The New Documentary About Dr. Ruth is Definitely Worth Watching

The New Documentary About Dr. Ruth is Definitely Worth Watching

I grew up in the 1980s, so I couldn’t help but know who Dr. Ruth was. Her popularity exploded and she was absolutely everywhere. I heard her on the radio. I saw her in the movies and on talk shows—she was even on MTV. However, I didn’t fully understand or appreciate how revolutionary the work she was doing truly was back then. For a long time, all I really knew was that she was a short woman who talked a lot about this thing called “sex,” something else I didn’t fully understand in the 80s, either. 

On my way to the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality conference in Denver last week, a movie called Ask Dr. Ruth showed up as one of my in-flight entertainment options. Given that I was headed to a sex conference, a movie about Dr. Ruth only seemed appropriate to watch. Plus, I was always curious to learn more about this woman I had heard so much about growing up. So I began watching and was enthralled from start to finish. 

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Child Sexual Abuse is Preventable, Not Inevitable

Child Sexual Abuse is Preventable, Not Inevitable

Is child sexual abuse inevitable? A lot of people seem to be under the impression that it’s only a matter of time before someone who is attracted to children acts on their urges. However, pedophilia researchers increasingly believe that many—perhaps most—child sex offenses could actually be prevented if we just took a different approach to dealing with this problem.

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Seeking Participants For Sex Studies!

Seeking Participants For Sex Studies!

If you're reading this post, odds are that you love learning about the latest sex research. But have you ever wanted to go beyond reading about it and take part in an actual sex study? If so, check out my Sex Studies page, which is updated regularly with calls for participation from sex scientists across the globe. Nineteen studies have been added since the beginning of 2019, with several new opportunities coming in each month!

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Why You Shouldn't Buy Into the Whole "No Nut November" Thing

Why You Shouldn't Buy Into the Whole "No Nut November" Thing

Every November, a bunch of guys on the internet challenge each other to go a whole month without ejaculating. It’s “No Nut November,” as they call it. Men do this for a range of reasons. For example, some claim that it enhances strength, energy, and/or focus.

The truth, however, is that there isn’t any scientific evidence that giving up masturbation (or ejaculation) will enhance your health—in fact, if anything, research suggests that there are more potential health benefits to be had by indulging in self-pleasure than by abstaining.

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Sexual Arousal Puts Us In a Risk-Taking State of Mind

Sexual Arousal Puts Us In a Risk-Taking State of Mind

Why do people engage in risky sexual behaviors? This is, of course, a complex question and there are obviously many contributing factors. For example, some people take sexual risks because they’re drunk or high, others do so because they have sensation seeking personalities, and yet others do so because of peer or partner pressure. However, even without these other factors present, it’s also the case that simply being sexually aroused increases our odds of taking sexual risks.

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How Many Young Adults Have Ever Faked an Orgasm, and Why They Did It

How Many Young Adults Have Ever Faked an Orgasm, and Why They Did It

It is a widely known fact that people sometimes pretend to orgasm during sex. But just how many have ever done it? Why do they do it? And how do fake orgasms differ for men and women? Check out the infographic below for a look at what research on young adults has revealed with respect to people’s experiences with faking orgasm and the motivations behind pretending to climax.

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How People’s Porn Searches Change on Halloween

How People’s Porn Searches Change on Halloween

Our sexual interests are seasonal. For example, if you look at trends in porn searches throughout the year, you’ll see that they follow a predictable pattern of changes that reflect seasonal events and holidays. For example, there’s a reliable peak in porn searches related to Santa Claus each year around the Christmas holiday. Similarly, porn searches related to passion, love, and romance increase each year on Valentine’s Day. 

So given that Halloween is happening this week, should we expect a peak in searches for spooky porn?

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Vampires and Werewolves and Mermaids, Oh My! How Many People Fantasize About Sex with Mythical Creatures?

Vampires and Werewolves and Mermaids, Oh My! How Many People Fantasize About Sex with Mythical Creatures?

With Halloween just around the corner, people will soon start dressing up as all kinds of mythical creatures, from werewolves to vampires to mermaids and beyond. Most people who dress up like this for Halloween are probably just doing it for fun—however, others may be doing it because they get a sexual thrill out of it. I mean, if you’re already in costume, this provides a convenient opportunity (or excuse) to try out some unique role play scenarios, or to perhaps reenact your favorite sex scenes from True Blood or Twilight

So how many people are turned on by the idea of sex with a mythical creature anyway?

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One Person’s Sexual Problem is Another Person’s Erotic Desire

One Person’s Sexual Problem is Another Person’s Erotic Desire

What counts as a sexual “problem?” It depends who you ask. 

For example, consider the phenomenon often referred to as “premature ejaculation” among men. What I’m talking about here are guys who tend to reach orgasm very quickly, sometimes with minimal to no physical stimulation of the penis. While this is widely considered to be a sexual dysfunction (in fact, it’s even listed in the DSM), it turns out that a lot of people fetishize this very same thing.  

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How the Sexual Effects of Alcohol, Marijuana, and Molly Compare

How the Sexual Effects of Alcohol, Marijuana, and Molly Compare

Alcohol, marijuana, and ecstasy/MDMA/Molly are among the most popular substances people use to enhance their sexual experiences. But when it comes to their effects, how similar or different are these drugs?

A recent study published in the journal Psychology and Sexuality offers some insight.

