This year marks the 70th anniversary of The Kinsey Institute at Indiana University. Originally founded as the Institute for Sex Research in 1947, it remains the premier institute for scientific research on sex, gender, and reproduction to this day.Read More
Attempting to steal someone else’s spouse or lover--a phenomenon known scientifically as mate poaching--is a common theme in both TV shows and movies. It happens a lot in real life, too. For instance, surveys of North American adults have found that about half of the respondents report that they have been poached successfully from a previous relationship before ! So what ultimately comes of romances that begin with poaching? And is it possible to form a healthy, long-term relationship with someone you've lured away from another lover? Based on the research that's out there, not so much.Read More
Americans are increasingly going online in order to find romantic and sexual partners. However, despite the popularity of online dating, most Americans have never tried it. That’s partially because there’s still some stigma attached to online dating, but it’s also because the sheer idea of it seems overwhelming to many. For example, how do you create an effective profile? This step alone can be very intimidating because a lot of people are worried about saying or posting the “wrong” thing and having that hurt their chances. Fortunately, there are some research-backed tips out there that can help to alleviate these fears and concerns.Read More
Vibrators are one of the most popular sex toys in the world. They are ubiquitous in sex shops, not to mention on the internet—and you can get them in virtually any size, shape, or color desired. In this post, let’s take a look at what we know about vibrators, including why they were first invented, who’s using them today, as well as the impact that vibrators are having on our sex lives.
1.) Believe it or not, the first vibrator was developed as a therapeutic treatment device for women who had been diagnosed with a bogus medical condition known as “hysteria.”Read More
American sex education courses are seriously lacking when it comes to the subject of women's sexual anatomy and pleasure. Not only are terms like "vulva" and "clitoris" rarely uttered, but students typically learn nothing at all about the female orgasm, which (sadly) explains why so many college students set foot in my human sexuality course asking whether it's even a thing. I kid you not.Read More
I recently blogged about the results of a new study reporting that Americans today are having less sex than they were a quarter century ago. Specifically, this research suggests that Americans are having sex about 9 fewer times per year than they were in the 1990s. So what accounts for this apparent decline? And does it necessarily mean—as many assume—that Americans’ sex lives and relationships are less satisfying than they once were?Read More
A new study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior offers a fascinating analysis of the way American adults' sex lives changed between the years 1989 and 2014. Specifically, it focuses on changes in the estimated number of times per year that Americans reported having had sex using data from the General Social Survey (GSS), a nationally representative U.S. survey that is conducted annually. The results suggest that, overall, Americans today are less sexually active than they were a quarter century ago.Read More
Although the breasts and nipples have long been considered to be among the human body's biggest erogenous zones, surprisingly little research attention has been given to the role that these body parts play in sexual arousal. For instance, are men and women similar or different when it comes to enjoyment of and desire for breast and nipple stimulation? Also, is this activity something that people tend to feel comfortable requesting during sex? Check out the infographic below for a look at what we know about attitudes toward breast and nipple action in the the bedroom.Read More
A lot of people assume that men only watch porn that is consistent with their sexual identity—in other words, that straight guys only watch straight porn, while gay guys only watch gay porn. However, research suggests that this isn’t actually the case and that there’s a lot of “identity-discrepant” porn viewing going on among men.Read More
We’ve all seen headlines before that say things like “More Sex Means More Money.” These headlines try to present the results of scientific studies in very simple and straightforward terms: if you do this, that will happen. However, what you’ll almost invariably find if you look past these claims is that they’re based on correlational data. This is a type of research in which scientists look to see how strongly two variables are statistically associated with one another. While correlational studies have the potential to be very informative and useful, the unfortunate reality is that they can’t tell us anything about whether one variable (like sex) truly causes another (like making more money).Read More
For today's post, I have put together an updated list of the ten most read Q&As of all time on the blog. As you'll see, these questions (all submitted by readers of Sex and Psychology) span quite a range of topics. However, most of them are united by the same theme: “What’s normal when it comes to sex?” What you'll see when you read the answers is that “normal” does not mean just one thing!
