Tuesday, April 1, 2014

What's His Number? and the Coolidge Effect

The romantic comedy What's Your Number humorously raised the issue of how many sexual partners should a woman have before she's sure of finding Mr. Right, as if it simply involves how well he rings her bell!  Anyway, without giving the plot away too much, it seems that 20 is the magic number for women. 

But let's turn the tables on our putative Mr. Rights.  How much experience should they have?  And, to further raise an issue, would having too much experience turn Mr. Right into Mr. Wrong?

In the psychology of sex, there is a phenomenon called the Coolidge Effect.  Unlike the other effects in science, it has a humorous story, perhaps a joke behind it:

The President and Mrs. Coolidge were being shown separately around an experimental government farm. When Mrs. Coolidge observed the chicken yard she noticed that a rooster was mating very frequently. She asked the attendant how often that happened and was told, “Dozens of times each day.” Mrs. Coolidge said, “Tell that to the President when he comes by.”

Upon being told, President asked, “Same hen every time?” The reply was, “Oh, no, Mr. President, a different hen every time.” President: “Tell that to Mrs. Coolidge.”

This Coolidge Effect refers to a renewed sexual interest in a male when provided an opportunity to mate with new, receptive females.  So where does the question of 'What's His Number' come in?

My thought is that if a male has too widespread experience, then he is going to more quickly tire of his lawfully wedded wife, and seek amusements elsewhere.  After all, he would have had a similar history as the hyperactive rooster in the Coolidge story, experiencing a new potential partner with renewed arousal.

Well, I can think of two possible reasons.  First, there may be an impact of the relationship between changes in arousal and motivation.  This is often expressed as an inverted-U function and is called the Yerkes-Dodson law.  According to this law, as arousal level increases (like due to more sexual experience), performance improves, but only to a point.  Beyond that point further increases in arousal resulting from additional sexual experiences would lead to deteriorations in performance.  Having some experience does make arousal more easy, and thus would enhance performance.  But too much may lead to a jaded performance with time.

The other is that I would hypothesize that guys with a huge amount of experience would be more likely to become tired of their marital partner, and be more likely to stray.  After all, having had a history of many sexual conquests would give him an appetite for new ones. 

Thus some experience might be advantageous for optimal marital performance, but too much experience would result in circumstances that pose long-term problems.



So getting back to the experimental farm in the Coolidge story, I suppose it might have been good for the rooster for a while; but would not have much to recommend it as far as the hens were concerned.*



*Understandably, my sympathies are with the hens.




8 comments:

Steve Finnell said...

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Bilbo said...

I guess I hit the right number back in the days when I thought about things like that. As it happens, my number was quite considerably less than 20, but a good number for me nevertheless.

Duckbutt said...

Angel, apparently this one freaked someone out, big time!

Duckbutt said...

A nice Coolidge story, by the way!

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

I enjoyed this post, Angel! Great Coolidge joke!

Big Sky Heidi said...

I've assumed that getting a little variety in experiences before marriage is a good thing. I've not been sorry, to be quite frank.

Sometimes a girl needs to be laid well, if you know what I mean.

MarkD60 said...

I have only met two women who "cured my lust". In other words, took away all my desire and attraction to other women.
I think that for a marriage to work, the marriage has to come first, and I will never do anything that would damage the relationship.

eViL pOp TaRt said...

I'm sorry I disappointed you, Steve Finnell.