Pubic hair removal has been the subject of a growing amount of research attention; however, surprisingly little work in this area has addressed the question of how men and women are similar or different when it comes to their pubic hair removal practices and preferences. How many people do it, why, what (if any) side effects are there, and how much pubic hair do they prefer on their sexual partners? A new study just published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine takes a look at these and other questions in a sample of college undergraduates. Check out the infographic below for a few of the key findings.Read More
Every Friday on the blog, I answer people’s questions about sex, love, and relationships. This week’s question comes from a reader who wanted to know more about the topic of menopause:
“Are humans the only species in which the females experience menopause? Why does menopause exist?”
Thanks for these great questions! As it turns out, human females are not unique in having what some scientists term a “post-reproductive lifespan” (or PRLS for short). In fact, studies have found that many primate and non-primate species show evidence of a PRLS .Read More
Sexual fantasies about bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism, and masochism (BDSM) have long been deemed to be "unusual" or "deviant." But are they really all that rare? A new study just published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine suggests that BDSM fantasies are probably more common than previously thought. Check out the infographic below for a look at the numbers. Keep in mind that this sample is not representative, so you should not necessarily assume that these numbers reflect BDSM interest more broadly--however, they do suggest that BDSM is probably far from an "unusual" fantasy.
What do you fantasize about? Tell us about it and take part in the largest and most comprehensive study of sexual fantasies ever by clicking here.Read More
A woman of reproductive age has the potential to become pregnant from vaginal intercourse regardless of whether she experiences an orgasm. This fact has prompted an ongoing debate about the purpose of the female orgasm. If it is not essential to reproduction, then why does it occur? Numerous theories exist. To name a few, some have argued that the female orgasm is a “sperm retention mechanism," while others have claimed that it has no purpose and is just a “fantastic bonus.” One additional theory that has received an increasing amount of research attention is that perhaps orgasms serve as a feedback mechanism that provides women with information about the reproductive potential and quality of their partners. A new study just published in the journal Evolutionary Psychology provides some support for this ideaRead More
In this TEDx talk, Dr. Terri Orbuch describes the science behind lust and love. Research shows that these are completely distinct experiences and, as Orbuch explains, there are actually four specific signs that you can use to tell them apart. In addition to detailing the physiology and psychology behind lust and love, Orbuch offers research-based advice on ways of recreating lust for long-term, loving couples. This is a must-watch video for anyone interested in learning more about the science of relationships. Happy viewing!Read More
Believe it or not, human beings have been making and using condoms for thousands of years. Despite how long they’ve been around, condoms remain imperfect and continue to be misused. Below, we will take a look at what condoms used to be like, how they are viewed and utilized today, and where condoms are headed in the future.
1.) In the not-too-distant past, animal intestines were the most popular material used for making condoms. Some condoms are still made from this today (e.g., Naturalamb), but they have largely fallen out of favor because they are costlier to produce than contemporary materials, such as latex, which is what most condoms today are made from. Also, while they may be effective at preventing pregnancy, animal membranes are too porous to serve as an effective barrier to most sexually transmitted infections. Learn more about the fascinating history of condoms by watching this video.Read More
Imagine that someone you aren’t attracted to approaches you for a date. How would you respond? I bet most of you said that you would decline the offer and move on, right? Although that may be how you think you would react in this situation, a new set of studies just published in Psychological Sciences suggests that some of you would have a harder time saying no than you might expect.Read More
Every Friday on the blog, I answer people's questions about sex, love, and relationships. This week's question comes from a female reader who wanted to know the following:
"Everyone talks about practicing safe sex and I do, but how safe am I when I'm using condoms and is there anything else I should be doing?"
Thanks for this great question! Condoms can indeed be very effective at preventing unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) when used properly; however, studies suggest that people overestimate how effective condoms are in practice . This means that when you're practicing "safe sex," you may not be quite as safe as you think.Read More
Bisexuality is a controversial sexual orientation among both scientists and laypersons alike. Indeed, there is a popular stereotype that bisexuality “is just a layover on the way to gaytown” (if I may borrow a line from Carrie Bradshaw), and some studies have seemingly provided support for this idea by showing that bisexual men tend to exhibit sexual arousal patterns that look fairly similar to gay men. However, there are a lot of limitations to the existing research on bisexuality. For instance, most of this work has focused on men, meaning that we don't know as much about bisexual women. In addition, most of this research has focused on genital responses to very specific forms of pornography (i.e., two men having sex vs. two women having sex). This methodology creates sampling issues, given that not everyone is willing to participate in such invasive studies, while the pornography used confounds the gender of the performers with different sexual behaviors, making it unclear what viewers are actually responding to. A new study just published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior addressed some of these limitations, with the results providing evidence that both male and female bisexuality are distinct from homosexuality.Read More
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? Today, I'm launching a new feature on the blog in which I will interview prominent sex researchers, scholars, and therapists in order to give you some insight into these and other questions.
