Remember "Fear Factor," the reality show where contestants would face harrowing -- often unimaginably gross -- challenges, like eating bugs? Turns out, the female competitors might have had an advantage if they'd watched porn before attempting to munch on those maggots.
OK, maybe that's a stretch, but according to a study by Charmaine Borg, a doctoral student in experimental clinical psychology at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, and Peter J. de Jong, "sexual engagement temporarily reduces the disgust eliciting properties of particular stimuli." In other words, when women are turned on, they're less likely to be turned off by "the strongest disgust elicitors," including spit, sweat, and semen.
How was the study conducted?
A group of young, heterosexual women were recruited and divided into three groups: "sexual arousal, non-sexual positive arousal and neutral -- and shown a film specific to their group," as described in Everyday Health.
Group one watched a "female-friendly" porno flick; group two, a nonsexual, high-octane movie; and the neutrals watched a (boring) train chugging along the landscape. All the women then performed 16 tasks like drinking liquid with a (fake) bug in it, putting lube on a sex toy, "touching 'used' condoms...(and others that) were more disgusting."
By now, you've probably figured out that the women who were aroused by the sexual content had the highest threshold for the gross stuff.
How might the research help women?
Borg says her study could lend insight into the causes of sexual dysfunction in women. Those women might have "a disgust response to erotic stimulation."