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Yes, Demons Do Exist
Chlamydia infection rate, by country (WHO 2004) Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Chlamydia infection rate, by country (WHO 2004) Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Are we being manipulated by microbes? The idea is not so whacky. We know that a wide range of microscopic parasites have evolved the ability to manipulate their hosts, even to the point of making the host behave in strange ways. A well-known example is Toxoplasma gondii, a protozoan whose life cycle begins inside a cat. After being excreted in the cat’s feces, it is picked up by a mouse and enters the new host’s brain, where it neutralizes the fear response to the smell of cat urine. The mouse lets itself be eaten by a cat, and the protozoan returns to a cat’s gut—the only place where it can reproduce (Flegr, 2013).

T. gondii can also infect us and alter our behavior. Infected individuals have longer reaction times, higher testosterone levels, and a greater risk of developing severe forms of schizophrenia (Flegr, 2013). But there is no reason to believe that T. gondii is the only such parasite we need to worry about. We study it in humans simply because we already know what it does in a non-human species.

Researchers are starting to look at manipulation by another human parasite, a sexually transmitted bacterium called Chlamydia trachomatis. Zhong et al. (2011) have found that it synthesizes proteins that manipulate the signalling pathways of its human host. These proteins seem to facilitate reinfection, although there may be other effects:

Despite the significant progresses made in the past decade, the precise mechanisms on what and how chlamydia-secreted proteins interact with host cells remain largely unknown, and will therefore still represent major research directions of the chlamydial field in the foreseeable future. (Zhong et al., 2011)

What else would a sexually transmitted pathogen do to its host? For one thing, it could cause infertility:

While several nonsexually transmitted infections can also cause infertility (e.g., schistosomiasis, tuberculosis, leprosy), these infections are typically associated with high overall virulence. In contrast, STIs tend to cause little mortality and morbidity; thus, the effect on fertility seems to be more “targeted” and specific. In addition, several STI pathogens are also associated with an increased risk of miscarriage and infant mortality (Apari et al., 2014)

Chlamydia is a major cause of infertility, and this effect seems to be no accident. Its outer membrane contains a heat shock protein that induces cell death (apoptosis) in placenta cells that are vital for normal fetal development. The same protein exists in other bacteria but is located within the cytoplasm, where it can less easily affect the host’s tissues. Furthermore, via this protein, Chlamydia triggers an autoimmune response that can damage the fallopian tubes and induce abortion. This response is not triggered by the common bacterium Escherichia coli. Finally, Chlamydia selectively up-regulates the expression of this protein while down-regulating the expression of most other proteins (Apari et al., 2014).

But how would infertility benefit Chlamydia and other sexually transmitted pathogens? Apari et al. (2011) argue that infertility causes the host and her partner to break up and seek new partners, thus multiplying the opportunities for the pathogen to spread to other hosts. A barren woman may pair up with a succession of partners in a desperate attempt to prove her fertility and, eventually, turn to prostitution as a means to support herself (Caldwell et al., 1989). This is not a minor phenomenon. STI-induced infertility has exceeded 40% in parts of sub-Saharan Africa (Apari et al., 2011).

It gets kinkier and kinkier

Does the manipulation stop there? We know, for instance, that sexual promiscuity correlates with the risk of contracting different STIs, but is this a simple relationship of cause and effect? Could an STI actually promote infidelity by stimulating sexual fantasizing about people other than one’s current partner?

Let’s look at another pathogen, Candida albicans, commonly known as vaginal yeast, which can cause an itchy rash called vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC). Reed et al. (2003) found no significant association between VVC and the woman’s frequency of vaginal sex, lifetime number of partners, or duration of current relationship. Nor was there any association with presence of C. albicans in her male partner. But there were significant associations with the woman masturbating or practicing cunnilingus in the past month.

VVC is thus more strongly associated with increased sexual fantasizing, as indicated by masturbation rate, than with a higher frequency of vaginal intercourse. This does look like host manipulation, although one might wonder why it doesn’t translate into more sex with other men, this being presumably what the pathogen wants. Perhaps the development of masturbation as a lifestyle (through use of vibrators and pornography) is making this outcome harder to achieve.

A sexually transmitted pathogen can also increase its chances of transmission by disrupting mate guarding. This is the tendency of one mate, usually the male, to keep watch over the other mate. If mate guarding can be disabled or, better yet, reversed, the pathogen can spread more easily to other hosts. This kind of host manipulation has been shown in a non-human species (Mormann, 2010).

