We Tend To Select Romantic Partners Who Look Like Our Parents

We Tend To Select Romantic Partners Who Look Like Our Parents

Throughout the animal kingdom, scientists have found that early caregiving experiences shape later patterns of sexual attraction.

For example, if you ever took an Introductory Psychology course, you probably learned about Konrad Lorenz’s discovery that baby geese “imprint” on the first moving object they see shortly after birth, meaning they treat that object as if it were their mother and start following it around [1]. Perhaps your textbook even included some adorable photos of Lorenz being trailed by a gaggle of geese that had imprinted on him. However, what’s even more fascinating than this is that, when they grew up, these geese would attempt to mate with human men that physically resembled Lorenz himself—in this case, white dudes with big white beards!

This isn’t a phenomenon unique to geese, though—something similar happens in humans. I know some of you will find this creepy, but humans have a tendency to select romantic partners who physically resemble their childhood caretakers.

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Are There Any Benefits Or Risks To Having Sex During Your Period?

Are There Any Benefits Or Risks To Having Sex During Your Period?

A reader submitted the following question:

“I have read several blogs and magazines saying that having sex during menstruation can help to alleviate cramps. Is there any truth to this? Is there any research? Also is there any risk in having sex in those moments?”

Thanks for these great questions! With respect to the idea that sex reduces cramping and pain during menstruation, you’re right—there are a TON of websites out there making this claim. I did a quick search and saw it mentioned on WebMD, Kinsey Confidential, Medical Daily, and ABC News, among many, many others.

However, not a single one pointed to a specific study or source to back this idea up.

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Length vs Girth: Which Matters More to Women When it Comes to Penis Size?

Length vs Girth: Which Matters More to Women When it Comes to Penis Size?

Many sex researchers have surveyed heterosexual women about their preferences when it comes to penis size. Curiously, though, most of the studies out there have only focused on one dimension of penis size: length. So what do women think about penile circumference, perhaps known more commonly as "girth?" And is one of these two dimensions more important than the other?

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Video: Does Sex Really Sell?

Video: Does Sex Really Sell?

The conventional wisdom when it comes to marketing is that sex sells. This is why it’s not uncommon to see television commercials and magazine ads that focus more attention on scantily clad models than they do on the actual product that’s for sale. However, does this approach to advertising really work in terms of bringing in the bucks?

In the brief video below from our friends over at The Science of Us, they explore what the research has found, and the results are surprising.

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Paying For Sex And The "Girlfriend Experience" (Infographic)

Paying For Sex And The "Girlfriend Experience" (Infographic)

Although prostitution is illegal throughout most of the United States, it’s not uncommon for Americans to buy sex. Most of the purchasers are men, but beyond this, we don’t actually know all that much about who's buying sex or why. In fact, it wasn’t until recently that researchers really began to start looking into this.

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Secret Romances: Not Nearly As Exciting As They Sound

Secret Romances: Not Nearly As Exciting As They Sound

Having a secret relationship is hot, right? That's what the popular media would have us believe. Couples that sneak around together are usually depicted in the movies and on TV as being full of passion and excitement. But is that what secret relationships are actually like in real life? Research suggests that the reality tends to be quite different and that, if anything, secret relationships are likely to fare much worse in most respects than non-secret relationships.

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Video: Explaining Sexual Consent, British Style

Video: Explaining Sexual Consent, British Style

How should we teach people about sexual consent? This is a question that has been getting a lot of attention lately from scientists, politicians, and sex educators alike. Increasingly, one approach people have taken is to use analogies. Because sex is a topic that’s difficult for many people to discuss, the thought is that by analogizing it to something that’s perceived as less taboo or controversial, it has the potential to help bring more people into the conversation.

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The Sex Lives of Older Adults

The Sex Lives of Older Adults

A reader submitted the following question:

"How many people over age 50 are still having sex?"

Older adults are often assumed to be celibate, but the truth of the matter is that many of us remain sexually active for our entire lives.

As some evidence of this, let's consider findings from a recent, nationally representative U.S. survey of adults aged 14-94.

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In Animals, Female Scarcity May Stimulate Male Same-Sex Behavior

In Animals, Female Scarcity May Stimulate Male Same-Sex Behavior

Sexual contact between members of the same sex has been documented in numerous animal species. Several scientific explanations for this phenomenon have been proposed over the years, many of which have argued that the underlying reason may be adaptive. For example, the social glue hypothesis argues that same-sex behavior evolved because it plays a role in the establishment and maintenance of relationships among members of the same sex.

However, a new study published in the journal Behavioral Ecology suggests that animals’ same-sex behavior may not necessarily need to have an adaptive cause. Instead, it may sometimes arise from very specific environmental factors, such as a high population density combined with a heavily skewed sex ratio.

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The Lies We Tell Ourselves About Our Lovers (Video)

The Lies We Tell Ourselves About Our Lovers (Video)

Social psychologists have found that people have a tendency to view their romantic partners in overly idealized ways. For example, we may view our partners as being more intelligent, compassionate, or trustworthy than they really are. Such beliefs have been dubbed positive illusions.

So why do we do this? And is it better to hold positive illusions about a partner or to view them in more realistic terms?

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Infographic: What It's Like To Be A Porn Star

Infographic: What It's Like To Be A Porn Star

Many people are curious about the lives of porn stars. For example, how do they feel about themselves and the work that they do? How much money do they make? How many sex partners do they have during their career? It turns out that surprisingly little research has explored such questions. However, two recently published studies describe (separately) what the lives of male and female porn stars are like. The results are summarized in the infographics below.

