Thursday, August 28, 2008

Sex Is Good

But not always. And that’s kind of the point.

OK, let me back up.

Like that bad-for-you ex from whom you just can’t seem to make a clean break, the “news” story about how the feds fund questionable sex studies has come back a-knockin’ at the door. We’re supposed to be totally horrified that our tax dollars are going to fund studies that find out what turns people on and what makes people loose.

Are there some stupidly designed, rather useless studies happening in sex research? Yup. Which distinguishes sex research not at all from other academic fields. I admit, it was at a sex research conference that I conceived The Duh Award, an honor which would be given annually for the study constituting the most effort put into finding the most obvious conclusion. (The study that directly inspired The Duh Award was one showing that alcohol lowers sexual inhibitions.)

But the truth is, every field sometimes accidentally funds poorly conceived or useless research, and that isn’t reason to get rid of a field’s funding, nor to micromanage it. Why is sex research worth funding with public money?