Do we see reversal of mate guarding in humans? Yes, it’s called cuckold envy—the desire to see another man have sex with your wife—and it’s become a common fetish. Yet it seems relatively recent. Greco-Roman texts don’t mention it, despite abundant references to other forms of alternate sexual behavior, e.g., pedophilia, cunnilingus, fellatio, bestiality, etc. The earliest mentions appear in 17th century England (Kuchar, 2011, pp. 18-19). This was when England was opening up to world trade and, in particular, to the West African slave trade.

Sub-Saharan Africa has been especially conducive to sexually transmitted pathogens evolving a capacity for host manipulation. Polygyny rates are high, in the range of 20 to 40% of all adult males, and the polygynous male is typically an older man who cannot sexually satisfy all of his wives. There is thus an inevitable tendency toward multi-partner sex by both men and women, which sexually transmitted pathogens can exploit … and manipulate.

What about sexual orientation?

A pathogen can also become more transmissible by giving its host a new sexual orientation. This strategy would disrupt the existing pair bond while opening up modes of transmission that may be more efficient than the penis/vagina one. Some vaginal strains of Candida albicans have adapted to oral sex by becoming better at adhering to saliva-coated surfaces (Schmid et al., 1995). Certain species that cause bacterial vaginosis, notably Gardnerella vaginalis and Prevotella, seem to specialize in female-female transmission (Muzny et al., 2013; Sobel, 2012).

Finally, there is the hypothesis that exclusive male homosexuality has a microbial origin (Cochran et al., 2000). Its main shortcomings are that (a) there is no candidate pathogen and that (b) exclusive male homosexuality has been observed in social environments with limited opportunities for pathogen transmission, such as small bands of hunter-gatherers across pre-Columbian North America (Callender & Kochems, 1983). On the other hand, there seems to have been a relatively recent shift in European societies from facultative to exclusive male homosexuality, so something may have happened in the environment, perhaps the introduction of a new pathogen (Frost, 2009).

Both male and female homosexuality seem to have multiple causes, but it’s likely that various pathogens have exploited this means of spreading to other hosts.

Conclusion

This is a fun subject when it concerns silly mice or zombie ants. But now it concerns us. And that’s not so funny. Can microbes really develop such demonic abilities to change our private thoughts and feelings?

It does seem hard to believe. Perhaps this is an argument for intelligent design. After all, only an all-knowing designer could have made creatures that are so small and yet capable of so much … things like inducing abortion, breaking up marriages, and altering normal sexual desires. Yes, such an argument could be made.

But I don’t think anyone will bother.

References

Apari, P., J. Dinis de Sousa, and V. Muller. (2014). Why Sexually Transmitted Infections Tend to Cause Infertility: An Evolutionary Hypothesis. PLoS Pathog 10(8): e1004111.
http://www.plospathogens.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.ppat.1004111

Caldwell, J.C., P. Caldwell, and P. Quiggin. (1989). The social context of AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, Population and Development Review, 15, 185-234.
https://www.soc.umn.edu/~meierann/Teaching/Population/Readings/Feb%209%20Caldwell.pdf

Callender, C. and L.M. Kochems. (1983). The North American Berdache, Current Anthropology, 24, 443-470.
http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/2742448?uid=3739448&uid=2&uid=3737720&uid=4&sid=21104311299061

Cochran, G.M., P.W. Ewald, and K.D. Cochran. (2000). Infection causation of disease: an evolutionary perspective, Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 43, 406-448.
http://www.isteve.com/infectious_causation_of_disease.pdf

Flegr, J. (2013). Influence of latent Toxoplasma infection on human personality, physiology and morphology: pros and cons of the Toxoplasma-human model in studying the manipulation hypothesis,The Journal of Experimental Biology, 216, 127-133.http://jeb.biologists.org/content/216/1/127.full

Frost, P. (2009). Has male homosexuality changed over time, Evo and Proud, March 5
http://www.unz.com/pfrost/has-male-homosexuality-changed-over/

Kuchar, G. (2001). Rhetoric, Anxiety, and the Pleasures of Cuckoldry in the Drama of Ben Jonson and Thomas Middleton, Journal of Narrative Theory, 31 (1), Winter, pp. 1-30.

