Much has been said and written about the "orgasm gap," or the idea that men tend to have far more consistent experiences with orgasm than women. However, the vast majority of the research on this topic to date has focused on heterosexuals, which begs the question of how sexual orientation might factor into this equation. In other words, is there still an orgasm gap between men and women who are either gay or bisexual? For a look at the answer, check out the infographic below, which features data from a new study just published in The Archives of Sexual Behavior.Read More
A reader submitted the following question:
"I'm in a long-distance relationship and it's tough. Are there any tips or tricks to help keep a relationship alive when you can't physically be with your partner very often?"
Great question! You're not alone in finding the experience of a long-distance relationship to be difficult. However, while these relationships undeniably pose some unique challenges, it's definitely possible for them to not only work out, but to be just as strong as relationships in which the partners live close to one another.Read More
In just two decades, online dating has become a multi-billion dollar industry--and it hasn't come anywhere close to reaching its full potential yet. Believe it or not, despite how much you've heard about online dating, the vast majority of Americans have never tried it. In fact, even if you only look at millennials--the group most likely to date online--only about one-quarter of them have done it before.
For a closer look at Americans' attitudes toward and experiences with online dating and how these things are related to our age and gender, check out the infographic below.Read More
As Co-Chair of this year’s meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, it is my great pleasure to invite you to join us in the Caribbean this November as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Society! If sex research is your thing, you don't want to miss this.
The conference will take place November 9-12 in San Juan, the capital of the island of Puerto Rico. San Juan is a stunning city rich with history, culture, and natural beauty.Read More
Last week, I was talking in class about differences in how men and women use Tinder and other online dating apps. In the midst of this class discussion, a student asked why so many straight men who use these apps send unsolicited or unwanted photos of their penises to women. This led to a long, but fascinating discussion that I thought readers of the blog might be interested in, too.Read More
Several studies have found that men and women have different age preferences when it comes to selecting romantic and sexual partners. Generally speaking, it appears that men tend to prefer somewhat younger partners, whereas women tend to prefer partners who are somewhat older. Much of this research has been interpreted through the lens of evolutionary theory, which claims that it was adaptive for men to evolve a preference for younger women because they're likely to be most fertile; by contrast, this theory suggests that it was adaptive for women to have evolved a preference for older men because they presumably have more status and resources.One thing you might be wondering, though, is just how stable these age preferences are likely to be across the lifespan. Do they change as we get older? And, furthermore, what about persons who aren’t heterosexual? How are gay, lesbian, and bisexual persons’ partner age preferences similar or different? A new study published in the journal Evolutionary Psychology offers some insight into these questions.Read More
Logically, you might assume that there would be an increase in children being conceived on Valentine’s Day. Given the nature of this holiday and the emphasis on celebrating sex and romance, this would seem to make intuitive sense, right? However, it’s not supported by the data. If it were, we’d see a spike in the birth rate during the month of November, but we don’t—in fact, we actually see one of the lowest birth rates that month.
By contrast, however, there is a consistent spike in the birth rate on Valentine’s Day itself. In other words, the evidence doesn’t point to more babies being conceived on Valentine’s Day, but it does point to more babies being born on it.
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, a lot of folks have love on the brain—so, let’s talk today about the science of love. Here are four of the most fascinating things researchers have found by studying love relationships.
1.) We lie to ourselves about the ones we love. People have a tendency to idealize their romantic partners—to think of them as being better than they really are in some way, like thinking that your partner is the absolute best romantic partner anyone could ever have. Scientists refer to these beliefs as “positive illusions” and, believe it or not, these inaccurate beliefs are actually beneficial for our relationships in many ways.Read More
Sex education is wildly inconsistent throughout the United States. For one thing, only about half of the states even require it, while the other half do not. However, even in the states that mandate sex education, the information teachers are required to provide doesn't necessarily have to be useful--in fact, in some states, it doesn't even have to be correct! The current status of sex education in the U.S. remains pretty poor as we enter 2017, which is a big part of the reason this country has one of the highest teen pregnancy and STI rates in the industrialized world. Check out the infographic below for a closer look at just how incredibly variable sex education is across the country.Read More
February has been declared National Condom Month by the American Sexual Health Association (ASHA). For my part in helping to increase awareness and education about condoms this February, I’ve complied the following list of facts and statistics. To learn more about National Condom Month, check out this page by the ASHA.
