer overall picture of the revolution.
Since the 2000s, many societies in the world have experienced the Internet and digital revolution—the development and spread of this new technology. During this period, quantitative and qualitative changes in devices and services have been very fast and broad. Technology has dramatically changed communication, encounters, cognition, and imagination. Hence it has changed sex and romance in complicated and profound ways (Attwood 2018; Turkle 2012).
Internet technology expanded the possibilities of in-person sexual encounters or romantic relationships, and supported sex and intimate activities (Kon 2001). However, the Internet and digital technology has also dramatically expanded sexual imaginations by offering a new digital leisure activity, and it inhibits direct, unmediated sexual encounters and intimacy (Honda 2005). This is one of the contradictions of modern sexuality (Weeks 2007): Does the Internet and digital technology in the new millennium activate the leisure of direct sexual activity? Or does the technology cause people to withdraw from in-person sexual encounters and romance into a closed world of fantasy or delusion? The result is brought about by the complex interaction between the new technology and sexuality.
Along with the advances in Internet and digital technology, various forms of sexual depression have been reported one after another in Japan since around 2000. However, the details of how each form of sexual depression was related to a certain aspect of information technology have, thus far, not been sufficiently analyzed. In Japan, it is often said that people started having less sex after the spread of the Internet. However, there is no empirical proof of this yet.
In this paper, we will examine the interplay between sexuality and Internet or digital technology, and the consequences thereof. We will focus on young people, from teenagers to twentysomethings, who are highly exposed to and impacted by new information technologies. In this paper, information technologies refer to mobile services, SNS (social networking services), games, adult sites, matching sites, and applications, as well as various other devices, services, and applications. They all seem likely to be related to the reduction in sexual activity. We will draw the whole picture by reviewing previous research data on the use of mobile phones, SNS, games, adult sites, matching sites and applications, and relevant data on sexuality.1
In the first chapter, we will review the shifts in the sexual consciousness and behavior of Japanese youth and also describe the factors considered to affect the shifts other than information technology. In the following chapters, we will look back at the shifts concerning information technology since 2000 in Japan, in the five phases considered to be related to the change in sexual consciousness and behavior, and will try to determine how it relates to the change in sexuality. In the last part, we will hypothesize several factors other than those discussed earlier. After that, we will propose possible solutions to sexual depression that became serious in the development of information technologies. We will also point out some research topics to be addressed in the future regarding information technology and sexuality.

