As part of the study abroad course I’m teaching on Sex and Culture in the Netherlands, I booked us a tour of Amsterdam’s Red Light District with the famous Fokken twins, Louise and Martine. The Fokken sisters have been employed as sex workers for over a half-century and the day we met just happened to be their 77th birthday. In addition to answering our questions, they talked with us about what it’s like to be a sex worker and how they’ve seen the business change over time. Here are a few of the most interesting parts of our conversation:Read More
I've been researching sex laws in the Netherlands as part of the study abroad course on sex and culture that I'm teaching. One of the ways sex laws in the Netherlands are unique compared to the US is that prostitution and brothels are legal and regulated by the government--but you probably already knew that. So here are a few other legal differences that might be new to you.Read More
Greetings from Amsterdam! For the second year in a row, I’m teaching a study abroad course on Sexuality and Culture in the Netherlands. Today is the first full day of my two-week course, and I couldn't be more excited. Amsterdam is, of course, an awesome city—but it’s also a fascinating place to teach students about cross-cultural differences in sexuality for a couple of weeks.Read More
Scientific research papers are often indecipherable to the average reader. This is due, in part, to the fact that scientists use a lot of jargon—they have a special vocabulary that usually doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to non-scientists. This jargon issue is something that occurs across all scientific disciplines, and sexology is no exception.
In this post, let’s take a look at several sex jargon terms I’ve come across in research papers and decipher what the researchers were really talking about. Here goes…Read More
Every time a new year comes around, a lot of us start making resolutions for self-improvement. For example, some people resolve to lose weight or get in shape, others vow to quit smoking, and yet others plan to get their financial houses in order. As you ponder your own resolutions for 2018, here's one more that you might wish to adopt: resolve to have better sex this year.
How exactly might you accomplish this? Research offers some insight. Here are eight scientifically-backed suggestions for enhancing your sex life in 2018.Read More
As 2017 winds down, let's take a look back at this year's ten most read articles on Sex and Psychology. The following posts represent an incredibly diverse range of content and, combined, have been read nearly a half-million times! There were quite a few similarities to last year's list--in fact, the top four articles from last year appeared somewhere on the list again this year. Also, as you'll see, articles related to orgasms, pornography, and anal sex were especially popular this year, as were articles that addressed questions submitted by readers of the blog (in fact, six of the top ten articles were Q&As!).Read More
Many of us decorate with mistletoe around the Christmas holiday. It's often hung from the ceiling or over a door, with kisses offered to those who stand under it. Have you ever wondered why, though? How did mistletoe come to be associated with kissing anyway? Here’s a look at what we know, along with some other interesting trivia about what is widely considered to be the sexiest and most romantic Christmas symbol.Read More
It's hard for me to believe this, but Sex and Psychology is six years old today! When I began blogging in 2011, I had no idea where this journey would take me--but it's been one amazing ride so far. I'm thrilled that Sex and Psychology has become a widely read and referenced resource for scientifically-based information about sex. I'm also humbled by all of the opportunities that have emerged as a result of this blog, including regular columns with publications like Playboy and VICE, as well as a major book on the science of sexual fantasy that's set for release in 2018 (stay tuned for more!).Read More
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
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
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
As part of the study abroad course I’m currently teaching on Sex and Culture in the Netherlands, I’ve done some research into what sex laws look like over here. As I wrote in previous posts about this class, two of the ways that laws in the Netherlands are unique compared to the United States are that prostitution is legal and comprehensive sex education is mandated. However, those are just a couple of the most interesting differences. Here are a few more:
1.) Sex and the disabled. The Netherlands doesn’t just have legal prostitution—they also have government-subsidized prostitution for certain segments of the population. Specifically, disabled citizens are eligible to receive government assistance to hire sex workers. Why? Because sex is seen as a right—something that everyone who wants to participate in should be able to enjoy. Also, it’s something that’s seen as good for people’s mental and physical health.Read More
