Generally speaking, people tend to have more sex in the summer months than they do in the winter months; however, December is the exception to this winter sex slump. In fact, what the evidence shows is that sexual interest and activity reliably increase this month. This is especially true for the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Check out the video below for a fascinating look at all of the changes in our sex lives that take place in December.Read More
I recently blogged about a study that examined women’s experiences with orgasm during vaginal intercourse. The results revealed that question wording is crucial when it comes to understanding how often women tend to orgasm during this activity: when the question specifically includes clitoral stimulation, women’s reported frequency of orgasm (51-60% of the time) is much higher than when the question specifically excludes clitoral stimulation (21-30% of the time).
There’s another aspect of this study worth highlighting, though, which is how heterosexual men responded when given the same questions about their perceptions of the orgasmic experiences of women. Do men recognize the important role of clitoral stimulation in their partners’ orgasms? And how accurate are they when it comes to estimating how often their partners are reaching orgasm? Let’s take a look.Read More
Sex has the potential to benefit us in numerous ways. Among other things, research suggests that it may be good for our physical health (it is a form of exercise after all). In addition, sex relieves stress, it increases our sense of meaning in life, and it may even improve our memory. A new study published this year in the Journal of Management suggests yet another potential benefit: sexual activity just might make us better at our jobs—at least on days following sex.Read More
It’s that time of year when many of us start a frantic search for the perfect holiday gift for a significant other. Despite putting a lot time, effort, and money into buying a present, a lot of us find that is quickly forgotten and, at best, brings only temporary happiness. You might be able to avoid that outcome this year—and potentially improve your relationship at the same time—by instead giving your partner a gift that promotes touch and intimacy.Read More
You might think that it would be easy to define a term like sex—but it’s not. It turns out that different people have very different definitions, and they make all kinds of interesting distinctions. For example, some people only think that intercourse “counts” as sex if they have an orgasm. Further complicating matters is the fact that who’s participating in a given behavior influences what counts. Specifically, we seem to hold ourselves to different standards compared to other people.Read More
Several studies have looked at women’s experiences with orgasm during penile-vaginal intercourse. However, these studies have produced variable results, making it difficult to draw firm conclusions about how often women tend to reach orgasm during this sexual activity.
Why have the findings varied so much? According to a new study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, part of the reason may be due to the fact that the questions researchers have been asking have been somewhat ambiguous. It turns out that question wording matters when it comes to studying women’s orgasms. It matters a lot.Read More
Today is World AIDS Day, a global public health campaign that began 29 years ago in order to increase HIV/AIDS awareness and education. In support of this campaign, I'm sharing a video created by our friends over at ASAP Science that offers some useful and important information on the subject. Specifically, this video details how HIV affects the body, it discusses why a cure has been so elusive, and it offers a glimpse into the future of HIV treatment. Check it out, and be sure to do your part in contributing to HIV awareness and education by sharing it.Read More
Consensually non-monogamous (CNM) relationships are those in which all of the partners involved agree to have sexual and/or romantic relationships with other persons. This can take many forms, from swinging to polyamory to cuckolding to open relationships. Research suggests that approximately one-fifth of Americans have previously been in some type of CNM relationship, whereas about 5% are currently in such a relationship.
Who’s most likely to have experience with consensual non-monogamy? Are there certain demographic traits or characteristics linked to this relationship practice? A recent review paper published in the journal Current Sexual Health Reports explored this very question. Here’s what the authors found:Read More
New research finds that the antibiotic doxycycline reduces the odds of contracting some bacterial sexually transmitted infections (STIs) if taken within 72 hours of condomless sex.
The findings, presented earlier this year at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, came from a study of 232 HIV-negative men who have sex with men (MSM). Half of the men were given a prescription for the drug and instructed to take two pills (100 mg) within three days any time they had sex without condoms. The remaining men did not receive the antibiotic regimen; however, everyone was given condoms and counseling about safer sex. All participants were tested regularly for STIs for several months afterward.Read More
Sex scientists have a lot of tools to choose from when it comes to measuring people’s sexual orientation. However, every tool poses a unique set of challenges.
The most straightforward way to measure someone’s sexuality is simply to ask them who they’re attracted to or what their sexual identity label is. The downside to this method, of course, is that not everyone will answer honestly. For instance, studies have found that some heterosexual men who espouse homophobic views actually demonstrate strong genital arousal in response to gay porn, likely because they’re in denial about their sexuality. As the famous line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet goes, they “doth protest too much, methinks.”Read More
For all of my readers celebrating Thanksgiving today, don't forget to give thanks for sex! Why? Research has found that sex is good for us in numerous ways, both physically and psychologically. In this post, I've pulled together a list of seven reasons to be thankful for sex today (and every other day of the year).
