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March 16, 2005
Perhaps He's Just Doing Something Wrong

The Guardian reports that a Dutch researcher has theorized a link between yawning and sex. Wolter Seuntjens released his thesis on The Hidden Sexuality of the Human Yawn, which promises to be an encyclopedic look at yawning in science, art, and history:

"The yawn has not received its due attention," argues Seuntjens, of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, who set out to provide an encyclopaedic overview of all available knowledge about yawning, drawing on linguistics (semantics, etymology), sociology, psychology, the medical sciences (anatomy, physiology, pathology, and pharmacology), and the arts (literature, film, visual arts).

He then explores whether yawning has an erotic side.

Not all readers will agree he has really proved his point about the erotic yawn , despite citing a passage from The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie as an example, but it is a good try. ...

But the yawn and the associated stretch of the 'stretch-yawn syndrome' have been linked to desire and even of being in love, figuring in the courtship process both in the West and in passages in ancient Indian literature.

Perhaps in the Netherlands, a yawn is a desired response in human courtship, but unless one is attempting the movie-theater move depicted so memorably in Summer of '42, most people would take it as a less-than-positive commentary. Of course, if Seuntjens proves correct, it puts a completely different spin on my dating life (pre-First Mate, of course!). I may have been one of the sexiest men in California and never realized it.

Maybe Seuntjens is onto something after all ...

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 16, 2005 7:20 AM

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