How Do Scientists Measure Whether Someone Is Asexual?

How Do Scientists Measure Whether Someone Is Asexual?

Asexuality is a topic that has received an increasing amount of attention from sex researchers in recent years. For instance, studies have been published on the genital arousal patterns of asexual individuals in response to sexually explicit stimuli, the biological correlates of asexuality, as well as the masturbation practices of asexuals. However, the research in this area has generated some controversy over how to best measure asexuality because not all researchers have used consistent definitions and measurement techniques. A new paper just published in the journal Psychological Assessment describes the first attempt at establishing a valid measure of asexuality, the Asexuality Identification Scale. 

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Want To Participate In A Sex Study?

Want To Participate In A Sex Study?

I know you all love reading about the latest sex research, but have you ever wanted to go beyond just reading about it and actually participate in a sex study or two (or three or four)? If so, here's your chance. Check out my Sex Studies page, which is updated regularly with participation requests from sex scientists across the globe. You are eligible to participate in as many or as few of the studies as you would like, depending upon whether you meet the selection criteria. The participation opportunities currently open address a diverse range of topics including sex dreams, sex parties, multiple orgasms, views on pornography, and more. Any help you can provide by participating in a study or spreading the word about these research opportunities (e.g., by liking the Sex Studies page on Facebook or tweeting a link to it) would be greatly appreciated and will help to advance our understanding of human sexuality.

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More Evidence That Pornography Use Is Not A General Risk Factor For Erectile Dysfunction

More Evidence That Pornography Use Is Not A General Risk Factor For Erectile Dysfunction

Many in the popular media have argued that the increased availability of online pornography is contributing to an earlier onset of erectile difficulties in men. However, scientific research has not produced evidence consistent with such claims. For instance, in a study published earlier this year in Sexual Medicine, researchers found that there was no association between the number of hours men spent watching porn per week and their erectile functioning. Another paper on this same topic just appeared in The Journal of Sexual Medicine and yielded similar conclusions.

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What You Should Know About Having Sex During Pregnancy

What You Should Know About Having Sex During Pregnancy

Many women (and their partners) have concerns about sex during pregnancy. For instance, survey research has found that 25-50% of pregnant women and 25% of their male partners have concerns about potentially hurting or "traumatizing" the baby by having intercourse [1]. Another common concern is whether there is a certain point during a pregnancy at which sexual activity should cease. These concerns lead many pregnant couples to have sex less often than they would like, or to have sex that is less satisfying than usual because they are distracted or anxious. So what does the research have to say with regard to these concerns? 

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Women’s Reasons For Having Anal Sex

Women’s Reasons For Having Anal Sex

Anal sex is a sexual activity that is frequently reported by both men and women in America. For instance, a recent CDC survey reported that 44% of men and 36% of women in the U.S. have had anal sex at least once before in their lives. Despite the prevalence of this sexual activity, relatively little research has explored people’s motivations for trying it or what the experience is like, especially among heterosexual women. A new study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior offers a rare look into some of the reasons women report for having anal sex and their perceptions of the activity itself. 

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Study: Men Who Exercise More Report Better Erectile Function

Study: Men Who Exercise More Report Better Erectile Function

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is one of the most common sexual difficulties reported by men. It is a complex problem that can be caused by numerous factors, including some that are biological, psychological, and social. In recent years, a significant amount or research attention has been devoted to understanding ways of preventing and treating ED, and a growing number of studies point to one thing men can do to potentially help themselves in this area that does not require popping any pills or spending any money: get more exercise. 

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Sex Question Friday: How Many People Have Cheated Before?

Sex Question Friday: How Many People Have Cheated Before?

A reader submitted the following question:

"Just how common is cheating? What percentage of people admit that they have done it before?"

This is a surprisingly difficult question to answer because it depends upon how you define “cheating.” Specifically, are you talking only about sexual infidelity, or are you also asking about emotional infidelity? When researchers use different definitions, they can obtain wildly different results!

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Video: The Secret To Desire In A Long-Term Relationship

Video: The Secret To Desire In A Long-Term Relationship

In this TED talk, therapist Ester Perel (author of Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence) argues that, in the modern world, married people have come to expect a lot of their spouses. We want our partner to simultaneously be both our best friend and our enduring object of sexual desire. In other words, we want our spouse to fulfill all of our needs, many of which would seem to be in conflict with one another (e.g., the need for stability vs. the need for surprise). Not only that, but we want our partners to do this in an age where humans are living far longer than ever before! So how do we balance these competing needs in a long-term relationship? Check out the video below to learn more.

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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--a woman can 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 what purpose (if any) does it serve? 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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