NOTE: My statements are not necessarily my opinions. I often post point-counterpoint essays in which I strongly take one side of an issue and later counter that with antithetical views. This intellectual exercise helps me see the merit in opposing opinions and augments my creativity.

Why geniuses are often so fond of sex

Read this book and find out how I went from a dunce to a doctor who graduated in the top 1% of my class in medical school. All of my medical school classmates were very bright, and some were brilliant, with Ph.D.s in science. How did an erstwhile dunce even survive that competition?

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Introduction

Even if your work does not demand exceptional intelligence or creativity, this topic affects you because national prosperity is strongly affected by big ideas generated by geniuses. The United States is awash in little ideas but not many big new ones that fundamentally improve life. Such breakthroughs once catalyzed America's success, but as our creativity dried up, our economy sputtered. We can solve that problem, but to do it, we need more than hope or pixie dust; we need information. This page introduces you to this topic. I will present much more in a pending book that reveals how I went from dunce to doctor, and how I routinely use creativity to solve problems, big and small.

“Sex desire is the most powerful of human desires. When driven by this desire, men develop keenness of imagination, courage, willpower, persistence, and creative ability unknown to them at other times. Love, romance, and sex are all emotions capable of driving men to heights of super achievement. When combined, these three emotions may lift one to an altitude of genius.”
— Napoleon Hill in Think and Grow Rich; quote highlighted in 78 years ago, a journalist studied 500 rich men and boiled down their success into 13 steps

While the affinity for sex is as natural as the desire for tasty food, not everyone is equally captivated by sex. Researchers discovered a link between giftedness (especially the eminently gifted) and prenatal exposure to higher levels of testosterone.

University of Alberta researcher Dr. Marty Mrazik noted that “excessive prenatal exposure to testosterone facilitates increased connections in the brain, especially in the right prefrontal cortex [and unique patterns of inferior frontal activation]. That's why we see some intellectually gifted people with distinct personality characteristics that you don't see in the normal population.” One of these is extreme creativity; another is a heightened interest in sex, which is affected by prenatal and subsequent androgen exposure.

In The Neurobiological Foundations of Giftedness, the authors wrote:

“Leonardo Da Vinci, Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein, and Pablo Picasso illustrate exceptional individuals whose extraordinary accomplishments will forever stand out in history. Yet the autobiographical and biographical accounts of these figures reveal [behavioral] patterns … outside the normal range.”

Freud's fascination with sex is legendary, but Albert Einstein and other super geniuses were also intensely interested in sex. Here's an excerpt from one of my articles:

Evidence released after his death showed that Einstein couldn't get enough women. After nearly 3500 sealed pages of his personal correspondence were made public, the press had a field day with Einstein, calling him a “Phys-sex Genius,” a “Scientific Pimp,” a “Stud Muffin,” a “galactic womanizer,” and even a “sex-fiend.” Einstein's weakness for pretty women was indulged by chasing skirts that culminated in many affairs, including one with a “beautiful Soviet spy.” After infidelity ended his first marriage, “he spent some time deciding whether to shack up with his 42-year-old cousin, Elsa, or her 20-year-old daughter, Ilse.”

Other eminent physicists, including Richard Feynman, Erwin Schrödinger, Marie Curie, and Robert Oppenheimer, formed “a roster of lamentable philanderers.” Feynman, “probably the only Nobel Prize winner to befriend porn stars,” claimed he had “a foolproof manner for bedding women and do his calculations on napkins in strip clubs.” Judging by what buxom porn star Candi Samples wrote on her picture given to him, she was more impressed by the size of his anatomy than his mind: “To Big Dick, Love from Candi.”

Oppenheimer, head of the atomic bomb project in Los Alamos during World War 2, “tried to run off with the wife of Linus Pauling and bed the wife of another colleague.

Schrödinger's Nobel Prize-winning idea came to him while shacked up in an alpine villa with an old girlfriend during a “late erotic outburst.”