2.4 Online Pornography
A considerable part of Internet development involves pornographic media. As Spracklen () points out, “masturbating to pornography is the biggest form of leisure associated with the Net.” The Japanese porn industry has thrived for more than 40 years. From carefully hiding pubic hair to exposing it, from heavily pixillating images of genitals to only lightly pixillating them, from simulated sex to real intercourse, pornography gradually became more explicit in the 1980s and 1990s in order to be more stimulating. The numbers of rental video stores dramatically increased until the early 1990s, and the market boomed, especially from 1998 to 2002 (Fujiki ). The size of the market at that time was said to be 300 billion yen per year (Nakamura ), when porn videos were available for sale or rental and there was fierce competition. Starting around 1995, online pornography joined this market competition.
In the late 1990s, sample sites of porn films, offering clips from three to 15 min long, were established and had a significant impact on the market expansion of Internet porn (Ogiue ). Moreover, in 2000, portal sites opened that introduced many new porn films and were also linked to many sample sites, forming a huge porn network (Ogiue , 153). This development in online porn changed porn viewing behavior greatly; it became a far more accessible, and thus more frequent, experience.13 Accurate survey data is not available, but unlike in Western countries, in Japan it is very rare for couples to watch pornography together; men mostly watch by themselves, in secret. This seems to be an important factor behind the rise of extreme content in Japanese porn and the decline in couples sex.
In the late 2000s, due to the development of free video-sharing services, paid porn films and amateur porn films were also posted online and made available free of charge. With more people browsing, free-adult-video culture was enhanced (Ogiue ).
The technical changes and fierce competition in free video distribution online transformed adult films in a number of ways. The length of each film became extremely short. Before 2000, there were long videos that could be called human documents, or philosophical works. After that, however, most of them became very short—about 5 min, only long enough so a man could ejaculate. The films no longer had plots or descriptions of the characters’ personalities and relationships. The quality of actresses improved. The porn actresses were generally regarded as being engaged in a shameful occupation, and to a considerable degree, they are still seen that way today. However, because the porn stars earned money and popularity, more young women willingly entered the industry. Scouts aggressively sought out new porn actresses. The genres became more segmented. These changes seem to have influenced males’ sexual preferences. Between 2002 and 2004, the contents of porn films changed rapidly to contain stronger stimuli (Ogiue ). During this period, there was hardly any social debate or criticism on pornography. Instead, the conservative forces of the Tokyo local government and the ruling party strongly criticized the detailed sex education at a certain school as “exceeding sex education” and cut back considerably on sex education.
The porn film producers introduced stronger stimuli for male users, and adult films adopted a stronger, male-centered viewpoint. In Japan, men overwhelmingly watch porn alone and seldom with a partner. Therefore, the film contents tend to adopt a single perspective, incorporating male values. Sexual violence such as rape (Weeks ) has become second nature in film scenarios. In the extreme films, the actresses react sexually while being raped; the actresses respond sexually to any objects, or even small living animals, inserted into their vaginas. Actresses just carry out the director’s instructions.14 Yet these depictions, which are far removed from the reality of a woman’s mind and body, give males serious misunderstandings about women’s sexuality. They create a firm belief in men’s minds that women are just tools (Spracklen , 184). Zimbaldo and Coulombe state, “We think the negative effects of excessive, socially isolated porn use are worse for young people who have never had real-life sexual encounters,” because they come to regard sex as simply the mechanical movement of body parts (Zimbaldo & Coulombe 2015, 30). This observation is true of Japanese young people.
Moreover, there has been almost no social criticism of or education on adult films in Japan. Feminists have also ignored pornography and not criticized it. As many people watch pornography in secret, they hesitate to discuss it in public. Therefore, pornography has not become an issue in social discourse or academic research, and it remains a taboo subject.
It has been established that a significant number of actresses who have appeared in porn films were extorted. Young, naive women were deceived and forced into contracts. They were threatened with huge monetary penalties and appeared in the films unwillingly. Many were exposed to sexual violence and also suffered from the limitless spread of their porn pictures and films worldwide on the Internet. These serious human rights violations, and the damage to the minds and bodies of women, were finally recognized as a social problem in 2016 (Miyamoto ; Nakamura ). Setsuko Miyamoto, a member of “Group for the Awareness of Pornography Damage and Sexual Violence,” supported by about 200 women, stated: “Human philosophy has not caught up with the evolution of technology” (Nakamura ). International human rights organization Human Rights Now also addressed this problem (Human Rights Now ), and the government strengthened monitoring. Many organizers in this industry have been arrested. The situation in the porn industry has become in the danger of survival, but since anyone can download or upload porn films, even if the films on the Internet are evidence of human rights violations and a source of suffering of former actresses, no one can erase them.
Many men use these adult films as training for sex. In a JASE survey in 2011, 14.9% of male high school students and 40.7% of male university students responded that they learned about sex from adult films (JASE ). Men also unconsciously internalize the sensibilities and values of the porn films.15
Young men’s minds and bodies were transported into the world of porn films, whose contents became hard and violent to women in the 2000s, and this had significant effects on actual sex experiences. In adult films, women easily give men the pleasure they desire. But real women often show more reluctance to have sex, may feel pain, and may even say no. Most men do not know how to deal with this kind of reaction in real life. Most Japanese couples do not communicate enough about their desires. As a result, many men have concluded that they do not need real sex if they can watch pornography. Thus pornography has been supplanting real sex in Japan. Not a few women complain to advice websites that their male partners are watching pornography secretly, in their absence.
Introducing the research in the fields of physiology and psychology on how heavy usage of online pornography affects humans will clarify the mechanism of these phenomena. Zimbardo and Coulombe, using the term “enchantment of technology,” summarize the latest research results (Zimbardo and Coulombe . Ch.11) The most powerful sexual organ, the brain, undergoes physiological change through excessive pornography usage. Some changes resemble those of drug addiction. Initially, the stimulation from porn causes dopamine to be secreted and causes erections. But as one’s brain becomes accustomed to the stimulation, the amount of dopamine decreases, requiring newer forms of stimulation.
As the shocking and exciting stimuli continue to be offered online, it can be difficult to notice the onset of sexual dysfunction. As time passes, erections cannot be maintained without the stimulation of porn, and reaching ejaculation becomes more difficult. Research by the Max Plank Institute for Human Development found that porn usage is also related to the reduction of gray matter in the area related to brain-reward sensitivity. As gray matter decreases, both dopamine and dopamine receptors are reduced. Thus it is thought that more and more stimulation is needed to achieve erection through sexual stimuli (Zimbardo and Coulombe ). We hope this ongoing research and new, related research will develop greatly and that the results will become public knowledge.
Next, we look at the consequences of online pornography for women. Pornography reduces women’s chance of experiencing pleasure. As I teach at a university, I often hear female students complaining that their boyfriends want to imitate porn films. They all say they experience pain because their boyfriends are too rough with them. Even if the young men refrain from imitating the extreme techniques of pornography, they do not understand women’s unique “sexual response cycle” (Balon and Segraves ). The women get no pleasure, and so they lose interest in having sex.
According to the nationwide survey (JFPA 2017), women’s interest in having sex was reported as follows (Fig. 5). For women aged 20–24, although the reason for the increase and decrease of the “not applicable” category is unknown, since 2008 the proportion of those “more or less interested” gradually decreased and that of those “not much interested + not interested at all” gradually increased. No detailed investigations of the change have been caried out yet. However, we hypothesize that the decline of women’s interest in having sex is related to men’s pornography use.
[Full text: link at the beginning.]

