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Improbable Sex

The following is an article from The Annals of Improbable Research.

Improbable, stimulating investigations
compiled by Marc Abrahams, Improbable Research staff

Energy Expenditure during Sexual Activity in Young Healthy Couples

Detail from the study “Energy Expenditure During Sexual Activity in Young Healthy Couples.”

“Energy Expenditure During Sexual Activity in Young Healthy Couples,” Julie Frappier, Isabelle Toupin, Joseph J. Levy, Mylene Aubertin-Leheudre, and Antony D. Karelis, PLoS ONE, vol. 8, no. 10, 2013, e79342. The authors, at the Université de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, report:

The study population consisted of twenty-one heterosexual couples (age: 22.6 ± 2.8 years old) from the Montreal region. Free living energy expenditure during sexual activity and the endurance exercise was measured using the portable mini SenseWear armband....

The present study indicates that energy expenditure during sexual activity appears to be approximately 85 kCal or 3.6 kCal/min and seems to be performed at a moderate intensity (5.8 METS) in young healthy men and women. These results suggest that sexual activity may potentially be considered, at times, as a significant exercise.

The $123,860,432 Erections

Detail from the study “Nationwide Emergency Department Visits for Priapism in the United States.”

“Nationwide Emergency Department Visits for Priapism in the United States,” Daniel M. Stein, Andrew S. Flum, John Cashy, Lee C. Zhao, Kevin T. McVary, Journal of Sexual Medicine, vol.10, no. 10, 2013, pp. 2418–22. (Thanks to Ivan Oransky for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, report:

A total of 8,738 ED [erectile disfunction] encounters for priapism were identified between 2006 and 2009... This translated to an estimated 39,964 encounters out of a total of 496,195,793 ED visits, or 8.05 per 100,000 ED visits (95% confidence interval [CI] 7.59–8.51). 21.1% of patients had a concurrent diagnosis of sickle cell disease (SCD)....

The mean hospital charge was $1,778 per encounter if discharged home and $41,909 per encounter if admitted. The estimated mean total annual charge for priapism was $123,860,432 with 86.8% of charges attributed to inpatient admissions.

The Goodness of Relatively More Sex
“Sex and the Pursuit of Happiness: How Other People’s Sex Lives are Related to Our Sense of Well-Being,” Tim Wadsworth, Social Indicators Research, February 2013. The author, at the University of Colorado at Bolder, explains:

I examine how respondents’ frequency of sex, as well as the average sexual frequency of their cohort, influences their happiness. The findings suggest that happiness is positively correlated with their own sexual frequency, but inversely correlated with the sexual frequency of others.


The article above is from the September-October 2014 issue of the Annals of Improbable Research. You can download or purchase back issues of the magazine, or subscribe to receive future issues. Or get a subscription for someone as a gift!

Visit their website for more research that makes people LAUGH and then THINK.

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