Bailey's "science by press release"

Prior to publication, Bailey tries to use flawed data on transsexuals as evidence of his theories about male and female sexuality. Emphasis mine.

http://www.scienceblog.com/community/article1737.html?

Public release date: 12-Jun-2003
Contact: Pat Vaughan Tremmel
p-tremmel@northwestern.edu
847-491-4892
Northwestern University

Study suggests difference between female and male sexuality

EVANSTON, Ill. ---

Three decades of research on men's sexual arousal show patterns that clearly track sexual orientation -- gay men overwhelmingly become sexually aroused by images of men and heterosexual men by images of women. In other words, men's sexual arousal patterns seem obvious.

But a new Northwestern University study boosts the relatively limited research on women's sexuality with a surprisingly different finding regarding women's sexual arousal.

In contrast to men, both heterosexual and lesbian women tend to become sexually aroused by both male and female erotica, and, thus, have a bisexual arousal pattern.

"These findings likely represent a fundamental difference between men's and women's brains and have important implications for understanding how sexual orientation development differs between men and women," said J. Michael Bailey, professor and chair of psychology at Northwestern and senior researcher of the study "A Sex Difference in the Specificity of Sexual Arousal." The study is forthcoming in the journal Psychological Science.

Bailey's main research focus has been on the genetics and environment of sexual orientation, and he is one of the principal investigators of a widely cited study that concludes that genes influence male homosexuality.

As in many areas of sexuality, research on women's sexual arousal patterns has lagged far behind men's, but the scant research on the subject does hint that, compared with men, women's sexual arousal patterns may be less tightly connected to their sexual orientation.

The Northwestern study strongly suggests this is true. The Northwestern researchers measured the psychological and physiological sexual arousal in homosexual and heterosexual men and women as they watched erotic films. There were three types of erotic films: those featuring only men, those featuring only women and those featuring male and female couples. As with previous research, the researchers found that men responded consistent with their sexual orientations. In contrast, both homosexual and heterosexual women showed a bisexual pattern of psychological as well as genital arousal. That is, heterosexual women were just as sexually aroused by watching female stimuli as by watching male stimuli, even though they prefer having sex with men rather than women.

"In fact, the large majority of women in contemporary Western societies have sex exclusively with men," said Meredith Chivers, a Ph.D. candidate in clinical psychology at Northwestern University, a psychology intern at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and the study's first author. "But I have long suspected that women's sexuality is very different from men's, and this study scientifically demonstrates one way this is so."

The study's results mesh with current research showing that women's sexuality demonstrates increased flexibility relative to men in other areas besides sexual orientation, according to Chivers.

"Taken together, these results suggest that women's sexuality differs from men and emphasize the need for researchers to develop a model of the development and organization of female sexuality independent from models of male sexuality," she said.

The study's four authors include Bailey and three graduate students in Northwestern's psychology department, Chivers, Gerulf Rieger and Elizabeth Latty.

"Since most women seem capable of sexual arousal to both sexes, why do they choose one or the other?" Bailey asked. "Probably for reasons other than sexual arousal."

Sexual arousal is the emotional and physical response to sexual stimuli, including erotica or actual people. It has been known since the early 1960s that homosexual and heterosexual men respond in specific but opposite ways to sexual stimuli depicting men and women. Films provoke the greatest sexual response, and films of men having sex with men or of women having sex with women provoke the largest differences between homosexual and heterosexual men. That is because the same-sex films offer clear-cut results, whereas watching heterosexual sex could be exciting to both homosexual and heterosexual men, but for different reasons.

Typically, men experience genital arousal and psychological sexual arousal when they watch films depicting their preferred sex, but not when they watch films depicting the other

"The fact that women's sexual arousal patterns are not all predicted by their sexual orientations suggests that men's and women's minds and brains are very different," Bailey said.

