What does legalized prostitution look like? For people in the United States--and other parts of the world where the sale of sex is illegal--it might be difficult to imagine. However, when you look to countries where sex work is permitted by law, you can see that there are actually several different forms it can take.Read More
At last week’s Republican National Convention (RNC) in Cleveland, reports are that a lot of sex was going on behind the scenes—a lot of gay sex to be precise. For example, during the convention, usage of the all-male hookup app Grindr was more than twice as high as usual in the Cleveland area. But it wasn’t just that—male escorts in the Cleveland area also reported booming business for the week.
Media outlets were quick to point out the irony, considering that this year’s Republican party platform is unabashedly anti-gay, with the Log Cabin Republicans (the gay branch of the party) going as far as to call it the “most anti-LGBT…in the Party’s 162-year history.”
While all of this is certainly interesting, what I found to be missing in all the media reports coming out was a look at why—why would so many gay and bisexual people attend a political convention for a party that formally opposes so many LGBT causes?Read More
A lot of reality dating shows share the same premise: one contestant goes on a series of brief dates--each with an attractive stranger--and then decides who he or she would like to continue seeing off-screen. I've seen more than my fair share of these shows in my day--all for research purposes, of course--and have found that I'm often pretty good at figuring out who the contestant is going to select by paying attention to just one thing: how physiologically arousing were the activities that took place during the mini-dates? Did they do something active and exciting, or did they just sit around?
Why do I focus on this? Because a large body of psychological research has found that when people are highly aroused and interact with a stranger of their desired sex, the odds of attraction increase.Read More
Why do we cheat?
Undoubtedly, there are many possible reasons. For example, sometimes people commit infidelity because they are in unhappy or dysfunctional relationships. Other times, it's because people are going through a mid-life crisis or because they're simply looking for a thrill. However, some scientists have argued that yet another potential reason some people might cheat is because they have a predisposition to infidelity in their genes.Read More
I recently had the pleasure of reading Dr. Alice Dreger’s latest book, Galileo’s Middle Finger. This book had actually been on my reading list for over a year, but it took me a while to get around to it because I essentially work two full-time jobs between my academic position and all of the blogging/writing I do.
Oh, and I try to have a personal life on top of that—try being the operative word there.
Given that I have precious little time for pleasure reading these days, I select the books I want to read very carefully. Dreger’s book was a natural choice for me, though, because it had come highly recommended from several colleagues and also because I developed a bit of a Twitter crush on her after she live-tweeted her high school son’s sex education class last year.Read More
If you were asked to imagine someone faking an orgasm, chances are that you'd picture a woman. Why? Because fake orgasms are widely assumed to be unique to women, even among scientists themselves. In fact, until very recently, researchers didn't even bother to ask men whether they were faking orgasms because they thought they already knew the answer! As it turns out, though, there are a lot of guys who fake orgasms, and who fake them often.Read More
A male reader submitted the following question:
“Are wet dreams a sign that you aren’t ejaculating very much when you’re awake?”
Thanks for this very interesting question! So-called “wet dreams”—known among sex researchers as nocturnal emissions—are indeed related to men’s sexual behaviors during waking hours.Read More
Imagine you're in the midst of flirting with someone. How can you tell whether that person is looking for sex or something more? Research suggests that their eyes just might hold the answer. A recent study suggests that the amount of time a person spends looking at another individual's face versus body can indicate whether their intentions are romantic or purely sexual in nature.Read More
A lot of people think there’s something wrong with them because they don’t have the constant desire for sex that people on TV and in the movies seem to have. However, if you’re one of these folks, you don't necessarily need to be alarmed or worried. In fact, the truth of the matter is that you’re probably just fine.
As our friends at the Science of Us explain in the video below, some of us just don’t experience spontaneous sexual desire very often and, instead, experience more “responsive desire.”Read More
A reader submitted the following question:
“Is it true that gay men statistically have bigger penises than straight men?”
