Sex for Science! Chapter 3: It’s All About the Protocol

Sex for Science! Chapter 0
Sex for Science! Chapter 1
Sex for Science! Interlude
Sex for Science! Chapter 2
Sex for Science! Chapter 3
Sex for Science! Chapter 4

Our accommodations and my partner in Science’s socks properly admired, it was time for business. Err, science. The business of science. And, um, stuff.

The motel did, amongst the amenities we didn’t need (like the bullet hole), provide the amenities that we did–namely, a bed, a door, and, once the office staff had got ’round to realizing the room was occupied, electricity.

The door was problematic. It had a fist-sized hole in it, which one does not normally expect to see in doors; but it did not have a doorknob or latch, which one normally does.

Fortunately, this wasn’t the front door, but rather the door between the suite’s living room and bedroom. The bedroom did come equipped with a bed–two of them, in fact. And, unlike a certain bed in a certain room atop a curtain turret in a certain castle in the south of France, the beds in this room seemed reasonably solid and unlikely to collapse at the slightest jouncing.

Which was good, as there is a possibility that the sudden and unexpected collapse of a bed might alter a subject’s brainwave activity, resulting in erroneous data that might be difficult to interpret.

My mad scientist partner and I checked the structural integrity of the bed, to help ensure first and foremost the validity of the data we planned to collect and also, as a helpful side benefit, the safety of our experimental subjects. When one is doing mad science, safety is job…well, safety is something one considers.

She had brought a photographer with her, so while the photographer started to set up we talked experimental protocol. If you’re doing anything for Science, including sex, you can’t just sit down and get right to it; you need to establish a methodology that helps to control for confounding factors and that has a reasonable shot at providing a clear answer to a specific question.

This is the bit that a lot of people get wrong when they try to understand the world around them. Take, for example, the popular old saw “you have to hit rock bottom before you can change.” What does ‘rock bottom’ mean, anyway? Having things go bad is often a catalyst for change, sure…but if one person loses a job and changes his behavior, another person loses a relationship and changes a behavior, and a third person loses his house and family and changes a behavior, which one has hit ‘rock bottom,’ whatever that is? Until you start losing limbs, you always have further down you can go. The concept of ‘rock bottom’ is poorly defined, just because the old saying sounds somehow better that way.

But I digress.

Our objective for this particular experiment was to see whether or not the Neurosky chip could detect any pattern of brainwave activity that was typical for sexual arousal but different from other states not related to arousal. To that end, she worked out a protocol that involved taking a set of baseline readings from each person while reading silently, meditating, and reciting a memory. That done, we would then record for fifteen minutes while each victim subject’s partner sexually stimulated that person. At the end of each session, there were exit questions involving asking the test subject for a subjective assessment of level of arousal and level of nervousness (to help control for whether or not nervousness was what the EEG was recording). During all this, a note-taker would be timing the events and recording anything that could present an anomaly on the EEG, as well as observations of each subject’s behavior.

My partner in science brought one of her partners along–the mutual friend who’d introduced the two of us on Twitter and made the whole thing happen. He brought a netbook to record data and a really nifty necklace with a microphone and a bunch of LEDs that would glow and change according to the ambient sound. That bit became interesting a little later on, as it turns out.

Photo gear (for the subjects willing to be photographed), netbook, modified Mattel Mindflex, and Arduino in pace, we were ready to start.

I’ll skip over the next few hours, as it was for the most part nothing but people putting on the MindFlex, doing a bit of reading and meditating and stuff, and then lying still and being sexually stimulated in various ways. I would hate to bore you with the details. Such details are the stuff of scientific research, but when described in black and white, they tend toward the drab and tedious: “Subject number three spread her legs while her partner slowly kissed his way down her body, until at three minutes and sixteen seconds reaching her clitoris, at which point the subject began to moan and…” You get the idea. Pretty dry stuff, right?

There are a few minor points that do bear mentioning, though. The striped socks did come into play again at one point, when the photographer got this rather awesome shot:

The second was the interesting way in which the necklace I mentioned previously would react when my fellow mad scientist was screaming, which was, in my estimation, pretty damn nifty.

The third, as I mentioned in an earlier post, is that the English language has no word to describe the experience of watching a pierced, tattoed woman you’ve only just met have a huge, screaming orgasm, then pull off the electrodes for the EEG machine, roll over, and start talking about sex-based differences in brain activation during sexual arousal. Dear God.

Now, at this point I have a confession to make, which, Dear Readers, I am trusting not to impact too severely your opinion of your humble scribe. I may lose some of my street cred as a veteran, seasoned pervert, but in the interests of fulldisclosure (for Science!) there is a confession I feel I must make.

I had not, up until this point in my life, actually had an orgasm in front of people I didn’t know personally. Oh, sure, I’d been to sex parties and played in public dungeons; I mean, really, who hasn’t? But until that afternoon in that seedy motel in the industrial part of Seattle, I’d not gone that one last inch (so to speak).

That all changed, though, and opened the way to a repeat performance, of a sort, in the dungeon at Frolicon some months later…but more about that at a later time.

I was rigged up, the baseline measurements were made, the timer was started, zaiah started doing things to me, and I in fact did have some incredible screaming orgasms of my own.

Four of them, in fact. I was right on the edge of the fifth when the fifteen-minute mark rolled by, and was left shaking and frustrated right on the edge. Much, I might add, to the delight of the onlookers, who seemed perhaps less than fully engaged in sympathy for my plight.

Experiment finally over, we parted ways. The Seattle folks went back to wherever Seattle folks go when they aren’t in run-down motel suites doing impromptu brain research about sex, and the rest of us headed out to dinner.

The dinner turned into a bit of a scientific enterprise itself, during which we attempted to establish a set of parameters by which we could decide whether key lime pie was a superior dessert to New York cheesecake…since, y’know, we were in the mood for Science and all. And, as it turned out, key lime pie is indeed a superior dessert. This is the sort of surprising result that one sometimes discovers when exploring the often counterintuitive ways of the physical world.

We only shocked the server once, with a passing reference to Eiffel Towering (the sex act, not the act of visiting the French landmark). That done, it was back to the motel suite, where I fell into a deep slumber and, I’m told, missed some more sexual hijinks of some sort or another.

On the way home the next day, we made a couple of interesting discoveries, which I will detail in the next chapter.