1. Sex is a multi-purpose activity--one that allows us to meet a wide range of needs. Believe it or not, scientists have identified at least 237 distinct reasons/motivations for having sex! Not only is sex a fun and pleasurable way to pass the time, but it's also a potential way to reproduce, to demonstrate love and affection, and to find relief (studies have found that, for couples, having sex on one day is linked to feeling less stress the following day). As you can clearly see, sex has the potential to do a lot for us.Read More
I've taught human sexuality courses in colleges and universities for more than a decade. Teaching a course on this subject obviously poses a number of unique challenges, but one of the biggest for me was finding the right textbook. Don't get me wrong--there are a ton of fantastic sex books out there written by superstars in the field; however, none of them offered the perspective that I take in my class. As someone working in a psychology department, I want a book that emphasizes psychological research and theory, as opposed to one that largely dwells on the clinical and biological side of things. My students want this too. In fact, for the first several years I taught this class, my end-of-semester evaluations had a lot of comments along the lines of “great class, but where’s the psychology?” Given that I couldn’t find a book that met my needs and the needs of my students, I decided to write my own, which I titled The Psychology of Human Sexuality.
The first edition was published by Wiley-Blackwell in 2014, and the second edition will be released on December 8, 2017. Let me tell you a little bit about the book and what's new in the revised edition.Read More
Many sexuality researchers and educators have claimed that kissing is a universal or near universal sexual and romantic behavior. For example, several sexuality textbooks explicitly say that kissing isn't just popular in the U.S. and other Western countries, but “it is also very common in most other societies” . These claims make sense in light of research suggesting that kissing has evolutionary significance. For instance, some researchers have suggested that kissing could be adaptive to the extent that it promotes an exchange of healthy bacteria. At the same time, others have claimed that kissing might play an important role when it comes to mate choice.
However, if we truly want to make claims about the universality of kissing, we really need a large cross-cultural study to explore whether kissing actually occurs in different cultures and societies. A recent study published in the American Anthropologist does precisely this, and the results suggest that kissing may not be the universal behavior it has been previously assumed to be .Read More
Psychologists have long known that gays and lesbians have an elevated risk of depression and anxiety compared to heterosexual individuals. This health disparity is thought to be due in large part to the chronic, high levels of stress faced by sexual minorities due to their stigmatized social status.
But what about bisexual persons? Do they face similar mental health disparities? Are they perhaps even worse off due to the fact that bisexuals often face prejudice from both the gay and heterosexual communities? Unfortunately, most research on the mental health of sexual minorities has lumped bisexuals together with gays and lesbians, making it difficult to determine exactly how bisexual individuals stack up relative to other groups. However, a new review paper published in the Journal of Sex Research offers some insight.Read More
In the modern world, we have a tendency to blame almost all of our problems on technology--and this is especially true when it comes to sexual problems. For example, I’ve written a lot about how we like to blame everything on pornography, from sexual violence to risky sex to erectile dysfunction, among other things. In all of these cases, porn serves as a convenient target, but it's not necessarily the right one.
Today, I want to focus on a different form of technology that's been getting a lot of blame for sexual problems: online dating apps. They’ve been in the news a lot lately, with many pointing to them as the culprit for rising rates of STDs. Headlines like this make it clear what I mean: “Tinder and Grindr Dating Apps are Causing Cases of Syphilis, Gonorrhea, and HIV to soar.”Read More
Eharmony and other popular online dating sites promise to help users find compatible romantic partners through the use of specialized matching algorithms. These services were founded on the idea that romantic attraction is something that is both rational and predictable. But is that really the case?Read More
This year, Pornhub celebrated its tenth birthday. To commemorate the occasion, they released some fascinating data on trends in users’ viewing habits. Among other things, over 10 million videos have been posted on the site to date. Also, Pornhub now receives 75 million (!) visitors per day, and the average user spends about 10 minutes there per visit.
You can check out the full report here in all its glory; however, if you’re just after a few highlights and some analysis, keep on reading. Here are some of the things that stood out to me regarding the most popular porn genres on the site.Read More
What effect does marijuana have on sexual function? Surprisingly little research has addressed this question, and the few studies that exist have produced conflicting results. For example, while survey research has found that many men say marijuana increases their sexual stamina , animal studies have found that cannabis seems to inhibit erections in male rodents . So which is it? Does marijuana help or hurt sexual performance? And are the effects similar for men and women?Read More
Most people have had dreams about sex before. However, there’s a lot of variability in the kinds of sex dreams that people have. So where does all of that variation come from? Psychologists believe it’s because our sex dreams are, to some extent, a reflection of our waking sexual interests. In other words, the things that we’re attracted to in our everyday life have a tendency to carry over into our dreams. As some evidence of this, a recent study examined how men’s actual sexual behaviors and the type of porn they watch are related to the content of their sex dreams.Read More
In the video below, I've compiled a list of seven interesting facts about vaginas and vulvas--all tastefully displayed against the backdrop of (mostly) fruits and flowers that bear a minor resemblance to these body parts and/or have a reputation for being aphrodisiacs. Enjoy!Read More