Sunday, October 6, 2019

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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Saturday, October 5, 2019

“Sorry, I already have a boyfriend”: Masculine honor beliefs and perceptions of women’s use of deceptive rejection behaviors to avert unwanted romantic advances

“Sorry, I already have a boyfriend”: Masculine honor beliefs and perceptions of women’s use of deceptive rejection behaviors to avert unwanted romantic advances. Evelyn Stratmoen, Emilio D. Rivera, Donald A. Saucier. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, August 7, 2019.

Abstract: We examined the relationships between masculine honor beliefs (MHB) and women’s endorsement of various rejection-related behaviors, as well as both men’s and women’s perceptions of men’s aggressive responses after being romantically rejected by a woman who uses an avoidant/deceptive rejection technique. In Study 1, women with stronger MHB were more likely to endorse their own use of an avoidant/deceptive rejection technique and expressed fewer expectations of men aggressing against them after their overt rejection. In Study 2, men with stronger MHB perceived a woman’s use of deception to reject a man’s unwanted romantic advance as a greater threat to the rejected man’s honor, while women with stronger MHB expressed greater expectations of retaliatory aggression from the rejected man, regardless of the use of deception. These results suggest women who adhere to masculine honor norms may be in a difficult predicament when faced with rejecting men and may choose to mitigate the honor threat to the rejected man by using avoidance/deception to avert his unwanted romantic advance to avoid potential retaliatory aggression.

Keywords: Aggression, avoidant behaviors, masculine honor beliefs, romantic rejection

Masculine honor beliefs

Masculine honor ideology—cultural norms based on the American Southern culture of honor—dictates expectations for men’s behavior, specifically regarding construction and maintenance of their social status and reputation (i.e., their honor) (e.g., Nisbett, 1993; Nisbett & Cohen, 1996; Wyatt-Brown, 1982). Due to the herding lifestyle that was predominant in the American South where families’ livelihoods (i.e., livestock) were easily stolen, men were expected to respond aggressively and even violently to threats to protect their livestock, as well as their property and families (Nisbett, 1993; Nisbett & Cohen, 1996). These aggressive responses not only protected men and their property from current threats, but also helped them develop intimidating reputations, which then deterred future threats. The possibility of men losing their livelihoods coupled with their need to maintain these reputations evolved into masculine honor ideology, where men must respond aggressively to any threat, provocation, or insult to preserve their formidable reputation (i.e., their sense of honor) (e.g., Brown, 2016; Cohen, Nisbett, Bowdle, & Schwarz, 1996; Nisbett, 1993; Vandello & Bosson, 2013).

Men from honor cultures (e.g., American South) compared to men from nonhonor cultures (e.g., American North) respond more aggressively to insults and threats to their honor (e.g., Barnes, Brown, & Osterman, 2012; Cohen & Nisbett, 1997; Cohen, Vandello, & Rantilla, 1998; Rodriguez Mosquera, Manstead, & Fischer, 2002; Saucier & McManus, 2014; Vandello & Cohen, 2008). This has been demonstrated in a wide variety of studies, including those examining attitudes toward “honorable” violence (Cohen & Nisbett, 1994; Saucier, Miller, Martens, O’Dea, & Jones, 2018), school mass shootings (Brown, 2016; Brown, Osterman, & Barnes, 2009), and homicide (Nisbett, Polly, & Lang, 1995). Behavioral experiments further indicate men from honor cultures are more likely to respond aggressively (e.g., emotionally, cognitively, behaviorally, and physiologically) when their honor has been threatened through provocation (e.g., physically bumping a man’s shoulder) and insult (e.g., calling him an “asshole”; Cohen et al., 1996).

