Perverts or pioneers? This brand new series is an eye-popping history of the men and women behind modern sex research: the scientists who, for more than 100 years, have been peeking beneath the sheets, trying to uncover our deepest secrets. The boffins themselves range from courageous to deeply eccentric and their methods visionary, kinky and sometimes bizarre. But their findings have transformed the way we think of sex, and have changed our lives.
01 The Female
One sex researcher in Canada believes men and women are turned on in very different ways. Her experiment shows heterosexual men respond to straight sex: no surprise! But women it seems are aroused by images of any kind of sex, from gay men to bonking monkeys; but they don’t necessarily know their body is responding.
Is sex in the mind or in the loins? And are men and women fundamentally different? Then there’s the orgasm. For men it’s clearly linked to making babies – but for women? What was its purpose?
02 Better Sex
The second programme in the series features the latest pioneering research into sex and into the science of finding the right partner. It looks at the pros and cons of chemical fixes, such as Viagra, and the moral dilemmas of developing ‘love drugs’ to pump up the libido and attract a partner.
The film also features some strange episodes in the history of sex research, such as the work of Wilhelm Reich, a pal of Einstein’s, who claimed he’d discovered the hidden libidinous force that makes the universe tick, which he called ‘orgone’.
03 Am I Normal
The sex researchers have spent a good deal of time watching, recording and measuring our sexual activities to find out what is normal. If you’re a man, in a long-term relationship but cheating on your partner, the answer seems to be that this behaviour is normal. Men’s propensity to stray from the marital bed seems to be encoded into their genes. One researcher even claims to have found the cheating gene.
Sex researchers now believe that we have not one but three competing sex drives: one is the good old fashioned sex drive (which is often prone to stray); the second is love, which unleashes a torrent of hormones, turns our lives upside down and persuades us to start a relationship with someone; and the third is attachment, which keeps us together.