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Feb 17 / Mr. Science

Lightning & Sex Induced Heart Attacks

Upon researching odd ways people die, including sex induced heart attacks, I came upon the following web quote:¬†“The National Weather Service publication Storm Data recorded a total of 449 deaths from lightning strikes between 1998 and 2008. According to the National Weather Service, lightning causes an average of 62 deaths in the United States each year.”

Now I’m no statistical genius, but my ten-year-old could tell you that 11 years of data and 449 deaths does not average out to 62 deaths per year! ¬†This is just one example of how “science” on the web is misreported.

Web-published information about human sexuality is often wrong to the point of absurdity. For instance, many websites state that the reason men get morning erections is because they have to pee. Let me set the record straight–guys do NOT get erections from having to urinate. If men did, they would spend a lot more money on beer and billions less on Viagra.

Sex Fact: Nearly 1% of non-fatal heart attacks were triggered from sexual activity (Meuller, 1996). The United States is home to approximately 460,000 fatal heart attacks per year (Stoppler, 2008), so it is likely that at least 4,000 Americans die every year from a sex-induced heart attack–or 100 times more than those that die from lightning!


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  1. Amy / Feb 24 2010

    I remember reading somewhere that some majority of the fatal heart attacks during sex happen to older, married men while having sex with a mistress. I wish I could put my hands on that literature again. Maybe it was a Beverly Whipple publication? I always thought that was interesting.

  2. Waterboy / Mar 17 2010

    The 62 deaths per year are from lightning related incidents, not directly from strikes. While being tasered from above certainly can cause death, lightning can also cause fires, take down trees, and in certain rare cases, if the lightning repeatedly strikes the same spot over and over, aliens may be secretly riding the bolt underground to where they have buried large tripod like machines, in hopes of taking over our planet.

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