Mormann, K. (2010). Factors influencing parasite-related suppression of mating behavior in the isopod Caecidotea intermedius, Theses and Disserations, paper 48
http://via.library.depaul.edu/etd/48

Muzny, C.A., I.R. Sunesara, R. Kumar, L.A. Mena, M.E. Griswold, et al. (2013). Correction: Characterization of the vaginal microbiota among sexual risk behavior groups of women with bacterial vaginosis.PLoS ONE 8(12):
http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0080254

Reed, B.D., P. Zazove, C.L. Pierson, D.W. Gorenflo, and J. Horrocks. (2003). Candida transmission and sexual behaviors as risks for a repeat episode of Candida vulvovaginitis, Journal of Women’s Health, 12, 979-989.
http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/154099903322643901

Schmid, J., P.R. Hunter, G.C. White, A.K. Nand, and R.D. Cannon. (1995). Physiological traits associated with success of Candida albicans strains as commensal colonizers and pathogens, Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 33, 2920-2926.
http://jcm.asm.org/content/33/11/2920.short

Sobel, J.D. (2012). Bacterial vaginosis, Wolters Kluwer, UpToDate
http://www.uptodate.com/contents/bacterial-vaginosis

Zhong, G., L. Lei, S. Gong, C. Lu, M. Qi, and D. Chen. (2011). Chlamydia-Secreted Proteins in Chlamydial Interactions with Host Cells, Current Chemical Biology, 5, 29-37
http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/ben/ccb/2011/00000005/00000001/art00004

(Reprinted from Evo and Proud by permission of author or representative)
 
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30 Comments to "Yes, Demons Do Exist"
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  1. It’s so crazy it has to be true.

    God exists in extra dimensions at the sub-atomic level. Bacteria and microbes are the
    closest living embodiments of God. We’ve had it backwards all the time.

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  2. STI-induced infertility has exceeded 40% in parts of sub-Saharan Africa (Apari et al., 2011).

    Don’t these countries still have like 7 children per woman?

    Read More
  3. Do we see reversal of mate guarding in humans? Yes, it’s called cuckold envy—the desire to see another man have sex with your wife—and it’s become a common fetish. Yet it seems relatively recent. Greco-Roman texts don’t mention it, despite abundant references to other forms of alternate sexual behavior, e.g., pedophilia, cunnilingus, fellatio, bestiality, etc.

    So imagine you have A and his wife B, with male C.

    A wants to watch C have sex with B.

    How is a pathogen doing this? I suppose that A is the one with the disease, and should want his wife to have sex with other men. But why would the pathogen expect that any disease B gets will be the same as the pathogen within A?

    Seems pretty far fetched.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    I'm just speculating wildly here based on no evidence whatsoever:

    If A and B are married, they will have had sex multiple times; thus, the probability that they both will be infected with the pathogen will be much higher than the probability of any two randomly chosen people both being infected with it. The pathogen could could affect A in the manner described in the article and affect B in a slightly different manner that increases the likelihood that she'll be into having sex with another male in the presence of her husband.
    , @David R. Merridale
    Because A and B will have had frequent sexual relations, and therefore any sexually transmissible pathogen either has is likely to be shared.

    By the way, Captain Kidd is alleged to have had cuckold fetish, and that would fit with the narrative here.
    , @Ivy
    The ID version involves putting tab C into slotB.
  4. (Just cross posting my comment from your blog for the benefit of readers here)

    exclusive male homosexuality has been observed in social environments with limited opportunities for pathogen transmission, such as small bands of hunter-gatherers across pre-Columbian North America (Callender & Kochems, 1983)

    Satoshi Kanazawa did an extensive review of the ethnographic evidence, and found no evidence of homosexuality in pre-agricultural groups.

    Do we see reversal of mate guarding in humans? Yes, it’s called cuckold envy—the desire to see another man have sex with your wife—and it’s become a common fetish.

    Is it? How common are cuckold fetishists as a fraction of all men? I’d be surprised if it’s more than 0.1%

    VVC is thus more strongly associated with increased sexual fantasizing, as indicated by masturbation rate, than with a higher frequency of vaginal intercourse. This does look like host manipulation, although one might wonder why it doesn’t translate into more sex with other men, this being presumably what the pathogen wants. Perhaps the development of masturbation as a lifestyle (through use of vibrators and pornography) is making this outcome harder to achieve.

    When you think about it, that doesn’t sound quite right. You would think that increased sex drive would be easier to translate into more actual sex for women in this day and age than in the not-too-distant past. Would this then imply that the infection is highly specific to masturbation? Perhaps sex isn’t the mode of transmission.

