Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Scientists discover secret sex nerve

Researchers have only recently discovered an olfactory nerve that they believe is the route through which pheromones are processed. Nerve “O,” as it is called, slipped under the radar for many years because it is so tiny. However, when the nerve was discovered in a whale, scientists surmised that this little nerve might be found in humans as well. And it was!

So what is the role of Nerve “O”? Nerve “O” has endings in the nasal cavity, but the fibers go directly to the sexual regions of the brain. Indeed, these endings entirely bypass the olfactory cortex! Hence we know the role of Nerve “O” is not to consciously smell, but to identify sexual cues from our potential partners... (MSNBC)

Interesting discovery. Given previous research that the hypothalamuses ("a part of the brain that governs sexual arousal") of gay males responds the same way as heterosexual females to male pheromones, I'm curious whether this find is related in some way. It would be interesting to expand research on this to explore the possibility.

2 comments:

Dymphna said...

It's interesting that they named it "O" since that is also the designation some give for the Transcendent, the Numinous, etc.

I've always thought sexuality and spirituality were inextricably bound: they are both concerned with the desire to transcend our individual self, the desire to *participate* in union.

John said...

I think that this adds an interesting biological perspective to human sexuality, but I would agree that spirituality along with human intellect are part of this. Given the complexities of what it is to be human I doubt we can put sexuality of any kind down to just animal instinct alone.