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News: Creativity And Sex

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It is expected for you to be happy and see the world as a wonderful, loving place during the holiday season. But some people aren’t happy and don’t think everything is wonderful. They get the blues. On Christmas morning they know that the world’s most wonderful, gleaming, new bicycle will not be waiting for them. The electric train went off the tracks before it could get itself delivered. Depression.

It may be worse for creative people who imagine better and feel their hopes dashed a little more vividly. The nature of creativity and creative persons has not been well-quantified.

I bring good news to cheer your New Year’s Seasonal Affective Disorder, or tidings of comfort and joy, as the case may be. It was reported this week by National Geographic that “Artists Have More Sexual Partners, U.K. Survey Hints”.

We always knew it. Creative people have more sex. And now someone bothered to conduct a “scientific” study of that phenomenon. Actually, there is some question of the scientific validity of the study.

The University of Newcastle Upon Tyne used 425 British people as subjects in a study of their creativity and the frequency of their “sexual encounters”. Honest. The article states that, “Professional artists and poets reported sleeping with twice as many partners as other adults sampled.”

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Henri Matisse, “Large Nude”, 1951.

These “scientific researchers” decided that their study signified that creativity, sexual links and schizophrenia had common denominators.

In their study, Nettle and colleagues also reported that artists and poets share certain personality characteristics with schizophrenic patients. The authors linked such traits with increased sexual activity and suggested that these traits may contribute in some way to the evolutionary survival of humans.

These personality traits can manifest themselves in negative ways, in that a person with them is likely to be prone to the shadows of full-blown mental illness, such as depression and suicidal thoughts,” he said.

As an ex-psychiatric social worker who has known a lot of schizophrenics and a photographer married to a painter who has known a lot of creative people, I say “Bull.”

The scientific part of the study is, it is said, beset with problems and doubts. For instance, the subjects were a group of people from the local town coupled with psychology students as the control group and people who responded to ads in national art publications and described themselves as artists or poets. Therefore the study suffers from small town people versus a national sampling, psychology students with some interest in the results of the test and people from varying areas who class themselves as professional artists.

Erick Janssen, of Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute made the same comparison that I hoped to make when I began reading the study. He noted that it would be possible to play the same game in reverse. There could be a study about whether or not having more sex increases creativity. He said that he didn’t “necessarily think (it) is true but is kind of fun…” I am less convinced that it might not be true. Sex, after all, is good for your heart and leads you into another world, and I used to tell girls in high school that it’s good for your complexion.

Another link National Geographic provided was to the Center for Sex Research at California State University at Northridge. They had a great quote from Alfred Kinsey: “The only unnatural sexual act is that which you cannot perform.”

There it is: my New Year’s advice. Don’t “get a life” and don’t wait to “get lucky”. Just get your creative juices going. Make a painting, write a poem or a novel (see Gypsyman’s latest post, Losing One’s Way, Losing Yourself), shoot some photos, make something. Think new thoughts.

Not only will you be happier but, who knows, your sex life might get better.

Happy New Year.

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