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Friday, 17 December, 1999, 11:59 GMT
Couples scanned having sex

scanner An MRI scanner was used in sex study

Couples had sex inside a hospital body scanner so that researchers could investigate their anatomy during love making.

The Dutch study involved eight couples and three single women. All were aged over 18 and slim enough to fit into the hollow tube of a Magnetic Resonance Imaging scanner which had been slightly widened.

Over a period of seven years, the volunteers took part in 13 experiments during which partners had sex, and women were asked to arouse themselves.

It is important for doctors who operate in this area to have a knowledge of the anatomy, and particularly of the living anatomy
Professor Willibrord Weijmar Schultz
Professor Willibrord Weijmar Schultz and colleagues from the University Hospital Groningen published their findings on Friday in the British Medical Journal.

He said the results were very important for sexologists as well as gynaecologists and urologists, who perform operations in this area of the body.

"It is important for doctors who operate in this area - urologists, gynaecologists - to have a knowledge of the anatomy, and particularly of the living anatomy," he said. "There is still a lot to learn."

They could also be useful in the future for determining the chances of conception during sex, he claimed.


Only one of the couples taking part in the study was able to have sexual intercourse adequately without Viagra, probably becuase of the stresses involved.

The images obtained showed that during sex in the "missionary position" the penis assumes the shape of a boomerang. It was neither straight nor "S" shaped as had previously been thought.

During female sexual arousal, the uterus was raised and the front vaginal wall lengthened, but the uterus did not swell as had previously been thought.

The researchers concluded: "What started as artistic and scientific curiosity has now been realised. We have shown that magnetic resonance images of the female sexual response and the male and female genitals during coitus are feasible and beautiful."

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See also:
03 Nov 99 |  Health
'Snoring spoils sex lives'
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27 Oct 99 |  Health
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22 Aug 99 |  Health
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