    Read More
  5. It is a common trope in popular culture that girls with low self-esteem are easy. If this is true, then it would make sense for STIs to lower girls self-esteem. This seems to me something relatively easy for a pathogen to accomplish compared to some of the other speculations.

    Read More
  6. Apari et al. (2011) argue that infertility causes the host and her partner to break up and seek new partners…

    This reminds me of my speculation that birth-control may be triggering an innate behavioural tendency to seek new partners if your current one seems infertile, i.e. if you are having sexual intercourse with them over an extended period without getting pregnant. Does anyone have any thoughts on the evolutionary plausibility of such a mechanism?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jo S'more

    This reminds me of my speculation that birth-control may be triggering an innate behavioural tendency to seek new partners if your current one seems infertile, i.e. if you are having sexual intercourse with them over an extended period without getting pregnant. Does anyone have any thoughts on the evolutionary plausibility of such a mechanism?
     
    I think it is more like partners are more likely to break up when they get tired of each other IF they don't have any offspring. BUT if they do have offspring, then they will stay together for the sake of the offspring.
  7. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Hepp

    Do we see reversal of mate guarding in humans? Yes, it’s called cuckold envy—the desire to see another man have sex with your wife—and it’s become a common fetish. Yet it seems relatively recent. Greco-Roman texts don’t mention it, despite abundant references to other forms of alternate sexual behavior, e.g., pedophilia, cunnilingus, fellatio, bestiality, etc.
     
    So imagine you have A and his wife B, with male C.

    A wants to watch C have sex with B.

    How is a pathogen doing this? I suppose that A is the one with the disease, and should want his wife to have sex with other men. But why would the pathogen expect that any disease B gets will be the same as the pathogen within A?

    Seems pretty far fetched.

    I’m just speculating wildly here based on no evidence whatsoever:

    If A and B are married, they will have had sex multiple times; thus, the probability that they both will be infected with the pathogen will be much higher than the probability of any two randomly chosen people both being infected with it. The pathogen could could affect A in the manner described in the article and affect B in a slightly different manner that increases the likelihood that she’ll be into having sex with another male in the presence of her husband.

    Read More
  8. I just utterly fail to see how the phenomenon of a bacteria, virus or fungus possessing the ability to change the behavior of a host is any different in any way, shape or form from the possession of any other creatures’ abilities and thus changing, much lending any more weight (if there be any at all)—to the “intelligent design” argument. None. Show some inability for evolution through natural selection to give them that ability and you might be getting somewhere, but that is nowhere in evidence. Indeed, the very *desirability* that a bacteria, virus or fungus would want to have to change a host’s behavior seems to me to be strong evidence that indeed that ability did come about through natural selection and evolution.

    Moreover, it’s a piquant thing to see the intelligent design idea, which of course seems nearly uniquely pushed by those wanting to preserve the traditional idea of supremely human-friendly God, now being invoked as the possible explanation for giving microbes and etc. the diabolical ability to deprive humans of their free will and essentially render them into slaves, especially sexually.

    Indeed, is there any *better* way than to turn the idea of an Intelligent Designer sour in the mouths of most of those pushing same than if you could show that such bugs exist which, if one is a Believer, must therefore must have been created by an Intelligent Designer who has then made lots of sexual behavior not a matter of free will at all but instead a matter of irresistible slavery?

    Hilarious.

    Read More
  9. Its the Demiurge, the God Architect who created this World. According to Gnostics this is a Evil God who appears in The Old Testament as the Genocidal Yahweh.

    Jesus knew the higher God.

    Read More
  10. ‘I sleep only for Maecenas!’ and The Flying Yorkshireman inviting a storm giant home to get a pup off him, imply happy cuckolds rank social success above genetic success.

    Read More
  11. @Hepp

    Do we see reversal of mate guarding in humans? Yes, it’s called cuckold envy—the desire to see another man have sex with your wife—and it’s become a common fetish. Yet it seems relatively recent. Greco-Roman texts don’t mention it, despite abundant references to other forms of alternate sexual behavior, e.g., pedophilia, cunnilingus, fellatio, bestiality, etc.
     
    So imagine you have A and his wife B, with male C.

    A wants to watch C have sex with B.

    How is a pathogen doing this? I suppose that A is the one with the disease, and should want his wife to have sex with other men. But why would the pathogen expect that any disease B gets will be the same as the pathogen within A?

    Seems pretty far fetched.

    Because A and B will have had frequent sexual relations, and therefore any sexually transmissible pathogen either has is likely to be shared.

    By the way, Captain Kidd is alleged to have had cuckold fetish, and that would fit with the narrative here.

