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Why men obsess about sex

 

 

London

IT is often said that men think about sex every six seconds.

Now, research shows that some males really do have sex on the brain.

A study of tiny, transparent worms found the males boast two extra brain cells which drive them to seek out sex. The cells, dubbed “mystery cells of the male”, have such a powerful pull that the males will prioritise sex above food.

In other words, the cells make them follow their hearts rather than their stomachs. While the study was on worms, the British researchers said it provides insight into the differing behaviour of the sexes of other animals, including humans.

The University College London scientists studied C elegans, a harmless soil-dwelling worm that grows to just 1mm long. Despite its small size, its biology has much in common with ours and it is the most studied animal in the world.

It comes in two sexes – male and hermaphrodite, a modified female that does not need to have sex to reproduce. Experiments showed the males have a pair of brain cells that aren’t found in the hermaphrodites. Further studies revealed just what these “mystery cells of the male”, or MCMs, do.

First, the worms were trained to associate saltiness with starvation. As a result, if they were placed on a plate with different concentrations of salt, they moved away from the mineral. Both sexes learnt to do this, the journal Nature reports.

However, if the worms were trained to link saltiness with starvation and with sex, they made a bee-line for salt. This, say the researchers, shows they were prioritising sex over food.

In contrast, the hermaphrodites continued to avoid salt, as did males that had their MCMs removed.

The researchers, who collaborated with US scientists, said the cells enable the brain to process information differently, allowing males to “remember previous sexual encounters and prioritise sex in future situations”.

UCL researcher Dr Richard Poole said: “In the broader picture, it gets at this question of how do men and women think and behave differently. We always wonder, do we have different learning aptitudes or is it social, and in this case, it happens to be genetic.”

Co-author Professor Scott Emmons, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, said: “Though the work is carried out in a small worm, it nevertheless gives us a perspective that helps us appreciate and possibly understand the variety of human sexuality, sexual orientation, and gender identification.”

The MCMs only appear when the males become sexually mature and learning more about how they are made could also help in the quest to make cells to repair damaged areas of the brain.

Previous research has debunked the claim that men think about sex every six seconds. A US study found men do think about sex a lot. But it’s more in the region of around 19 times a day. Women only manage ten racy thoughts a day. – Daily Mail

 

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