Recent research has conceptualized adherence to masculine honor ideology as an individual difference in one’s endorsement of MHB, suggesting men and women from nonhonor cultures may also endorse masculine honor ideology (e.g., Barnes et al., 2012; Saucier & McManus, 2014; Saucier et al., 2016). Influenced by previous honor research, Saucier et al. (2016) developed the Masculine Honor Beliefs Scale (MHBS) to measure seven facets (e.g., pride in manhood and provocation) representing MHB. MHB explain regional differences in honor-related responses to provocation (see Saucier, Miller, et al., 2018). Furthermore, the MHBS has been used to examine relationships between adherence to MHB and various attitudes and perceptions of social behaviors, such as perceptions of the world being a “competitive jungle” (Saucier, Webster, et al., 2018), men’s motivations for muscularity (Saucier, O’Dea, & Stratmoen, 2017), perceptions of slurs against men’s masculinity as insulting and deserving of retaliatory aggression (Saucier, Till, Miller, O’Dea, & Andres, 2015), expectations for men to physically confront honor threats (O’Dea, Chalman, Castro Bueno, & Saucier, 2018), and negative perceptions of those who do not (O’Dea, Bueno, & Saucier, 2017). MHB are associated with various political attitudes, including greater endorsement of agentic male candidates for President of the U.S. (Martens, Stratmoen, & Saucier, 2018), negative perceptions of football players who knelt during the National Anthem to protest police violence against racial minorities (Stratmoen, Lawless, & Saucier, 2018), and greater support for restrictive national security policies and endorsement of war (Saucier, Webster, et al., 2018). Furthermore, MHB are associated with negative perceptions of rape survivors and increased support for punishment for rapists (Saucier, Strain, Hockett, & McManus, 2015), as well as with perceptions of romantic rejection as threatening men’s honor and consequently expecting increased aggression by men toward women who reject their romantic advances (Stratmoen, Greer, Martens, & Saucier, 2018).

The Myth of the Stupid Believer: The Negative Religiousness–IQ Nexus is Not on General Intelligence (g) and is Likely a Product of the Relations Between IQ and Autism Spectrum

The Myth of the Stupid Believer: The Negative Religiousness–IQ Nexus is Not on General Intelligence (g) and is Likely a Product of the Relations Between IQ and Autism Spectrum. Edward Dutton et al. Journal of Religion and Health, Oct 5 2019.

Numerous studies have found a negative relationship between religiousness and IQ. It is in the region of − 0.2, according to meta-analyses. The reasons for this relationship are, however, unknown. It has been suggested that higher intelligence leads to greater attraction to science, or that it helps to override evolved cognitive dispositions such as for religiousness. Either way, such explanations assume that the religion–IQ nexus is on general intelligence (g), rather than some subset of specialized cognitive abilities. In other words, they assume it is a Jensen effect. Two large datasets comparing groups with different levels of religiousness show that their IQ differences are not on g and must, therefore, be attributed to specialized abilities. An analysis of the specialized abilities on which the religious and non-religious groups differ reveals no clear pattern. We cautiously suggest that this may be explicable in terms of autism spectrum disorder traits among people with high IQ scores, because such traits are negatively associated with religiousness.

