Don't Be Embarrassed, But The Face You Make in Pain is the Same as Your O-Face
Photo by stevendepolo/Flickr
Remember last week, when you stubbed your toe so hard on your desk that you doubled over in melodramatic agony and stayed crumpled as such for about ten minutes, wincing and moaning and feeling sorry for yourself?
Well, according to a new study published in the journal Science, your co-workers may have mistaken your pain for an orgasm.
Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem theorized that people aren't able to tell the difference between extreme joy and extreme sorrow when looking only at someone's face. To find out, they showed a group of students either the faces, bodies, or faces and bodies combined of professional tennis players who had just won or lost a match.
Students who saw the bodies of the athletes were able to tell whether they were happy about winning or devastated over a loss. But those who only saw faces couldn't tell the difference.
In other words, the expressions that we make when we're in extreme distress mimic nearly exactly the expressions that we make when we're being brought to the far reaches of sexual ecstasy. That means that anyone who's seen you after you've lost an account, botched an important audition, or gotten your novel rejected from a publisher (for example) also knows what you look like between the sheets.
This feels a little like a violation, but maybe it's not such a bad thing. Maybe putting yourself out there with your sex face is a good way to make friends and influence people.
Those of us who have ever stubbed a toe in public certainly hope so.