When it comes to pubic hair removal practices and preferences, how similar are men and women? A recent study of college students published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine offers some unique insight. Over, 1,000 students were surveyed in order to determine how many of them are removing or trimming their pubic hair, their reasons for doing so, the methods they use, as well as how they feel about pubic hair on a potential sexual partner. For a closer look at these and other key findings from the study, check out the infographic below.Read More
There’s a war on porn taking place right now.
A growing chorus has emerged claiming that porn is addictive, that it’s causing misogyny and sexual violence, that it’s leading people to have riskier sex, that it’s creating an epidemic of erectile dysfunction, and that it’s destroying our relationships. These are just some of the many reasons the US state of Utah recently went as far as to formally declare porn to be a “public health crisis.”
Is porn really such a destructive force, though? It’s difficult to come to that conclusion when you actually look at what the research says. Here are five things scientists have found by studying the effects of pornography that challenge the notion that porn is responsible for so many problems.Read More
You may be surprised to learn that Botox—a drug most famous for it’s ability to reduce facial wrinkles by temporarily paralyzing specific muscles—has a number of potential sexual applications. For instance, it has been used to treat vaginismus and it is currently being studied as a treatment for premature ejaculation (learn more here).
But that’s not all—some doctors have also studied Botox as a potential penis enlargement treatment. Yep, you read that right.Read More
Why do humans have sex? This is a question few scientists have bothered to ask, probably because the answer seems obvious: pleasure and reproduction, of course. However, research suggests that the answer is more complicated. In fact, when people are actually asked why they have sex, hundreds of unique reasons emerge. Below, we'll take a look at some of the most and least common reasons reported for having sex and consider the ways they’re similar and different across the sexes.Read More
In this TEDx talk, forensic psychologist Luke Broomhall explores the importance of thinking differently about how to prevent child sexual abuse. In the United States and many other countries around the world, treatment for pedophilia is generally only available to those who admit to having downloaded child exploitation material or having abused a child. But what about those pedophiles who haven't acted on their sexual urges and want help controlling them? If we created services that could reach pedophiles who are at risk of offending before they act, could we then prevent numerous children from being sexually victimized? Check out the video below to learn more.Read More
Many guys have body image issues and, more often than not, those issues center around penis size--even among men who are perfectly normal in size to begin with. As a result, great demand has developed for techniques and treatments that can enhance penis size, culminating in the emergence of a multi-million dollar penile augmentation industry. There are now numerous 'male enhancement' products on the market, but the one question a lot of guys are asking is this: do any of them actually work?Read More
Despite all of the social progress made by sexual minorities in recent years, numerous stereotypes and misconceptions about sexual orientation persist. Below, I correct ten of the most common false beliefs and provide links to more detailed scientific information debunking them.
1.) Homosexuality is contagious through social contact. Research has failed to find support for the notion that same sex attraction is socially transmitted. For example, a recent, large-scale study found that same-sex attraction does not spread within adolescent peer groups. Likewise, other research has found that gay parents are no more likely to raise gay children than their heterosexual counterparts.Read More
The targets of anti-gay prejudice and discrimination tend to experience worse health outcomes. Not only does the stress of victimization put wear and tear on the body, but victims of prejudice often turn to alcohol abuse, substance use, and a range of other unhealthy behaviors in order to cope or escape reality.
Anti-gay prejudice isn’t just unhealthy. In fact, it may actually translate to a dramatically shorter lifespan, according to a recent study published in the journal Social Sciences & Medicine. Anti-gay prejudice isn’t just harmful to the health of sexual minorities, though. Another recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health suggests that just holding anti-gay views may pose a health risk.Read More
Each year that he has been in office, U.S. President Barack Obama has issued a Presidential Proclamation declaring June to be Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month (see here for this year's proclamation). As you may well know, the history of LGBT Pride Month traces back several decades before Obama took office. In fact, it goes back nearly 50 years at this point! In the 1970s, gay pride parades began to pop up each June as a way of commemorating the 1969 Stonewall Riots.
In light of this being LGBT Pride Month, all of this week's posts will focus on LGBT issues. To kick off the week, I thought it would be worth taking a look at Americans' attitudes toward homosexuality and same-sex marriage today and how they have changed in the last few years.Read More
Do our sexual activity patterns change with the seasons? A new study published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections suggests that they do, and that there’s a reliable peak during the summer months.