Multi-messenger astrophysics

Multi-messenger astrophysics. Péter Mészáros, Derek B. Fox, Chad Hanna & Kohta Murase. Nature Reviews Physics, volume 1, pages 585–599 (2019). October 3 2019.

Abstract: Multi-messenger astrophysics, a long-anticipated extension to traditional multiwavelength astronomy, has emerged over the past decade as a distinct discipline providing unique and valuable insights into the properties and processes of the physical Universe. These insights arise from the inherently complementary information carried by photons, gravitational waves, neutrinos and cosmic rays about individual cosmic sources and source populations. This complementarity is the reason why multi-messenger astrophysics is much more than just the sum of the parts. In this Review article, we survey the current status of multi-messenger astrophysics, highlighting some exciting results, and discussing the major follow-up questions they have raised. Key recent achievements include the measurement of the spectrum of ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays out to the highest observable energies; the discovery of the diffuse high-energy neutrino background; the first direct detections of gravitational waves and the use of gravitational waves to characterize merging black holes and neutron stars in strong-field gravity; and the identification of the first joint electromagnetic plus gravitational wave and electromagnetic plus high-energy neutrino multi-messenger sources. We discuss the rationales for the next generation of multi-messenger observatories, and outline a vision of the most likely future directions for this exciting and rapidly growing field.

Key points
Besides the traditional electromagnetic observations, multi-messenger astrophysics uses the information about the astrophysical Universe provided by the gravitational, weak and strong forces. These new channels provide untapped, qualitatively different and complementary types of information, making previously hidden objects visible.
Diffuse backgrounds of high-energy neutrinos (HENs) with energies from ~10 TeV to PeV, ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays (UHECRs) at energies up to ~1020 eV and γ-rays with energies between MeV and ~TeV have been measured, or upper limits have been provided, by Cherenkov detectors, satellites and ground-based air shower arrays.
Gravitational waves from merging stellar mass black hole and neutron star binaries have been detected at frequencies in the ~10 Hz to ~1 kHz range with laser interferometric gravitational wave detectors.
The sources of the diffuse UHECR and HEN backgrounds remain unknown, although a γ-ray-flaring blazar has been tentatively identified with the observed HENs. Although up to ~85% of the γ-ray background can be attributed to blazars, it appears that at most 30% of the HEN background has the same origin.
The natural physical connection between high-energy cosmic ray interactions and the resulting very-high-energy neutrinos and γ-rays can provide clues about their unknown astrophysical sources. Although less direct, the connection with gravitational wave emission is expected to provide important information about supermassive black hole populations and dynamics.
The advanced gravitational wave detectors will soon be able to detect hundreds of binary mergers up to ~Gpc distances, but electromagnetic counterpart searches rely primarily on the aging space-based facilities Swift and Fermi, currently operating well beyond their design lifetimes. There is an urgent need for a new generation of electromagnetic detectors, extending the range of frequencies.

