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Sunday 1 April 2007

Study Finds Rejection Makes Writers Sexier

by C.J. Klempest

MILTON, MA - Rejection slips stimulate libido, according to a paper published yesterday in the Journal of Sexual Function. "Rejection Anxiety and Sexual Response in Speculative Fiction Writers," caps a nine year study jointly funded by the Institute for the Study of Sexual Behavior and the Science Fiction Writers of America. "The idea that performance anxiety plays a key role in sexual dysfunction is well established in the literature," says J.O. Bromfield, the study's lead researcher. "However using psychophysiological methods, we found that literary anxiety was often associated with an enhancement of response to sexual stimuli." Three focus groups involving 73 men and women (median age 34.3; range 24-75) participated in the study. They included recent Clarion, Odyssey and Creative Writing MFA graduates, attendees of the Sycamore Hill, Rio Hondo and Blue Heaven writers workshops and Nebula Award winners.

"Our results were statistically significant," says Bromfield. "Seventy-seven percent of the population of all three focus groups reported orgasmic sexual activity in the twenty-four hour period following receipt of a rejection slip, while only twenty-nine percent had orgasms in the twenty-four hours after an acceptance. As a base line measurement, on days with neither an acceptance nor a rejection, approximately twenty-one percent of our entire population of speculative fiction writers reported sexual activity of any kind leading to orgasm."

The study goes on to document differences in the study populations. The aspiring writer group was by far the most sexually active, even adjusting for age differences. "They get many more rejections," stated Bromfield, "and they feel worse about them." Not surprisingly, the Nebula winners reported the fewest orgasms. "They seem to sell pretty much everything they write," Bromfield explains.

Controversy flared briefly over funding for the study in the hotly contested election for the officers of the Science Fiction Writers of America election. Candidates John Scalzi and Michael Capobianco both questioned whether this was proper use of the members' dues. Asked to comment, J.O. Bromfield said, "This is a non-issue. Our proposal for this study was first presented to SFWA back in 1998. President Rob Sawyer himself told me that he was certain that the membership would approve."

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