A team of researchers from the University of Glasgow in Scotland recently published some very interesting research findings about pain and orgasm facial expression across cultures. Unfortunately, though, the legitimately fascinating results are very much overshadowed by a series of animated videos, meant to show how people express the ends of the pain and pleasure spectrum. The study, which was recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America , found that people all around the world express pain the same way, but orgasm facial expressions are different between cultures. And while common perception is that pain and orgasm look the same, the researchers analyzed facial changes to show that they're actually quite distinct in all observed cultures which the study authors differentiate as "Western" and "East Asian". It's fascinating stuff! And the animations certainly do a good job at illustrating the findings of the study.
Study finds orgasm face and pain face are not the same
Orgasm Faces Study - New Research Shows Orgasm Faces Around the World
In the unspoken language of love, the face you make at the pinnacle of pleasure may have something of an accent based on where you come from. People from Western and East Asian cultures had consistently different ideas of what facial expressions indicate the moment of orgasm , researchers found in a study published Monday in PNAS. But contrary to those cultural climaxes, the look of dire pain had universal contortions. Participants from both cultures recognized the apex of anguish by inward-pulling facial expressions, such as lowered brows, wrinkled noses, and raised cheeks. The researchers behind the study—led by psychologists at the University of Glasgow in Scotland—argue that the new data disputes earlier conclusions that faces of physical pain and sexual pleasure are indistinguishable. With their data coming to a head with different facial expressions, they speculate that culture-specific expectations of o-faces and p-faces could one day be useful to study human interactions. To bang out accurate representations of orgasmic and pained facial expressions, the researchers turned to mathematic modeling.
Researchers Studied How Facial Expressions for Orgasms and Pain Differ Across Cultures
Marcos Alberti's latest work, suitably dubbed "O Project", aims to present female sexuality as it has never been seen before. To capture the climatic moment of twenty women, he paired up with sex toy company Smile Makers , who believe that being sexually satisfied is the key to being beautiful. Marcos asked each of his subjects to sit on a stool in front of him and pleasure themselves with one of the brand's products. The resulting photos chart each woman's facial changes - and the speed at which her expression changed. The photographer has a track record for expertly capturing women in vulnerable and private moments.
If your partner flashed a big grin while orgasming, what would you do? As a Westerner with years of societal biases from movies, television, and porn telling me what an acceptable O-face looks like, I would definitely find it at least a little odd. Their findings are published in PNAS this month.