Until the mid-twentieth century, of the four fundamental forces in nature — the electromagnetic (EM), gravitational, weak and strong nuclear forces — it was only messengers of the EM force, in the form of optical photons, that astronomers could use to study the distant Universe. Technological advances provided access to radio, infrared, ultraviolet, X-ray and γ-ray photons. But only in the past few decades, the messengers of the other three forces, namely gravitational waves (GWs), neutrinos and cosmic rays, could be used in astronomical observations. Thus, we are now finally using the complete set (as far as known) of the forces of nature, which are revealing exciting and hitherto unknown facts about the cosmos and its denizens.
Compared with most EM emissions, these new non-photonic messengers are generally more challenging to detect and to trace back to their cosmic sources. When detected, they are usually associated with extremely high-mass or high-energy-density configurations (for example, the dense core of normal stars, stellar explosions at the end of the life of massive stars, the surface neighbourhood of extremely compact stellar remnants such as white dwarfs, neutron stars or black holes, the strong and fast-varying gravitational field near either stellar mass black holes or the more massive black holes in the core of galaxies, or in energetic shocks in high-velocity plasmas associated with compact astrophysical sources). This association with the most violent astrophysical phenomena known means that the interpretation of observations enabled by multiple messengers requires, and can have implications for, our theories of fundamental physics, including strong-field gravity, nuclear physics and particle interactions.
The study of such high-energy compact objects started in the 1950s, after decades of a slow build-up with increasingly larger ground-based optical telescopes. The first major breakthrough came from the deployment of large radio-telescopes, followed by the launch of satellites equipped with X-ray and later γ-ray detectors, which established the existence of active galactic nuclei (AGN), neutron stars and black holes, and revealed dramatic high-energy transient phenomena, including X-ray novae, X-ray bursts and gamma-ray bursts (GRBs).
In the late 1960s, large underground neutrino detectors were built, first measuring the neutrinos produced in the Sun and later those arising from a supernova explosion (see joint multi-messenger results section below). It was only in the current decade that extragalactic neutrinos in the TeV to PeV range were discovered1,2. Cosmic rays in the GeV energy range started to be measured in the 1910s, but it was only in the 1960s that large detectors started measuring higher energies, suggesting an extragalactic origin, and only in the past decade has it become practical to start investigating the spectrum and composition in the 1018–1020 eV energy range, for example, see ref.3. GW detectors were first built in the 1970s, but it was not until the 1990s that the sensitivity required for detection was achieved owing to new technologies and sufficiently large arrays. The first GW detections4 came in 2015.

Despite widespread support for the legal rights of homosexual couples, it has been found that many heterosexual individuals do not approve of “informal rights” like public display of affection

Reactions to Homosexual, Transgender, and Heterosexual Public Displays of Affection. Ashley E. Buck et al. Journal of Positive Sexuality, Vol. 5, No. 2, October 2019.

Abstract: At least two factors may influence reactions to public displays of affection (PDA): personal level of comfort with PDA and attitudes toward sexual minorities. In three studies, we measured participants’ reactions to videotaped heterosexual, homosexual, and transgender PDA. A measure was created to evaluate comfort with PDA. Across all studies, we found that comfort with PDA predicted participant reactions toward PDA. We also found that participants were generally comfortable with viewing all PDA scenarios, but participants were most comfortable viewing heterosexual PDA and least comfortable viewing transgender PDA. Finally, we found that multiple measures of homophobic attitudes predicted reactions to PDA featuring sexual minorities.

Support of the legal rights of homosexual couples has been on the rise in North American countries, particularly in Canada and the United States (Doan, Loehr, & Miller, 2015; Morrison, Trinder, & Morrison, 2018). In Canada, gay and lesbian couples cannot be denied the right to adopt a child due to their sexual orientation (Morrison et al., 2018). Partner rights and benefits, such as same-sex marriage, have become legal in the United States, and the majority of U.S. citizens are in favor of gay marriage (60% as of 2015; Doan et al., 2015).