What would it be like if prostitution were legal? If you're from the United States or any other part of the world where sex work is (largely) prohibited by law, this might be a very difficult thing to imagine. However, if you look to countries where sex work is legal today, you can see that there are actually several different forms it can take. For example, in Switzerland, they’ve opened up drive-in sex garages, which you can learn more about here. And in the Netherlands (where I'm teaching a study abroad course on sex and culture at the moment), they have walk-up sex windows in the Red Light District.Read More
Hello from Amsterdam! Today is the first day of a class I’m teaching on Sexuality and Culture in the Netherlands. I’m confident I could not have picked a better place to teach my very first study abroad course. Amsterdam is, well, just an awesome city—but it’s also a fascinating place to go learn about cross-cultural differences in sexuality for a couple of weeks. Here's why.Read More
Pornhub recently released their annual year-in-review of users’ viewing habits and, as usual, the results were fascinating. Among other things, they reported that nearly 92 billion videos were viewed on their site in 2016 (to put that number in context, that’s the equivalent of each person on earth watching 12.5 videos). In addition, the most popular porn-watching times were between 11 PM to 1:00 AM (or “fappy hour,” as they call it), and the most popular search term overall on the site was “lesbian” (for the second year in a row) You can check out the full report here in all its glory, but if you’re just after a few highlights, here are some of the things that stood out to me during my review of the data.Read More
As 2016 comes to a close, let's take a look back at this year's ten most read articles on Sex and Psychology. The following posts represent an incredibly diverse range of content and, combined, have been read well over a half-million times! There were quite a few similarities to last year's list--in fact, the top five articles from last year appeared somewhere on the list again this year. Like 2015, articles related to anal sex continued to be especially popular, as were articles that addressed questions submitted by readers of the blog (in fact, seven of the top ten articles were Q&As!).Read More
Sometimes, science makes us laugh before it makes us think--and this is precisely why the Ig Nobel awards were founded back in 1991. The goal of these awards is to recognize scientific achievements that might sound silly or absurd at first, but that ultimately yield useful knowledge and challenge us to think differently about the world.
I have a sneaking suspicion that one of the contenders for the next Ig Nobel competition will be a new paper published in the journal PLOS ONE, which explores what the faces of humans and the rear ends of chimpanzees have in common.
Yep, that's really what they studied. But please bear with me--I promise, it's a funny story that tells us something fascinating about both sex and psychology.Read More
A lot of people decorate with mistletoe around the Christmas holiday. Many hang it from the ceiling or over a door and offer kisses to those who stand under it. But have you ever wondered why? How did mistletoe come to be associated with kissing in the first place? Here’s what we know, along with some other interesting trivia about what many consider to be the most romantic Christmas symbol.Read More
Sex and Psychology is officially five years old! When I first started this blog in 2011, I had no idea what kind of response it would receive, but I couldn't be more thrilled with the results. I am so pleased that Sex and Psychology has become such a widely read and referenced resource for scientifically-based information on sex and sexuality.
Thank YOU for everything you do to support the site, including reading and sharing the articles, submitting your questions, and weighing in with your comments. Sex and Psychology is the single most rewarding aspect of my professional career and I just can’t imagine my life without it. I hope you’re looking forward to another year of great sex [research] as much as I am! In the meantime, here are some fun facts and statistics for your reading pleasure.Read More
We've arrived at that point in the year when a lot of folks start searching frantically for the perfect holiday gift for a significant other. All too often, many of us find that we put a lot time, effort, and money into a gift that is quickly forgotten and 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.
As I have previously written, touch is one of the keys to a happy and healthy long-term relationship. Unfortunately, many couples find that, over time, they don't touch each other nearly as much as they used to. This can have the effect of making you feel more distant from your partner both physically and psychologically, which can potentially contribute to relationship problems. However, adding more touch back into your love life can not only help resolve these issues, but prevent future problems from arising.
So what can you do if you if you want to introduce a little more touch into your love life? I have two suggestions for you, both of which also happen to make perfect holiday gifts!Read More