Keywords: Intelligence Jensen effect Religion IQ Autism spectrum disorder

Since the 1920s (e.g. Gilkey 1924; Howells 1928), a substantial number of studies have found a weak but consistent negative relationship between religiousness and IQ. Meta-analyses have shown that this relationship is in the region of − 0.2 in the general population, and around − 0.1 among college students (e.g. Zuckerman et al. 2013; Dutton 2014). Similar negative correlations are also found between religiousness and diverse proxies for IQ, such as educational level and income (Meisenberg et al. 2012). The association is greater at the level of countries, with estimates of national average IQ being correlated with national average levels of religiosity at about − 0.6 (Lynn and Vanhanen 2012). The negative religiousness–IQ nexus is found within most countries, with only a small number of exceptions (Meisenberg et al. 2012). The association can be found both among young and elderly samples (Ritchie et al. 2014). The more pronounced in its religiosity a group is, the lower the average IQ its members tend to possess (Lewis et al. 2011; Nyborg 2009), whereas members of high IQ organizations, such as the Royal Society, tend to be overwhelmingly atheist (Larsen and Witham 1998). The evidence for a negative association between religiousness and IQ is thus robust.
The precise causes of this relationship are less clear. Nyborg (2009) argues that people are attracted to different ways of understanding the world based on their ability to deal with complexity. Science is too complex for those with lower intelligence, who therefore resort to the simpler explanations and life-guiding rules that religions typically provide. Dutton (2014) suggests that the elevated reasoning ability entailed by higher intelligence fosters the ability to see through what he regards as the fallacious arguments for the existence of God, and to therefore conclude that there is no God in the absence of supporting evidence. Kanazawa’s (2012) Savanna–IQ Interaction hypothesis rests on the assumption that our ancestors were most strongly adapted to the ecology of the Savannah. Accordingly, this is our ‘evolutionarily familiar’ environment, because, having spent so long in it, this ecology selected certain evolved modules useful for dealing with the recurrent problems found in that ecology. One set of modules that this ancestral environment selected for might have been those associated with the generation of social behaviors undergirding religiousness. As humans left the Savannah, they began to encounter evolutionarily novel problems that these modules could not solve, and developed higher intelligence that could successfully solve these novel problems. Thus, intelligence became associated with ‘evolutionarily novel preferences’, such as atheism. There are several conceptual and empirical problems with this hypothesis, highlighted by Dutton and van der Linden (2017). One is that evolution continued, and maybe even accelerated, during the Holocene (Cochran and Harpending 2009; Woodley of Menie et al. 2017) which the Savanna–IQ Interaction hypothesis assumes is not the case. Dutton and van der Linden (2017) proposed the Intelligence Mismatch Association Model. It suggests that one aspect of intelligence is the ability to rise above our evolved cognitive biases, as this allows us to better solve new cognitive problems by being more open to unusual potential solutions. The difference between the original Savanna–IQ Interaction hypothesis and the Intelligence Mismatch Association model is that the latter applies to any evolved behavioural or cognitive repertoire, thereby avoiding the alleged subjective distinction between ‘evolutionarily novel’ and ‘evolutionarily familiar’ problem content. Dutton and van der Linden’s argument is simply that humans have certain cognitive biases, intelligence is associated with rising above them in order to solve problems more flexibly, and as religious belief is a cognitive bias, intelligence should be negatively associated with it.
However, all these models assume that the negative religion–IQ nexus is predominantly related to general intelligence (g), as they all assume that religious people are less intelligent than atheists. The g factor is likely the construct that best represents the heritable components of intelligence, and hence that which evolution has most strongly acted upon historically in human, and more broadly, primate populations, as indicated by comparative phylogenetic analyses of the evolutionary rates for different cognitive abilities, where there are strong indications that such rates increase in proportion to the loading of these abilities onto a Big-G factor of inter-specific cognitive ability (Fernandes et al. 2014). An IQ test score is typically the sum of several subtests that measure specific cognitive abilities and will therefore include these specific abilities. A proper measure of g should rather ignore the specific abilities, but capture the variance that is common among them. This is achieved by factor analysis, the first unrotated factor of which typically explains 50–60% of the variance among all subtests across a number of individuals. Factor analysis also yields the factor loadings for each subtest, corresponding to the proportion of the common variance between the subtest and g, referred to as its g loading (Jensen 1998). The Jensen effect refers to a situation in which subtest g-loadings positively moderate a given effect size, indicating that g variance is the source of that effect size. Jensen effects manifest as positive correlations between the column vector of the effect sizes associated with each subtest (e.g. the strength of a subtest’s correlation with religiosity) and the column vector of their associated g loadings (Jensen 1998). The present study asks specifically whether the negative religion–IQ nexus is a Jensen effect. Finding that it is not (indeed it is an anti-Jensen effect), it explores possible explanations for the existence of this nexus, leading us to examine the role of autism spectrum traits.

We tested the assumption inferred from the theories discussed in the introduction that the relationship between IQ differences between religious groups with different average IQs and their g loadings constitutes a Jensen effect, and may therefore indicate a role for g as a source of positive moderation of the group differences. As it clearly does not, when members of the same ethnic group are compared, evolutionary theories that purport to explain the weak, but robust negative religiousness–IQ nexus become somewhat less convincing. We would have expected, therefore, that a specific pattern of specialized cognitive abilities would have driven the negative religious–IQ nexus. However, contrary to our expectations, the analyses of the subtests differences did not reveal a clear pattern with regard to which specific cognitive abilities may drive the IQ differences between the different groups. In Verhage (1964), the largest differences seemed to occur on vocabulary. In the Steppan (2010) study, the subtest effect sizes showed less variation than in the Verhage study, but the largest effect sizes in the expected direction were found on mental rotation and medical–scientific reasoning. In the Steppan (2010) sample, the presumably more religious group did relatively better on mathematical reasoning.

