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MRI Imaging Provides Better Understanding Of The Mechanics Of Sex

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Imaging of couples having sexual intercourse dispel the mechanics of sex portrayed by past researchers, reports The Scientist.

For much of modern history, the understanding of the mechanics of sex has been based upon Leonardo da Vinci's imagination and drawings and more recently Masters and Johnson's research and interviews.

In a new study, researchers at University hospital in the Netherlands used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study the female sexual arousal and the male and female genitals while having sex in the missionary position.

The images revealed that during intercourse, "The penis does not stay straight. It forms a boomerang shape," according to the Dutch researchers.

"More surprisingly, in the root of the penis, the portion that lies inside the man's body cavity, the erection is as long as in the pendulous part," said Willibrord Weijmar Schultz, a sex researcher at the University of Groningen.

We now know that Leonardo da Vinci's 1493 illustration titled The Copulation which shows the penis remaining straight inside the vagina is not accurate.

Based on manual stimulation of women with an artificial penis in 1966, William Masters and Virginia Johnson thought that the uterus enlarged during intercourse.

The images revealed that the size of the uterus did not increase during sexual arousal. What Masters and Johnson observed was probably the bladder filling with urine, according to the researchers.

The researchers MRI study and a paper published in the British Medical Journal won an Ig Nobel Prize. This is an honor presented by Harvard University for imaginative research.

During the acceptance speech, Pek van Andel of the University of Groningen told the audience that the hardware and software had no problem accommodating the couples, reports the The Scientist.

"As for the wetware, we had more than enough volunteers, the problem was the red tape," van Andel said.

The researchers first began recruiting couples to copulate inside an MRI machine in 1992. A total of thirteen experiments were performed using eight couples and three single women.

"Confined by the space, we make the best of it," said Ida Sabelis, the first woman to participate in the study.

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