Despite widespread support for the legal rights of homosexual couples, it has been found that many heterosexual individuals do not approve of homosexuals’ “informal rights” (Doan et al., 2015). Engaging in a public display of affection (PDA) is an act that can be categorized under one’s informal rights, meaning acceptance of PDA is an aspect of society that is not controlled through legal means, but rather through social interactions (although it is worth noting that in some countries legal regulations determine the norms surrounding PDA). Homosexual couples are at a higher risk of experiencing prejudice, negative public perception, or fear for one’s personal safety when engaging in PDA compared to heterosexual couples (Doan et al., 2015; Vaquera & Kao, 2005). The present study is an examination of how attitudes toward PDA and attitudes toward individuals of differing sexual orientations influence reactions to viewing PDA. 

PDA, using physical affection, such as kissing or hugging, are methods employed in a public space to confirm and maintain relationships (e.g., Doan et al., 2015; Kent & El-Alayli, 2011). Physical affection has been defined as, “any touch intended to arouse feelings of love in the giver and/or the recipient” (Kent & El-Alavli, 2011, p. 150). Seven types of physical affection have been identified, including: “backrubs and massages, caressing and stroking, cuddling and holding, holding hands, hugging, kissing on the lips, and kissing on the face (not lips)” (Kent & El-Alavli, 2011, p. 150). Public displays of affection are considered to be important traits of a satisfying relationship, which is why it is important to consider how homosexual and transgender PDA is perceived by and affected by others (Mohr, Selterman, & Fassinger, 2013).

Public spaces are defined by the rules people follow in the space. If the normal routine of the space is to display affection, people will more readily accept PDA from any gender in that area (Hubbard, 2001). Although societies are not monolithic, a general culture can drastically change what is considered publicly acceptable. People feel more comfortable expressing PDA in countries where friendships and displays of thanks are expressed through PDA, such as in the United Kingdom, while other countries have more conservative attitudes (Anderson, Adams, & Rivers, 2010; Soysal, 2010).

Kisses are common in the public sphere within the United States, which is regarded to be in the middle range of acceptability of public displays of affection (Fox, 1999). Within the United States, attitudes toward the acceptability of PDA vary greatly. Many individuals in the United States condone heterosexual couples holding hands or kissing but discourage making out or sexually touching. In contrast, there are some people who believe all public displays of affection are inappropriate. Anecdotes often emerge demonstrating how small public displays of affection can garner negative reactions. For example, in 2007, a female middle school student in Illinois was given two days of detention for hugging a female friend (Gray, 2007).

Heterosexual couples often engage in small public acts of love in everyday life, but it is less common to see homosexual couples showcase affection through PDA (Hubbard, 2001; Mohr et al., 2013). Homosexual couples have reported that they wish to engage in displays of affection more often, but the couples feel judged when displaying their affection (Lemar & Kite, 1998). In gay couples specifically, relationships that include showing affection are reported to be significantly more satisfying and likely to last compared to gay couples in relationships who do not showcase their affection (Lemar & Kite, 1998).

A prevalent misbelief in the United States is that negative views of homosexuality are tied to age, with the younger generations holding more accepting views than older groups. Olson and DeSouza (2017) found that religiosity and identifying as a political conservative remain the strongest influence on feelings toward sexual minorities, as opposed to age. Many religions condemn same-sex pairings, which influences the attitudes of a religion’s followers (Hubbard, 2001). In highly religious countries, attitudes toward same-sex pairings are negative, and laws are often enacted that force homosexuals to hide their relationships from the authorities or face persecution and legal consequences (Same-Sex Marriage Laws, 2013).

For example, Islam is the federal religion of Malaysia, and homosexuality is outlawed there as a result of the laws of the religion. Homosexuality is considered to be both sinful and punishable by 20 years of imprisonment and caning (Ng, Yee, Subramaniam, Loh & Moreira, 2015). In March 2019, the country of Brunei enacted a penal code based on Shariah law, which includes death by stoning for sex between men and 40 lashes for lesbian sex (Magra, 2019). This act has been met with heavy resistance from other countries and human rights groups.

