Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux in “Blue is the Warmest Colour”.
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Five theories as to why lesbians are more likely to orgasm than straight women

A recent study by the Kinsey Institute has found that lesbians are much more likely to orgasm during sex than either straight or bisexual women.

Merry early Christmas, lesbians. According to a recent study, we’re more likely to orgasm during sex than our straight female friends. Researchers at the Kinsey Institute (yes, the scale guys) surveyed over 6,000 men and women about their sex lives and, boo-yah, the lesbians were revealed to be quite good at coming. Not as good as men, apparently, but still not at all bad. The survey found that the probability of a lesbian having an orgasm during sex with a familiar partner is 75 per cent, compared to 62 per cent for straight women and 58 per cent for bisexual women. While it’s mysterious that bi women came bottom, I’d suggest that a survey of a few thousand people isn’t exactly exhaustive. But still, here are my five theories as to why The Gays beat other women at orgasms. And please note, my only authority here is that I’m a lesbian who sometimes has sex.

 

Cunnilingus

An obvious one. When two women bump junk, the chance of oral sex being involved is high. According to a survey by vlogger Arielle Scarcella, straight women are less likely to be into it, or (possibly more accurately) their boyfriends aren’t all that forthcoming. Scarcella didn’t so much find that straight women prefer penetrative to oral sex, as that they’re socially conditioned not to expect or even ask for the latter. There are two problems here. Firstly, oral sex is fantastic. Seriously, straight women, if you’re not getting it, you should go on sex strike or something. Secondly, women have just got to be better at it. Would you rather be shown around an aquarium by a marine biologist or a postman? Please pick the marine biologist. Also, let her go down on you behind the shark tank.

 

Cynicism

Have you ever found yourself picking up sex tips from terrible porn? If you’re a lesbian, I bet you anything you haven’t. To real-life gay women, the majority of lesbian porn is laughable. No less silly, of course, than straight porn. When I was at uni, my housemates and I used to play something called (catchily) “The Inappropriate Porn Music Game”. This involved playing YouPorn videos on mute, while choosing our own soundtrack. The more incongruous, the better. I’d worked out that porn wasn’t always about sex, way before watching a man hump a microwave to “Video Killed The Radio Star”.

I find that lesbians (and women in general, for that matter) tend to be a lot more cynical towards the sex industry. This includes the ability to spot a stupid sex tip a mile off. Men, I’ve been led to believe, are more naïve.

 

Using our words

Lesbians love talking sex nearly as much as straight men enjoy talking Carling and novelty boxers. The only good sex advice I’ve ever had has been from other gay girls. Get pretty much any lesbian a bit drunk, and you’ll find that she has more opinions on fingering than you thought humanly possible. This converts to excellent (and seriously explicit) communication, bedroom-wise.

 

Equality

I’ve had more than one straight friend tell me about an ex-boyfriend who wasn’t interested in making her come. And, if a society that treats women as secondary is anything to go by, I imagine that this is a common problem. It’s hardly surprising for sexist power structures to slug their way into bedrooms. After all, how else would we produce fictional sex bastards like Christian Grey? Remove that socially ingrained interplay, as you can do with a lesbian couple, and you’re left with two people who dearly want to make each other’s genitals happy.

 

Sticking it to The Man

When you’re constantly told that lesbian sex isn’t “real”, or that it’s some kind of novelty, it’s hard not to want to do a bit of debunking. So when two women have sex, they’re partly proving a point, even if the whole of society isn’t peering in through the window and jotting down notes. And it turns out that wanting to prove a point is mightily conducive to doing something well.

Eleanor Margolis is a freelance journalist, whose "Lez Miserable" column appears weekly on the New Statesman website.

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The answer to the antibiotics crisis might be inside your nose

The medical weapons we have equipped ourselves with are losing their power. But scientists scent an answer. 

They say there’s a hero in everyone. It turns out that actually, it resides within only about ten percent of us. Staphylococcus lugdunensis may be the species of bacteria that we arguably don’t deserve, but it is the one that we need.

Recently, experts have cautioned that we may be on the cusp of a post-antibiotic era. In fact, less than a month ago, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention released a report on a woman who died from a "pan-resistant" disease – one that survived the use of all available antibiotics. Back in 1945, the discoverer of penicillin, Alexander Fleming, warned during his Nobel Prize acceptance speech against the misuse of antibiotics. More recently, Britain's Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies has referred to anti-microbial resistance as “the greatest future threat to our civilisation”.

However, hope has appeared in the form of "lugdunin", a compound secreted by a species of bacteria found in a rather unlikely location – the human nose.

Governments and health campaigners alike may be assisted by a discovery by researchers at the University of Tubingen in Germany. According to a study published in Nature, the researchers had been studying Staphylococcus aureus. This is the bacteria which is responsible for so-called "superbug": MRSA. A strain of MRSA bacteria is not particularly virulent, but crucially, it is not susceptible to common antibiotics. This means that MRSA spreads quickly from crowded locations where residents have weaker immune systems, such as hospitals, before becoming endemic in the wider local community. In the UK, MRSA is a factor in hundreds of deaths a year. 

The researchers in question were investigating why S. aureus is not present in the noses of some people. They discovered that another bacteria, S. lugdunensis, was especially effective at wiping out its opposition, even MRSA. The researchers named the compound created and released by the S. lugdunensis "lugdunin".

In the animal testing stage, the researchers observed that the presence of lugdunin was successful in radically reducing and sometimes purging the infection. The researchers subsequently collected nasal swabs from 187 hospital patients, and found S. aureus on roughly a third of the swabs, and S. lugdunensis on up to 10 per cent of them. In accordance with previous results, samples that contained both species saw an 80 per cent decrease of the S. aureus population, in comparison to those without lugdunin.

Most notably, the in vitro (laboratory) testing phase provided evidence that the new discovery is also useful in eliminating other kinds of superbugs, none of which seemed to develop resistance to the new compound. The authors of the study hypothesised that lugdunin had evolved  “for the purpose of bacterial elimination in the human organism, implying that it is optimised for efficacy and tolerance at its physiological site of action". How it works, though, is not fully understood. 

The discovery of lugdunin as a potential new treatment is a breakthrough on its own. But that is not the end of the story. It holds implications for “a new concept of finding antibiotics”, according to Andreas Peschel, one of the bacteriologists behind the discovery.

The development of antibiotics has drastically slowed in recent years. In the last 50 years, only two new classes of this category of medication have been released to the market. This is due to the fact almost all antibiotics in use are derived from soil bacteria. By contrast, the new findings record the first occurrence of a strain of bacteria that exists within human bodies. Some researchers now suggest that the more hostile the environment to bacterial growth, the more likely it may be for novel antibiotics to be found. This could open up a new list of potential areas in which antibiotic research may be carried out.

When it comes to beating MRSA, there is hope that lugdunin will be our next great weapon. Peschel and his fellow collaborators are in talks with various companies about developing a medical treatment that uses lugdunin.

Meanwhile, in September 2016, the United Nations committed itself to opposing the spread of antibiotic resistance. Of the many points to which the UN signatories have agreed, possibly the most significant is their commitment to “encourage innovative ways to develop new antibiotics”. 

The initiative has the scope to achieve a lot, or dissolve into box ticking exercise. The discovery of lugdunin may well be the spark that drives it forward. Nothing to sniff about that. 

Anjuli R. K. Shere is a 2016/17 Wellcome Scholar and science intern at the New Statesman