A possible way of making sense of our findings is through the influence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). There is a growing body of research on the negative relationship between ASD and religiosity. The evidence indicates, overall, that ASD is negatively associated with religious belief and that empathy is the mediating factor: autism, in part, may actually cause people to be less religious (see the systematic literature review by Dutton et al. 2018). Caldwell-Harris et al. (2011) studied discussions by 192 different contributors on an autism website, from which they were able to discern the views on religion held by the contributors. High-functioning autistic (HFA) individuals significantly demonstrated the highest rates of ‘non-belief identities’: Atheism (26%) and Agnosticism (17%). In the neurotypical (NT) group used as non-autistic controls, 17% were atheists and 10% were agnostics. The same authors conducted a survey with a sample of 61 people who self-identified as autistic. They found that those who regarded themselves as atheists scored significantly higher than those who were believers did on the Autism Quotient Scale, an instrument that quantifies the extent of autism. Barnes and Gibson (2013) found that those who had undergone religious experiences had elevated empathy, contrary to those with ASD. Jack et al. (2016) found that ‘moral concern’, which is also conceivably lower in those with ASD, predicted strength of religious belief and was negatively associated with analytic thinking. This implies that low religiousness is predicted by analytic thinking—which those with ASD are particularly adept at. Norenzayan et al. (2012) showed that autism predicted reduced religious belief, based on Canadian and American samples. Importantly, they found that it was the ability to mentalize that mediated the negative relationship between autism and religious belief. Lowicki and Zajenkowski (2016, 2017) and Vonk and Pitzen (2017) note that aspects of ASD—such as low emotional intelligence—are negatively associated with religious belief. Again, these are the aspects of ASD that relate to the ability to develop a sound theory of mind. The only counter-study of which we are aware is Reddish et al. (2016), which did not find any significant difference in religious behaviour or belief between an HFA group and an NT control group. However, this was based on a very small sample of 21 people.

So, all available studies with reasonable sample sizes are consistent with the notion that theory of mind is an important factor in the association between ASD and religious belief. Autistics tend to perceive the world in a mechanistic fashion, as a system. Accordingly, they should not perceive the complexity of the world as the workings of a sentient being, because they are unable to think about or even notice mental states. In this regard, they stand in stark contrast with schizotypal personality. Schizophrenia (a particularly pronounced manifestation of schizotypal personality) is associated with being extremely religious, as well as with belief in the paranormal and in conspiracy theories (see Dutton et al. 2018). This is because schizophrenics are so highly attuned to inferring mental states from external markers that they perceive evidence of mental states even in the world itself; it is as if the world has feelings and meaning; thus, schizophrenics routinely experience the presence of God. There are a variety of models which have attempted to make sense of religious experiences or the feeling that there is a god. Azari et al. (2005) used brain scans to conclude that religious experience is primarily a cognitive phenomenon rather than an emotional one. Religious experience, they concluded, relates to neural processes involved in ‘relational cognitivity’—thinking about relationships. Schjoedt et al. (2009) assessed which areas of the brain were active when participants engaged in informal prayer compared to when wishing to Santa Claus. They found that brain activity during prayer more closely resembled that which occurred while talking to a real person than to an imaginary figure. Religious experience appears to involve the ability to empathize with somebody else. Although it is currently small, the extant brain imaging evidence indicates that religious experience involves brain areas that are associated with mentalizing and relating to other people.

