Pornhub recently released their annual year-in-review of users’ viewing habits and, as usual, the results were fascinating. Among other things, they reported that nearly 92 billion videos were viewed on their site in 2016 (to put that number in context, that’s the equivalent of each person on earth watching 12.5 videos). In addition, the most popular porn-watching times were between 11 PM to 1:00 AM (or “fappy hour,” as they call it), and the most popular search term overall on the site was “lesbian” (for the second year in a row) You can check out the full report here in all its glory, but if you’re just after a few highlights, here are some of the things that stood out to me during my review of the data.Read More
The number of men seeking to enhance the size of their penises is on the rise, with guys lining up to buy everything from pills to pumps to stretching devices to fat injections, all designed to give them extra inches in length and/or girth. My guess is that most of you reading this probably already knew that; however, what you might not have known is that men's interest in genital enhancement actually goes well beyond the penis. In fact, some guys are seeking procedures designed to change the appearance of their scrotums, too--for instance, by making them bigger or less wrinkly.Read More
Abortion is one of the most controversial and hotly debated political topics in the United States today--and that debate is about to hit a fever pitch, given the double whammy of a looming nomination to the Supreme Court and threats by the Republican party to cut off all federal funding to Planned Parenthood. As such, now might be a good time to step back and take a look at some of the most common claims about abortion and evaluate them in terms of how they match up with data.Read More
In what ways have the sexual attitudes and behaviors of American adults changed in the last thirty or so years? For a look at the answer, check out the infographic below, which reviews selected data from the General Social Survey, including information on number of partners, how many people have had casual sex in the last year, and attitudes toward sex outside of marriage. To learn more about other changes that have occurred in Americans' sexual attitudes, check out this article for a look at how Americans' views on sexual morality have evolved.Read More
It’s a simple biological fact that, as we age, the odds of developing one or more sexual problems increases. But what exactly does this mean for the sexual satisfaction of older adults? Are they necessarily discontent with their sex lives? Study after study has found that there is a negative correlation between age and sexual satisfaction, such that the older people get, the less satisfied they report being [1,2]. However, if you dig a little further into the research, you will see that it would be a mistake to conclude that older adults are inherently unhappy in the bedroom.Read More
Popular media articles on adolescent sexuality usually paint a portrait of the modern American teenager as hypersexual. Among other things, these articles give the impression that teens are having sex at younger and younger ages, they’re constantly hooking up and sexting, and they’re engaging in a lot of risky sexual behavior, thanks to a diet of highly sexual movies and TV shows. By contrast, scientific research on the sex lives of adolescents suggests a very different set of conclusions. Here are 10 things you should know about the sex lives of American teenagers, according to science.Read More
A lot of people in relationships find that their partner has one or two (or maybe twenty) quirks or habits that annoy them. In these situations, it's tempting to think that you might be happier if you were to end things and start going out with someone new. After all, chances are that your new partner won't have the same peccadillos. However, according to behavioral economist Dr. Dan Ariely, this kind of thinking can set you up for a lifetime of disappointment.Read More
A growing body of research suggests that frequent sexual activity has brain benefits. For instance, a 2010 study on male rats discovered a link between sexual activity and neuron growth . Specifically, rats that were allowed to have sex daily over a two-week period demonstrated more neuron growth than rats that were only allowed to have sex once during that time. Likewise, a 2013 study—which also focused on male rats—found that daily sexual activity was linked not only to generation of more new neurons, but also to enhanced cognitive functioning .
Clearly, sex seems to be good for the brains of rats—but what about humans? A new study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior suggests that sex may very well be good our brains, too .Read More
Every time a new year rolls around, people start making resolutions for self-improvement--you know, like losing weight, getting your spending under control, or finally giving up smoking. As you ponder your own resolutions, let me give you one more worth considering: resolve to have better sex this year.
Not sure where to start? When in doubt, do what I do and take a cue from science. Here are six scientifically-backed suggestions for enhancing your sex life in 2017.Read More
As 2016 comes to a close, let's take a look back at this year's ten most read articles on Sex and Psychology. The following posts represent an incredibly diverse range of content and, combined, have been read well over a half-million times! There were quite a few similarities to last year's list--in fact, the top five articles from last year appeared somewhere on the list again this year. Like 2015, articles related to anal sex continued to be especially popular, as were articles that addressed questions submitted by readers of the blog (in fact, seven of the top ten articles were Q&As!).Read More
Sometimes, science makes us laugh before it makes us think--and this is precisely why the Ig Nobel awards were founded back in 1991. The goal of these awards is to recognize scientific achievements that might sound silly or absurd at first, but that ultimately yield useful knowledge and challenge us to think differently about the world.
