I recently posted an article in which I concluded that “while it is indeed possible for both men and women to be bisexual, evidence from a variety of sources suggests that bisexuality may be a more natural occurrence among women than men” (see here for the complete article). I received a couple of comments on the site as well as a few e-mails that were critical of this conclusion, so I thought it might be useful to do a follow-up post and dig a little deeper into the research in the hope of clearing things up a bit more.
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Every time I tell someone what I do for a living, they take it as an opportunity to get some free sex and relationship advice. I don’t really mind because this is what interests me after all. Not only that, but the questions I get asked serve as great fodder for the blog! One of the most interesting questions I’ve been asked lately came from a woman I met at a party who was very concerned that her boyfriend might secretly be gay. Below, I provide a recap of her story and a more elaborated version of my response.
For centuries, governments have gone to great lengths to regulate people’s sex lives. As just a couple of prime examples, bans on contraception, sex before marriage, and same-sex activity were the law of the land throughout most of the United States and many other parts of the world until recently. But these are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the government telling you what you can and cannot do in the bedroom. Below are ten of the most interesting and, of course, humorous sex laws I’ve ever heard of. As you’ll see, some of the laws are even weirder when you think about what they don’t say. Now, given that I’m not a legal scholar, I can’t necessarily vouch for the current status of these laws or whether they can still be enforced—all I can tell you is that I’ve seen them appear in multiple news stories over the years. Enjoy—but don’t enjoy so much that you land yourself in prison!
“Why don’t you like to be touched?” I whisper, staring up into soft gray eyes. “Because I’m fifty shades of f*cked up, Anastasia.” – Excerpt from Fifty Shades of Grey (page 369)
It seems as though everyone and their mothers (and a fair number of grandmothers, from what I hear) has read E. L. James’ erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey. The book describes the sexual exploits of Christian Grey, a successful and sexy businessman who introduces a young female college student (Anastasia Steele) to the world of bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism, and masochism (BDSM). After hearing so much about Fifty Shades, I couldn’t help but wonder about the contents of this book. Is it an accurate depiction of the BDSM community, or is it pure fiction? As you'll see below, the answer to this question is somewhat of a grey area.
Every Friday on the blog, I answer people’s questions about sex, love, and relationships. This week, I’m answering two related questions that come up pretty regularly in my Human Sexuality course:
How much sex is too much sex?
How much is too much masturbation?
Researchers have known for years that parenthood has some predictable effects on heterosexual couples. Specifically, relationship satisfaction typically decreases1 and sexual activity usually drops off markedly once kids enter the picture.2 Given the significant increase in gay couples raising children through surrogacy and adoption in recent years, researchers have begun to explore whether similar effects occur among persons in same-sex relationships. Perhaps not surprisingly, the answer appears to be yes.
In 2009, the United States Food and Drug Administration made Plan B, a form of emergency contraception, available to anyone over the age of 17 without a prescription. To obtain the medication, an individual must request it from a pharmacist and provide proof of age. Despite the fact that there are no legal restrictions on their ability to purchase Plan B, a new study reveals that a shockingly high number of 17-year-old girls may be incorrectly told by their pharmacists that they cannot purchase the medication, even in pharmacies where the drug is in stock.
Sex Question Friday: Indicators of Penis Size, Sleeping After Sex, And The Orgasmic Gold Medal Winner
Every Friday on the blog, I answer people’s questions about sex, love, and relationships. This week’s questions concern penis size, what men and women do after sex, and the record for most female orgasms during a single sexual event.
Are there any anatomical structures that estimate or show penis size? Like hands or feet?
Last year, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force came out against the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. This test has been widely used for years as a way of screening male patients for prostate cancer, the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men. The Task Force’s decision stoked a huge controversy and generated outrage among the many doctors and cancer survivors who firmly believe that the test works. However, if the Task Force's decision was based on sound science, why did it create such a political firestorm? According to a new paper published in the journal Psychological Science, the answer lies in human psychology.1
There has been a lot of controversy over college-level Human Sexuality courses lately. For instance, a student at Western Nevada College just filed a lawsuit against her school and instructor because she attended a Human Sexuality course in which students were allegedly required to masturbate, keep a sex journal, and discuss their own sexual history as part of a paper assignment. And last year, a well-known sex researcher made headlines after it was discovered that he held an event for his Human Sexuality students outside of class in which a nude woman was sexually stimulated by a motorized sex toy on stage. These are just a few examples of cases where the media has questioned whether some of these classes have simply gone too far (see here for details on a few other cases that have attracted media attention over the years). In this article, I offer my thoughts on this subject based upon my own teaching experiences.
Every Friday on the blog, I answer people’s questions about sex, love, and relationships. This week’s question comes from a college student who wanted to know why her boyfriend starts sneezing when he becomes sexually aroused. I can’t say I’ve ever heard this question before, but it turns out that there’s actually some research on this topic.
Why does my boyfriend sneeze when he’s really excited? Is that normal?
Sex surveys have been controversial ever since the pioneering work of Alfred Kinsey in the 1940s and 50s. There has been a persistent concern that asking people questions about sex is simply too personal and is likely to make them feel distressed and uncomfortable. Although there may have been some validity to this concern several decades ago, times have changed. We now live in a world where people talk about sex more freely than ever before and sex is represented everywhere in the media. So should ethics review boards continue to scrutinize sex studies more than other types of research? A new study suggests not.
A recurring theme in many television shows and movies is that secret relationships are hot. Couples that sneak around together seem to find it pretty exciting—they can’t stop thinking about each other, and when they’re together, they have a hard time keeping their hands off one another. But is that what secret relationships are like in real life? Are they really as full of passion and excitement as the popular media makes them out to be? A growing amount of research suggests not. In fact, secret relationships appear to fare much worse than relationships that are out in the open.
Every Friday on the blog, I answer people’s questions about sex, love, and relationships. This week’s question comes from a college student who wanted to know whether having a sexually transmitted disease (STD) can interfere with a woman’s sexual pleasure.
If you happen to contract an STD, is it more difficult to induce a female orgasm?
As I have discussed in previous blog posts, a number of unusual sexual behaviors have been documented in human beings, from cutting a hole in one’s pants in order to masturbate easily in public to letting insects bite one’s genitals. However, humans aren’t the only ones with curious sexual proclivities—unusual behaviors also occur in the animal kingdom with some frequency. In this post, I’d like to share what is perhaps the most, um, interesting scientific study of animal sexuality I have ever come across.1