1: Ready, set, go—there’s nearly no difference in the amount of time it takes healthy men and women to reach peak sexual arousal: roughly 10 minutes.
2: One per cent of adults have zero interest in sex and have never felt sexually attracted to anyone at all. Asexuality may be an under-the-radar sexual orientation, but researchers have only just begun to study it. On the other end of the rainbow, an estimated 3 to 6 per cent of the population have some form of sex addiction.
3: Straight, gay or flexible? Recent research suggests women may be “intrinsically bisexual,” and the higher their libido, the more they desire both sexes. In another study, the female subjects—whether they considered themselves straight or gay—were physically aroused by erotic films of both men and women. In contrast, the straight men were excited just by women, and the gay men only by men.
4: Canadian men have, on average, 23 sexual partners in total (notably more than the global average of 13), according to one recent worldwide survey. Their female counterparts reportedly have 10. The hitch? Number crunchers say the finding that men have substantially more bedmates on average than women is mathematically impossible.
5: Beyond its unsexy smell and taste, smoking appears to double a man’s risk of moderate or complete erectile dysfunction.
6: Once upon a time, doctors treated women suffering from “hysteria” by stimulating them to orgasm—a service dubbed “medical massage.” By the 1930s, it was abandoned in favour of psychotherapy.
7: Why do I bed thee? Let me count the ways. U.S. researchers who set out to catalogue all the reasons why humans have sex came up with 237 distinct ones. Among the top 10 motives, women and men had eight in common. A notable exception: “I realized I was in love” came in at number nine for women, but at number 17 for men.
8: Having sex regularly—at least once a week—may promote fertility in women by regulating hormones and menstrual patterns.
9: Male sweat contains androstadienone, a compound that enhances mood and sexual arousal in women. Alas, it also boosts levels of stress hormones. The chemical has been used as an ingredient in men’s fragrances.
10: What’s love got to do with it? Sexual arousal and romantic love activate quite distinct areas of the brain—and love is clearly the more powerful. The latter turns on dopamine-rich regions linked with motivation, and falling in love is not unlike the rush of taking cocaine, hence the addictiveness of a new crush, and the withdrawal-like symptoms of love lost.