Imagine that you started having sex twice as often as you were right now. How do you think you would feel? Although most people would probably guess that their happiness would increase, they might not necessarily be correct. How could that be? It's just common sense that more sex = more happiness, isn't it? As it turns out, we tend to be pretty bad at this thing called affective forecasting, or predicting our future emotional states. What this means is that you won't really know how you'll feel about a given situation until you're in it.Read More
It goes without saying that most sex researchers study people who have sex. Over the last few decades, we have accumulated a significant body of scientific knowledge about such persons. But what about the people who, for whatever reason, never become sexually active? What do we know about them? As it turns out, surprisingly little. However, a recent paper published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior sheds some light on this subject by describing how many people in the United States enter adulthood without any sexual experience and by identifying some of the characteristics associated with such persons.Read More
How have American adults' sexual attitudes and behaviors changed in the last two decades? Check out the infographic below for a look at what data from the General Social Survey has revealed. For a look at some additional ways that Americans' views on sex have changed in recent years, check out this article.Read More
Sexual fantasy is one of the most interesting topics there is in the field of human sexuality. Below is a selection of fascinating facts that have emerged from the research compiled thus far. If you would like to contribute to our scientific knowledge of sexual fantasies, click here to participate in a new study that is designed to be the largest and most comprehensive look at sexual fantasies to date.
1.) Research has found some pretty reliable gender differences in the content of men’s and women’s sexual fantasies, such as men’s greater tendency to have fantasies featuring explicit sexual content and multiple partners. However, fantasies do not appear to differ based upon sexual orientation—aside from the sex of the person they’re fantasizing about, gays and lesbians have fantasies that are pretty similar in content to their heterosexual counterparts. Click here to learn more.Read More
In this TEDx talk, mathematician Dr. Hannah Fry discusses what mathematics can offer to the study of love and how we can potentially apply it to our everyday lives. Not only does her analysis yield tips on obtaining success in online dating, but it also speaks to how we might go about picking the "perfect" partner, as well as avoiding divorce. I know it's not very romantic to suggest that understanding love and attraction can be boiled down to a series of mathematical equations, but after watching this video, you just might come to realize that there's something to this idea.Read More
If you have ever seen a commercial for Viagra or any other erectile dysfunction drug, you've probably heard the advertiser warn male users to seek medical attention if they develop an erection lasting longer than four hours. I know some of you are probably thinking that a four-hour hard-on sounds like a positive side effect, but it isn’t. An erection that won’t go away on its own is a serious medical condition known as priapism (on a side note, priapism derives its name from the Greek god Priapus, who was always depicted in paintings and sculptures as having a gigantic, permanently erect penis). Such erections are not caused by prolonged sexual stimulation; rather, they result from blood being trapped in the penis instead of circulating normally. This condition is often quite painful and, if let untreated, can be very dangerous. In fact, without proper bloodflow, blot clots can develop and the penile tissue can become damaged or even die, which can potentially result in a permanent case of erectile dysfunction. As it turns out, however, priapism isn’t a problem that is unique to men—in fact, some women have developed priapism of the clitoris.Read More
The fun and always fascinating world of teledildonics (i.e., computerized sex toys) continues to yield lots of new, exciting, and entertaining developments. One of the latest is a sex toy that is designed to help wake you up in the morning. That's right--a vibrator that also doubles as an alarm clock. If you aren't a morning person, then this product may be just want you need to change that.Read More
Consensually non-monogamous (CNM) relationships are those in which all of the partners involved agree that having sexual and/or romantic relationships with other persons is acceptable. CNM relationships can take many different forms, including polyamory, swinging, and open relationships, and it is important to note that people may negotiate the rules and boundaries of these relationship structures very differently. One of the most common questions people have about these relationships is how common they are and who enters them. Let's take a look at what the research says.Read More
Open-access (OA) science journals such as PLoS ONE operate under a different model of editorial and peer review than the traditional non-OA journals. Perhaps the biggest difference is that, at the traditional journals, reviewers and editors are usually encouraged to take into account what they perceive to be the potential impact and importance of a given study in determining whether or not it merits publication. In contrast, such judgments are irrelevant at many OA journals, where the focus of review is on whether the science itself is technically sound. At OA journals, whether a given study is important is a determination that is made by research consumers themselves rather than by editorial boards. This difference in focus has led some scientists to view OA journals with skepticism and to perceive that their review process is “watered down.” However, I would argue that by not focusing on perceived impact and importance, OA journals take a lot of the subjectivity out of the review process and, in the end, this is ultimately beneficial to science.Read More
If you have ever been to a sex shop (or browsed one online), you have probably noticed that vibrators come in all different sizes, shapes, and colors. In addition, you may have noticed that some are designed to stimulate different parts of the genitals, and that some are designed to be used by individuals and others by couples. Such incredible diversity in sex toys wasn’t always the case, though. The vibrator has evolved significantly over time in terms of its appearance, purpose, and intended audience. In this article, we will take a look at the fascinating and “hysterical” history of what is perhaps the world’s most popular sex toy: the vibrator.
