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
Several studies have found that when laws permitting same-sex marriage are passed, the health outcomes of sexual minorities in the local area seem to improve. This holds true for indicators of both physical and psychological well-being. Here's a review of the most provocative evidence to emerge so far supporting this idea:
First, a 2012 U.S. study found that, in the state of Massachusetts, there was a significant decrease in the number of visits made by gay and bisexual men to healthcare providers for both medical and mental health issues in the year after same-sex marriage was legalized in that state .Read More
My university, like many schools around the country, is on spring break this week. A lot of students are using this opportunity to not just take a breather from their studies, but also to travel. As I’m sure you’re well aware, spring break trips have a reputation for getting a little wild and crazy—I mean, just look at how they’re depicted in Hollywood films.
But why is that exactly? What accounts for why so many college students partake in risky behaviors—especially risky sexual behaviors—at this time of year? Let’s take a look at a recent study published in the journal Prevention Science that attempted to address this question.Read More
Americans are very interested in the idea of consensual nonmonogamy. In fact, a 2016 national YouGov poll of 1,000 adults found that 48% of men and 31% of women said that their ideal relationship would be nonmonogamous to some degree; however, far fewer than that indicated that they were currently involved in a nonmonogamous relationship. So, while lots of people seem to think that they'd be happier if they opened their relationship in some way, would that actually be the case in reality? Not necessarily.Read More
People who cheat usually try to keep it a secret; however, they aren't always successful.
So, let's imagine for a moment that you find out someone you know has committed infidelity. What would you do: keep it to yourself, or share it with others? According to a recent study addressing this very question, our decision to reveal others’ infidelity is a very complex decision that depends upon many factors.Read More
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.