In order to determine this, researchers looked at data obtained from patient visits to the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre located in Melbourne, Australia between the years 2006-2014. Specifically, they looked at how diagnoses of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and patients’ reports of the number of partners they’d had in the past three months changed throughout the year.Read More
Sex surrogates are people who help clients deal with sexual difficulties by engaging in direct sexual activity with them. In addition, surrogates often help persons with physical disabilities more generally—many of whom report having difficulty establishing sexual relationships—to explore their sexual potential.
This practice is one that has been around for decades and actually dates back to the days of Masters and Johnson, who advocated for it as a part of some sex therapy programs; however, it remains controversial.Read More
Consensually non-monogamous (CNM) relationships feature an explicit agreement that allows partners to have multiple sexual and/or romantic relationships at the same time. This can take numerous forms, from swinging to polyamory to open relationships, with people negotiating the rules and limits to their own comfort level.
Many people believe that CNM relationships are rare and, further, that they are primarily practiced by gay men. But is this really the case?
A new study published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy suggests that people’s beliefs don’t match up to the reality when it comes to consensual non-monogamy.Read More
A reader submitted the following question:
“I have had one sexual partner and contracted herpes from him. Though I haven't had sex in 5-7 years and no recurrence of symptoms, I am scared about it recurring and giving it to a partner who will freak out on me and curse me. I want to get married, but I am never going to be comfortable telling my partner about having this infection. What do you think I can do so that recurrence doesn’t occur and I can enjoy condom free sex with my partner?”
Thank you for sending in this question. Genital herpes is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs)—in fact, the CDC estimates that about 16% of the U.S. population has it. As a result, you are far from the only one out there who wants to know more about how to manage this infection, especially in the context of a relationship with a partner who doesn’t have it.Read More
In order to develop a close, intimate relationship with someone else, you need to be willing to open up to that person—to let your defenses down and become emotionally vulnerable. As you may have found in your own personal experience, this process sometimes takes a very long time to unfold. However, research suggests that it doesn’t necessarily have to.Read More
Before a scientific study is carried out, researchers usually need to receive approval from an Institutional Review Board (IRB), a body of fellow scientists who evaluate a given study’s potential risks and rewards. In the name of protecting research participants, IRBs often given studies focusing on “sensitive topics” heightened scrutiny.
Sex is often considered to be a sensitive topic, and many researchers (myself included) have encountered difficulties at one time or another in getting certain studies approved because their IRBs are concerned that students might be traumatized by certain kinds of sex questions (e.g., how would students who have been sexually victimized feel if they were asked questions about prior experiences with rape and sexual assault?).Read More
In the U.S. today, 37 states mandate that information on abstinence be provided in sex education courses. In those states, it is not uncommon for students to be asked to take “purity” or virginity pledges as part of the curriculum.
Students are often encouraged to take these pledges in order to both reduce the spread of sexually transmitted infections and to prevent unintended pregnancies. As it turns out, however, abstinence pledges don’t necessarily accomplish either one of these things. In fact, a study published earlier this year in the Journal of Marriage and Family suggests that they may do just the opposite!Read More
When it comes to teaching American adolescents about sexuality, “we are completely silent around girls' sexual entitlement and girls' pleasure,” says Peggy Orenstein, author of the new book Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape. But it’s not just that—American culture is sending a message to young women today that “they're supposed to be sexy, that they're supposed to perform sexuality for boys, but that their sexual pleasure is unspoken.”Read More
For your reading pleasure this weekend, I've compiled a list of ten fun and interesting sex facts that you can share with your friends. Enjoy!
1. Nocturnal orgasms aren’t just a male phenomenon—many women have them too! In Alfred Kinsey’s groundbreaking research on female sexuality, he found that 37% of the women he surveyed had at least one such orgasm by their mid-40s. Read more about female nocturnal orgasms here.Read More
When science is reported in the media, it is often horribly distorted. One of the biggest reasons for this stems from the fact that many of the journalists and bloggers reporting on science simply don’t have a very good understanding of how science in general works. But it's not just that--many of them don't even make an attempt to understand the specific studies they're writing about, with some publishing articles based upon nothing more than a quick review of an abstract or press release.
The end result is that far too many media reports about science contain nothing but bogus information. Unfortunately, this is something I see all the time when research on sex and relationships is covered.Read More