Founding Father Ben Franklin consorted with a number of women other than his wife, and was no stranger to prostitutes. As he put it in his autobiography, “that hard-to-be-governed passion of youth hurried me frequently into intrigues with low women that fell in my way, which were attended with some expense and great inconvenience, besides a continual risk to my health.”

Franklin wrote a letter in 1745 advising a young man that relationships with older women conferred several advantages, citing their inability to get pregnant and the relative preservation of their vaginas compared with the aging of their faces and breasts, making intercourse with them at least as pleasurable as with younger women. Franklin wrote:

“Because in every Animal that walks upright, the Deficiency of the Fluids that fill the Muscles appears first in the highest Part: The Face first grows lank and wrinkled; then the Neck; then the Breast and Arms; the lower Parts continuing to the last as plump as ever: So that covering all above with a Basket, and regarding only what is below the Girdle, it is impossible of two Women to know an old from a young one. And as in the dark all Cats are grey, the Pleasure of corporal Enjoyment with an old Woman is at least equal, and frequently superior, every Knack being by Practice capable of Improvement.”

Franklin was indisputably a polymath: “a leading author and printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat.” Walter Isaacson called him “the most accomplished American of his age,” and he was the foremost heartthrob of the 18th century.

Franklin “freed his slaves and became one of the most prominent abolitionists.” He refused to patent any of his inventions, reasoning that he was already rich enough. He discovered the principle of conservation of charge and originated the concept of positive and negative electrical charges. A list of Franklin's other accomplishments could fill a book; he wasn't just a genius, but a multifaceted super genius.

To Americans who are more comfortable discussing the sex lives of celebrities than their own, it may be difficult to reconcile Ben Franklin the Founding Father and super genius with Franklin the patron of prostitutes and lifelong womanizer who wrote about the sensate characteristics of vaginas as women aged, but Franklin unabashedly discussed sex because he viewed it as part of human nature—which it clearly is. Franklin fit in as well with royalty as he did with tradesmen because he was an intellectual superstar but down-to-earth.

Our Founding Fathers are often idolized and revered as saints or demigods, but some of them had Clintonian sexual appetites. Besides Franklin, there was Thomas Jefferson—another polymath—who had a longstanding affair with Sally Hemings (one of his slaves) that produced several children.

Click to read the rest of this excerpted article

Franklin D. Roosevelt, a political genius who led America through its darkest hour, didn't let polio get in his way of sleeping with distant relatives, young beauties, and an endless parade of others, including Norway's Princess Martha.

Other researchers believe that increased prenatal exposure to testosterone may improve interhemispheric communication (via an unusually developed corpus callosum) and enhance right-brain development, thus facilitating creativity.

“Very learned women are to be found, in the same manner as female warriors; but they are seldom or ever inventors.”
Voltaire

When extraordinarily intelligent people are exceptionally creative, their creativity often manifests in diverse areas, including sex, thus explaining why polymaths such as Franklin sought creative ways to enhance sexual pleasure.

Here's a relevant excerpt from my article, My strategy to leave China in the dust:

The dictionary definition of genius provides a big clue why we have less of it than before:

genius (noun): a person with exceptional mental ability, especially of a highly creative and original kind.

The sine qua non of genius is exceptional creativity: that is, thinking outside the box: intellectually going where no man or woman has gone before. However, if you think outside the box, you are by definition not thinking as others do. As I discussed in Ridiculing good new ideas, independent and highly original thought is often ridiculed by jealous lemmings and experts who cling to what they know, even when it is dead wrong.

The authors of The Neurobiological Foundations of Giftedness wrote:

“A unique attribute of gifted individuals is the capacity for creative thinking. Intellectually creative individuals are typically highly task motivated (Lykken, 1998) and able to consider a problem from many different perspectives. These individuals are sometimes referred to as "outside-the-box" thinkers because they can generate perspectives that most others do not consider.”

outside-the-box

Considering that sex is one of our most basic and intense drives, it is hardly surprising that outside-the-box thinkers would seek creative ways to maximize sexual pleasure. I've discovered (and written about) thousands of ways to increase libido and sexual enjoyment.

