Sex Question Friday: How Many Straight People Have Had Same-Sex Partners?

Sex Question Friday: How Many Straight People Have Had Same-Sex Partners?

A reader submitted the following question:

“How common is it for straight guys to experiment with other guys?”

Good question! Although there is a common tendency to think that anyone can be put into a neat little box that describes their sexuality (e.g., gay, straight, bisexual), the truth of the matter is that these boxes obscure the fact that there’s actually a lot of fluidity and flexibility in the sexual desires and behaviors of both men and women. Indeed, it’s not at all uncommon for heterosexually-identified persons to have same-sex encounters and for gay- and lesbian-identified persons to have encounters with the other sex. Let’s take a look at some of the data supporting this conclusion.

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Coping With Infidelity In The Wake Of The Ashley Madison Hack

Coping With Infidelity In The Wake Of The Ashley Madison Hack

This week, I participated in a segment on the WHYY and NPR program Radio Times in order to discuss the fallout of the Ashley Madison hacking scandal. Joined by Philadelphia therapist Edward Monte, we discussed not only how common infidelity is, but also the motivations behind cheating, what happens to marriages when affairs are discovered, and what you can do to reduce the likelihood of cheating occurring in your own relationship. You can listen to the full show below, but our segment begins at 13:28. 

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Video: Sex Education in America

Video: Sex Education in America

Adolescent sex education is extremely inconsistent throughout the United States. Some kids receive it at school, others don't--and those who receive formal sex education aren't necessarily any better off than those who don't receive it because most states do not even require that sex education be medically accurate! Yep, you read that right. In fact, just 13 states mandate that students be provided with correct information during sex ed. The end result is that far too many teens become sexually active after receiving inaccurate and misleading information or no information at all about sex. In light of this, is it any wonder that rates of STIs and teen pregnancy are much higher in the US than many other industrialized nations? For a revealing (and humorous) look at just how bad the state of sex education is in America, check out the video below from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. It's well worth every minute of your time. Watch and share widely!

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Can Any Good Ever Come From Infidelity?

Can Any Good Ever Come From Infidelity?

Have you ever seen the reality television show Cheaters, which seeks to expose people who are suspected of committing infidelity one person at a time? A group of internet hackers has just outdone them. Last month, they stole the personal information of all 30 million+ users of Ashley Madison (a website explicitly designed to help married people have affairs). After weeks of threatening to release the data unless the website shuts down (something Ashley Madison was not willing to do), the hackers have followed through by dumping all of the data online for the world to see. Naturally, many people are wondering what the fallout from all of this is going to be.

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Happy K-Day! Celebrating 62 Years Of Scientific Research On Female Sexuality

Happy K-Day! Celebrating 62 Years Of Scientific Research On Female Sexuality

Sixty-two years ago today (August 20, 1953), the media first reported on the findings of Alfred Kinsey's classic book Sexual Behavior in the Human Female.  It was the first book of its kind to explore women's sexual attitudes and behaviors from a scientific perspective. Although this book initially came as quite a shock to the world and many viewed it as "obscene" at the time, it is now looked upon as one of the most important publications ever on human sexuality. Kinsey's research debunked so many myths and revealed that women are far more sexual than most people had previously assumed. For example, Kinsey found that women were pleasuring themselves, having sex outside of marriage, and engaging in same-sex behaviors. His landmark research showed that men aren't the only ones with sexual needs and desires--women have them too, and they're no less important to study.

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Did The Invention Of Oral Sex Give Rise To Gonorrhea?

Did The Invention Of Oral Sex Give Rise To Gonorrhea?

Humans aren’t the only ones that have to deal with sexually transmitted infections—animals do too. Indeed, chlamydia, syphilis, and several other STIs known all too well among humans have been documented in the animal kingdom with some frequency. Among primates, however, one STI that is unique to humans is gonorrhea. This observation has led some scientists to question why. What gave rise to gonorrhea in humans, but not in other primate species? Some scientists argue that it might have something to do with the fact that humans frequently practice oral sex, a behavior that is rare in non-human primates.

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Sex Question Friday: Should I Be Using Condoms During Oral Sex?

Sex Question Friday: Should I Be Using Condoms During Oral Sex?

A reader submitted the following question:

“Is it necessary to use condoms/dental dams for oral sex? What if it is not used? Does that guarantee transmission of sexually transmitted infections?”

