Is it possible that men who choose sex over sustenance are hardwired to do so? Some would argue that sex is a vital form of sustenance in its own regard, but for this story we are going to leave intercourse out of the food pyramid. According to recent findings published in Current Biology, male nematodes displayed behavior that suggests there may be subtle circuitry differences in male brains that make them more focused on getting in our cookie jars than getting in our kitchens. Although, my cookie jar is in my kitchen, so I’m not sure how to supply one without the other. I may need to rearrange some things.
Scientists used microscopic roundworms called C. elegans in their experiment to collect data about the males’ natural suppression of hunger in lieu of mating. These roundworms only come in two sexes, neither of which are female. When it comes to C. elegans, there’s males and hermaphrodites. This makes me assume that females are the result of some very advanced evolutionary developments. Or, not that important. Either way, let’s pretend it doesn’t matter right now and move on with the research.
It had been observed before that when hermaphrodite C. elegans are placed near a food source, they stay there, while males will wander off in search of action. This is due, in part, to neurons found in C. elegans – called AWA – which control smell. This single pair of neurons play a critical role in how C. elegans respond to their surroundings. Scent is the main factor dictating how these organisms detect food, danger, and sexy times. Pretty much just like people do. Well, maybe not the danger part, I mean we can smell a fire but it’s pretty hard to sniff out other scary situations, like running into people you don’t want to talk to at the grocery store.
While this research is specific to microscopic nematodes, it sparks interest in possible similar correlations in humans. Perhaps men, too, are led by the natural function of their noses and brains when making the choice between a meal and a mate. In modern civilization, it would seem that several factors are at play when men make such decisions. But, maybe I’m just fooling myself; maybe men really do think with their “other head,” and maybe the way to their hearts is not through their stomachs, but their nostrils. I’d like to believe the men in my life would use more discretion when picking one of two favorable things, but I’ve refrained from posing such a hypothetical predicament for fear that I may be asked to specify what’s on each menu. I may not understand everything about men, but I’ve been around them long enough to know that one man’s carnal desire is another man’s bologna sandwich.