Research Is A Lot Like Sex

Context: Facetious response to John Regehr’s generally excellent “Why Research Isn’t Like Sex“. I agree with all of the actual advice in that article, but I have a paper deadline tomorrow so I would literally rather do anything but work on the paper and my sense of humour is in a weird place.

Attention Conservation Notice: Surprisingly SFW.


Nobody really agrees on the definition, but they’ve got really strong opinions about what counts, and on what the right way to do it is.

You probably shouldn’t take the version of it you see on TV too seriously.

Nobody is good at it the first time.

It’s usually a bad sign when someone tells you they’re great at it.

When it’s going well it’s amazing, when it’s going badly it’s awful.

It’s a collaborative activity, and works much better with a good partner.

The best bits are spontaneous, but it takes a lot of work and cooperation to get to that point.

Not everybody is into it and that’s OK.

Those who are into it are into all sorts of different types anyway, and do it in a huge variety of different ways.

It’s very important that you get consent from all the participants.

Most of us worry that everybody else is doing a lot more of it than we are.

Sometimes it’s useful, but that’s mostly not why we do it. Either way, it’s a bad sign if you’re not having fun.

If the people you’re doing it with are laughing, you’ve either done something very wrong or very right.

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