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Boxers or Briefs? How Men’s Underwear and Lifestyle Impact Sperm Health

Boxers or Briefs? How Men’s Underwear and Lifestyle Impact Sperm Health

It’s not uncommon for guys to experience fertility problems—even guys who are in the prime of their lives. In fact, some health organizations have claimed that as many as 1 in 5 young men have a low sperm count.

Male fertility issues have multiple causes. Medical conditions are a major contributor, from genetic anomalies to hormone imbalances to certain sexually transmitted infections.

However, several lifestyle factors are also linked to the quantity and quality of men’s “swimmers.” This is important to highlight because it means that medical intervention isn’t always necessary when guys want to improve the health of their sperm.

Indeed, there are some do-it-yourself tricks that can potentially improve a man’s sexual potency.

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Video: Is Casual Sex Unhealthy?

Video: Is Casual Sex Unhealthy?

In the popular media, casual sex is often portrayed in a negative light, with writers focusing largely on the physical and psychological risks of having it. But is this activity really so deserving of such a negative reputation? If you look at the research, what you’ll see is that casual sex isn’t an inherently bad or good thing. Instead, it turns out that casual sex is something that can affect different people in very different ways.

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Is It Healthy To Watch Porn With Your Partner?

Is It Healthy To Watch Porn With Your Partner?

A reader submitted the following question:

“My partner and I have watched porn together in the past and have recently gotten a hentai video game together. After playing it, we had fun sex like we hadn't had in a long time. I worry that we may become dependent on porn to spice up our sex life. Should we be careful, or is this healthy for our relationship?”

Thanks for this very interesting question! First, let me say that you aren’t alone in finding that shared porn use can be sexually exciting. In fact, research has found that people who report watching pornography with their partners tend be more sexually satisfied overall.

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Study: Men Think Women With Tattoos Are More Interested In Casual Sex

Study: Men Think Women With Tattoos Are More Interested In Casual Sex

Men appear to make judgments about women’s sexual intent based upon their physical appearance. For example, research has found that heterosexual men think women are more interested in and willing to have sex to the extent that they’re wearing red and/or revealing clothing. Psychologists believe that men have evolved to pay attention to these and other physical cues that might signal a woman’s interest in sex in order to avoid missing out on potential reproductive opportunities.

It isn’t just what women are wearing that matters, though. A recent set of studies published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior suggests that men also consider women’s tattoos to be a sign of sexual interest.

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Video: Should You Shave Your Pubic Hair?

Video: Should You Shave Your Pubic Hair?

Survey studies have reliably found that a majority of men and women say they have removed some or all of their pubic hair before. The reasons people report for doing this vary widely and include feeling clean and sexy, wanting to make oneself more attractive to a partner, and (for men) wanting to make their penises look bigger.

In the video below, our friends over at ASAP Science take a look at the science of pubic hair. Specifically, they consider the major theories on why pubic hair is thought to exist in the first place, as well as the potential health implications of removing it.

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What’s More Likely From Unprotected Sex: Getting Pregnant or Getting an STD?

What’s More Likely From Unprotected Sex: Getting Pregnant or Getting an STD?

A reader submitted the following question:

“What is more probable in a random heterosexual encounter without protection: getting an STD or getting pregnant? I assume the answer will change with age (higher chances of STD for older people, higher chances of pregnancy for younger women) but I think would be interesting to know the answer for an average person.”

Thanks for this very interesting, but very complex question! There’s not a simple answer because there are a lot of unaccounted for variables here.

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The Newest Treatment For Premature Ejaculation Might Be Botox

The Newest Treatment For Premature Ejaculation Might Be Botox

Botox is well known for its ability to reduce the appearance of facial wrinkles; however, it has a surprising number of medical applications beyond this. In fact, physicians have used Botox to treat everything from migraine headaches to excessive sweating to eyelid and muscle spasms to overactive bladders to crossed eyes! Botox works as a treatment for these and other medical issues by temporarily paralyzing very specific sets of muscles.

So why am I writing about Botox on a sex blog? Because doctors have found that this drug can also be used to treat sexual dysfunctions. For example, studies have shown that Botox is an effective treatment for vaginismus, a condition in which the muscles around the vaginal opening involuntarily contract so tightly that penetration becomes painful or impossible [1]. This isn't the only sexual difficulty for which Botox might help, though. In fact, new research suggests that it may be a novel treatment for premature ejaculation, too.

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John Oliver on the Challenges of Being Transgender (Video)

John Oliver on the Challenges of Being Transgender (Video)

In the last few years, LGBT rights have advanced greatly in America; however, most of the benefits have gone to the Ls, Gs, and Bs. Far fewer have gone to the Ts. For instance, among the many states that have amended their non-discrimination laws, more have included sexual orientation than gender identity. Such disparities are likely a big part of the reason why trans individuals face higher rates of harassment and violence.

In a recent segment from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Oliver takes an in-depth look at the current state of transgender rights in America.

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How Close Are We To The Male Birth Control Pill?

How Close Are We To The Male Birth Control Pill?

When it comes to birth control, women have a lot of choices, including (but not limited to) pills, patches, shots, implants, IUDs, and vaginal rings. By contrast, men currently have just two options--condoms and vasectomies--both of which are far from perfect. However, scientists around the world are hard at work trying to change this.

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