When And Why Do We Choose To Expose Others’ Infidelity?

When And Why Do We Choose To Expose Others’ Infidelity?

Imagine you just discovered that someone you know has committed infidelity. Would you keep this information to yourself, or would you share it with others? A new study just published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior suggests that there is no simple answer to this question. One’s decision to expose others’ infidelity is complex and depends upon many factors.

Read More

Sex Question Friday: What's The Secret To Making Friends With Benefits Work?

Sex Question Friday: What's The Secret To Making Friends With Benefits Work?

A reader submitted the following question:

"What's the secret to making a friends with benefits situation work? How do you avoid things getting complicated?"

There's no doubt about it--friends with benefits (FWBs) sometimes turn into complicated situations, often because one person ends up wanting more from the relationship than the other. As a result, it is perhaps not surprising that the development of unreciprocated feelings is one of the most commonly cited concerns people have about starting FWB relationships [1]. So what can you do to reduce the odds that this will happen? A growing body of research suggests that the key to a successful FWB is up-front communication.

Read More

How Common Is Sexual Interest In Prepubescent Children Among Men?

How Common Is Sexual Interest In Prepubescent Children Among Men?

Little research has attempted to determine the prevalence of sexual interest in prepubescent children among adult men. The studies that do exist have tended to involve small, non-representative samples, and they have not always distinguished between interest in prepubescent and postpubescent children. A new study in press at The Journal of Sex Research addresses some of these limitations and offers some insight into just how common this interest might be.

Read More

Is Same-Sex Attraction “Contagious” Within Adolescent Social Networks?

Is Same-Sex Attraction “Contagious” Within Adolescent Social Networks?

Many parents believe that homosexuality is contagious, being transmitted through social contact. In fact, some of them endeavor to keep their children away from gay and lesbian peers out of fear that their children will “catch the gay.” But is there any scientific basis for believing that this might actually be true? Not so much. According to a new study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, although adolescents’ peers appear to hold sway over each other’s sexual and romantic behaviors, this effect does not appear to extend to same-sex attraction.

Read More

How Indiana Politicians Are Ignoring Science And Harming Hoosiers’ Sexual Health

How Indiana Politicians Are Ignoring Science And Harming Hoosiers’ Sexual Health

My home state of Indiana has been in the news a lot lately, and most of the news coverage has portrayed it in a pretty unflattering light. This is due almost entirely to the actions of our elected officials, who appear to be out of touch with the views of everyday Hoosiers and with the scientific community on matters of sexuality and sexual health.  Much has been said and written in recent weeks about passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and the concern that its original wording was intended to license discrimination against gay, lesbian, and bisexual persons. This is a prime example of how the State government’s actions are out of step with the public, who overwhelmingly oppose discrimination against sexual minorities. Our elected officials’ disregard for science has not generated quite the same level of national attention as the RFRA law, but it is nonetheless just as concerning. In this article, I would like to take a look at the disconnect between our State government’s actions and the science, and consider its potential impact on the sexual health of Indiana residents.

Read More

Check Out The 2015 Juried Art Show At The Kinsey Institute!

Check Out The 2015 Juried Art Show At The Kinsey Institute!

Sex and Psychology is proud to be a sponsor of the upcoming 2015 Juried Art Show at the Kinsey Institute. The Juried Art Show is an international competition for art of all forms that involves themes of “sex, gender, eroticism, reproduction, sexuality, romantic relationships, the politics of sex and gender, the human figure, and sexual health.” The show, now in its 10th year, will be held at the Grunwald Gallery of Art on the campus of Indiana University (Bloomington, Indiana).

Read More

Willingness To Date Bisexuals Among Gay And Straight Men And Women

Willingness To Date Bisexuals Among Gay And Straight Men And Women

Bisexual persons are frequently stereotyped as being sexually confused, secretly gay, highly promiscuous, and incapable of maintaining a monogamous relationship. These negative views of bisexuals are held by many heterosexuals, as well as by many gays and lesbians. What are the implications of all of this binegativity? A recent study published in the journal Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity suggests that one possible outcome is that both gay and heterosexual persons may be less interested in having sexual and romantic relationships with bisexual persons

Read More

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. 

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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? 

Read More

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. 

Read More

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. 

Read More

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!

Read More

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.

Read More

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:

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More