This raises the question of how people with ASD perform in IQ tests. There is no clear direction to these results. A literature review by Ghaziuddin and Mountain-Kimchi (2004) reported that some studies have found that those with Asperger’s syndrome—a middle-level ASD—have high-level verbal IQ and but can be deficient on performance IQ. Other studies have revealed that those with pronounced ASD, such as high-functioning autism, show a reversal in this pattern: poor verbal IQ and high mathematical IQ. Consistent with this, Karpinski et al. (2018) have recently presented evidence that highly intelligent people seem to manifest autism traits, in terms of an enhanced tendency to systematize and a diminished ability to empathize (see also Baron-Cohen 2002 and Crespi 2016). Tests of the IQ of HFA persons have found that their scores are high in fluid intelligence, in other words on matrix and similarities reasoning subtests (e.g. Hayashi et al. 2008). Dawson et al. (2007) have shown that HFA persons score strongly on Raven’s (a matrix test) relative to broader IQ test batteries, on average 30 percentile points, and in some cases 70 percentile points higher than they score on the WISC. However, it is not high-functioning autism (HFA) which predicts low religiosity but rather ASD more broadly, and here the IQ profile pattern is much less clear cut. In this regard, a recent study found that possessing genetic risk factors for ASD was associated with logical memory, verbal intelligence and g, meaning it would confer a small advantage in IQ tests even in the absence of greater g (Clarke et al. 2016). So, such an explanation would potentially make sense of the otherwise difficult to explain results which we find. However, more research must be conducted to discover why we did not find any positive moderating effect of g. Our finding that the more religious scored better on Mathematics would seem to be consistent with the results of some studies which have found deficiencies on performance IQ among those with ASD.

It should be cautioned that it is likely that the findings of our analysis only hold for within-population comparisons, where the differences in g might be expected to be relatively small. If we were to make comparisons between populations, such as between Middle Eastern Muslims and European Catholics, it is probable that, in line with Spearman’s hypothesis, the differences would indeed be on g. Moreover, insofar as the groups that are being compared in the present study may not be precisely equal in terms of g, there is room for small group differences in g to attenuate the anti-Jensen effect which we have found. But, naturally, it would be very difficult to find two groups that were precisely equal in terms of g. A second limitation is that our results are not comprehensive. However, there are two substantial datasets and, for this reason, our results are likely to generalize to religious differences in other countries. A third limitation is that the Steppan dataset makes comparisons between regions rather than individuals or groups, which leaves room for anomalies. Finally, it is worth cautioning that our ASD explanation for apparent oddities in our results is paralleled by similar anomalies in terms of the IQ profile of those with normal range IQ who have an ASD ranging all the way up to HFA. This may lead us to question the conceptual validity of ASD, or how accurately we can measure it, something which others have already done (e.g. Lundqvist and Lindner 2017; Ghaziuddin and Mountain-Kimchi 2004).

When evaluating faces as potential romantic partners, participants’ preferences focused in attractiveness even when task instructions imply that warmth or status should be of primary importance

From 2018... Facial and self-report questionnaire measures capture different aspects of romantic partner preferences. Jennifer Kay South Palomares and Andrew William Young. British journal of psychology, September 30 2018

Abstract: Romantic relationship researchers often use self‐report measures of partner preferences based on verbal questionnaires. These questionnaires show that partner preferences involve an evaluation in terms of underlying factors of vitality–attractiveness, status‐resources, and warmth–trustworthiness. However, when people first encounter a potential partner, they can usually derive a wealth of impressions from their face, and little is known about the relationship between verbal self‐reports and impressions derived from faces. We conducted four studies investigating potential parallels and differences between facial impressions and verbal self‐reports. Study 1 showed that when evaluating highly variable everyday face images in a context that does not require considering them as potential partners, participants can reliably perceive the traits and factors that are related to partner preferences. However, despite being capable of these nuanced evaluations, Study 2 found that when asked to evaluate images of faces as potential romantic partners, participants’ preferences become dominated by attractiveness‐related concerns. Study 3 confirmed this dominance of facial attractiveness using morphed face‐like images. Study 4 showed that attractiveness dominates partner preferences for faces even when task instructions imply that warmth–trustworthiness or status–resources should be of primary importance. In contrast to verbal questionnaire measures of partner preferences, evaluations of faces focus heavily on attractiveness, whereas questionnaire self‐reports tend on average to prioritize warmth–trustworthiness over attractiveness. Evaluations of faces and verbal self‐report measures therefore capture different aspects of partner preferences.