Previous studies have attempted to determine how perceptions of homosexual PDA are influenced by the viewer’s attitudes toward homosexuality (Kiebel, McFadden, & Herbstrith, 2017; O’Handley, Blair & Hoskin, 2017). Kiebel et al. (2017) asked 45 female and 39 male college students in the United States to view images of gay men kissing, lesbians kissing, or heterosexual couples kissing. Test participants in this study reported little to no prejudice towards homosexuality. However, they found that individuals experienced negative valence and disgust when viewing images of gay men kissing. Images of two females kissing were rated less severely but still elicited feelings of disgust. These subjects found the images of heterosexual couples kissing to be pleasant. O’Handley et al., (2017) examined physiological reactions, implicit (AMP) ratings, and the explicit valence and disgustingness ratings of 465 heterosexual men ages 18 to 45 to images of same-sex or mixed-sex couples kissing or engaged in PDA. They found higher measures of distress (e.g., higher implicit and explicit ratings) when participants viewed men kissing than when they viewed imagery regarded to be universally disgusting (O’Handley et al., 2017). However, these studies found that individuals did not report harboring homosexual attitudes. These studies did not elucidate if these reactions indicated implicit homophobia.

At least two possible factors may guide how people react to PDA of various sexual orientations: (a) people’s general attitudes and feelings toward PDA; and (b) people’s attitudes toward homosexuality and transsexuality (when the couple engaged in PDA is either gay, lesbian, or transgender).

Previous studies have consistently found that men are more explicitly sexually prejudiced than women (Kiebel et al., 2017; Monto & Supinski, 2014). Viewing gay erotica is associated with negative affect, anger-hostility, and feelings of fear in men who have self-reported being sexually prejudiced (Bernat, Calhoun, Adams, & Zeichner, 2001; Parrott, Zeichner, Hoover 2006). Multiple studies have found that even when participants are considered to be non-sexually prejudiced, baseline anger-hostility increases after viewing homosexual erotic videos (Bernat et al., 2001; Hudepohl, Parrott, & Zeichner, 2010). In a study by Bishop (2015), men who viewed romantic and homoerotic images experienced increased negative emotional states. This does not mean that heterosexual women do not harbor prejudice toward homosexuality; women have also been found to experience heightened anger toward viewing same-sex relationships in videos if they self-report being high in gender traditionalism (Parrott & Gallagher, 2008). Men tend to be more discriminatory toward gay men than lesbians, while women are more discriminatory toward lesbians (Kiebel et al., 2017).
Increases in support for the rights of the homosexual community have resulted in homosexual couples expressing PDA (including on television and other forms of media) more openly than they might have in the past (O’Handley et al., 2017). However, sexuality and gender have significant effects on how public displays of affection are received by others (Anderson et al., 2010; Kent & El-Alayli, 2011). Individuals who harbor implicit and explicit feelings of homophobia now encounter more acts of PDA from homosexual couples, which might explain an increasing trend of violence toward homosexual people (O’Handley et al., 2017). As such, it seems logical that a potential influence on one’s attitudes toward PDA is one’s attitude toward gays and lesbians more generally (when the couple engaged in PDA is either gay or lesbian).

Research surrounding attitudes toward sexual minorities has focused more on issues surrounding gay and lesbian individuals than on people who identify as transgender. With higher visibility in the media and public debates on the rights of transgender individuals, conversations have recently been brought to the mainstream related to the inequality and risk of violence transgender people face in society (Mao, Haupert & Smith, 2018). Generally speaking, transgender is an umbrella term to describe individuals who have a disconnect between their biological sex and their gender identity (Meier & Labuski, 2013).

Transgender individuals face stronger negativity and prejudiced attitudes than other sexual minorities (i.e., gay, lesbian, and bisexual people; Norton & Herek, 2018). Negative attitudes toward transgender people have been found to be a function of religious fundamentalism, political conservatism, and authoritarianism in the United States, which is consistent with attitudes toward gay and lesbian people (Norton & Herek, 2018). To date, no studies have appeared to explored attitudes toward PDA involving transgender individuals.

