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Thursday, October 25, 2012

We Can't Spend All Our Time Thinking About the Election

Posted by on Thu, Oct 25, 2012 at 8:41 AM

So, hey, let's think about the sex lives of conjoined twins instead. A terrific piece from Alice Dreger:

One thing we know for sure about the sexuality of conjoined twins: People who aren't conjoined are fascinated by it. At least it seems that way, judging by the number of reporters calling me to ask about the sex lives of conjoined twins since the A&E reality show Abby and Brittany went on the air several weeks ago. As I've told callers, although there are no real studies of the sex lives of conjoined twins, we can safely assume that conjoined twins want—and occasionally feel conflicted about wanting—sex, as we all do....

So, I suppose I should get to what the people really want to know: what do conjoined twins feel when they have sex? If one is sexually stimulated, does the other feel it? If one has an orgasm, does the other enjoy the same, however unwittingly?

The short answer is that we don't know. Conjoined twins, like the rest of us, tend not to talk in great depth publicly about their most intimate moments. Based on what we know about the significant variability of one conjoined twin to feel a body part (e.g., an arm) that putatively "belongs" to the other twin, it's hard to guess how any conjoinment will turn out in practice. Nerves, muscles, hormones, and psychology all probably factor in to who feels what. If twins share one set of genitals, they're both going to feel any touching down there. Whether or not both are "having sex" with the third person in the equation depends on how you think about "having sex."

Go read the whole thing. (And if you're genuinely curious about the subject of conjoined twins, you might want to pick up Dreger's book, One of Us: Conjoined Twins and the Future of Normal.)


Comments (6) RSS

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ScienceNerd 1
My sisters are identical and recently stopped living together at 36. They have always had each other, I was always very jealous of that. I can see how conjoined twins would feel like they already have someone.
Posted by ScienceNerd on October 25, 2012 at 9:22 AM · Report this
badstone 2
Excellent use of stock photo.
Posted by badstone on October 25, 2012 at 9:37 AM · Report this
skjaere 3
Wow, that's not the question I would have asked. My first thought was how awkward it would be to have family in the same room every time you have sex. What does the non-participant do when that's going on? Turn up the music very loud on their headphones and try very hard to focus on their reading?
Posted by skjaere on October 25, 2012 at 11:54 AM · Report this
treefort 4
Yeah, this is something I wonder about. And going beyond that, they would both have to have the same job, go to the same schools, every damn thing. It would be very different.
Posted by treefort on October 25, 2012 at 12:13 PM · Report this
@4: as ScienceNerd points out, identical twins have a tendency towards doing everything together anyway. Your experience of being a wholly unique individual is where your sense of individuality comes from. For Abby and Brittany, none of this would be strange at all. Just imagine the kind of cooperation required to ride a bike, starting somewhere around the age of 6 or 7, and then extrapolate from there. I doubt they've really *ever* considered *your* point of view and your individuality. There's just no room for anything but cooperation in their lives.

As for the privacy thing and people not wanting to talk about their most intimate moments, also consider the fact that when you're really weird - like one in a million weird - there's also the desire to *not* be the star in a freak show. Just ask any transgendered person about the kind of people that like having sex with them.
Posted by gromm on October 25, 2012 at 8:14 PM · Report this
treefort 6
@5 Good point. Thanks.
Posted by treefort on October 26, 2012 at 11:40 PM · Report this

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