In this TEDx Talk, Dr. Gary Lewandowski takes a look at the science behind relationship breakups and argues that they often aren't as bad as we think they're going to be. Why? Because, despite the heartache, they represent an opportunity for personal growth. For instance, breakups can provide you with a valuable opportunity to learn something about yourself and what you want from a relationship in the future. Of course, that's easier said that done for some people. For those persons who are struggling to get over a breakup, it turns out that there are practical steps you can take to enhance your coping ability and move on faster. Check out the video below to learn more.Read More
Imagine you just discovered that someone you know has committed infidelity. Would you keep this information to yourself, or would you share it with others? A new study just published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior suggests that there is no simple answer to this question. One’s decision to expose others’ infidelity is complex and depends upon many factors.Read More
A reader submitted the following question:
"What's the secret to making a friends with benefits situation work? How do you avoid things getting complicated?"
There's no doubt about it--friends with benefits (FWBs) sometimes turn into complicated situations, often because one person ends up wanting more from the relationship than the other. As a result, it is perhaps not surprising that the development of unreciprocated feelings is one of the most commonly cited concerns people have about starting FWB relationships . So what can you do to reduce the odds that this will happen? A growing body of research suggests that the key to a successful FWB is up-front communication.Read More
Little research has attempted to determine the prevalence of sexual interest in prepubescent children among adult men. The studies that do exist have tended to involve small, non-representative samples, and they have not always distinguished between interest in prepubescent and postpubescent children. A new study in press at The Journal of Sex Research addresses some of these limitations and offers some insight into just how common this interest might be.Read More
Many parents believe that homosexuality is contagious, being transmitted through social contact. In fact, some of them endeavor to keep their children away from gay and lesbian peers out of fear that their children will “catch the gay.” But is there any scientific basis for believing that this might actually be true? Not so much. According to a new study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, although adolescents’ peers appear to hold sway over each other’s sexual and romantic behaviors, this effect does not appear to extend to same-sex attraction.Read More
My home state of Indiana has been in the news a lot lately, and most of the news coverage has portrayed it in a pretty unflattering light. This is due almost entirely to the actions of our elected officials, who appear to be out of touch with the views of everyday Hoosiers and with the scientific community on matters of sexuality and sexual health. Much has been said and written in recent weeks about passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and the concern that its original wording was intended to license discrimination against gay, lesbian, and bisexual persons. This is a prime example of how the State government’s actions are out of step with the public, who overwhelmingly oppose discrimination against sexual minorities. Our elected officials’ disregard for science has not generated quite the same level of national attention as the RFRA law, but it is nonetheless just as concerning. In this article, I would like to take a look at the disconnect between our State government’s actions and the science, and consider its potential impact on the sexual health of Indiana residents.Read More
Sex and Psychology is proud to be a sponsor of the upcoming 2015 Juried Art Show at the Kinsey Institute. The Juried Art Show is an international competition for art of all forms that involves themes of “sex, gender, eroticism, reproduction, sexuality, romantic relationships, the politics of sex and gender, the human figure, and sexual health.” The show, now in its 10th year, will be held at the Grunwald Gallery of Art on the campus of Indiana University (Bloomington, Indiana).Read More
Bisexual persons are frequently stereotyped as being sexually confused, secretly gay, highly promiscuous, and incapable of maintaining a monogamous relationship. These negative views of bisexuals are held by many heterosexuals, as well as by many gays and lesbians. What are the implications of all of this binegativity? A recent study published in the journal Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity suggests that one possible outcome is that both gay and heterosexual persons may be less interested in having sexual and romantic relationships with bisexual personsRead More
Asexuality is a topic that has received an increasing amount of attention from sex researchers in recent years. For instance, studies have been published on the genital arousal patterns of asexual individuals in response to sexually explicit stimuli, the biological correlates of asexuality, as well as the masturbation practices of asexuals. However, the research in this area has generated some controversy over how to best measure asexuality because not all researchers have used consistent definitions and measurement techniques. A new paper just published in the journal Psychological Assessment describes the first attempt at establishing a valid measure of asexuality, the Asexuality Identification Scale.Read More
I know you all love reading about the latest sex research, but have you ever wanted to go beyond just reading about it and actually participate in a sex study or two (or three or four)? If so, here's your chance. Check out my Sex Studies page, which is updated regularly with participation requests from sex scientists across the globe. You are eligible to participate in as many or as few of the studies as you would like, depending upon whether you meet the selection criteria. The participation opportunities currently open address a diverse range of topics including sex dreams, sex parties, multiple orgasms, views on pornography, and more. Any help you can provide by participating in a study or spreading the word about these research opportunities (e.g., by liking the Sex Studies page on Facebook or tweeting a link to it) would be greatly appreciated and will help to advance our understanding of human sexuality.Read More