Does Sex Make Men Stupid?

The last few blogs have been fairly light-hearted, dealing with issues like truth, corruption, professionalism, and scientific integrity.   So, in this missive instead I thought we might turn our collective attention to something truly important.

In The First Days of August, one of the book’s more nefarious characters, Dida Medicia, points out the potential influence of feminine wiles in the social fabric of modern society.   In bed with Steve August, the morning after the night before, Dida probes Steve for sensitive information, which he willingly reveals.  As this evolves, Dida makes a profound observation:  Wow, he’s spilling his guts.  Sex makes men so stupid!


So one must ask:  Is Dida right?  Does sex impact badly on male cognition?

Dear reader, this is a profound question.  Our femme fatale does not realize the challenging depth of her social philosophy.  Her thesis could well be the topic of one, if not several, Harvard doctoral dissertations.   (Actually, any Ivy League school would qualify.  As they say, “those who can’t do, teach.”)

The question might have an answer in Sigmund Freud, that expert in sexuality and the human mind. Ziggie argued, once one hits puberty, there is a drive to pursue the opposite sex, which he called an “instinct” – a pre-lingual bodily impulse that drives action.  Such drives are so deep, “pre-lingual,” that they are beyond our ability to represent them in words.

Indeed, Freud’s point is exactly that the drive for sex is deep within our primitive brains, deeper than language and conscious cognition. In that sense, sex is stupid.

But this is not what Dida is saying. This beautiful, powerful Italian bombshell is referring to the result of sex, not the drive to achieve it. We’re not talking about the urge, we’re talking about the outcome.

In the 1960s William Masters and Virginia Johnson studied women and men engaging in sexual activities.  Their seminal book, Human Sexual Response, described a four-stage model of arousal:  excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution.  Over the ensuing decades, many researchers have corrected, refined, and extended this model.  These commentators have noted that the end-stage of sex – the resolution or “afterglow” – is often characterized by pillow talk, i.e. intimate, revelatory conversation between the two partners.  

So, for all you would-be spies out there, note that this is the danger zone. Pillow talk is a common tool used in espionage, also termed a honeypot  – “… a trap that uses sex to lure an enemy agent into disclosing classified information” (see

Ah, now we’re getting close.  Dida is modeling herself after some of the greatest spies the world has known, from Delilah, to Cleopatra, to Mata Hari, to the infamous Christine Keeler, a 19-year-old would-be model who had affairs simultaneously with a high-ranking British government minister and a Soviet naval attaché, a scandal that brought down the entire British government of Harold Macmillan in 1961.

Stupid?  You bet.  

Dida also said,  A man will always believe he’s the best, as long as you tell him when he’s naked.

How true!

So dear reader, whether man or woman, please stay clothed.  Or, if you’re going to be naked, know whom to trust.  

Life is a marathon, not a sprint.  Don’t rush.  

And don’t be stupid, even in the afterglow.


Read 1099 times Last modified on Wednesday, 06 April 2016 14:04
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