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In a Slate piece that asks if you actually have to consult your doctor before having sex (as the Cialis commercials have made abundantly clear), Craig Bowron cites the following research:

“…a 1984 study that involved ten married couples who were paid to have intercourse in a monitored lab setting. Blood pressure, pulse, and oxygen consumption were recorded, but only for the men; no one paid attention to the women. (Indeed, medical research is only now beginning to emerge from its dark, sexist past.) Foreplay was allowed, but the “results-oriented” nature of the experiment (the husband held an event-marker button to be pushed at the beginning and the end of his orgasm) did tend to play into a male view of sex. As the paper noted, “Some physical expression … was limited by the recording equipment. For example, the mask used to collect the husband’s expired air kept him from kissing or talking.”

I think I could write an entire novel based upon a fictionalized version of this research and just one of the ten couples.

In fact, I’m adding it to the idea list.  This might actually make a great story if I can find the right characters to fill the roles.

And I have so many questions.  For example:

How were the couples recruited?
How much were they paid?
What were their motives for getting involved in the study?
Was the intercourse monitored visually?
Did the research improve or hinder sexual performance?
What percentage of the couples remained married following the research?
Was the the male-female dynamic in terms of joining the study?

So much fodder for a possible book…

And no, unless you smoke three packs a day, dine on three pounds of red meat a week, and rarely leave your couch, there is no real need to consult a doctor before having sex.  At least according to Slate.