Ultimately, people marry not to share a mortgage, but because they want to have sex. People routinely seek to enhance one of the other great pleasures—eating—by dining in the best restaurants they can afford, preferentially purchasing tasty foods, and scouring many cookbooks, magazines, and websites for the best recipes. For most people, it is easy to find foods that are bursting with flavor. Furthermore, eating usually remains very enjoyable throughout life, while various diseases, conditions, and the aging process itself can decimate sexual pleasure.

Sex is part of medicine, so it is taught in medical school, but even the best schools don't have time to thoroughly cover this subject. Gynecologists and urologists learn more, but even they generally only scratch the surface in terms of addressing problems with libido and sexual pleasure. A new medical specialty will eventually emerge, but bright, creative people aren't waiting for that; they seek solutions now.

Considering the almost universal desire to amplify sexual pleasure and the ubiquity of sexual problems that limit libido, pleasure, or performance, why doesn't everyone put down the TV remote control and read sex books?

First, sex seems deceptively simple, and it can be, when everything is OK with both partners.

However, it is impossible to avoid everything that negatively affects sexuality because chemicals impairing it are almost everywhere: in food, water, drugs (prescription and nonprescription), air, plastics, lawn and garden chemicals, etc.; the best we can do is to minimize those exposures. You can't successfully navigate that minefield without knowledge because most hazards are invisible.

Second, sex books are usually filled with tips that most adults need about as much as they need to be told to look both ways before crossing a street.

Third, many people assume that whatever sexual pleasure they obtain is as good as it gets, even though the pleasure peak for most people is substantially below what they could obtain.

The apparent simplicity of sex leads many unqualified people to write about it. Even when they don't understand neurophysiology, endocrinology, biochemistry, nutrition, microbiology, pharmacology, neurology, and other subjects that form the basis of the science of sex, they somehow feel qualified to write about it and mislead—or disappoint—their readers.

After reading a few sex books written by such no-nothings, it isn't surprising that most people pick up a TV remote control instead of another sex book. However, very smart people often keep searching, intuitively knowing that while sex is just as complex as any other facet of medicine, an author (such as myself) who understands all that gobbledygook can translate the science of sex into simple tips that can make libido and sexual pleasure skyrocket.

My approach to enhancing sex can also improve health, appearance, longevity, intelligence, creativity, memory, alertness, and mood, so seeking to boost libido and sexual pleasure can also heighten brainpower and the general enjoyment of living. It's thus a very smart thing to do, so it is not surprising that especially smart people are very interested in this subject.

“No great genius has ever existed without some touch of madness.”
Aristotle

“Conformity breeds mediocrity.”
author unknown

Abraham Lincoln said, “It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues.” That reminds me of something stressed by one of my psychology professors, who said that society imposes rigid boundaries for what behavior is acceptable, and applies tremendous pressure trying to force people to conform to the behavioral expectations. Some of the most brilliant and productive outside-the-box thinkers led unconventional lives. One of the side effects of forcing people to think inside the box is that by lopping off outside-the-box behavior, potentially great outside-the-box ideas are lost, too.

RESEARCH
Testosterone Increases Honesty, Study Suggests based on Testosterone Administration Reduces Lying in Men

Article: The Dark Side of Emotional Intelligence: “In some jobs, being in touch with emotions is essential. In others, it seems to be a detriment. And like any skill, being able to read people can be used for good or evil.”
Comment: Emotionally intelligent people perform best in jobs, like sales, in which harmonizing with others is crucial. However, in occupations more focused on things, not people, emotionally UNintelligent people perform best — perhaps explaining why computer nerds, scientists, and inventors are the way they are: unpolished socially because their minds are focused on other things.