To rule out the possibility that the differences between men's and women's genital sexual arousal patterns might be due to the different ways that genital arousal is measured in men and women, the Northwestern researchers identified a subset of subjects: postoperative transsexuals who began life as men but had surgery to construct artificial vaginas.

In a sense, those transsexuals have the brains of men but the genitals of women. Their psychological and genital arousal patterns matched those of men -- those who like men were more aroused by male stimuli and those who like women were more aroused by the female stimuli -- even though their genital arousal was measured in the same way women's was.

"This shows that the sex difference that we found is real and almost certainly due to a sex difference in the brain," said Bailey.

 

Here's how the press release above gets regurgitated:

Prof says sexuality develops differently for men, women

June 13, 2003
BY LUCIO GUERRERO
Staff Reporter

When it comes to watching pornographic movies, it appears women are less selective then men.

A new Northwestern University study found that men tend to get excited by images of women, gay men are aroused at images of men--and women, well, they seem to like them both.

It's one of the few studies that examines women's sexual arousal patterns."These findings likely represent a fundamental difference between men's and women's brains and have important implications for understanding how sexual orientation development differs between men and women," said J. Michael Bailey, professor and chairman of psychology at NU and senior researcher for the study.

Bailey tracked the physical and mental stimulation of 52 women and 38 men while they watched six two-minute snippets of pornographic films. The movies included homosexual--both men and women--sex scenes and heterosexual sex.The subjects saw films with landscape scenes to provide neutral readings.

What the researchers found was that heterosexual women were just as sexually aroused by watching females having sex, even though they prefer having sex with men. The researchers also tested a transgender group--people who began life as men but had surgery to construct artificial vaginas--and found they were more excited by men but no more flexible in their arousal patterns than other men.

The study's results, to be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, mesh with current research showing that women's sexuality is more flexible than men's in areas besides sexual orientation.

"The large majority of women in contemporary Western societies have sex exclusively with men," said Meredith Chivers, a psychology intern at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto and the study's first author. "But I have long suspected that women's sexuality is very different from men's, and this study scientifically demonstrates one way this is so." The study opens up more questions on why women pick their mates. "Since most women seem capable of sexual arousal to both sexes, why do they choose one or the other?" Bailey asked. "Probably, for reasons other than sexual arousal."

http://www.idsnews.com/story.php?id=17388


IU's Kinsey Institute at center of sex research in week's conference
Annual seminar gives researchers chance to discuss face-to-face
By Bonnie Real
E-mail this story     Print this story    
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Published Thursday, July 17, 2003
This week, the Kinsey Institute will play host to the 29th annual conference for the International Academy of Sex Research. Lectures and seminars in the Indiana Memorial Union will cover a broad range of topics in the field of sex research, and a poster session will allow researchers to share their knowledge with each other. Participants also will have access to the Kinsey art gallery and library.
"It's a very positive thing for the Kinsey Institute," said Nancy Lethem, director of development at the Kinsey Institute. "The world's prominent researchers are coming to the Kinsey Institute to collaborate about their research and inform each other about what's going on in various parts of the world."
Jennifer Bass, head of information services for the Kinsey Institute, said the institute is honored to play host to the event for the second time. She said the conference will take a very interdisciplinary look at sex research and that individuals from many different departments will have ideas to share.
"Sex research is one of the most isolated fields in social science research and medical research, because there are few places like the Kinsey Institute dedicated to sex research," she said.
In accordance with this year's celebration of the 50th anniversary of Alfred Kinsey's book, "Sexual Behavior in the Human Female," female sexuality will be highlighted at the conference as well. Cynthia Graham, an assistant professor of Psychology and director of graduate education at the Kinsey Institute, will present a symposium called "Researching women's sexuality: New initiatives from the Kinsey Institute."
Meredith Chivers, who studies female sexuality at Northwestern University and traveled to the conference from Toronto, said she is particularly interested in the exploration of this topic.
"What I'm most looking forward to is having an opportunity to see where research in female sexuality is in lots of disciplines," Chivers said. "I'm interested in seeing the contributions being made in the field of female sexuality and enriching my own ideas."
Chivers said conferences like this are important because it is a chance to come face to face with other people in the field and see who is behind the research they have been reading.
"Sitting down and shooting ideas to each other is the real exciting part of conferences," Chivers said.
The IASR conference will continue until Saturday.
For more information about the International Academy of Sex Research, visit www.iasr.org.

