3 Theories About The Purpose Of The Female Orgasm

3 Theories About The Purpose Of The Female Orgasm

The male orgasm plays a pretty prominent role in human reproduction, given that it typically coincides with ejaculation. Indeed, a man who cannot reach orgasm is likely to have a very difficult time ever reproducing. In contrast, it is not possible to argue the same thing for the female orgasm--it is possible for a woman to become pregnant regardless of whether she can reach orgasm at all, let alone during sex. This observation has generated a lot of research and debate about the purpose of the female orgasm. If it is not essential for reproduction, then why does it exist? To date, scientists have proposed at least three possible explanations:

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Sex Question Friday: Is “Lesbian Bed Death” A Real Thing?

Sex Question Friday: Is “Lesbian Bed Death” A Real Thing?

A reader submitted the following question:

“Is there any truth to the concept of lesbian bed death, or is this just an urban legend?”

Thanks for this great question. “Lesbian bed death” is a common term used to describe the precipitous decline in sexual activity that is thought to occur in long-term lesbian relationships. This concept stems from a consistent finding in national survey data that female same-sex couples tend to have sex less often than both male-female and male-male couples [1]. This finding is often attributed to the commonly held stereotype that men desire more sex and tend to be the primary initiators of it. Thus, some people seem to think that without a man in the relationship, not a lot of sex is going to happen.

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Video: Why We Love, Why We Cheat

Video: Why We Love, Why We Cheat

In this fascinating TED talk, anthropologist Helen Fisher describes the evolution of love, the neurochemical foundation behind it, and the essential role in plays in our lives. She also talks about how use of antidepressants affects our brain chemistry and the potentially disastrous implications this might have for our love lives. After you watch the video below, click here to learn more about the neurochemistry of love.

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How Much Gender Inequality Is There In Online Porn?

How Much Gender Inequality Is There In Online Porn?

Although internet pornography is frequently criticized for depicting gender inequality, surprisingly little research has examined the actual gendered content of online porn. Moreover, what little research does exist in this area has focused largely on still images and erotic stories, which means that we know even less about the gendered content of the most widely consumed form of online porn: videos. A new study just published in the Journal of Sex Research offers a rare look into how gender is represented in pornographic videos from the internet today.

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Could An Infectious Organism Take Over Your Brain And Make You Do Its Bidding?

Could An Infectious Organism Take Over Your Brain And Make You Do Its Bidding?

We humans like to think of ourselves as having free will. We like to think, for instance, that how many sexual partners we have and how quick we are to jump into bed with someone is all a matter of personal choice, right? But what if this wasn't entirely true? What if I said there might be microorganisms that enter our bodies, "hijack" our brains, and direct our behaviors (sexually and otherwise) for their own purposes (e.g., to spread to other persons and reproduce)? I know--you'd probably think I've been watching too many science fiction movies. However, this concept actually isn't that far-fetched. In fact, some research suggests that this very thing actually happens in the animal kingdom.

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A Revealing Look At BDSM Sex And The People Who Practice It

A Revealing Look At BDSM Sex And The People Who Practice It

As discussed before on this site, Fifty Shades of Grey doesn’t offer the most accurate or realistic depiction of BDSM sex. Other popular media portrayals of it aren’t necessarily any better either. So what is BDSM sex really like and what do we know about the people who practice it? A new study just published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine offers a revealing look.

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Is Pornography Use A Risk Factor For Erectile Dysfunction?

Is Pornography Use A Risk Factor For Erectile Dysfunction?

Pornography has been blamed for a number of problems over the years. Among the many claims leveled against porn is that it causes divorce and sexual violence (neither of which is true, by the way). Another claim that has becoming increasingly common is that porn causes sexual difficulties, including erectile dysfunction in men.  But is this really true? Is porn really impairing men’s sexual functioning? Despite how often this claim is made, there has been surprisingly little research to date that can speak to it one way or another. However, a new study just published in Sexual Medicine suggests that this claim, like so many of the others directed at porn, is not supported by the science.

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Sex Question Friday: Why Are Some People Aroused By Sexual Humiliation?

Sex Question Friday: Why Are Some People Aroused By Sexual Humiliation?