Article by Bijan Sabet:
What if Steve Jobs was happy and balanced?

Geniuses are often quirky because the factors that create genius shape the mind in ways that make fitting inside the box more difficult. To fit inside the box, you must mindlessly adhere to many of the bizarrely idiotic social customs, such as men wearing neckties. They serve no practical purpose and are clearly a phallic symbol pointing away from the brain and toward the penis. That's rather odd for business dress code that is worn in the hope that the wearer will be given more respect, taken more seriously, and ultimately given more money—not because of his ideas, but because of that phallic symbol pointing toward anatomy irrelevant to business.

If we're visited by aliens from another planet, they will surely be more intelligent than us. If they have a sense of humor, they will laugh at many of our customs and be horrified by some of our ideas, such as ones that make hatred seem desirable. I presented an example of that in my essay on how sex is part of medicine, which also mentions other odd and utterly indefensible practices most Americans adhere to because they aren't smart enough to think for themselves, or don't have the spine to do so.

“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice.”
Albert Einstein

“Genius is the capacity to see ten things where the ordinary man sees one.”
Ezra Pound

Discussing the legacy of Roger Ailes, founding CEO of Fox News who lost his job after a succession of sexual abuse allegations, The Hill's media reporter Joe Concha said, “He was the most influential media executive, ever—certainly over the last 20 years.

Indeed he was. Defying those who doubted he could compete with existing cable networks, he built a multi-billion-dollar business, indelibly influencing American politics and hence our destiny.

Incisively, Concha added, “As far as professional dominance versus not living an exemplary life, personally—and I'm not minimizing that part at all; obviously, he was forced to resign for a reason. … But if you look back at former Presidents, former athletes, big-time athletes, celebrities, that seems to be more the rule than the exception.

It is. The common denominator is testosterone, which fuels big muscles and big brains with big ideas and big aspirations like Miracle-Gro® fertilizes beautiful flowers and vegetables—but also some weeds. Drugs have side effects; hormones do, too.

It isn't perennially politically correct/plastic-perfect milquetoasts who do great things; it is those with rough edges, with minds and lives that are amalgamations of genius and gaffe that still add up to genius, eclipsing the seemingly less flawed folks whose mediocrity dooms them to do so little for the world they are quickly forgotten once they leave it.

Related articles

David Petraeus, hormones, and pheromones: the secret to the warrior's strength?

Notes:

