David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
from the world's big
Start Learning

Orgasm Technology: the Hard Data

Question: How common is vibrator use among women?


Rachel Maines: Well, they tell me, I don't know for sure, you know, I'm basically a historian, so I don't really know, but they tell me that about one household in three has some kind of a sex toy in it, either a vibrator or something else, but vibrators are extremely popular, they sell very well. It's hard to know for sure how many are sold because the US Bureau of the Census, Census of Manufacturers, doesn't have a separate category for them, they're just in the, I think it's small personal appliances, so they're in there with hair dryers and curling irons and things like that, so you can't really tell. And I think the figures are getting, the numbers are going up every year and they haven't been set back by the recession at all, I'm told. I mean, what else are you going to do, right? It's too expensive to go out to the movies, so you stay home, right?


Question: How common is vibrator use among men?


Rachel Maines: No, actually I don't know. I know that it's becoming more popular and there are now, as there never used to be, models especially for men, and I'm told that one of the things that, one of my friends liked about the play is that there's a scene with a man and a vibrator.


Question: Are there any societies that don’t use sex toys?


Rachel Maines: Of industrial democracies, no, there are not any that don't have them. I think the only, I think it's one of those things where it's like washing machines. If you can afford washing machines, you have washing machines. If you can't afford washing machines, you don't have them. And electricity is, we're fortunate in having as inexpensive, it seems expensive to us, but it isn't really. We have inexpensive electricity and it's readily available and it's not limited by things like batteries. You know, we can recharge, if we want to recharge batteries, we can recharge them. But that's not true all over the world. There are a lot of people who don't even have clean water. And I think that they make dildos and things like that even in pre-industrial societies. So I think that the impulse to be playful about sex is, I think that's just a human thing. And recently we're finding that it's true of some animals. We've found that it's true of the marine mammals. They didn't, the biologists told us for years, "Oh, no, animals are very serious about sex, you know, just business, you know." But then, you know, they found out that even different species of marine animal will just like, you know, spend all day playing with each other sexually, for no apparent reason, just that, hey, it's fun! You know, here we are all in the water, you know!

Recorded on December 14, 2009
Interviewed by Austin Allen

How common is vibrator use among women, men, and societies worldwide? Has this segment of the market been hurt (or stimulated) by the recession?

Remote learning vs. online instruction: How COVID-19 woke America up to the difference

Educators and administrators must build new supports for faculty and student success in a world where the classroom might become virtual in the blink of an eye.

Credit: Shutterstock
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • If you or someone you know is attending school remotely, you are more than likely learning through emergency remote instruction, which is not the same as online learning, write Rich DeMillo and Steve Harmon.
  • Education institutions must properly define and understand the difference between a course that is designed from inception to be taught in an online format and a course that has been rapidly converted to be offered to remote students.
  • In a future involving more online instruction than any of us ever imagined, it will be crucial to meticulously design factors like learner navigation, interactive recordings, feedback loops, exams and office hours in order to maximize learning potential within the virtual environment.
Keep reading Show less

Has science made religion useless?

Placing science and religion at opposite ends of the belief spectrum is to ignore their unique purposes.

  • Science and religion (fact versus faith) are often seen as two incongruous groups. When you consider the purpose of each and the questions that they seek to answer, the comparison becomes less black and white.
  • This video features religious scholars, a primatologist, a neuroendocrinologist, a comedian, and other brilliant minds considering, among other things, the evolutionary function that religion serves, the power of symbols, and the human need to learn, explore, and know the world around us so that it becomes a less scary place.
  • "I think most people are actually kind of comfortable with the idea that science is a reliable way to learn about nature, but it's not the whole story and there's a place also for religion, for faith, for theology, for philosophy," says Francis Collins, American geneticist and director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). "But that harmony perspective doesn't get as much attention. Nobody is as interested in harmony as they are in conflict."

Signs of Covid-19 may be hidden in speech signals

Studying voice recordings of infected but asymptomatic people reveals potential indicators of Covid-19.

Ezra Acayan/Getty Images
It's often easy to tell when colleagues are struggling with a cold — they sound sick.
Keep reading Show less

Octopus-like creatures inhabit Jupiter’s moon, claims space scientist

A leading British space scientist thinks there is life under the ice sheets of Europa.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute
Surprising Science
  • A British scientist named Professor Monica Grady recently came out in support of extraterrestrial life on Europa.
  • Europa, the sixth largest moon in the solar system, may have favorable conditions for life under its miles of ice.
  • The moon is one of Jupiter's 79.
Keep reading Show less

Supporting climate science increases skepticism of out-groups

A study finds people are more influenced by what the other party says than their own. What gives?

Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new study has found evidence suggesting that conservative climate skepticism is driven by reactions to liberal support for science.
  • This was determined both by comparing polling data to records of cues given by leaders, and through a survey.
  • The findings could lead to new methods of influencing public opinion.
Keep reading Show less