Sex, Food and the Priorities of the Male Brain

Science has disproved that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach when researchers found that men’s need for sex can override his need for food.

Researchers from the University College London found that the male brain has specific neurons that can override the desire to eat for sex, according to their study published in the journal Nature. The researchers actually discovered this in the brains of nematode worms, but they believe human brains have those neurons as well.

The scientists used the Caenorhabditis elegans in their research. This worm species has two sexes: male and hermaphrodite. The hermaphrodites – in essence modified females – carry their own sperm and can reproduce asexually. The newly discovered brain cells, named by the researchers as MCMs or “mystery cells of the male,” only appear in males that are sexually mature.

The worms are conditioned to think that they could go hungry if salt was presented to them and learned to avoid the material as much as they could. However, if males are in the same vicinity of the females, even with the presence of salt, the male worms still seek out their mates.

This proved to the scientists that the desire to copulate was stronger than the threat of hunger for male worms.

“Though the work is carried out in a small worm, it nevertheless gives us a perspective that helps us appreciate and possibly understand the variety of human sexuality, sexual orientation and gender identification,” study co-author and professor Scott Emmons from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine said.

He added that, while it is yet to be proven true in humans, their findings imply the possibility that the human male brain may be wired differently from the human female, at least in this aspect.

“This may change how the two sexes perceive the world and their behavioral priorities,” Emmons said.

Interestingly enough, the female worms don’t express the same urge as they continue to avoid the salt at any cost, even if it meant avoiding potential mates.

The difference in behavior between sexes provided researchers with a better insight on how each gender perceived the priorities of their needs. In this situation, the males’ neural composition allowed them to prioritize sex in future situations.

“In the broader picture, it gets at this question of how do men and women think and behave differently,” said University College London researcher Richard Poole. “We always wonder, do we have different learning aptitudes or is it social, and in this case, it happens to be genetic.”

Curated by Erbe
Original Article