  1. Where Are All the Female Geniuses? (Scientific American Mind, Nov/Dec 2012)
  2. Men are both dumber and smarter than women
  3. Harvard: Testosterone may improve mental function
  4. Cancer Research UK: Thinking, memory and sex hormones
  5. Sex Might Actually Make You Smarter
  6. Why geniuses don't have jobs
  7. From a History Channel H2 special, 10 Things You Don't Know About Ben Franklin: “Franklin pioneered tabloid journalism in America. [He] understood that when it comes to publishing, sex sells, and so he printed in his newspaper the first gossip column and the first sex advice column.”
  8. Endocrine disruptors as a threat to neurological function (full paper is here)
  9. Testosterone May Improve Mental Function
  10. Testosterone Therapy Improves Memory in Postmenopausal Women, Preliminary Study Finds
  11. Males' Superior Spatial Ability Likely Is Not an Evolutionary Adaptation; Testosterone 'Side Effect'? based on Male superiority in spatial navigation: adaptation or side effect?
  12. Lack Of Imagination In Older Adults Linked To Declining Memory
  13. Prenatal Testosterone Levels Influence Later Response to Reward based on Fetal Programming Effects of Testosterone on the Reward System and Behavioral Approach Tendencies in Humans
  14. Relative Length of Adults' Fingers Indicator of Verbal Aggression: Prenatal Exposure to Testosterone Linked based on The Effect of Prenatal Sex Hormones on the Development of Verbal Aggression
  15. Your fingers show your athletic potential and anxiety
  16. Can you judge a man by his fingers? Link between relative lengths of index and ring fingers in men and behavior towards women
  17. Will your partner stay or stray? Look at finger length
  18. Finger lengths may indicate risk of schizophrenia in males
  19. Sensitive Testosterone Detector Linked to Less Aggression based on Aggression, Digit Ratio and Variation in Androgen Receptor and Monoamine Oxidase A Genes in Men
  20. Testosterone Does Not Induce Aggression, Study Shows based on Prejudice and truth about the effect of testosterone on human bargaining behaviour
  21. Alpha Males Take Greater Risks: Study Links Finger Length to Behavior based on Testosterone and domain-specific risk: Digit ratios (2D:4D and rel2) as predictors of recreational, financial, and social risk-taking behaviors
  22. Financial Risk-Taking Behavior Is Associated With Higher Testosterone Levels based on Testosterone and financial risk preferences
  23. Higher Level Of Testosterone In Women Linked To Choice Of Risky Careers
  24. Testosterone Increases Honesty, Study Suggests (I cannot tell a lie: it does! :-) based on Testosterone Administration Reduces Lying in Men
  25. Finger Length Predicts Mental Toughness in Sport
  26. Finger Lengths Linked To Voluntary Exercise based on Selective Breeding for a Behavioral Trait Changes Digit Ratio
  27. Hormone That Affects Finger Length Key To Social Behavior
  28. Testosterone-Fueled Infantile Males Might Be a Product of Mom's Behavior based on Genetic and environmental contributions to saliva testosterone levels in male and female infant twins
  29. Low Testosterone Linked to Heightened Risk of Early Death based on (1) Low serum testosterone and increased mortality in men with coronary heart disease and (2) Testosterone levels and cardiovascular disease
  30. Low Testosterone Appears To Increase Long-Term Risk Of Death
  31. Low Testosterone Linked to Alzheimer's Disease
  32. Older Age Does Not Cause Testosterone Levels to Decline in Healthy Men
    Comment: Many problems associated with aging are incorrectly attributed to the passage of time, when they actually result from poor health and behaviors we can correct.
  33. Declining Testosterone Levels in Men Not Part of Normal Aging
  34. Masculine features support 'extreme male brain' theory of autism spectrum disorder
  35. ‘Hyde Park on the Hudson’ shows FDR’s complicated private life
  36. The Other Women (in FDR's life—and bedroom)
  37. FDR Scandal Page
  38. Could Playing 'Boys' Games Help Girls in Science and Math? based on Gender-Role Differences in Spatial Ability: A Meta-Analytic Review
  39. BPA and Testosterone Levels: First Evidence for Small Changes in Men
    Comment: I warned about BPA many years ago in The Science of Sex, which covers several health topics in greater detail than virtually all health books. If you're not healthy, you're not in the mood for sex.
  40. Macho Men May Not Have Survival Advantage in War
    Comment: That article correlates appearance with testosterone levels during development but appearance is affected by many factors besides testosterone.
  41. High-Testosterone Competitors More Likely to Choose Red
  42. Male Testosterone Levels Increase When Victorious in Competition Against Rivals, but Not Friends
  43. More left-handed men are born during the winter: Indirect evidence of a hormonal mechanism
    Comment: Extrapolating from this, slightly more geniuses may be born during the winter.
  44. Being lower in pecking order improves female tit birds' memory: Rare case in nature in which female has better cognitive ability
  45. Study supports the theory that men are idiots
  46. The media love men... bad news for women: Why men continue to dominate media coverage
    Excerpt: “… women's presence was no greater in news produced by liberal American media organizations than in that produced by conservative ones. Nor did they find that women's presence in the media increased in organizations where women were editors-in-chief or managing editors or where there were more women on the editorial boards.”
    Comment: Several explanations account for this: some obvious, some not. Thanks to testosterone, men tend to be naturally more flamboyant, self-confident, and even full of themselves whereas women tend to be more self-effacing. Media hungry for viewers want pizzazz, not wallflowers. In helping various women trapped in dead-end jobs become outstanding doctors, I knew exactly what they needed: a stat infusion of self-confidence based on reality. They had The Right Stuff but didn't realize it.