The belief in repressed memories occurs on a nontrivial scale (58%) and appears to have increased among clinical psychologists since the 1990s

The Return of the Repressed: The Persistent and Problematic Claims of Long-Forgotten Trauma. Henry Otgaar et al. Perspectives on Psychological Science, October 4, 2019.

Abstract: Can purely psychological trauma lead to a complete blockage of autobiographical memories? This long-standing question about the existence of repressed memories has been at the heart of one of the most heated debates in modern psychology. These so-called memory wars originated in the 1990s, and many scholars have assumed that they are over. We demonstrate that this assumption is incorrect and that the controversial issue of repressed memories is alive and well and may even be on the rise. We review converging research and data from legal cases indicating that the topic of repressed memories remains active in clinical, legal, and academic settings. We show that the belief in repressed memories occurs on a nontrivial scale (58%) and appears to have increased among clinical psychologists since the 1990s. We also demonstrate that the scientifically controversial concept of dissociative amnesia, which we argue is a substitute term for memory repression, has gained in popularity. Finally, we review work on the adverse side effects of certain psychotherapeutic techniques, some of which may be linked to the recovery of repressed memories. The memory wars have not vanished. They have continued to endure and contribute to potentially damaging consequences in clinical, legal, and academic contexts.

Keywords: memory wars, repressed memory, repression, false memory, recovered memory, therapy

From 2009... Masturbation in Urban China

From 2009... Masturbation in Urban China. Aniruddha Das, William L. Parish, Edward O. Laumann. Archives of Sexual Behavior, February 2009, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 108–120.

Abstract: This study examined the prevalence and sources of masturbatory practice in a nationally representative sample from China completed in the year 2000, with analysis of sources focused on 2,828 urban respondents aged 20–59. In this subpopulation, 13% (95% CI, 10–18) of women and 35% (CI, 26–44) of men reported any masturbation in the preceding year. Prevalence for people in their 20s was higher, and closer to US and European levels, especially for men. Particularly for women, masturbation not only compensated for absent partners but also complemented the high sexual interests of a subset of participants. For both women and men, practicing masturbation appeared to be a two-step process. In the first step, events such as sexual contact in childhood, early puberty, and early sex were related to sexualization and the “gateway event” of adolescent masturbation. In the second step, other factors, such as liberal sexual values and sexual knowledge, further increased the current probability of masturbation. Overall, the results suggest that masturbation is readily adopted even at more modest levels of economic and social development, that masturbation is often more than simply compensatory behavior for regular partnered sex, that masturbatory patterns are heavily influenced by early sexualization, and that a complex model is needed to comprehend masturbatory practice, particularly for women.

Keywords: Masturbation China Sexualization Social influence

Perspectives on Masturbation

Much research on the correlates of sexual behavior has advocated multi-causal models subsuming biological and psychosocial factors (Bancroft, 1983, 2002; Hawton, 1987; Kaplan, 1974; Laumann et al., 1994; Lipsith et al., 2003; Riley, 1998; Udry, 1988). A similar broad range of influences has been investigated in studies of masturbation (Kontula & Haavio-Mannila, 2002; Laumann et al., 1994).
This broad approach was repeated in the present study and informed the two central questions outlined above.

Relationship to Partnered Sex: Compensatory or Complementary?
At least implicitly, both early (Kinsey, Pomeroy, & Martin, 1948; Kinsey, Pomeroy, Martin, & Gebhard, 1953) and more recent studies (Lipsithet al.,2003) have viewed sexuality as a result of fixed individual levels of sexual ‘‘drive’’ (Laumann et al., 1994). From this perspective, masturbation appears to be a suboptimal outlet for sexual tension, compensating for the lack of availability of either partnered sex or satisfactory partnered sex (Langstrom & Hanson, 2006). Empirical data suggest thatmasturbationmay not have such a simple inverse relationship to partnered sex (Laumann et al., 1994). Also, in some societies, the relationships may be in flux, an example being the tendency for more recent generations of Western youth to view masturbation not as a second-best solution but as a relatively autonomous sexual act that can coexist with the availability of partnered sex (Dekker & Schmidt, 2002; Kontula & Haavio-Mannila, 2002). If masturbation is compensatory, it can be expected to be more common among those with little access to satisfying partnered sex, e.g., no partnered sex of any kind, stable partner often absent, and unsatisfying sex with a stable partner. If complementary, masturbation would be unrelated to the availability of partnered sex. Moreover, if masturbation has a life of its own, it can be expected to be more common among more highly sexualized individuals, including those with multiple partners in the previous year, those who have more varied sexual practices with their stable partner, and those who report frequent thoughts about sex.