A reader submitted the following question: 

“I wanted to inquire into a ‘strange’ fetish where the man likes his woman to convince him he has undersized manhood. ‘Small penis humiliation’ as it's known. Why is this arousing for some men?”

Thanks for this interesting question. While I have heard of small penis humiliation before, unfortunately, there isn’t any research focusing on it specifically (at least not yet). As far as I can tell, this term is one that seems to be restricted in use primarily to porn websites. However, what I can do is tell you what the research on sexual humiliation more broadly has to say.

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Scientists Measured 15,521 Penises And This Is What They Found

Scientists Measured 15,521 Penises And This Is What They Found

A new paper just published in the British Journal of Urology International conducted the first systematic review of all penis size studies to date in order to provide a more definitive look at typical penile dimensions. In total, they reviewed 20 different studies that, combined, included measurements of 15,521 penises from around the world. To be eligible for inclusion, studies had to meet certain criteria. For instance, all measurements had to be performed by a trained health professional (because we know men typically aren’t very honest or accurate when they measure themselves), all participants had to be age 17 or older, and the studies could not be based on samples of men who had complaints about their penis size or functioning. The studies came from a diverse set of countries including Nigeria, Korea, Turkey, India, and Egypt—in fact, only 3 of the samples came from North America. So what did they find?

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The Science Behind Men’s Attraction To Women's Rear Ends

The Science Behind Men’s Attraction To Women's Rear Ends

Evolutionary psychologists have long argued that many of the physical features heterosexual men are drawn to in women reflect traits that signify female health and fertility status. The basic argument is that our male ancestors developed an attraction to these traits because it enhanced their odds of reproductive success. These mating preferences are thought to have been passed down across generations and still influence what men are attracted to today on some primal level. In a new study just published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior, researchers examined whether men’s attraction to women with more prominent rear ends might represent one such evolved mating preference.

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Sex Question Friday: Can Medications Be Transferred To Sex Partners Through Semen?

Sex Question Friday: Can Medications Be Transferred To Sex Partners Through Semen?

A reader submitted the following question:

Can medications that men take regularly (like blood pressure, cholesterol, or diabetes meds) be passed through their seminal fluid to their oral sex partner? Many sex workers prefer to perform oral sex without a condom (bareback) and they often make the decision to swallow rather than spit. If medication can be passed like this, are these girls at any risk?”

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5 Common Questions About Vaginas And Vaginal Sex

5 Common Questions About Vaginas And Vaginal Sex

As a sex educator, I get approached with sex questions all of the time. However, I can't help but notice that some topics come up much more frequently than others. As a result, I have started putting together resource guides to address the most common questions I receive on a given topic. The last guide covered questions about penis size, so this guide will address questions about vaginas. Below are the 5 most common questions I've received on this topic. Each question is followed by a short answer, along with a link to a longer answer.

1.) “Does the G-spot really exist and, if so, where is it?”

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Study: Female Strippers Earn More Tips When They're Ovulating

Study: Female Strippers Earn More Tips When They're Ovulating

Scientists have accumulated a substantial body of research revealing that women's mating preferences and behaviors appear to change in various ways when they are ovulating. For instance, during ovulation, women fantasize about sex more often, they are more likely to wear red or pink clothing, and they are more flirty with "bad boys." The theory uniting all of these effects argues that women have evolved to behave in ways that increase their odds of reproductive success when they are at peak fertility. 

One of the most well-known and frequently cited pieces of evidence supporting this idea is a titillating study (pun intended) of professional female lap dancers in which scientists examined the amount of money these women made in tips during different phases of the menstrual cycle [1].  Eighteen dancers participated in the study and recorded information about their work shifts and earnings over the course of a 60-day online study.

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Sex Question Friday: Do Men’s Cuckold Fantasies Stem From Low Self-Esteem?

Sex Question Friday: Do Men’s Cuckold Fantasies Stem From Low Self-Esteem?

A reader contacted me with the following hypothesis about the origin of cuckold fantasies:

“Do you want to know WHY some men feel aroused by that cuckold fantasy? It comes from a deep lack of self-worth. I feel like I'm not good enough for my girl, and so I want her to have sex with a better male. I know this goes against evolutionary programming, but it is a form of inferiority complex. I get aroused by knowing that she is mating with the alpha male.”

