Mens' brains have built in sexual censor
- By: Siân Knight
Scientists at the University of Montreal have located the part of the brain that controls primitive sexual urges in men. The study, in the Journal of Neuroscience (2001;21:1-6), reports that when a group of 12 men were asked to do whatever necessary to avoid sexual arousal while watching erotic films, the prefrontal cortex of the brain of the subjects was activated. The men were asked to repeat the experiment while watching neutral films, and the scans failed to show the same brain activity.
In evolutionary terms, the prefrontal cortex is the most recent part of the brain to have developed. It is unique to primates but is highly developed in humans; the corresponding part of the chimpanzee brain is only 25% of the size compared with the human brain. It therefore seems that temperance*the ability to suppress sexual urges-is of particular significance in humans.
The limbic system-the emotional centre of