My first interview is with Dr. Zhana Vrangalova, who holds a PhD in developmental psychology and is currently a sex educator, researcher, and blogger based in New York City. Below is the full text of our recent online chat.Read More
Every Friday on the blog, I answer people’s questions about sex, love, and relationships. This week’s question comes from a female reader who wanted to know the following:
“Is it normal behavior to masturbate while thinking of your partner with someone else? My partner of 6 years cheated on me with a female friend of mine, who tried coming on to me two days prior to their sexual escapade. I knew this woman was bi-sexual, but I don't swing that way. Or so I thought, since then I have been masturbating to the thought of the two of them having sex. Is that normal?”Read More
Every year around Halloween, the media starts running story after story warning parents to watch out for sex offenders who plan to exploit the holiday as a means of preying upon children. Concerns about this have even prompted lawmakers in many parts of the country to pass laws that restrict the activities of convicted sex offenders on Halloween, or that require police to check up on them during Trick or Treat hours. All of this media panic and legislation has prompted some researchers to wonder whether there really is reason to be extra worried at this time of year.Read More
Centuries ago, Aristotle proposed the concept of telegony, which suggests that the traits of offspring are not only influenced by their biological parents, but also by the mother’s former mates. This idea never really caught on with scientists, though, because it failed to generate much empirical support. Indeed, so little evidence has been found for it that some encyclopedic descriptions of telegony chalk it up to nothing more than “superstition.” However, a new study just published in the journal Ecology Letters provides some provocative experimental support for telegony and suggests that we may have been too quick to dismiss this ideaRead More
Every Friday on the blog, I answer people's questions about sex, love, and relationships. This week's question comes from a reader who wanted to know the following:
"Is there any truth to the idea that women have a sexual peak in their 30s?"
Great question! The idea that women have a sexual peak in their 30s likely originated with Alfred Kinsey, whose research in the 1950s revealed that women in their 30s reported the most orgasms compared to women of all other ages. But are more orgasms in and of themselves necessarily a sign that thirty-something women are having a sexual "peak?" Not necessarily, in fact, many have argued that these women aren't more desirous of sex and instead have probably just figured out more effective ways of reaching orgasm than their younger counterparts. However, more recent research suggests that there might indeed be something to back up the idea that women experience at least a small sexual peak and that perhaps there is even an evolutionary reason for this.Read More
In this TEDx talk, Mechai Viravaidya talks about his work promoting condoms in Thailand from the 1970s until today. Viravaidya’s efforts have been so successful that he has been dubbed “Mr. Condom” (hence the title for this video), and some people in Thailand even refer to condoms by his first name (i.e., they call them “mechais”). Check out the video below to learn more about Viravaidya and his work. I think you'll find it to be absolutely fascinating because Viravaidya reveals that power of what can be accomplished when everyone gets involved in promoting sexual health and family planning, instead of just leaving it to doctors and specialists.Read More
It is no great secret that political and religious conservatives in the United States have a tendency to disapprove of any kind of sexual activity that is inconsistent with “traditional values” (i.e., anything other than vaginal intercourse within a heterosexual, monogamous marriage). Likewise, they tend to be more supportive of abstinence-only education and many of them discourage any kind open discussion about sexual matters. However, as we have seen time and again, conservative leaders (both political and religious) are often caught engaging in the activities that they themselves have so strongly protested, from having same-sex affairs to paying for sex (or both). A new study provides additional support for the idea that there is sometimes a disconnect between what conservatives say publicly and what they do privately by revealing that the most online sexual content is actually sought in the most conservative of states.Read More
Every Friday on the blog, I answer readers’ questions about sex, love, and relationships. This week, I’m answering two related questions that came in on the topic of long-distance relationships:
“Can long distance relationships actually work?”
“Are there any tips for keeping long distance relationships (that can't touch as often physically) sexy or strong that are supported by any psychology or science?”Read More
Diversity courses dealing with sexuality, gender, and race offer a range of benefits to the students who take them. As a result, U.S. colleges and universities are increasingly adding such courses to their curricula, with many now requiring students to take a certain number of them in order to graduate. Requiring that students take diversity courses does not guarantee that they will benefit from them, though, because the benefits of such classes depend, to some extent, upon students’ initial attitudes toward the course. Those attitudes are crucial because they shape how students approach the material and how engaged they become with it. However, we know relatively little about the factors that shape these initial attitudes. In order to address this knowledge gap, one of my colleagues (Dr. Jennifer Spoor of LaTrobe University) and I conducted an experiment to see how the title of a diversity course dealing with women’s and gender issues affects students’ perceptions of it and their interest in taking it. We focused on course title because it is usually the very first piece of information students hear about a course and, as such, may be the point at which attitudes toward a class begin to take shape.Read More
Sex researchers have long been concerned about the reliability of self-report surveys assessing people’s sexual interests and level of sexual arousal. The fear has always been that people will not answer honestly, either because they are not willing to admit their true sexuality to themselves or to a group of scientists. As a result, sexologists have increasingly been moving away from self-reports and instead toward genital arousal measures, with the thought being that genital responses are hard to fake when we’re in the presence of sexually arousing stimuli. Indeed, many scientists have come to view genital responses as a “truer” gauge of our sexual inclinations. But is this necessarily the case? A new study just published in the Journal of Sex Research reveals that genital responses can indeed be faked in lab studies, which suggests that these measures may not always be as reliable as you think. However, these scientists also discovered a novel way of potentially catching fakers: recording their eye movements while they view sexual stimuli.Read More
Two of the biggest songs on the charts right now feature lyrics that celebrate the sex appeal of curvy women: Meghan Trainor's All About That Bass and Nikki Minaj's Anaconda (which samples Sir Mix-A-Lot's Baby Got Back). Some people might attribute the popularity of these songs to their catchy beats, while others might point to their accompanying must-watch music videos, each of which has been viewed more than 100 million times on YouTube. However, at least a few psychologists might argue that these songs resonate with us on a deeper level because they appeal to human's evolved mating strategies.Read More