Sunday, December 10, 2006

Never mind your hat, you can leave your socks on

According to a survey in Toronto, one third of its citizens admit they had sex while wearing socks. The revealing sex with socks survey was commissioned by sock manufacturer, McGregor Industries Toronto. The survey was commissioned because it was generally felt people had lost interest in intimate foot accessories whereas shoes were a clear beacon of sensuality. By contrast previous studies undertaken in Vancover, Quebec and the Maritmes demonstrated quite different opinions. 51% of Canucks (Vancover) polled, would never have sex wearing their socks. Quebec folk were the least likely to have sex while socked with only 20% admitting to doing it. Another study found Maritimers had the highest rate of sock-wearing sex, at 41%. Perhaps the decedents of the Scots knew implicitly that science would one day show socks have a valuable role to play in lovemaking.

A major independent brain scan survey using positron emission tomography (PET) was conducted at the University of Groningen, revealed striking differences between orgasms for men and women. In the study the brains of 13 women and 11 men were scanned while they were manually stimulated to orgasm by their partners. All were heterosexual and right-handed, the latter to ensure that all their brains could be easily compared. Greater activity was seen in the insula of the male brain which deals with emotion, and the secondary somatosensory cortex, which controls physical sensations. According to the study findings the focus of the male brain was on the physical stimulation involved in sexual contact but females had a far more complex set of emotions. The key to female arousal was from the amygdaloid nucleus. This is an almond-shaped mass of grey matter in the front part of the temporal lobe of the cerebrum and thought to be responsible for relaxation and anxiety levels.

Deep relaxation and a lack of anxiety were more critical than direct sensory input from the genitals in the female orgasm. Scans revealed during sexual activity, the female amygdale started to relax and reduce in activity. This activity reached a peak at orgasm; when the female brain’s emotion centres are effectively closed down to produce an almost trance-like state. Male brain was harder to study, because of the shorter orgasm duration, but the scans revealed the emotion centres were deactivated, though apparently less intensely than in women, and men concentrated more on the sensations transmitted from the genitals to the brain.

Researchers concluded the physical aspects of sex play were much more significant part in male arousal whereas ambience, mood and relaxation were at least as important for females.


The experiments revealed a rather surprising effect i.e. both men and women found it easier to have an orgasm when they kept their socks on. Draughts in the scanning room left couples complaining of " cold feet", and when they were provided with a pair of socks, this allowed 80 per cent rather than 50 per cent of the subjects to reach a climax while their brains were scanned. The centre of the brain which serves the sensory aspects of the feet lies adjacent to the section which is responsible for the genitalia. Keeping the feet warm may enhance perfectly the function of the brain which controls relaxation and climax.

Reviewed 8/02/2017

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