Test your Carnal Knowledge

A quick quiz to determine how keenly you're attuned to the science of sex - and whether that's a good thing.

Posted: July 09, 2007

The past year brought us more shocking insights into the world of sex: from the secret lives of Komodo dragons to new hope for erectile dysfunction, from progress in the long-standing puzzle about human/Neanderthal sex to scientific confirmation of the tricks of pickup artists.

Have you been paying attention? Here's our second annual sex-and-science quiz to test your Carnal Knowledge.


1. In the course of some scientific investigations, scientists recently found they could make heterosexual male snakes attempt to have gay sex. How did they do it?

They sprayed captive snakes with a recently declassified "gay bomb," designed by the Department of Defense to induce homosexual behavior in enemy troops.

They isolated a snake pheromone from female snakes and tested its potency by dabbing it on males.

For six months they fed the snakes soy products, including tofu and soy milk, known to cause feminization.

2. The recent census found that in the U.S., only 49 percent of women were living with spouses, compared with 53 percent of men. Why do single women outnumber single men?

A recent study blamed the long-running HBO hit Sex and the City for discouraging women from marrying.

A group of women living in Arizona have taken to marrying four or more husbands, thus leaving too few men for the rest of us.

Men die earlier than women, often from accidents, homicide, suicide and heart attacks.

3. Tests show that women prefer the scent of a man with potentially compatible immune genes known as the MHC complex. Which of the following interferes with women's scent preferences?

More than 10 hours a week of cell-phone use.

Oral contraceptives.

Money. It smells good on any man.

Men wearing too-short shorts and committing other serious fashion don'ts.

4. Which of these constituted the biggest male/female differences seen on a University of Wisconsin survey?

Women talk more than twice as much as men.

Men talk as much as women, but women are right twice as often as men.

Men can throw a baseball farther, masturbate more, and are more likely to desire sex with a total stranger.

5. At the Chester Zoo in England, a Komodo dragon named Flora made the news last year for what?

Laying eggs that hatched into baby Komodo dragons, even though she was still a virgin.

Biting then-Prime Minister Tony Blair while he received a special "behind-the-scenes" zoo tour.

Escaping her enclosure for an entire night, during which she attempted to mate with several crocodiles and an alligator named Dirty Harry.

6. Which of these effects of eating too much soy was substantiated scientifically?

Soy can shrink men's penises and cause straight men to become gay (it's also the secret ingredient in the recently declassified "gay bomb").

Soy can make men's penises grow and cause gay men to become straight.

Soy can reduce the incidence of several types of cancer.

None of the above.

7. When hermaphroditic sea worms meet, how do they figure out which one is going to take on the male role and which will play the female?

They look each other up and down and determine that the smaller, more "feminine" one should take the female role.

A dangerous, sometimes brutal fight breaks out in which the winner acts as the male.

They compare penises and let the one with the longer member act as the male.

They take turns.

8. Scientists recently figured out the identity of some flea-sized parasites riding on deep-sea anglerfish. What are they?

A sexually transmitted infection similar to crabs in humans.

Parasites that inject an aphrodisiac chemical into her bloodstream to make her want to reproduce and create homes for more parasites.

Male anglerfish, which are 500,000 times smaller than females.

9. How do male sea urchins compete with one another for the chance to procreate?

They stab one another with their spines.

They tell hilarious jokes in a subtle language similar to whale song.

They make faster or longer-lived sperm than the next guy.

They line up and attempt to show off their beauty.

10. What new erectile-dysfunction treatment proved safe in a recent clinical trial?

The Atkins Diet combined with a regular cardio exercise.

Three cans of Red Bull and a shot of vodka.

The original Paris Hilton sex video.

Gene therapy, in which doctors inject a gene called hMaxi-K directly into the penis.

11. Who do male chimps find most attractive?

Young nubile female chimps - the equivalent of 18-year-old girls.

The least promiscuous females, so the males don't have to worry about being cheated on.

The most elderly females in the troop. The grandmothers and great-grandmothers get the males crazy with lust.

Other males. Chimps are notorious homosexuals.

12. How are scientists planning to determine whether early Homo sapiens interbred with Neanderthals?

By sequencing the Neanderthal genome using bits of DNA scraped from bones.

By looking for fossilized condoms at Neanderthal sites and H. sapiens sites.

By looking for signs of Neanderthal skeletons in compromising positions at H. sapiens sites.

By retrieving Neanderthal DNA trapped in amber, using cloning technology to bring some Neanderthals to life, and then setting them loose in New York's nightclub scene.

13. Which of the following is a tactic for picking up women recommended in The Mystery Method and later shown to work in a psychology experiment?

Being picky.

Driving a Porsche.

Paying for multiple rounds of drinks.

Making the bed.

14. Which of the following does zoologist Robin Baker consider a real side effect of male masturbation?

It causes blindness.

It drains energy.

It can cause a permanent decrease in sperm count.

It can temporarily increase fertility by cleaning out old, tired sperm to be replaced by new, fresh ones.


Your score. 10-14 correct: You are either a faithful reader or extremely science savvy, or both.

5-9 correct: You're probably a faithful reader and very science savvy but were tripped up by the trick questions.

0-5 correct: Congratulations, your sex life was so great that you didn't have time to read the paper.

Contact columnist Faye Flam

at 215-854-4977 or fflam@phillynews.com .

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