Social Origins
Life Trajectory: As with other sexual behavior, the social origins of masturbation are likely to begin with early sexualizing experiences, whose influences persist into adulthood (Browning & Laumann, 1997, 2003; Laumann, Browning, Rijt, & Gatzeva, 2003). Consistent with recent research in human development (Caspi et al., 2003; Shanahan & Hofer, 2005), ‘‘sexualization’’ is conceived here not as a simple outcome of individual-specific biological traits, but of a complex system of interacting biological and social processes. Kontula and Haavio-Mannila (2002) found that patterns of masturbation set early in the life course became a stable feature of sexual expression in adulthood, indicating perhaps that sexualization tends to become a self-sustaining pattern, an argument consistent, for women, with Kinsey et al.’s (1953) early observations. In the same 2002 study, early initiation into partnered sex (whether conceptualized as an indicator of hormonal levels or of social entrainment in a less inhibited sexual career) was associated with a greater propensity to masturbate in adulthood. Early pubertal development has been found to be correlated with higher levels of sexuality in adulthood (Belsky,Steinberg, & Draper, 1991; Moffit, Caspi, Belsky,&Silva,1992),with both differential hormonal levels and different social environments arguably contributing to these patterns (Liao, Missenden, Hallam, & Conway, 2005; Udry, 1988). Though disagreeing on the exact mechanisms involved, studies agree that sexual contact during childhood or adolescence is correlated with an intensification of sexual behaviors in adulthood (Browning & Laumann, 1997, 2003; Laumann et al., 2003). Values/Knowledge: Whether through the direct transmission of ‘‘cultural scenarios’’ of sexual appropriateness (Ellingson, Laumann, Paik, & Mahay,2004) or indirectly by enabling the individual to consume media products carrying globalized or ‘‘modern’’ sexual scripts, higher education arguably increases the propensity to masturbate (Kontula & Haavio-Mannila, 2002). The individual’s current sexual values, almost by definition, serve as indicators of internalized cultural scripts or norms defining appropriate sexual behavior, including, potentially, masturbation (Kontula & Haavio-Mannila, 2002; Sandfort, Bos, Haavio-Mannila, & Sundet, 1998). Qualitative and small-sample studies in China and Taiwan also indicate the persistence of the belief that excessive ejaculation, and particularly masturbation, causes shenkui, or a loss of virility and energy (So & Cheung, 2005). Additionally, anecdotal evidence suggests the recency of ‘‘rediscovery’’ of the clitoris and clitoral orgasms among Western women, an event connected with increased sexual liberalism stemming from the sexual revolution (Angier,2000).Thus, knowledge of the clitoris, apart from indicating greater sexual knowledge, is also arguably a marker of more permissive sexual values.

Several background characteristics were controlled in the analysis, including region, age, and sexual dysfunctions. Arguably, sociocultural context, as proxied by area of current residence, may affect a person’s understandings and modes of sexuality, whether by embedding him or her in a more sexually permissive peer network or by increasing exposure to globalized or ‘‘Westernized’’ media products. Age can also be important, not only in influencing hormone levels and vitality but also because it indexes differential experiences of cohorts who came of age at different times (Abbott, 2005; Ryder, 1965). Both popular literature and academic studies suggest that masturbation can be a route for women to achieve orgasm and, implicitly, relieve sexual difficulties (e.g., Berman & Berman, 2005; Hite, 1976; Leiblum & Rosen,2000; LoPiccolo & Lobitz,1972; McMullen & Rosen, 1979; Meston, Levin, Sipski, Hull, & Heiman,2004), a mechanism that may potentially apply to men as well.

In addition to these factors, several reflections of low social control were considered, such as drunkenness, smoking, and having had commercial sex over the preceding year. However, these effects failed to reach significance net of the other factors, and were therefore dropped in the final analysis.