    Read More
  12. I’m pretty sure the Romans had their own version of “cuckoldry,” or at least swinging, which amounts to the same thing, biologically speaking. Suetonius and Petronius have examples, and Martial probably does too.
    Also: Eskimos. Off the top of my head: Marco Polo mentioned it among some tribes in his travels. And while Cassanova was later than what you mention, he seemed to enjoy the kick, bug-magnet that he was.

    Read More
  13. You haven’t proved causation in some of these cases; maybe there’s something in semen that makes the vagina more hospitable to Candida, or something like that.

    That said, the overall idea seems pretty credible. We know chemicals like alcohol can make us do things, and microbes can secrete chemicals, so…

    Read More
  14. Ivy [AKA "Enquiring Mind"] says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Hepp

    Do we see reversal of mate guarding in humans? Yes, it’s called cuckold envy—the desire to see another man have sex with your wife—and it’s become a common fetish. Yet it seems relatively recent. Greco-Roman texts don’t mention it, despite abundant references to other forms of alternate sexual behavior, e.g., pedophilia, cunnilingus, fellatio, bestiality, etc.
     
    So imagine you have A and his wife B, with male C.

    A wants to watch C have sex with B.

    How is a pathogen doing this? I suppose that A is the one with the disease, and should want his wife to have sex with other men. But why would the pathogen expect that any disease B gets will be the same as the pathogen within A?

    Seems pretty far fetched.

    The ID version involves putting tab C into slotB.

    Read More
  15. @Harold

    Apari et al. (2011) argue that infertility causes the host and her partner to break up and seek new partners…
     
    This reminds me of my speculation that birth-control may be triggering an innate behavioural tendency to seek new partners if your current one seems infertile, i.e. if you are having sexual intercourse with them over an extended period without getting pregnant. Does anyone have any thoughts on the evolutionary plausibility of such a mechanism?

    This reminds me of my speculation that birth-control may be triggering an innate behavioural tendency to seek new partners if your current one seems infertile, i.e. if you are having sexual intercourse with them over an extended period without getting pregnant. Does anyone have any thoughts on the evolutionary plausibility of such a mechanism?

    I think it is more like partners are more likely to break up when they get tired of each other IF they don’t have any offspring. BUT if they do have offspring, then they will stay together for the sake of the offspring.

    Read More
  16. Hepp,

    STI-induced infertility has been greatly reduced through antibiotics and improved medical care. It really wasn’t that long ago when population growth really began to take off in Africa. Previously, much of the continent was described as the “infertility belt.”

    A hypothetical “cuckold-envy” pathogen would pass from the female host to her male partner. At that point, it would infiltrate his brain and attack the circuitry involved in sexual jealousy.

    Jayman,

    I respect Satoshi Kanazawa, but he is simply wrong. There is a very extensive ethnographic literature on homosexuality and transexuality in Amerindian groups. Just do a search for “berdache” either on Google Scholar or in the HRAF.

    It would be difficult to estimate the prevalence of cuckold fetishists in the adult male population, but it does seem to be increasingly common, see:

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/women-who-stray/201006/kinky-cuckolding-fetish-goes-mainstream

    “You would think that increased sex drive would be easier to translate into more actual sex for women in this day and age than in the not-too-distant past”

    I humbly disagree. Virtual sex has replaced a lot of real sex. There are a lot of people out there who have no contact at all with flesh-and-blood sexual partners.

    Harold,

    I suspect you’re right. If a women failed to produce children, divorce or simply abandonment was a common response in the past. Birth control may unconsciously be triggering this response.

    Tom,

    I was speaking tongue in cheek.

    Scott,

    Inuit men would lend their wives as a gesture of hospitality. But there’s a big difference between that and someone who watches and masturbates while another man has sex with his wife.

    If you can point me to an example of cuckold envy in Greco-Roman literature, please do.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    I was speaking tongue in cheek.
     
    Given how many people think the only way for new diseases like ebola or HIV to arise is through bioweapon programs, it was perhaps understandable that some misunderstood you.
  17. Interesting idea, that sexually transmitted pathogens can alter human behavior by directly messing with the nervous system. But I think a far more likely explanation for today’s wildly shifting sexual mores is that it’s the result of culture, what’s considered socially acceptable now.