http://www.dailynorthwestern.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2003/07/10/3f0cfb88ad9b7

Sexuality research funding draws criticsPsychology Prof. J. Michael Bailey's recent research on sexual arousal has drawn objections from some members of Congress. One of the students who worked with Bailey on the research will speak at a conference on sexuality about their findings. Daily file photo
By Jennifer Leopoldt
July 10, 2003
A Northwestern Ph.D. candidate will present results of sexual arousal research she conducted with NU Prof. J. Michael Bailey -- which has drawn criticism from the Republican wing of Congress -- when she speaks at a federally-funded sexuality conference next week.
The conference, slated for July 16-21 at the Kinsey Institute in Bloomington, Ind., according to the organization's Web site, has drawn ire from politicians who do not think taxpayer money should help fund the event.
The National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Child Health and Human Development is providing $26,000 for the conference. The event, which allows experts in the field of sexual arousal to discuss research with each other, also is receiving funding from the National Institute of Mental Health and private assistance from the Social Science Research Council.
Some politicians, including U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), argued that the government is "out of touch" if it thinks federal money should fund sexual arousal studies.
"The federal government is pretty efficient at wasting money, but this may be a new low," Flake said in a prepared statement. "If this conference needs funding, they ought to hit up Larry Flynt, not taxpayers."
But Meredith Chivers, a Ph.D. candidate in clinical psychology at NU who will speak about sexual arousal research she conducted with Bailey, said the conference does merit funding.
"Sexuality is an intrinsic part of being human and it's a major oversight not to encourage research in this area and to support it," Chivers said.
Bailey, a psychology professor who teaches human sexuality at NU, also defended the need for researchers to study sexuality.
"Sex is an extremely important part of life," said Bailey, who recently released "The Man Who Would Be Queen," a book that explores homosexual, heterosexual and transsexual arousal. "We have to know what arouses people sexually to know how people function."
Like the conference, Bailey and Chivers' sexual arousal study also encountered criticism for obtaining government funding.
A $147,000 National Institutes of Health grant funded the research, which studied the effect of pornography on females to determine whether sexual arousal is as category specific for women as it is for men. That allocation prompted 20 Republican members of Congress, including Flake, to write to the director of the National Institutes of Health and ask him to explain the "bizarre spending decision."
Another congressman, Rep. Dave Weldon (R-Fla.), questioned the decision to fund sexuality research and conferences when money could go toward researching other diseases.
"How do we explain to the millions of Americans facing death and severely debilitating diseases and disorders that research to cure their disease was a lower priority for the (National Institutes of Health)?" Weldon wrote in an e-mail July 9.
But Bailey said the funding he received for the research should not be an issue.
"The amount of money spent on (my research) compared to others is tiny, a very small grant for (National Institutes of Health) standards," Bailey said.
Chivers said she was surprised at the controversy over funding for Bailey's research and the sexuality conference. Bailey said he thought politicians singled out his and Chivers' research because "it was easy for them to mischaracterize and make fun of."
"They used our research to make their argument, but in fact I think our research is important and interesting, and scientists who know about the issues and what we're doing have found it really cool," he said.
The arousal study showed that while watching pornography men had a one-sided arousal pattern -- straight men were aroused by clips with women, gay men by those with men. But females in the study, straight or gay, were aroused by both male and female sex acts. The results could be published in "Psychological Science" by 2004, Chivers said.
The Summer Northwestern's Jinna Yun contributed to this report.