Love and Beekeeping

May 22, 2007

I got a delightful surprise this morning, a note from Nicole at, an on-line magazine about sex and culture (and a readership of 1 million people), saying they’d like to interview me. Apparently, they run a regular column where they have people from various professions (e.g., rock climbers, comic store clerks) respond to sex advice questions. Coming up, they’re running one with, you guessed it, sex advice from beekeepers.

It reminded me of a column I’ve meant to write for a while now on how beekeeping can get you laid.

Let’s rewind a bit, to some stuff I learned as a grad student in social psychology: according to Schacter and Singer’s Two Factor Theory of Emotion, there are two components to an emotional experience: physiological and cognitive. The experience of one aspect can influence the interpretation or experience of the other.

For example, when you feel anger, your heart races, your face burns and your breathing accelerates. According to the theory, you actually cognitively observe these physiological reactions and use that knowledge as a means to assess your state of arousal or anger. That means, though, that if you’re physiologically aroused for some other reason, you may mistakenly attribute that arousal to an emotional response and incorrectly believe yourself to be angry.

You must have felt it yourself, right? You think you’re worried or upset about something until you remember you had two cups of coffee on an empty stomach. Or perhaps you are furious at your spouse until you remember that perhaps a monthly swing of hormones is causing you to feel tense?

It’s not just anger, of course. In a classic experiment, UBC researchers Dutton and Aron had men rate the attractiveness of women under two conditions: normal and while standing atop the 450′ long, 230′ high suspension bridge over the Capilano Gorge in North Vancouver. The men found the very same women significantly more attractive when they were standing over the chasm then when they were safe in an office.

Why? They were misattributing the physiological reaction caused by their fear of height to sexual arousal elicited by semi-attractive women, causing them to believe they were reacting to very attractive women.

What does all this have to do with beekeeping, you may ask? Well, being amongst all those buzzing, potentially stinging insects can be physiologically arousing, as the body reacts to its fear of being stung. This might cause someone to perceive a semi-attractive beekeeper as very attractive and, presto-magico, hot beekeeper on beekeeper action!

Or so it goes in theory. Can’t say I’ve had any bee-related hook-ups (although I’ve had some very leading questions regarding potential uses for my honey).

I’ve got a question for the reader, though. Nerve has asked that I submit a photo to go along with my sex advice. Here are the two options I’ve come up with (both taken by the talented Pmatt):

bee2 bee1

Which do you prefer?

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