New research, which has major implications for college students and their tireless pursuit of sexual interaction, was released this week by Duke University professor Martin Binks. What he discovered may make a major difference in the way students expend energy in their pursuit of sexual partners.
Before examining the implications of Binks' research, it is necessary to present a properly decadent interpretation of many student behaviors. Without this interpretive guide, this new research might not appear as remarkable.
Every major activity that students engage in can easily be understood as part of a subconscious strategy to obtain more sex. Seemingly unrelated activities are loaded with disguised messages about one's sexual desirability and value as a potential sexual partner.
Sports competition is the clearest example. Although it can be argued that sports are engaged in because they are inherently enjoyable, they are also a forum in which players can demonstrate their physical worthiness to the opposite sex.
Throughout high school, college and professional athletics there is an agreement that the best players will get the most desirable sexual partners. This fact may not be the only reason for sports activity, but it is a major motivating factor for sports competition and training on at least a subconscious level.
Shopping can be viewed as the same mechanism. What could possibly motivate both males and females to spend incredible amounts of time and money looking for clothes and shoes that look nice? They all want to be attractive to the opposite sex, and it is by the opposite sex's values that judgments of good or bad personal appearance are made.
The hordes that flock to gyms to run like gerbils on treadmills for hours on end would be considered insane if it were not for the understanding everyone has of their desire to be fit and consequently more attractive. Their motivation is the same as shoppers: They want to look good on the surface, and the fundamental reason for that desire is sexual attractiveness.
Even in lecture, students modify their behavior for the purpose of appealing to the opposite sex. The appearance of intelligence is desirable, but only to a point beyond which one can appear too geeky. Appearing attractive to the opposite sex is more important to most students than the neutral satisfaction of answering a question correctly.
The problem with this strategy of attempting to woo sexual partners through behavior and appearance modifications is that the end product of all this effort, the sexual interaction, will not be very enjoyable unless certain physical conditions exist.
The previously mentioned study discovered that there is a direct link between body weight and sexual pleasure. The study, which was conducted at the Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, tracked the responses of men and women to questions about their sex lives as they went through a two year diet program which reduced their body weight by 12 percent.
While 68 percent of women at the beginning of the study felt sexually unattractive, only 26 percent maintained that stance after losing weight. Of these same women, 21 percent were not enjoying sex at the beginning of the weight-loss program. This number was more than cut in half by the end.
The numbers were similar for men, but the total number interviewed was significantly smaller, and the results are therefore not as reliable. Men also experienced purely mechanical problems due to excess weight which were largely relieved by weight loss.
This research is seen by its conductors as communicating a positive message. To them it does not indicate that people need to lose tons of weight to have good sex, but rather that losing just a little weight can have huge positive effects on people's sex lives and make them much happier.
The meaning of this is clear for students in pursuit of sexual interaction: Getting fit will not only get you more of the sex you want, but you will also enjoy it more. In other words, the gym gerbils are on the right track, while the mall rats are just wasting their time and money.