Your pet cat’s parasites and your sexual preferences – totally unrelatable, right? I mean, surely, your cat’s parasites will be harmful to your cat. I know you cannot even begin to imagine where and how it can have any influence or relation to your sexual preference. Well, a group of researchers have found out that the relation is, in fact, stronger than you seem to think.
Well, brace yourselves for what comes next!
Cats commonly carry a parasite known as Toxoplasma gondii. This parasite stays on cats in order to reproduce. And, it has been proven that they muddle up our brain circuitry, altering our sexual preferences. In fact, this same parasite has previously been linked to schizophrenia and excessive rage, too.
Toxoplasma Life Cycle
Since the parasite requires to land on cats to reproduce, they are known to infect rodents and change their behavior in a way that they get attracted to cat urine smell instead of being repelled by it. According to a study published in the journal Evolutionary Psychology, it has been found out that the parasite changes the expression of certain genes, resulting in the activation of the rodent’s circuits concerning sexual arousal, instead of those activating fear circuits.
Therefore, researchers have been keen on discovering whether this microscopic menace will act similarly on humans, too, making us sexually attracted to fearful situations.
An online survey of over 700 questions regarding sexual behaviors and preferences was conducted on 36,564 participants from Slovakia and Czech Republic. 700 of them were infected with Toxoplasma gondii.
Interesting results showed that the infected participants “expressed higher attraction to bondage, violence, zoophilia, fetishism, and, in men, also to masochism, and raping and being raped.” However, they were not keen on being subjected to these behaviors in real life. The researchers are of the opinion that it is because Taxoplasma stimulates the secretion of dopamine in the brain. This causes people to be more concerned in their actions and less prone to novelty seeking.