Women’s Orgasm & Sexual Satisfaction in Committed Sex and Casual Sex: Higher sociosexuality was associated with higher orgasmic function in casual sex, lower sexual satisfaction in committed sex

Women’s Orgasm and Sexual Satisfaction in Committed Sex and Casual Sex: Relationship Between Sociosexuality and Sexual Outcomes in Different Sexual Contexts. Val Wongsomboon, Mary H. Burleson & Gregory D. Webster. The Journal of Sex Research, Oct 4 2019.

Abstract: Previous studies have found that women report more orgasm and sexual satisfaction from sex in committed relationships than from casual sex. We examined whether sociosexual orientation was associated with these differences, and explored the links between sociosexuality and sexual outcomes in these two sexual relationship contexts. Sexually active women (n = 1,084) completed an online survey measuring sociosexual orientation, orgasmic function, and sexual satisfaction. Participants reported sexual outcomes (orgasmic function and sexual satisfaction) with respect to their sexual activity over the past 12 months in a casual context (if applicable), and separately in a committed context (if applicable). Among women who had both casual and committed sex in the past year, orgasmic function and sexual satisfaction differed between these two relationship contexts only for more sexually restricted women (lower sociosexuality). In the full sample, higher sociosexuality was associated with higher orgasmic function in casual sex and with lower sexual satisfaction in committed sex. These findings underscore the importance of examining interactions between individual differences and contextual factors when studying women’s sexual outcomes.

Despite considerable study of female sexuality, some aspects of female orgasm and sexual satisfaction remain a mystery. Manywomenwithorwithoutsexualdysfunctionhavetrouble reaching orgasm. Their inability to orgasm, however, cannot be explained by health-related or physiological factors alone (Çayan et al., 2004; Colson, Lemaire, Pinton, Hamidi, & Klein, 2006; Dawood, Kirk, Bailey, Andrews, & Martin, 2005; Meston, Hull, Levin, & Sipski, 2004). In fact, research shows that women’s sexual function and satisfaction are associated with individual differences and interpersonal factors, as well as the relationship contexts in which sex occurs. Specifically, women tend to experience more orgasms or greater sexual satisfaction in committed sex (i.e., sex in committed relationships) versus casual sex (i.e., sex outside committed relationships; Armstrong, England, & Fogarty, 2012; Birnie-Porter & Hunt, 2015). In this study, we refer to this discrepancy in women’s sexual outcomes as the committed-versus-casual sex gap. To better understand this gap, we investigated potential differences in women’s sexual function and satisfaction between these two sexual contexts. We propose that sociosexuality—an individual differencein willingness to have uncommitted sex—is associated with context-dependent sexual outcomes, and by extension, the committed-versus-casual-sex gap in those outcomes.1 Bydefinition, women with higher sociosexuality are more inclined toward casual sexual relations and evaluate casual sex as more positive. Whether they experience a smaller context-dependent gap or greater sexual function and satisfaction in casual sex are open questions.
The current study had three aims. The first was to further explore women’s orgasm and sexual satisfaction in committed and casual sexual relationship contexts. The second was to examine whether sociosexual orientation was associated with any committed-versus-casual-sex gap in orgasmic function or sexual satisfaction. The third was to investigate context-related differences in how sociosexuality relates to orgasm and sexual satisfaction.

Sexual Outcomes in Committed and Casual Sexual Relationship Contexts
As noted above, research suggests that women have higher orgasmic function (e.g., satisfaction with their ability to orgasm), sexual satisfaction, or both, in committed (vs. casual) sexual interactions. For example, women engaged to be married reported greater sexual satisfaction than those in casual-dating and friends-with-benefits relationships (Birnie-Porter & Hunt, 2015). Similarly, using a nationwide probability sample, Waite and Joyner (2001) found that women in exclusive long-term relationships reported more emotional satisfaction and physical pleasure from sex compared to those in more casual relationships. Finally, Armstrong et al. (2012) found that college women were less likely to orgasm in hookups than in romantic relationships. Nevertheless, although women often experience more orgasms, greater sexual enjoyment, or both in relationship sex, casual sex is common (50–80% of women in past studies reported hookups or casual-sex experiences; Armstrong et al., 2012; Armstrong & Reissing, 2015; Correa, Castro, Barrada, & Ruiz-Gómez, 2017; Mark, Garcia, & Fisher, 2015; Paul & Hayes, 2002), and many women engage in casual sex specifically to seek physical pleasure (Armstrong & Reissing, 2015; Garcia & Reiber, 2008; Weaver & Herold, 2000). Moreover, not all women experience a discrepancy in orgasm or sexual enjoyment depending on relationship type (Armstrong et al., 2012). Thus, to further document the committed-versus-casual sex gap and better understand characteristics that are associated with its magnitude, we first contrasted women’s self reports of sexual outcomes in “committed, exclusiveromantic relationships” with those in “uncommitted, non-exclusive sexual relationships.” Based on previous research, we expected to find higher orgasmic function and sexual satisfaction for committed sex than for casual sex across our sample.

