There’s a big assumption built into the way most people talk about sexual consent, which is that sex is exclusively a two-person activity. While it’s true that sex most often occurs in pairs, it’s definitely not the case that sex only ever involves two people. Sometimes people have threesomes or participate in orgies or other group encounters. So how does consent work when you have more than two people involved?Read More
What percentage of the United States population identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT)? A large, nationally representative survey conducted by Gallup in 2017 put the overall number at 4.5% of the U.S. population. This number is up a full percentage point from 2012, when it stood at 3.5%. This trend suggests that as the LGBT community has made more social and political gains--including nationwide marriage equality in 2015--more Americans have decided to come out.
The overall number is but one small part of the story here, however.Read More
We’ve long known that there’s a link between sex and headaches. In fact, we can trace this all the way back to Hippocrates, who is thought to be the first to point out a connection between “immoderate venery” and headaches (if, like me, you aren’t familiar with the term “venery,” I’ll save you the trouble of Googling it—it refers to “the practice or pursuit of sexual pleasure”) . However, it wasn’t until the late 1960s and early 1970s that physicians really began formally documenting this in medical case reports .Read More
About a decade ago, I came across a book entitled The Technology of Orgasm by Rachel Maines. It quickly became one of my favorites on the history of sex because it presented a fascinating and scandalous story behind how the vibrator came to be such a popular device—a story that appeared to be grounded in rigorous academic research. It turns out that there’s a major problem with this story, though: it’s not true.Read More
People have been searching for tools to enhance their sex lives for centuries. Historically, and even today, they have looked to various herbs and foods in the hope of finding an aphrodisiac that will enhance sexual desire, performance, or satisfaction. While many foods and herbs have been touted as aphrodisiacs, however, there hasn’t necessarily been a lot of evidence to back up these claims. And, in some cases, the data suggest that they might not be very effective after all.
In this post, we’ll take a look at what research says about some of the most well-known aphrodisiacs, according to a recent review of the literature published in the journal Sexual Medicine Reviews.Read More
I am pleased to announce the sixth annual SPSP Sexuality Pre-Conference! It will be held next February prior to the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. Our last five pre-conferences were wildly successful and we are excited to continue building on this tradition.
The next SPSP Sexuality Pre-Conference will take place on Thursday, February 7, 2019 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. The theme will be "sexual pleasure and positivity." We selected this theme because, more often than not, sexuality research tends to adopt a risk-prevention perspective. We hope the presentations in this pre-conference will instead highlight the numerous ways that sex and sexuality enhance the human condition and benefit society.Read More
I have been studying the science of sex for the last ten years. During that time, I’ve learned a lot about what turns people on, from the vanilla to the kinky.
Just when I thought I’d heard it all, I embarked on a study of sexual desire that ultimately became the largest and most comprehensive survey of sexual fantasies ever conducted in the United States.Read More
Why should scientists study love? Because, as social psychologist Dr. Art Aron explains in the video below, it's central to our health and happiness. Dr. Aron talks not only about why love is a worthwhile area of scientific inquiry, but also how he started studying love in the first place and some of the most fascinating things he has discovered by researching this topic.Read More
I made a major career move this summer. After working ten years as a college professor, I decided it was time for something new: I left academia to become a full-time author. My reasons for this were both personal and professional.
It was a tough decision to leave the academy because there are a lot of things I love about it. So here are four things I’ll miss about being a college professor—and four things I won’t miss at all.Read More
I shared an article on Twitter the other day about the prevalence of infidelity, which prompted a response from my pal Dan Savage about how cheating is associated with the length of a relationship. Basically, he wanted to know whether cheating is more or less common when you look at couples that have been together for a very long time. This is an interesting question and one that I’ve actually never been asked before, so I did some digging and here’s what I found. It turned out to be a pretty interesting story.Read More
Some men’s penises seem to grow more than others when they change from a flaccid to erect state. In colloquial terms, men who experience a larger increase in length are often referred to as “growers”; by contrast, those who have a smaller length increase are often referred to as “showers.”
So what is the typical change in penis length from flaccid to erect—and just how many men fall into the category of grower versus shower anyway? A recent study published in the International Journal of Impotence Research offers some insight.Read More
Many sex education programs in the United States fail to meet the needs of sexual and gender minority students. This is especially true for programs that have an abstinence-only focus. Research has found that LGBTQIA students who take such courses report that they not only reinforce negative stereotypes, but they are also seriously lacking when it comes to providing useful and relevant information and resources .
We need comprehensive and inclusive sex education—and there are a lot of wonderful people in my field who are working to change the way that we approach sex ed around the world; unfortunately, however, there’s a lot of political resistance and progress is slow. The good news, though, is that some sex educators have begun to put together valuable educational resources for LGBTQIA students that are readily available to anyone with an internet connection.Read More
How do you feel after sex? If you’re like most people, you’re probably pretty happy. After all, “it feels good” and “it’s fun” are among the most common reasons men and women alike report having sex in the first place. We have sex, in part, because it’s a rewarding activity that creates positive affect—it tends to make us feel pretty damn good. However, not everyone experiences sex that way.Read More
Many women find man-on-man pornography to be sexually arousing. In fact, one of the world's biggest porn sites--Pornhub--has reported that gay male porn is the second most popular category among female visitors. Many of you may be wondering what it is that draws so many women to it. A recent study published in the journal Porn Studies offers some valuable insight.Read More
Sexual orientation is all too commonly viewed as an either/or proposition, meaning you’re either gay or you’re straight, and nothing in between. This view is widely held, even by many people within the LGBTQ community itself, as described in a recent set of studies published in the journal Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity.
Across two studies involving a total of 288 gay and lesbian participants, researchers examined attitudes toward and stereotypes of bisexuals. Here’s a brief review of their major findings:Read More
Sixty-five years ago today (August 20, 1953), the media first reported on some of the major findings from Alfred Kinsey's classic book Sexual Behavior in the Human Female. As many of you know, this was the first book of its kind to really explore women's sexual attitudes and behaviors from a scientific point of view.Read More
Our sexual fantasies appear to reflect, at least in part, our personality traits and characteristics. In studying the sex fantasies of more than 4,000 Americans for my book Tell Me What You Want, I found that the Big Five personality factors of openness to experience, conscientiousness, agreeableness, extraversion, and neuroticism were all linked to the types of fantasies people reported having.
Below, I briefly describe what each of these traits is all about and how they are related to the types of things you’re more (or less) likely to fantasize about:Read More
Why does sex tend to feel good? In order to answer this question, we need to step back and look at what our brains and bodies are doing during sexual activity. In the video below, our friends over at ASAP Science provide a handy summary of the changes that occur.Read More
Here's an updated list of the ten most read Q&As of all time on the blog. These questions (all submitted by readers of Sex and Psychology) span quite the range of topics. Some of them are united by this theme: “What’s normal when it comes to sex?” Others, however, focus more on curiosity about different sexual practices, as well as what's safe when it comes to sex.Read More