Today I saw a sex tape like nothing you’ve ever seen before. It was a sex tape that was incredibly explicit yet it didn’t invade anyone’s privacy, identify or embarrass anyone. There wasn’t a celebrity to be seen. Anywhere. At least I don’t think there was. Of course it included your customary bit of nudity. There has to be. It’s a sex tape after-all. But not in the way you would ever expect. Let me explain.
It was a sex tape made by a bunch of medical scientists. They created it using footage from literally hundreds of MRI scans. For those who don’t know, MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. It produces a 3D map of the human body, but it can pretty much do anything. MRI scans are a great tool for doctors because they produce incredibly detailed images through magnetic fields, that map the position of water molecules which exist in varying densities in different types of human tissue. Here’s the really technical explanation for how MRI scans work. An MRI scanner uses a strong magnetic field and the pulses of radio waves to manipulate hydrogen protons in the human body. When the radio frequency source is switched off, the hydrogen protons reveal their position in the body by re-emitting energy, which is then captured and translated into images. Pretty simple really. I am joking.
MRI scanning is completely different from CAT scans or X-rays. They are generally more expensive and take more time but they provide much greater detailed information about the soft tissue of the human body. The MRI scanner is a huge machine with what looks like a tunnel in the middle. The patient lies flat and they are then inserted inside the scanner. It doesn’t use harmful radiation. And that results in two types of benefits. Firstly, it isn’t dangerous in any way to the person being scanned which means they can spend much longer in the machine and secondly, scientists can take a lot more pictures, which is what a group of medical experts set out to do.
Medical scientists wanted an answer to this question: What would the normal stuff, we humans do with our bodies every day of our lives, actually look like if you could see inside someone? They asked for and got a group of volunteers prepared to do whatever was asked of them. What followed was something incredible. There was a 3D image of a knee being bent, showing the muscles and tendons stretching. And a beating heart, showing the left and right ventricles, pumping blood throughout the body. There were pictures of someone drinking pineapple juice. We see the juice in the mouth and when it is swallowed we can follow its passage down the oesphagus into the stomach. There is a 3D image of how the tongue behaves when someone is playing the trumpet and two people, one speaking Chinese and the other German. We see how the vocal chords open and close. Believe or not there were moving pictures of someone defacating. We see the faeces in the rectum being expelled from the body. It is extraordinary, shocking and fascinating at the same time. It was to me. Then the video gets into the X-rated stuff.
The 3 D pictures begin with a man and a woman passionately kissing, both of them in an obvious state of sexual arousal. We see the two hearts literally beating faster. It progresses to tongue kissing. Nothing is left to the imagination. It then cuts to the 3D image of lovemaking. The image shown is the antithesis of pornography. It is completely anonymous and stripped back to the sheer physicality of two human beings mating. We know it is a man and a woman but that is all we know. It is both fascinating and beautiful. Finally we see life being born. We see Twins in the uterus before birth and then the actual birth itself.
It was a once in a lifetime experience for researchers and the people who participated. It wasn’t ever painful nor was it dangerous yet it revealed never seen before images. The only unpleasant side effect might have been the constantly loud buzzing noise of the MRI machine. It’s the sort of video that anyone would find fascinating.. If nothing else it provides a greater appreciation of who we are and what we are made of and how it all works. What it tells me is the human body is a perfect machine, but its perfection, lies in its myriad of imperfections.