Although research suggests that there might be some truth to this idea, I’d take it with a grain of salt because it’s unclear how reliable the findings are. Let me explain.Read More
In the United States and many other parts of the world, kissing is one of the most common sexual and romantic behaviors that exists; however, kissing is far from being a universal activity. In fact, researchers haven't found any evidence of kissing in a surprisingly large number of cultures around the world.
But in those cultures where kissing occurs, why is that? I mean, how did locking lips, touching tongues, and swapping spit ever become a thing in the first place?Read More
There is a massive body of scientific research on cheating and infidelity focused on how common it is, who does it, and why it occurs. A recent review paper on the subject, in press at the journal Current Opinion in Psychology, offers a glimpse into some of the more interesting findings that have emerged over the years. See below for a brief taste, but check out the full paper for more, along with a set of helpful suggestions for improving future research on this topic.Read More
Many people are curious about the factors that lead some folks to sell sex for a living. Are they doing it because they actually like this kind of work, or because they don’t feel as though they have any other choice? Let’s take a look at what the research says. The infographic below summarizes the motivations reported by a sample of female sex workers in Switzerland.Read More
When it comes to romantic relationships, monogamy is the rule for most people. However, many folks agree to some form of consensual non-monogamy (CNM) in which they permit each other to have multiple sexual and/or romantic relationships at the same time.
A new study published in the Journal of Sex Research suggests that Americans are increasingly interested in learning about CNM. The author of this study, Dr. Amy Moors of the University of Michigan, determined this by analyzing Google search trends in the United States between the years 2006-2015.Read More
A lot of books and websites featuring pick-up tips for straight men extoll the virtues of having a so-called "wingman." According to the Urban Dictionary, a wingman is "a guy you bring along with you on singles outings (like to bars) that helps you out with the women." Proper wingman protocol appears to be the subject of great debate and that’s not something I’m going to get into here—so, instead, let’s just address the question of whether having a wingman can actually help when it comes to getting a date.Read More
When it comes to pubic hair removal practices and preferences, how similar are men and women? A recent study of college students published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine offers some unique insight. Over, 1,000 students were surveyed in order to determine how many of them are removing or trimming their pubic hair, their reasons for doing so, the methods they use, as well as how they feel about pubic hair on a potential sexual partner. For a closer look at these and other key findings from the study, check out the infographic below.Read More
There’s a war on porn taking place right now.
A growing chorus has emerged claiming that porn is addictive, that it’s causing misogyny and sexual violence, that it’s leading people to have riskier sex, that it’s creating an epidemic of erectile dysfunction, and that it’s destroying our relationships. These are just some of the many reasons the US state of Utah recently went as far as to formally declare porn to be a “public health crisis.”
Is porn really such a destructive force, though? It’s difficult to come to that conclusion when you actually look at what the research says. Here are five things scientists have found by studying the effects of pornography that challenge the notion that porn is responsible for so many problems.Read More
You may be surprised to learn that Botox—a drug most famous for it’s ability to reduce facial wrinkles by temporarily paralyzing specific muscles—has a number of potential sexual applications. For instance, it has been used to treat vaginismus and it is currently being studied as a treatment for premature ejaculation (learn more here).
But that’s not all—some doctors have also studied Botox as a potential penis enlargement treatment. Yep, you read that right.Read More
Why do humans have sex? This is a question few scientists have bothered to ask, probably because the answer seems obvious: pleasure and reproduction, of course. However, research suggests that the answer is more complicated. In fact, when people are actually asked why they have sex, hundreds of unique reasons emerge. Below, we'll take a look at some of the most and least common reasons reported for having sex and consider the ways they’re similar and different across the sexes.Read More
In this TEDx talk, forensic psychologist Luke Broomhall explores the importance of thinking differently about how to prevent child sexual abuse. In the United States and many other countries around the world, treatment for pedophilia is generally only available to those who admit to having downloaded child exploitation material or having abused a child. But what about those pedophiles who haven't acted on their sexual urges and want help controlling them? If we created services that could reach pedophiles who are at risk of offending before they act, could we then prevent numerous children from being sexually victimized? Check out the video below to learn more.Read More