I have a sneaking suspicion that one of the contenders for the next Ig Nobel competition will be a new paper published in the journal PLOS ONE, which explores what the faces of humans and the rear ends of chimpanzees have in common.
Yep, that's really what they studied. But please bear with me--I promise, it's a funny story that tells us something fascinating about both sex and psychology.Read More
A lot of people decorate with mistletoe around the Christmas holiday. Many hang it from the ceiling or over a door and offer kisses to those who stand under it. But have you ever wondered why? How did mistletoe come to be associated with kissing in the first place? Here’s what we know, along with some other interesting trivia about what many consider to be the most romantic Christmas symbol.Read More
Sex and Psychology is officially five years old! When I first started this blog in 2011, I had no idea what kind of response it would receive, but I couldn't be more thrilled with the results. I am so pleased that Sex and Psychology has become such a widely read and referenced resource for scientifically-based information on sex and sexuality.
Thank YOU for everything you do to support the site, including reading and sharing the articles, submitting your questions, and weighing in with your comments. Sex and Psychology is the single most rewarding aspect of my professional career and I just can’t imagine my life without it. I hope you’re looking forward to another year of great sex [research] as much as I am! In the meantime, here are some fun facts and statistics for your reading pleasure.Read More
Generally speaking, people have more sex in the summer than they do in the winter —however, it turns out that December is the exception to the winter sex slump. Evidence from multiple studies shows that sexual activity appears to rise this month, especially in that week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.Read More
A reader submitted the following question:
“I wonder, does the penis get any smaller with age? In other words, does the penis shrink as men get older?”
Thanks for this great question! If you try searching Google for the answer, you’ll quickly come across lots of articles saying that this does indeed occur—however, none of those articles actually cite any research to back up their claims. Instead, they rely on the opinions of physicians and other medical experts. That's all well and good, but I always like to have data. So, I did some digging.Read More
The amount of sexual experience you have (or don’t have) could potentially affect how willing other people are to date or have sex with you, according to a new study published in the Journal of Sex Research. However, what makes for a desirable sexual history depends upon many things, including whether you are male or female and, further, whether we’re talking about desirability for a short-term sexual relationship vs. a long-term romantic relationship.Read More
A few months ago, I blogged about a new study showing that Americans’ interest in consensual non-monogamy (CNM) is on the rise. In this study, social psychologist Amy Moors analyzed Google search trends in the United States between 2006 and 2015 and found that searches for terms related to polyamory and open relationships increased across the decade. At the same time, though, searches for another form of CNM, swinging, decreased. Since then, I’ve been pondering what the latter means. Why aren't people searching for swinging as much as they used to? I can't say for sure, but here's what I suspect: some of the interest in swinging has been replaced with interest in cuckolding.Read More
We've arrived at that point in the year when a lot of folks start searching frantically for the perfect holiday gift for a significant other. All too often, many of us find that we put a lot time, effort, and money into a gift that is quickly forgotten and brings only temporary happiness. You might be able to avoid that outcome this year--and potentially improve your relationship at the same time--by instead giving your partner a gift that promotes touch and intimacy.
As I have previously written, touch is one of the keys to a happy and healthy long-term relationship. Unfortunately, many couples find that, over time, they don't touch each other nearly as much as they used to. This can have the effect of making you feel more distant from your partner both physically and psychologically, which can potentially contribute to relationship problems. However, adding more touch back into your love life can not only help resolve these issues, but prevent future problems from arising.
So what can you do if you if you want to introduce a little more touch into your love life? I have two suggestions for you, both of which also happen to make perfect holiday gifts!Read More
Sex research is a tough business to be in. This field has more than its fair share of critics, some of whom have gone to great lengths to intimidate sex scientists with the goal of shutting down their labs or scaring them away from studying certain topics! If there’s one person who understands this better than anyone else, it’s sexual psychophysiologist Dr. Nicole Prause.Read More
Researchers and public polling firms alike have extensively surveyed Americans about their attitudes toward gays and lesbians in recent years. The results of their work have shown that attitudes toward homosexuality have become far more favorable over time. Unfortunately, however, in almost all of these surveys, attitudes toward bisexuals have been neglected. As a result, we don’t really know that much about what Americans' attitudes toward bisexuality look like today, nor can we say much about the degree to which they might have changed over time.
Fortunately, a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE offers some insight.Read More