Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)- you know what that is? Kind of state-of-the-art scanning of the body. MRI provides much greater contrast between the different soft tissues of the body than a CT (computed tomography) scan. It's especially useful for brain, muscle, heart and cancer imaging.
A group of Dutch research scientists led by an Associate Professor of Gynaecology, has found its particularly useful for another kind of scan too - scanning couples having sex.
Professor Willibrord Weijmar Schultz and colleagues from University Hospital Groningen in the Netherlands recruited eight couples and three single women over the past ten years and scanned them making love in thirteen different episodes. The experiment was written up in The British Medical Journal and apparently has been the most-read article ever published in that prestigious magazine. Why do this? From the abstract -
To find out whether taking images of the male and female genitals during coitus is feasible and to find out whether former and current ideas about the anatomy during sexual intercourse and during female sexual arousal are based on assumptions or on facts.
The research team found that the imaging showed that during female sexual arousal the uterus raises and the front of vaginal wall lengthens. There was no evidence of an increase in the volume of the uterus during sexual arousal, or a change in the position of the uterus, as had been reported by Masters and Johnson in the 1960s.
They also found that during intercourse in the "missionary position" the penis is neither straight nor "S" shaped as had been previously thought, but is, in fact, the shape of a boomerang.
Professor Shultz also comments on a famous drawing by Da Vinci - showing a cross-section of a couple having sex - saying that it's anatomically wrong - the penis is too straight for one thing.
The Renaissance sketch shows a transparent view of the anatomy of sexual intercourse as envisaged by the anatomists of his time. The semen was supposed to come down from the brain through a channel which can be seen in the spine of the man. In the woman the right lactiferous duct is depicted as originating in the right female breast and ending in the genital area. Even a genius like Leonardo da Vinci distorted men's and women's bodies---as seen now---to fit the ideology of his time and to the notions of his colleagues, who he paid tribute to.
I'm guessing we won't see a repeat of this experiment with homosexual couples. But I do wonder if anyone has done an MRI of someone defecating or urinating. That would be quite interesting - don't you think? Or does this disgust you? Discuss.
Update: Incredible! I just found a video of a MRI scan of a guy defecating.