Sociosexuality, Orgasm, and Sexual Satisfaction in Different Contexts
Because it stands to reason that women who find casual sex more pleasurable and satisfying would be more inclined to have casual sex, we examined the association between sociosexuality and context-related differences in sexual outcomes. Individuals with lower sociosexuality (more restricted sociosexual orientation) prefer sex with love and commitment, whereas those with higher sociosexuality (more unrestricted sociosexual orientation) both desire and approve of having sex without love or commitment, and thus have more casual sex (Penke & Asendorpf, 2008; Simpson & Gangestad, 1991). Furthermore, they are more motivated to seek physical pleasure and novel experiences through sexual activity than more restricted women (Meston & Buss, 2007). We hypothesized that more unrestricted women would report a smaller gap in sexual outcomes between committed and casual sexual relationship contexts.
Relatively little research has been conducted regarding the nature of the association between sociosexuality and orgasm or sexual satisfaction in women. Results from studies in this area have suggested that lower sexual satisfaction (Birnie-Porter & Hunt, 2015; Simpson & Gangestad, 1991; Velten & Margraf, 2017) and fewer orgasms (Ellsworth & Bailey, 2013) are weakly linked with higher sociosexuality. However, none of these studies took sexual relationship context into account; two recruited only participants in exclusive or “romantic” relationships (Ellsworth & Bailey, 2013; Velten & Margraf, 2017), and one did not report relationship status (Simpson & Gangestad, 1991). Because research relating sociosexuality and women’s sexual functioning is surprisingly sparse and does not specifically address sexual relationship contexts, we examined whether and how level of sociosexuality is related to sexual outcomes both within committed and within casual sexual relationship contexts. Given that in general, positive evaluations of sexual activity are associated with more sexual desire, satisfaction, and orgasm among women(e.g., Haavio-Mannila & Kontula, 1997; Morton & Gorzalka, 2013), we predicted that sexual outcomes would be positively related to sociosexuality in casual sexual contexts. However, although there is reason to believe that higher sociosexuality could pose a threat to relationship outcomes in a committed context (Simpson, 1987), there remains insufficient information to justify an a priorihypothesis regarding the association between sociosexuality and sexual outcomes in a committed context. Therefore, we did not have an a priori hypothesis regarding the relationship between sociosexuality and sexual outcomes in committed sex.

Orgasmic Function and Sexual Satisfaction
In the present study, we investigated both orgasmic function (e.g., orgasm frequency) and sexual satisfaction because the relationship between orgasmic function and sexual satisfaction in women remains unclear. Some studies of women found that orgasm frequency was positively related to sexual satisfaction (Frederick, Lever, Gillespie, & Garcia, 2017; Klapilová, Brody, Krejčová, Husárová, & Binter, 2015; Kontula & Miettinen, 2016; Young, Denny, Luquis, & Young, 1998), whereas others showed orgasm was unnecessary for sexual satisfaction or pleasure (Bancroft, Long, & McCabe, 2011; Salisbury & Fisher, 2014; Waterman & Chiauzzi, 1982). Because orgasmic function and sexual satisfaction are positively, but not perfectly, correlated in women, and because some women experience sexual satisfaction without orgasm (or vice versa), we examined both physical and psychological sexual outcomes (i.e., orgasmic function and sexual satisfaction). Further, because we sought a richer understanding of women’s orgasmic experience, we assessed orgasm difficulty, satisfaction with ability to orgasm, and confidence in ability to orgasm, in addition to orgasm frequency.

1 We use the term “sexual outcomes” to refer to sexual satisfaction and orgasmic function, as defined in the Method section.


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