Thanks for this great question! Oral sex has become a very common sexual activity in the Western world. For instance, most U.S. adults under age 50 say that they have given and/or received oral sex in the past year in the form of fellatio or cunnilingus, a number that has increased significantly during the past few decades.

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Feeder Fetishes: The World Of Erotic Eating And Weight Gain

Feeder Fetishes: The World Of Erotic Eating And Weight Gain

Feederism has been described as "a fat fetish focused on erotic eating, feeding, and gaining weight." There are two basic types of people who exist in this fetish culture: feeders and feedees. Feeders are people who derive sexual pleasure from feeding other people and watching them gain weight. In contrast, feedees are people who derive sexual pleasure from being fed by others and gaining weight. Feederism is considered to be a paraphilia (i.e., an unusual or uncommon sexual interest); however, the jury is still out on whether it represents its own unique sexual interest, or whether it is best considered a variant of some other established paraphilia(s). For instance, some psychologists have argued that feederism has characteristics that overlap with morphophilia (i.e., sexual attraction to a specific bodily characteristic--in this case, fatness) and with sadomasochism (i.e., sexual arousal associated with physical and/or psychological pain, often involving themes of dominance and submission--in the case of feederism, there are usually elements of power/control and humiliation). 

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Foot Orgasm Syndrome: She Experienced 5-6 Orgasms A Day Originating In Her Left Foot

Foot Orgasm Syndrome: She Experienced 5-6 Orgasms A Day Originating In Her Left Foot

Sexologists have long recognized that a link exists between feet and orgasm, but I'm not talking about foot fetishes here. What I am referring to is the fact that, upon reaching climax, it is common for the feet to extend and for the toes to curl. They aren't called "toe-curling orgasms" for nothing! In rare instances, however, the foot-orgasm connection goes much, much deeper. In fact, a group of physicians recently published a report on the world’s first known case of Foot Orgasm Syndrome (FOS) in which they described a Dutch woman who regularly experienced spontaneous orgasms originating in one of her feet.

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What You Need to Know About Flibanserin, The So-Called "Female Viagra"

What You Need to Know About Flibanserin, The So-Called "Female Viagra"

Flibanserin, a drug some of you probably know more commonly as "female Viagra" or "pink Viagra," has been in the news a lot lately. This is a drug that is widely misunderstood and very controversial, so let's take a moment to set the record straight on it. In the video below, Indiana University physician and health researcher Dr. Aaron Carroll explains what we do and do not know about Flibanserin. He starts by describing the differences between how Flibanserin and Viagra actually work, and explains why the media's common usage of the term "female/pink Viagra" is inaccurate and misleading. He then breaks down the data on the effectiveness of Flibanserin, it's side-effect profile, and what the FDA's recent vote on drug really means. Overall, this video offers an excellent look at what the science actually says about Flibanserin, without all of the media spin.

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How Much Sex Are Millennials Having? Not As Much As You Think

How Much Sex Are Millennials Having? Not As Much As You Think

Millennials are often referred to as "the hookup generation," with popular media portrayals characterizing them as constantly jumping from one hook-up to the next and rejecting traditional notions of dating and marriage. In stark contrast to these depictions, however, scientific research on millennials' sexual attitudes and behaviors paints a very different picture. Compared to generations past, millennials aren't having as much sex as you think. Also, it turns out that millennials actually hold fairly conflicted views on the morality of hooking-up. For a closer look at the research in this area, check out my latest article over at Playboy

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Interview With The Sex Researcher: Dr. Nicole Prause

Interview With The Sex Researcher: Dr. Nicole Prause

If you're a regular reader of this blog, then you're probably a fan of sex research. But have you ever wondered who is behind the fascinating studies and theories discussed on this site? How did those folks get into this field in the first place? Where do their research ideas come from? And what is a day in life of a sex researcher really like? From time to time, I interview prominent sex researchers, scholars, and therapists in order to give you some insight into these and other provocative questions.

Today's interview is with Dr. Nicole Prause, a sexual psychophysiologist and neuroscientist based in Los Angeles. Below is the full text of a recent email interview I had with her.

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"He Says I Don't Want It Enough. I Think He Wants It Too Much." Dealing With A Sexual Desire Discrepancy

"He Says I Don't Want It Enough. I Think He Wants It Too Much." Dealing With A Sexual Desire Discrepancy

A reader submitted the following question:

"Is there such a thing as wanting too much sex? He says I don't want it enough. I think he wants it too much. He fully admitted to thinking twice a day would be good. I think that's excessive considering that we are parents and have lives. Is there some study out there about this issue?"