10. How often do married couples have sex? (It turns out that there's a lot of variability, and frequency seems to depend a lot on people's age. However, it's important to note that more isn't always better when it comes to sex and that, as we age, quality of sex becomes much more important than quantity.)Read More
Afterglow refers to “the look of contentment on a person’s face after great sex,” at least according to the Urban Dictionary. In other words, the basic idea here is that sex can sometimes be so good that it has lingering effects on our happiness that others can quite literally see. Despite the popularity of this colloquial term, it’s not something that scientists have studied, which begs the question of whether there is really something to the idea of sexual afterglow and, if so, how long it lasts. A new study published in the journal Psychological Science offers some insights.Read More
In the United States today, most male infants are circumcised. Many in the medical community strongly support this practice, pointing to research finding a link between circumcision and better health outcomes. Specifically, studies suggest that men who are circumcised have a lower risk of developing urinary tract infections, contracting STIs, and developing penile cancer.
On the surface, that might sound like a pretty convincing set of reasons to support routine male circumcision. However, a closer look at the evidence reveals that the story isn't quite as simple as that.Read More
Both men and women report a wide range of reasons for having sex. In fact, one previous study identified as many as 237 distinct sexual motivations! But how do our reasons for sex differ based on the kind of relationship we're in? And do our sexual motivations differ depending upon our sexual orientation? A recent study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior offers some insight into these questions, at least for women.Read More
What actually counts as “having sex?” Well, it depends who you ask. Different people have different definitions. A recent study published in the Journal of Sex Research highlights just how much variability there is when it comes to whether certain forms of anal stimulation count in the eyes of heterosexual adults.Read More
People can develop fetishes for virtually anything. Most commonly, though, we're talking about a specific body part (like feet or toes) or an object associated with the body (like boots, underwear, or stockings). However, in addition to body parts and clothing, people can develop fetishes for bodily fluids. For example, some people are sexually aroused by urine (also known as urophilia), a topic I've previously written about here. Another bodily fluid that some people have a fetish for is breast milk (also known as lactophilia), which is what we're going to focus on today.Read More
The question of whether men and women differ when it comes to intelligence has long been a subject of scientific debate. For instance, some researchers have argued that men have superior intellect because their brains, on average, tend to be larger compared to women. Others, however, have argued that brain size in and of itself is a relatively meaningless metric to consider, especially in light of the fact that numerous animal species have larger brains than humans, but aren’t necessarily smarter than we are.
For a brief overview of what the research in this area has found, check out the video below from our friends over at ASAP Science.Read More
In consensually non-monogamous (CNM) relationships, the partners involved agree that having more than one sexual and/or romantic relationship at the same time is acceptable. There are a great many myths and misconceptions about CNM relationships, so let’s take a moment to clear things up and look at what research has revealed about them. Here are seven things you should know about CNM relationships, according to science.Read More
If you're reading this, chances are that you love learning about the latest sex research as much as I do. But have you ever wanted to do more than just read about it and maybe even participate in an actual sex study (or two)? If so, check out the Sex Studies page on the blog, which is updated regularly with calls for participation from sex scientists from around the world. Feel free to participate in as many studies as you would like--assuming, of course, that you meet the eligibility criteria.Read More
A lot of parents avoid talking to their kids about sex because they are afraid the experience will be awkward, embarrassing, or uncomfortable. However, parents aren't doing their kids any favors by taking this topic of conversation off the table. As Dr. Aaron Carroll, a pediatrician and professor at Indiana University School of Medicine, explains in the video below, the research is pretty clear when it comes to parent-child communication about "the birds and the bees": kids who are able to talk to their parents about sex are more likely to practice safe sex. Check out the video below to learn more about the research on this topic.Read More