1.) With perfect use, condoms are 98% effective at preventing pregnancy. However, perfect use is rarely achieved in the real world due to human error. When we instead consider typical use (or what happens in reality), the effectiveness rate drops to 82%. What this means is that, in practice, 18 out of 100 women who use condoms regularly over the course of a year will end up becoming pregnant.Read More
A reader submitted the following question:
"Is it OK to have sex if you're pregnant? Especially during the later months?"
You're not alone in wondering about this. In fact, survey studies have found that 25-50% of pregnant women and 25% of their partners are concerned that sex could potentially hurt or "traumatize" a developing fetus . Such concerns have the effect of causing many pregnant couples to have sex less often than they'd like, or perhaps to have sex that is less satisfying than usual because they are anxious or worried. Fortunately, research suggests that these concerns are largely unfounded.Read More
Most popular media reports touting the results of the latest sex study suffer from one of the following problems: they're either inaccurate, biased, or highly sensationalized. Unfortunately, too few readers recognize this, which means that too many end up taking what they read at face value. That's a serious problem, especially given the fact that there's already so much misinformation out there about sex as it is. Sex research literacy is therefore vital for helping readers to separate good from bad media reports--and never has this been more important than in this current era of "fake news." To that end, here are a few things to keep in mind the next time you read a popular media article about sex research.Read More
Earlier this month, the fourth annual Sexuality Pre-Conference was held just prior to the meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP). Together with a few of my colleagues, I have been helping to co-organize this pre-conference for the last four years with the goal of making sure that sexuality research is consistently well represented at SPSP.
I truly believe that this year’s program was our best yet and wanted to take a few moments to share some of the key insights and takeaways from this event in case you missed it (and also to entice you to attend next year!). Specifically, I want to tell you a bit about our very first presentation of the day, which focused on the science of BDSM. (Do we know how to get people’s attention at 8:00 AM or what?)Read More
For the last two weeks, I’ve been inundated with both reader questions and requests for media interviews on a topic I’ve rarely been asked about before: urophilia, which refers to being sexually aroused by urine. Initially, most of the inquiries were looking for comment on why a certain high-profile public figure allegedly has this sexual interest, and I was not about to get involved in that—I’m not in the business of commenting on the rumored sexual proclivities of celebrities or politicians. However, the questions I'm getting now have shifted away from attempts to understand a specific person and toward a more general curiosity about the prevalence and psychological origins of urophilia. These are the kinds of queries I’m much more inclined to answer. So, here’s what we know.Read More
One sexually transmitted infection (STI) that has public health officials increasingly worried is gonorrhea. Although infection rates have declined dramatically from their peak in the 1970s, research has found that not only is gonorrhea on the rise again, but that this infection has also become more resistant to antibiotic treatments. Essentially, what this means is that we have fewer and fewer drugs available that can successfully clear it from the body. Scientists fear that, eventually, a strain may emerge that we can’t cure. As such, more research into gonorrhea treatment and prevention strategies is urgently needed.
A new set of studies suggests that one tool that could potentially help in the fight against antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea is—wait for it—mouthwash. But not just any mouthwash—we’re talking specifically about antibacterial mouthwashes, such as Listerine.Read More
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are a massive public health issue in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are 110 million infections in the U.S. today. Furthermore, 20 million new infections are estimated to occur each year. All of these infections translate to significant healthcare costs: believe it or not, we spend an estimated $16 billion per year on STD treatment!
So what's going on with rates of STDs? Have they been increasing or decreasing over the last few years?Read More
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