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How Couples Can Sustain a Strong Sexual Connection for a Lifetime

How Couples Can Sustain a Strong Sexual Connection for a Lifetime

As a sex educator and researcher, one of the most common questions I get asked (besides “am I normal?”) is how a couple can stay sexually connected and passionate for the long term. It’s no surprise that this is such a common question when research shows that sexual passion typically declines over the course of a relationship. In fact, on average, sexual frequency and satisfaction start dropping after just one year.

However, this doesn’t mean that maintaining sexual passion or a satisfying sex life is impossible in a long-term relationship. So how do you do it?

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What You Think You Know About the Male Refractory Period is Probably Wrong

What You Think You Know About the Male Refractory Period is Probably Wrong

The refractory period is usually defined as a phase following orgasm during which additional orgasms are impossible. Sexual arousal is often said to be very difficult during this time as well. The refractory period is usually discussed in relation to men; women are often said to have no such period, and this difference has been used to explain why women are more likely than men to have multiple orgasms. 

This narrative—while extraordinarily popular and pervasive in human sexuality textbooks and websites—might be incorrect, though. The truth of the matter is that we don’t actually know all that much about the refractory period—it’s a “shortcoming” in the sexuality literature, so to speak.

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Nine Things You Should Know About Casual Sex

Nine Things You Should Know About Casual Sex

Casual sex is common, and studies suggest that most people will have it at one point or another. However, despite its prevalence, casual sex is widely misunderstood. Here are nine things science has taught us about casual sex that are worth knowing.

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Why It's Important To Recognize Differences Between Men and Women

Why It's Important To Recognize Differences Between Men and Women

I’ve read a lot of media articles recently arguing that men and women really aren’t that different—and that any differences that do exist are due entirely to cultural conditioning. While I believe the authors of these articles are well intentioned and are striving for a noble goal of wanting to reduce gender inequality, I can’t help but feel that they are doing a disservice to readers by minimizing or (in some cases) completely ignoring important sex differences. The scientific reality is that men’s and women’s bodies are fundamentally different, and it’s in everyone’s interest to pay careful attention to those differences.

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What Does It Mean To Be Sex Positive?

What Does It Mean To Be Sex Positive?

What does it mean to be sex positive? This is one of those terms that different people define in different ways; however, at the core of most definitions is the idea that we must recognize that human sexuality—in its diverse and myriad forms of expression—is natural and healthy. Of course, there is an important caveat to this, which is that we’re only talking about consensual sexual expression here. Nonconsensual sex is another matter entirely.

Anyone who works in the areas of sex education, research, or therapy would do well to spend some time thinking about their own sex-positive philosophy because it’s vital that all of us approach our work in a non-judgmental fashion.

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Older Women Who Date Younger Men Are More Satisfied

Older Women Who Date Younger Men Are More Satisfied

Relationships in which a woman is significantly older than her male partner have always attracted a lot of attention and scrutiny. Case in point: remember what big news it was when Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher were together? Or the international media obsession that followed French president Emmanuel Macron and his spouse, Brigitte, who happens to be 24 years his senior?

This same scrutiny isn’t usually applied to relationships in which men are significantly older than their female partners. For example, U.S. President Donald Trump happens to be 24 years older than Melania. Certainly, the Trumps have attracted a lot of media attention—it just hasn’t been for their age difference! Research on age-gap relationships bears out this double standard.

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How Porn Changes The Way Teens Think About Sex, And Why We Need Porn Literacy

How Porn Changes The Way Teens Think About Sex, And Why We Need Porn Literacy

How does pornography affect the way that teens think about and approach sex? Is there a link between pornography and sexual violence, as many in the media have claimed? Also what’s the most effective way to talk to teens about sex and pornography in the first place? Dr. Emily Rothman thoughtfully addresses these questions and more in the TEDMed video below.

Rothman’s talk is one of the best porn talks I’ve seen because it presents a very balanced take on the issue. It’s not an ideologically driven pro-porn or anti-porn take; rather, it’s an attempt to start a nuanced conversation about what we do and don’t know concerning the effects of porn and how we can use that knowledge to inform sex education efforts.

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In Nature, Sexual Deception is Everywhere You Look

In Nature, Sexual Deception is Everywhere You Look

A few weeks ago, I posted an article about the beautiful—but sexually deceitful—orchid. Some orchids have evolved to mimic the appearance and scent of female bees in order to lure male bees, which then attempt to have sex with the flowers. This is in the orchid’s interest, of course, because the bees’ actions actually help the orchid to reproduce through pollination. However, it’s not necessarily in the interest of the male bees. 

This kind of sexual deception is hardly unique to orchids—in fact, you can find evidence of it throughout nature.

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The Erotic Equation and Why We’re Drawn to People Who Play Hard to Get

The Erotic Equation and Why We’re Drawn to People Who Play Hard to Get

In Jack Morin’s classic book The Erotic Mind, he describes the “erotic equation” as follows:  

Attraction + Obstacles = Excitement

What this equation means is basically that if we’re attracted to something and we’re told we can’t have it, this makes us come to want it even more. It’s kind of like the phenomenon of reverse psychology, and it seems to be a basic part of human nature. Indeed, there’s a lot of evidence that this is true when it comes to both our sexual turn-ons and the romantic partners we’re drawn to. 

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Porn Ed: What Happens When Porn Replaces Sex Education?

Porn Ed: What Happens When Porn Replaces Sex Education?

Adolescents today have greater access to a wider range of pornography than any previous generation. So how is it affecting them?  

This question is the crux of a new episode of Lisa Ling’s CNN series This is Life titled “Porn Ed,” which premieres September 29. Ling wanted to better understand how accessibility to porn is changing the way adolescents and young adults think about sex and approach relationships.  

I had a chance to preview the episode and sit down with Ling to discuss it.

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