It sounds like you and your partner may have a sexual desire discrepancy, a situation in which two people prefer different amounts or types of sex. Believe it or not, this is one of the most common sexual problems out there. Consider this: a national survey of British adults found that 27.4% of women and 23.4% of men reported having a sexual desire discrepancy.

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5 Relationship Lifehacks From Science

5 Relationship Lifehacks From Science

In case you aren't familiar with the term "lifehack," it refers to any "tool or technique that makes some aspect of one's life easier or more efficient." Based on the frequent requests for advice I receive from readers of Sex and Psychology, our relationships are one of those areas in which there seems to be great demand for a few solid lifehacks. To that end, I've compiled a video playlist below of five of the most useful ones I've come across to date. Check it out, and hack away!

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Infographic: Same-Sex Marriage Around The World

Infographic: Same-Sex Marriage Around The World

People and governments across the globe have been working to legalize same-sex marriage for the last 15 years. At first, the rate of legalization was best described as a slow trickle; however, the movement has picked up steam recently. The infographic below offers a look at where things currently stand and highlights some of the important milestones along the way.

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Sex Question Friday: Is It Common To Not Know Your Sexual Orientation?

Sex Question Friday: Is It Common To Not Know Your Sexual Orientation?

A reader submitted the following question:

“Is it normal to not know your sexual orientation?”

This is a really interesting question, so thanks for asking it! I’m going to assume that by “sexual orientation” you’re referring to one’s sexual identity label. Of course, this is not how everyone defines sexual orientation (e.g., some think of it as a pattern of attraction or arousal, others as a pattern of behavior); however, I have found that in everyday (i.e., non-academic) usage, most people are referring to the label we use to describe ourselves, so that’s what I’ll focus on here.

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Is Casual Sex Bad For You?

Is Casual Sex Bad For You?

Although casual sex is something that most Americans have done before, it is a sexual activity that continues to be viewed in a largely negative light. For instance, casual sex is frequently portrayed in the popular media as risky and as a "lesser" form of sex. But is this negative reputation deserved? In this TEDx talk, Dr. Zhana Vrangalova explores what the science on casual sex has revealed, including its potential benefits and risks, men's and women's most common psychological reactions to it, and how experiences with casual sex are linked to our long-term relationship outcomes. Dr. Vrangalova's nuanced analysis reveals that casual sex can affect different people in very different ways, which means that casual sex isn't inherently a good or bad thing. Indeed, who you are, how you're doing it, and why you're doing it are critical to understanding the effects of casual sex. Check out the video below to learn more.

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Uncircumcised: A Look At The History And Evolution Of Foreskin Restoration

Uncircumcised: A Look At The History And Evolution Of Foreskin Restoration

Male circumcision, or the removal of the penile foreskin, is a procedure performed on most male infants in the United States today. Although the rate of circumcision has declined during the last few decades, it continues to be widely performed in the U.S. for many reasons. However, circumcision has grown increasingly controversial. In addition, it is not uncommon to hear circumcised men lament the removal of their foreskin and express a desire to be "uncircumcised." In light of this, some have wondered whether there is anything that can be done in cases like this. That is, is it possible to restore foreskin post-circumcision?

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Can Exposure To A Novel Partner Affect The Quantity And Quality Of Men's Semen?

Can Exposure To A Novel Partner Affect The Quantity And Quality Of Men's Semen?

In a new study published in Evolutionary Psychological Science, researchers examined whether the timing, quantity, and quality of men's ejaculate changes when they masturbate to images of a familiar woman compared to a woman they have never seen before. The results (and the explanation behind them) are absolutely fascinating. For a look at the details of this study and what they found, check out my latest article over at Playboy

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Why We Should Stop Calling Porn “Addiction” An Addiction

Why We Should Stop Calling Porn “Addiction” An Addiction

The concept of “pornography addiction” is one that has generated a lot of debate in the popular media. Although pretty much everyone seems to agree that there are indeed some people out there who are distressed about their porn use, there has been much controversy about whether it is appropriate to apply the “addiction” label in such cases. A new study published in Biological Psychology provides provocative evidence in favor of dropping the addiction label because what’s going on inside the brains of so-called porn “addicts” is nothing like what you would expect from someone who has an addiction.

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