    I like to think that promiscuity is a sin against God and that STDs are part of the wrath of God.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Robinson
    Or perhaps monogamy is the human evolutionary response to parasites.
  18. @Tommy
    Interesting idea, that sexually transmitted pathogens can alter human behavior by directly messing with the nervous system. But I think a far more likely explanation for today's wildly shifting sexual mores is that it's the result of culture, what's considered socially acceptable now.

    I like to think that promiscuity is a sin against God and that STDs are part of the wrath of God.

    Or perhaps monogamy is the human evolutionary response to parasites.

    Read More
  19. “Perhaps this is an argument for intelligent design. After all, only an all-knowing designer could have made creatures that are so small and yet capable of so much”

    Hm, no. Looks like evolution through natural selection is a perfectly adequate explanation.

    Read More
  20. @Peter Frost
    Hepp,

    STI-induced infertility has been greatly reduced through antibiotics and improved medical care. It really wasn't that long ago when population growth really began to take off in Africa. Previously, much of the continent was described as the "infertility belt."

    A hypothetical "cuckold-envy" pathogen would pass from the female host to her male partner. At that point, it would infiltrate his brain and attack the circuitry involved in sexual jealousy.

    Jayman,

    I respect Satoshi Kanazawa, but he is simply wrong. There is a very extensive ethnographic literature on homosexuality and transexuality in Amerindian groups. Just do a search for "berdache" either on Google Scholar or in the HRAF.

    It would be difficult to estimate the prevalence of cuckold fetishists in the adult male population, but it does seem to be increasingly common, see:
    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/women-who-stray/201006/kinky-cuckolding-fetish-goes-mainstream

    "You would think that increased sex drive would be easier to translate into more actual sex for women in this day and age than in the not-too-distant past"

    I humbly disagree. Virtual sex has replaced a lot of real sex. There are a lot of people out there who have no contact at all with flesh-and-blood sexual partners.

    Harold,

    I suspect you're right. If a women failed to produce children, divorce or simply abandonment was a common response in the past. Birth control may unconsciously be triggering this response.

    Tom,

    I was speaking tongue in cheek.

    Scott,

    Inuit men would lend their wives as a gesture of hospitality. But there's a big difference between that and someone who watches and masturbates while another man has sex with his wife.

    If you can point me to an example of cuckold envy in Greco-Roman literature, please do.

    I was speaking tongue in cheek.

    Given how many people think the only way for new diseases like ebola or HIV to arise is through bioweapon programs, it was perhaps understandable that some misunderstood you.

    Read More
  21. You might have that correlation between the yeast infection and masturbation backwards. A woman who masturbates more likely is introducing (and perhaps reintroducing fugal infections from other parts of her body to her vagina).

    It makes sense that if a woman does not masturbate as much she’ll have less chance of contamination.

    Read More
  22. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    One might consider whether actual demons had a hand in the evolution of ‘demonic’ pathogens.

    Read More
  23. […] en personalidad, disminución paradójica de la movilidad social, la amenaza de nuevos patógenos (sí, los demonios existen), el infraestudiado problema del altruísmo patológico y un largo etcétera de limitaciones que […]

    Read More
  24. […] SSA? Absolutely, especially if the true heritability turns out to be truly low. See Peter Frost (Yes, Demons Do Exist). Perhaps the recent trend towards more women displaying SSA is due to the spread of a new […]

    Read More
  25. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    You said that

    “there were significant associations with the woman masturbating or practicing cunnilingus in the past month.”

    for women with vaginal yeast infections. But, you didn’t mention the effect sizes. What were they? 1% higher rates? 10%? 100%?

    Just the mere fact that something is statistically significant, doesn’t mean it is worth mentioning as a piece of data. It’s just muddies the water to present effects that are orders of magnitude apart as if they are equally important.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sean
    The water starts off muddied. Simple obvious correlations uncomplicated by other factors are common in theories, rare in the real world.
  26. @Anonymous
    You said that

    "there were significant associations with the woman masturbating or practicing cunnilingus in the past month."

    for women with vaginal yeast infections. But, you didn't mention the effect sizes. What were they? 1% higher rates? 10%? 100%?

    Just the mere fact that something is statistically significant, doesn't mean it is worth mentioning as a piece of data. It's just muddies the water to present effects that are orders of magnitude apart as if they are equally important.

    The water starts off muddied. Simple obvious correlations uncomplicated by other factors are common in theories, rare in the real world.

    Read More
  27. […] – likely most of which are unknown (75% – 99% being unknown in stool samples) – may exert huge impact on human behavior. Indeed, we are learning that gut flora may play a considerable role in health, obesity, and […]

    Read More
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