Most people think of cheating as a risky behavior--risky in the sense that, if discovered, it could potentially lead to hurt feelings, severe conflict, and maybe even breakup. However, infidelity doesn't just put the health of a relationship at risk. Research has found that it also puts the physical health of everyone involved at risk because, when people cheat, they don't appear to be particularly likely to practice safe sex. Check out the infographic below for a look at the data.Read More
Earlier this year, a study published in the Journal of Sex Research reported that gay men, on average, tend to be shorter than their heterosexual counterparts (click here to read a summary of the findings). This study had an important limitation, though, in that it wasn’t based on nationally representative data. Because all participants were either college students or attendees at an LGBT pride event, some concern was raised about how reliable the findings might be.
A new study that just appeared in the Archives of Sexual Behavior would appear to put this concern to rest. In it, the same group of researchers successfully replicated their height finding in a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults.Read More
A reader submitted the following question:
“How long is sex supposed to last?”
If you ask around, you’ll undoubtedly come across a lot of different answers to this question. For instance, let’s consider a study in which sex therapists were surveyed about their thoughts on this topic.Read More
Throughout much of recorded history, female virginity is something that has been highly coveted by heterosexual men who were looking to marry. Women who were known to have lost their virginity faced stiff social penalties, including a tendency to be deemed umarriageable.
This still holds true in many parts of the world today, including a number of countries in Africa and the Middle East, where women who have lost their virginity sometimes go to great lengths to become surgically “revirginized” due to fear of social exclusion and, in some cases, physical harm (you can learn more about so-called "revirginization" procedures and the psychology behind here)
In the Western world, however, things have changed dramatically in the past few decades.Read More
There are undoubtably some important differences between the male and female orgasm. Among other things, men tend to reach orgasm more often, women are more likely to have multiple orgasms, and women are more likely to say that they've faked an orgasm.
However, when it comes to the actual orgasmic experience--that is, what men and women say an orgasm really feels like, as well as what goes on inside the brain during a climax--well, that's another story entirely. In fact, it turns out that male and female orgasms really aren't that different when you look at how they're experienced.Read More
Sixty-three years ago this week (August 20, 1953), the media first reported on some of the major findings from Alfred Kinsey's classic book Sexual Behavior in the Human Female. In case you aren't familiar, this was the first book of its kind to truly explore women's sexual attitudes and behaviors from a scientific perspective.
Kinsey's book sent shockwaves around the world and was quickly dubbed "obscene" by many; however, we now look back upon it as one of the most important publications ever on human sexuality. Kinsey's research was groundbreaking because it debunked numerous myths and misconceptions about women, revealing that they are far more sexual than most people had previously assumed.Read More
How many American adults are sending and receiving sext messages? And what's happening with of those sexts we're exchanging anyway? Are people keeping them private, or are they sharing them with others? A new study published in the journal Sexual Health sheds some light on the answers to these questions and more. The results of this study reveal that sexting is a very common behavior and that, while there's a widespread expectation that people will keep sexts private, a whole lot of them are being shared. For a closer look at the numbers, check out the infographic below.Read More
Given how high the rate of infidelity is, some people have argued that humans are, by nature, not very well suited to monogamy. Others have gone even further and argued that we’d probably all be a lot happier if we were consensually nonmonogamous instead. But is that likely to be the case? Would everyone be better off if they were in some kind of sexually open relationship?
According to data I presented at last month’s meeting of the International Association for Relationship Research, probably not. Rather, my data suggest that whether we respond favorably to monogamy or consensual nonmonogamy is, to some extent, a matter of personality.Read More
I am pleased to announce that, for the fourth year in a row, there will be a Sexuality Pre-Conference prior to the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP)! Our last three Pre-Conferences were hugely successful, with incredible talks and great attendance. We are so excited to continue building on this tradition.
The next SPSP Sexuality Pre-Conference will be held on Thursday, January 19th, 2017 at the Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas. The theme of our upcoming pre-conference is "a new look." As such, all of our invited talks are designed to offer a fresh take on important issues in sex and sexuality research. We have also intentionally sought out speakers who will include a social justice perspective in their talks.Read More
Every time a major international sporting competition takes places, news articles inevitably emerge about the athletes who proclaim that they will be abstaining from sex until the competition is over. It seems that many athletes--and some coaches, too--worry that getting it on before a sporting event could ultimately harm performance. Competitors at this year's Olympic Games in Rio have been no exception to this line of thinking. For instance, The Daily Telegraph recently reported that several Australian couples who will be competing in Rio have their own personal abstinence rules in place.
But is this actually going to help them on their way to taking home some medals? Is sex really harmful to athletic performance?Read More
Most of us—men and women alike—have been turned on by the thought of a threesome before. Indeed, study after study has found that this is one of the most common sexual activities people fantasize about.
Surprisingly, though, we don’t actually know all that much about what people want when it comes to a threesome. Why? Because the questions included on most sex surveys to date have been pretty generic, as in: “have you ever fantasized about having a threesome?”
Questions like this obviously leave out a lot of important details, such as who the other two people are. Are both of them of the same gender, or different genders? And do you know them personally, or are they strangers?
It turns out that who’s participating makes a big difference, according to a new study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior.Read More
Being a successful sex researcher is--and always has been--a tough business. Sex research has a lot of vocal critics who aren't comfortable with the work we're doing, some of whom have actually gone to great lengths to try and scare us away from studying certain topics! One person who knows this all to well is sexual psychophysiologist Dr. Nicole Prause.Read More
If you’re anything like me, your newsfeed has probably been dominanted with articles about the popular gaming app Pokémon GO for the past few weeks. Most of the stories to emerge so far have focused on how this augmented reality game is affecting the everyday lives of users. For instance, among other things, it is helping many folks to get more exercise and lose weight, which is great. At the same time, though, it has also (sadly) contributed to at least a few cases of distracted driving that ended in car crashes.
However, one thing you may not have heard much about yet is how Pokémon GO is affecting people's sex lives. Yep, you read that right.
As you'll see below, there have been a number of rather surprising sexual implications of the Pokémon GO phenomenon that the creators of the game probably never anticipated.Read More
Virtually every day, I receive emails from people around the world who have questions about their sex lives. More often than not, these questions can be reduced to the same underlying theme: "Am I normal?"
Many of the people asking these questions have done a little research on their own and discovered that they differ from some reported statistical average--and it's often the realization of this difference that prompts many of these emails. For instance, I sometimes hear from men who worry that they're masturbating "too much," as well as people of all genders who worry that they aren't having "enough" sex in their relationship.
While averages can be a wonderful thing in the sense that they provide a handy way of summarizing large amounts of data, they can also be misleading and dangerous, especially when people start comparing themselves to those numbers and make the mistake of equating "different from average" with "abnormal."Read More
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