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Sorting out Desire
Touch Study
To produce a collective portrait of desire, we polled hundreds of peopleís opinions about parts of the body. To do so, we teamed up with Dolores Labs to  crowdsource the data gathering step through Amazonís Mechanical Turk siteóa marketplace where paid workers perform simple tasks. This means that we set up an open call to anyone on the Mechanical Turk site who was interested in answering questions about desire and the human body.

We developed the rating interface below, which prompted users to rank how exciting several points of the body were to the touch. Taking into account the respondent's gender and sexual preferences, we told people to imagine they were caressing, or being caressed by a lover. Then, based on images like the ones below, we asked two questions:
    How good would it feel to touch this area?
    How good would it feel to be touched in this area?

 

Overall, we asked questions for 707 different points on male and female bodies. The points were distributed most densely in regions of the highest sensitivity or potential differences. Here is a picture of all probe points:


Results
After a few days, a total of 281 people entered 33,871 ratings of different points of the body. The silhouette visualizations you see on Skin to Skin represent these results in aggregate, using a smoothing technique that filters out noise. The images in Sorting out Desire show the values received for each point in two ways. In one view, a version of the original photographs is shown, where each probe area is enlarged or shrunk according to the rating it received. A second view sorts the various probe regions in order of excitement.


Want to take the survey?

The nice folks at Dolores Labs made sure that you could express your own view of desire here.