    However, as my article above indicates, the wider bell curve of intelligence in men (with more stupid ones but also more brilliant ones) means that while women have a slight edge in terms of average IQ (“perhaps scoring a half point or a point higher”), brilliant people are more likely to be men. Let's face it: the media isn't interested in the quotidian accomplishments of folks with IQs of 100 or 101; they crave the red-hot trailblazing crackerjack ideas and other seismic events that come from men more often than women. Thus the media focuses more often on men than women.

    Then there are the obvious explanations, such as pure ol' bias, with some people thinking more of men and what they do even when it is no more noteworthy than what women do.
  47. Popular Science Monthly/Volume 31/July 1887/Mental Differences of Men and Women
  48. Grounded: Why Thirteen Women Never Made It To Space
  49. Sex differences in intelligence
    Excerpt: “The average IQ scores between men and women have little variation. However, the variability of male scores is greater than that of females, resulting in more males than females in the top and bottom of the IQ distribution.”
    Comment: That means more male dunces, but also more male geniuses.
  50. Common prostate cancer treatment linked to later dementia, researcher says
    Excerpt: “Men with prostate cancer who are treated with testosterone-lowering drugs are twice as likely to develop dementia within five years …”
  51. Eureka! Gender affects how we judge competence, genius
  52. Black and brilliant? A female genius? Not according to RateMyProfessors, study finds
    Excerpt: “An analysis of more than 14 million reviews on RateMyProfessors.com, where students write anonymous reviews of their professors, found that students most often use the words 'brilliant' and 'genius' to describe male professors and in academic disciplines in which women and African-Americans are underrepresented.”
  53. Men Supporting Hillary Clinton Have Lower Testosterone
    Comment: The claim in that title isn't yet documented by science, but it would be interesting to research that. There are indeed notable differences between liberals and conservatives.
  54. Zika infection causes reduced fertility, low testosterone in male mice
The views expressed on this page may or may not reflect my current opinions, nor do they necessarily represent my past ones. After reading a slice of what I wrote in my various websites and books, you may conclude that I am a liberal Democrat or a conservative Republican. Wrong; there is a better alternative. Just as the primary benefit from debate classes results when students present and defend opinions contrary to their own, I use a similar strategy as a creative writing tool to expand my brainpower—and yours. Mystified? Stay tuned for an explanation. PS: The wheels in your head are already turning a bit faster, aren't they?

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald

Reference: Imagining dialogue can boost critical thinking: Excerpt: “Examining an issue as a debate or dialogue between two sides helps people apply deeper, more sophisticated reasoning …”

Comments (2)

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Comment #202 by B Gula-Ndebele
February 15 2012 05:33:57 PM

Firstly, allow me to say how lucky I am to exist in a time where information is a click away for as I typed my Google search criteria, I was rather skeptical about getting relevant results. But alas, just as I suspected, there does seem to be some sort of correlation between intellectual excellence and above-average sexual preoccupation. I shall most certainly be tracking the findings on this subject.

Comment #184 by Anonymous
October 11 2011 07:52:50 AM

Bravo!

Absolutely right on the head of the nail! Trying to explain the interests some have in this topic; the interest in all aspects of sex, at least to those who are repressed or otherwise assumingly not interested, is much like trying to explain being intelligent or gifted to an average intellect. One may well be speaking in tongues—it simply does not compute. So, to my wonderful wife who intellectually understands my womanizing nature and understands the threat is not from other women, but from the concept of secrecy and deceit within the relationship. While the grass may be fresh on the other side of the fence, it is rarely more green when taken in the same context.

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