Which is more likely to lead to regrettable sex, alcohol or pot? That’s what researchers at New York University wanted to know, so they interviewed 24 adults (12 males and 12 females) who recently used marijuana before sex. An NYU news release reports that the researchers found that, compared to marijuana, alcohol was more commonly associated with social outgoingness and use often facilitated connections with potential sexual partners; however, alcohol was more likely than marijuana to lead to atypical partner choice or post-sex regret. They also found that while some people reported that marijuana made them more selective in choosing a partner, many participants— both male and female—felt that their “standards” for choosing a partner were lowered while under the influence of alcohol. Wait, there’s more: While people often described favorable sexual effects of each drug, both alcohol and marijuana were associated with a variety of negative sexual effects including the very negative effect of sexual dysfunction. For example, marijuana use was linked to vaginal dryness and alcohol was commonly described as increasing the likelihood of impotence among males. Both drugs appear to be potentially associated with increased feelings of self-attractiveness, but possibly more so for alcohol, and participants reported feelings of increased sociability and boldness while consuming alcohol.
Someday medical experts will figure out what everyone wants to figure out about prostate cancer: how to distinguish aggressive, life-threatening cancer from indolent, unusual cell growth that will harmlessly hang around until something else kills you first. On recent attempt at the Brigham & Women’s Hospital has persuaded researchers that measuring PSA levels in younger men (between the ages of 40 and 59) could predict future risk of lethal prostate cancer later in life. Science Daily reports on the research, which studied 30 years of data from the Physicians’ Health Study (PHS), and looked at 234 men who were diagnosed with prostate cancer, including 60 who developed lethal prostate cancer, and 711 controls, all between 40 and 59 years of age at the start of the trial. The research team measured PSA levels from stored plasma samples and followed the men’s outcomes over time. Here’s what they found: Of the lethal prostate cancer events, 82 percent, 71 percent and 86 percent occurred in men with a baseline PSA above the median at ages 40-49, 50-54 and 55-59, respectively. The study also found that men who had a PSA below median (<1.0 ng/ml) at age 60 were unlikely to develop lethal prostate cancer in the future. Senior author Lorelei Mucci, ScD, associate professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, says the study “does not imply prostate biopsy or definitive treatment is immediately required in younger men with higher PSA levels at baseline, as this could lead to over diagnosis. Rather, these men should undergo more intensive PSA screening to enable earlier identification of cancer and potential cure while still possible.”
Yes, Virginia, women really are nicer than men are. How to we know? Because when researchers at Stony Brook University ran a computational analysis of the words used by more than 65,000 Facebook users in 10 million messages, they found that the language used by women is warmer and more agreeable than the language used by men–so much so that algorithms of language use predicted one’s gender on Facebook 90 percent of the time. Science Daily reports on the study, which found that women mentioned friends, family and social life more often, while men swore more, used angrier and argumentative language, and discussed objects more than people. On average, women used language that was characteristic of compassion and politeness while men were more hostile and impersonal.
The visual above shows the relationship between gender-linked language topics and characteristics of warmth and assertiveness. Blue-shaded points are topics most linked with men. Orange-shaded points are topics most linked with women.
For years, experts have debated the likelihood that testosterone therapy will increase the risk of aggressive prostate cancer. That’s because, as Science Daily points out, standard therapy for advanced prostate cancer decreased tumor growth with drugs that drastically reduce rather than increase male hormones. Now come researchers from the NYU Langone Medical Center and its Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center, who are convinced that the best thing men can do is keep testosterone levels balanced and within a normal range. Science Daily reports that the researchers, who analyzed more than a quarter-million medical records of mostly white men in Sweden, found that men prescribed testosterone for longer than a year had no overall increase in risk of prostate cancer and, in fact, had their risk of aggressive disease reduced by 50 percent. The researchers found an increase (of 35 percent) in prostate cancer in men shortly after starting therapy, the increase was only in prostate cancers that were at low risk of spreading and was likely a result from more doctor visits and biopsies performed early on. They noted that the long-term reduction in aggressive disease was found only in men after more than a year of testosterone use, and the risk of prostate cancer did not differ between gels and other types of preparations.