Thanks for submitting this interesting hypothesis. For any of my readers who are unfamiliar with cuckold fantasies, what we’re talking about here are (usually) heterosexual men who fantasize about watching their wives or girlfriends have sex with other men. These fantasies appear to be quite common, and numerous theories have been proposed to account for their origin, including an evolutionary explanation that you can read more about here.

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Video: Can Science Improve Your Sex Life?

Video: Can Science Improve Your Sex Life?

People have been looking for ways to enhance their libidos and sexual functioning for centuries; however, it turns out that most of the aphrodisiacs that have been discovered to date are not really all that effective. Indeed, to the extent that people find success with a given aphrodisiac, it likely has more to do with the power of suggestion than anything. So what can we do to enhance our sex drives and sexual performance? Check out the video below for a look at what the science has to say.

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How Are Female Sex Offenders Different From Male Sex Offenders?

How Are Female Sex Offenders Different From Male Sex Offenders?

People have a tendency to think of child sex offending as being largely, if not exclusively, attributable to male perpetrators. This likely stems, at least in part, from the way such offenders are typically portrayed in the popular media. For instance, can you think of any episodes of To Catch a Predator or similar programs that showed even one female predator? It’s not just that female sex offending of this nature is rarely portrayed, though; it also appears to be taken less seriously than male sex offending in many cases. For example, it is not uncommon for people to refer to adolescent boys as “lucky” when an adult female (especially an attractive one) is caught having sex with them. In contrast, I have yet to hear of any cases in which an adolescent female is referred to as “lucky” when an older man is caught having sex with her.

Our tendency to view child sex offenses as a male-only problem has an unfortunate consequence in that it may allow a large number of female offenders to avoid being detected. Perhaps this is why women represent just 1% of sex offenders in the United States prison system [1]. Thus, it may not be that women rarely commit such crimes—instead, it may be that women are not being caught or they are being punished less harshly. So just how common is it for women to commit sex crimes against children and adolescents? And in what ways do female and male sex offenders differ? A recent study published in the Journal of Child Sexual Abuse sought to address these questions with the goal of providing a more complete picture of the people who commit sexual offenses against minors [2].

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Sex Question Friday: Is There Any Truth To “Once A Cheater, Always A Cheater?”

Sex Question Friday: Is There Any Truth To “Once A Cheater, Always A Cheater?”

A reader submitted the following question:

“Is it a bad idea to get involved with someone who I know cheated in their last relationship? I mean, once a cheater, always a cheater, right?”

You’re certainly not alone in thinking this. It is a very common belief that someone who cheats once is bound to do it over and over again; however, the reality is that not everyone who cheats is equally likely to repeat this behavior in the future.

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The 5 Most Common Questions About Penis Size

The 5 Most Common Questions About Penis Size

I have been a sex educator for nearly a decade and, during that time, I’ve been asked a lot of questions about a lot of different things; however, year after year, I can’t help but notice that certain topics come up much more frequently than others. In light of this, I thought I would start putting together some definitive resource guides for the most commonly asked questions on these topics. Let’s start with penis size. Here are the five most common questions I tend to receive on this topic. Each question has a short answer, along with a link to a longer answer.

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Do We Actually Know What We Desire In A Romantic Partner?

Do We Actually Know What We Desire In A Romantic Partner?

Survey research has consistently found that men and women differ in the degree to which they desire certain traits in their romantic partners, with men placing relatively more value on physical attractiveness and women placing relatively more value on status and wealth. These findings have often been explained in evolutionary terms (which you can read more about here). In light of this, one might naturally assume that these stated mate preferences would predict the characteristics of the persons that men and women actually express interest in; however, research suggests that this is not necessarily the case. In fact, our stated partner preferences might say relatively little about who we’re attracted to in real life.

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5 Fantastic Videos On The Science Of Love and Attraction

5 Fantastic Videos On The Science Of Love and Attraction

For your viewing (and learning) pleasure this Valentine's Day weekend, I've put together a playlist of five of my favorite videos on the science of love and attraction. These videos span a range of topics, including what actually goes on inside our brains when we experience love and heartbreak, why we become attracted to certain people, what you can do to improve your own relationship, and much more. Enjoy!

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