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10 Fascinating Things About Sex, Lust and Love You Probably Didn't Know

Science has come a long way in understand sexuality.

1. You can break a penis

There are no bones in the penis, but it can, in fact, become "broken." Doctors refer to the injury as a "penile fracture," and it's every bit as harrowing as you'd imagine. 

"[Penile fracture] is a severe form of bending injury to the erect penis that occurs when a membrane called the tunica albuginea tears,"  explains Hunter Wessells — chair of the urology department at the University of Washington School of Medicine. He continues:

The tunica albuginea surrounds the corpora cavernosa, specialized spongy tissue in the core of the penis that fills up with blood during an erection. When the tunica albuginea tears, the blood that is normally confined to this space leaks out into other tissues. You get bruising and swelling.

So how does a penis actually, you know, break? According to Wessels, any form of vigorous intercourse when the penis is rammed into a solid structure... "during sexual acrobatics," for instance.

"We had this patient who suffered penile fracture after running across the room and trying to penetrate his wife with a flying leap," he says.

2. Ovulating strippers make more money
In 2007, researchers at the University of New Mexico  recorded a surprising correlation between strippers' ovulatory cycles and their tip earnings. Strippers who were ovulating (and thus most likely to conceive) averaged $70 per hour in tips. Those who were menstruating, and those who were neither menstruating nor ovulating, pulled in $35 and $50, respectively. One hypothesis for this strange observation is that men are, subconsciously, more inclined to tip a woman who they believe they have a better chance of producing a child with. 

3. Women can smell genetic incompatibility
How a strip club attendee could possibly differentiate between a woman who is ovulating and another who isn't is not entirely clear. While this distinction is almost certainly made subconsciously, studies suggest that one of the most likely explanations is the effect of scent-signaling chemicals called pheromones.

Pheromones are hypothesized to do more than inspire liberal tipping habits; they're also believed to alert both sexes of potential genetic compatibility. The genes that comprise your major histocompatibility complex (MHC) play an important role in regulating your body's immune response — most notably in determining compatibility of donors for organ transplant. Some data have shown that the more dissimilar a man and woman's MHC are,  the more likely they are to bring a child to term — but even more interesting is that women are thought to be capable of actually smelling this genetic differences.

In a study led by Claus Wedekind at the University of Bern in Switzerland, women were asked to smell T-shirts that had been worn by anonymous men for two nights and choose ones which appealed to them. According to the researchers,  the women consistently preferred the odors of shirts worn by men with dissimilar MHCs.

4. Birth control could mess with a woman's ability to assess a mate
In the study conducted by Wedekind and his colleagues, the womens' preference for men of dissimilar MHCs was actually reversed when the women rating the odors were taking oral contraceptives.

5. Fat men last longer in bed
The relationship between obesity and sexual health is sort of a mixed bag. On one hand,  obesity is associated with erectile dysfunction; on the other,  studies like this one — published in 2010 in the International Journal of Impotence Research: The Journal of Sexual Medicine — suggest that the fatter a man is, the less likely he is to suffer from premature ejaculation. In fact, men with a higher body mass index ( BMI), were able to make love for an average of 7.3 minutes, while slimmer test subjects averaged 1.8 minutes.

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