Even men, OK some men, realize that most women don’t have an orgasm “with penetration alone” during sex. Now, Dr. Maureen Whelihan, an expert with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, offers this explanation: anatomy. HealthDay reports that Whelihan has determined that a woman’s ability to orgasm during sex depends on physical development that occurred while she was still in the womb, specifically, the location of her clitoris. If the clitoris developed too far up (away from the vaginal opening), then “traditional lovemaking doesn’t provide enough friction” to do the trick, she says. HealthDay quotes Elisabeth Lloyd, a faculty scholar with the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction at Indiana University-Bloomington, reporting that the “magic number” is 2.5 centimeters — slightly less than 1 inch, from the urinary opening. “It’s so strong a correlation that if you give us a woman who has a distance of 3 centimeters, we can very reliably predict she won’t have orgasm with intercourse,” Lloyd said. ” What to do? “There are many ways to have an orgasm where she’s having hers while he’s having his,” says Whelihan. “Couples should not focus on something that will never change anatomically, and instead find ways to allow for some type of clitoral stimulation during penetration.” She suggests using positions where the female is on top, which allows the woman to get more friction against her clitoris, or using a position that allows either the man or the woman to rub the clitoris during sex, either with fingers or a sex toy.
When it comes to looking good, or not good, women are the harshest judges of overweight people, both male and female. That makes them a bit more open-minded than men, who judge overweight women negatively, but give overweight men a pass. We know this because researchers at the University of Surrey analyzed the scores that male and female interviewers gave for the attractiveness of interviewees of both genders. A University of Surrey news release reports that the study of how BMI affects perceptions of beauty showed that female interviewers would judge both men and women with higher BMIs as less attractive, whereas men would judge their fellow gender much less harshly. Read more here.
Good posture doesn’t only help you get ahead in the workplace; it helps in the dating game too. We know that because researchers at the University of California at Berkeley videotaped 144 “speed dates” of men and women who spent four minutes talking to each other, then rated participants’ posture for expansiveness, meaning widespread limbs and a stretched torso, and closed posture, meaning limbs held close to the body. They then checked the speed-dating results to find which candidates had been chosen by their dates to be seen again. Ready? The envelope please. HealthDay reports that the research showed that for every single unit increase of expansiveness on the scale, that person was 76 percent more likely to get a ‘yes’ response from their speed-dating partner. Wait, there’s more. The researchers also analyzed thousands of reactions to photos of the opposite sex on a mobile dating app, some showing open and welcoming postures, and others showing closed postures. The researchers found that when men were choosing women, more than half the “hits” went to women with more open postures. Although men got fewer hits overall — because women are more selective than men, the researchers say — nearly nine out of 10 hits were in response to an expansive photo.
Men with prostate cancer who have chosen to watch and wait may also want to watch their levels of vitamin D. Researchers at Northwestern University have found what they describe as “a major link between low levels of vitamin D and aggressive prostate cancer.” A Northwestern news release reports that the study included 190 men, average age of 64, who underwent a radical prostatectomy to remove their prostate from 2009 to 2014. Of that group, 87 men had aggressive prostate cancer. Those with aggressive cancer had a median level of 22.7 nanograms per milliliter of vitamin D, significantly below the normal level of more than 30 nanograms/milliliter. The research also point out that earlier research revealed that African American men who live in low sunlight locations are up to 1½ times more likely to have vitamin D deficiency than Caucasian men. What to do? The researchers suggest that people who live in Chicago take vitamin D supplements, particularly in the winter.
Flibanserin, the first drug approved by the FDA to treat low sexual desire in women, is likely garner low desire for itself. The New York Times reports that researchers who analyzed eight studies involving 5,900 women concluded that treatment with the drug, now marketed as Addyi, resulted in “one-half of an additional sexually satisfying encounter per month.” No, the scientists didn’t say what “one-half” of a sexually satisfying encounter was, or which half they were talking about. The Times reports that the study results were in line with earlier results from clinical trials, which found that once women started taking the drug, they had an average of about one additional satisfying sexual encounter a month, on top of the two to three they were having already.
After years of debate about whether the benefits of testosterone supplements outweigh suspected risks (heart problems and prostate cancer), a large-scale study involving 790 men, all of whom were 65 or older, concludes that yes, testosterone does improve sexual function and mood in older men with low testosterone levels, but it doesn’t do much else. A Yale University news release reports that researchers found that men who received testosterone therapy for one year, versus those on placebo, saw significant improvements in sexual function, including sexual activity, sexual desire, and erectile function. The researchers did not see significant improvements in their walking ability — as measured by an increase of 50 meters or more in their distance walked in 6 minutes, but men enrolled in the vitality trial saw modest benefits in terms of improved mood and fewer depressive symptoms. The researchers also found no increases in adverse side effects a year after testosterone therapy was discontinued.