No thirty at thirty post today — simply because I didn’t get my act together to write one. So look for the “work and vocation [#9]” installment next week. In its place, I offer this three minute clip from the World Science Festival (via io9). It’s part of a 90-minute panel on the origins of orientation: sexuality 2011 which I fully intend to watch sometime in the near future.
There is not a transcript currently available; sorry for that.
The researcher in the clip, Meredith Chivers, describes how self-identified heterosexual women are actually the most puzzling population for sexologists who are seeking correlation between identity and arousal. That is, women who identify as lesbian, bi (or anything other than 100% straight in their attractions) usually show a strong correlation between their self-identified attractions and patterns of arousal when shown erotic images of men or women (the more same-sex attraction you articulate, the stronger your arousal to same-sex imagery). But heterosexual women show no correlation between their interest in men and differential arousal: their baseline is equal attraction to men and women (in the physical arousal sense).
I have lots of questions about this type of research as a measure of someone’s orientation — for starters, how can researchers tell whether the person studied is reacting to the erotic nature of the pictures or the sex/gender of the body on display? — but I do think the data are an interesting starting point for asking more questions.