So you see an ad in the paper from a lab looking for test subjects. They say they want to study the effects of getting high, or eating too much, or having sex. Oh, and they'll pay you to do all of those things.
Preposterous, right? Got to be a setup for some kind of elaborate prank. But, these experiments were very real, and all of them proved with science that it's horrifyingly possible to have too much of a good thing.
5The Have Sex For Money Experiment
Wanted: a healthy, sexually functional male to have sex with a woman. You will be paid. We get to watch.
Yes, that happened, and yes, it was legal. Back in the 1950s and 60s, sex researcher William Masters was determined to find out everything there was to know about boning. Up to that point, research had been carried out via surveys, which were contaminated by the fact that people lied their asses off (which might explain why at the time the average penis length was thought to be around 13 inches long).
No, he needed to study the humping first hand. He hired Virginia Johnson, an attractive female assistant 10 years his junior, and started paying people to have sex with strangers.
For the subjects, it offered all of the benefits of prostitution without the constant threat of genital sores and being locked in a rape dungeon that normally goes along with it. There could not possibly be a downside to this, right?
The Harsh Reality
First, you found out that these people would be watching you the whole time:
That's Masters and Johnson. Of course, watching wasn't enough. This is science! So you also had sensors hooked to you and your partner that would measure sexual response, monitoring your mojo the same way a polygraph test detects when you're lying. Only instead of measuring your lies, it's measuring how bad of a job you're doing at arousing a total stranger.
Putting the "strange" in "sex with a total stranger," partners were matched randomly (if you still think that sounds awesome, the next time you're in line at Burger King, imagine getting randomly matched up for sex with any one of the people around you). Oh, by the way, the subjects ranged in age from 18 to 89.
We'll let that sink in for a moment.
We're not knocking the work Masters and Johnson did--it was absolutely revolutionary and totally changed the way the modern world thinks about sex. We're just saying it wasn't the erotic carnival of flesh the subjects probably had in mind upon entering a sex laboratory. And in case it's not obvious enough that this was a worse deal for the women involved, they had the added bonus of having their orgasms studied via a prosthetic penis with a video camera in it.