Cohabitation, or the act of living together with a partner outside of marriage, used to be a rarity. However, it has become quite common in the modern world. Many now see it as a precursor to marriage, while others view it as an alternative option to marriage. A majority of married Americans today (nearly 60%) report that they cohabited before tying the knot.Read More
Finding a compatible partner is one of the cornerstones of a happy and healthy relationship. But how do you determine who you’re compatible with? Intuitively, you might think the answer would be to take the approach that a lot of online dating companies do, which is try and partner-up with someone similar to you. If you’re more similar, you’ll probably have fewer disagreements, right?
Not necessarily.Read More
How many people have ever been involved in a consensual non-monogamous (CNM) relationship before? The results of two recent studies involving nationally representative samples (one from the United States and one from Canada) reached nearly identical conclusions: approximately 20% (or 1 in 5) respondents said they had.
The U.S. study is from 2016 and it was previously covered on the blog here; however, the Canadian study just came out, so here are a few of the highlights from it.Read More
What do you do after sex? Some people like to spoon or cuddle, others go to sleep, and yet others get up to grab something to eat or drink. But does what you do matter? For people in relationships, it certainly seems to, according to research. In fact, the more that couples spoon or otherwise express affection or intimacy after sex, the happier they tend to be.Read More
I recently sat down for an interview with two well-known relationship experts, Drs. John and Julie Gottman. The Gottmans are a married couple, and they’re both clinical psychologists. They are also the founders of The Gottman Institute, where they have been studying sex and relationships for decades. The Gottmans have published a number of influential academic papers and bestselling books, with their latest being Eight Dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love.
I cover a wide range of topics in my interview with the Gottmans, including…Read More
It can be challenging to get over a breakup. Many people find that they can’t stop thinking about their ex and that this has negative implications for their mental health, including depression and anxiety. So if you’re having trouble moving on, is there anything you can do?Read More
Valentine’s Day is almost upon us and many people have love on the brain. So let’s talk about the science of love! I’ve put together a video compiling five things scientists have discovered about the nature of love and loving relationships.Read More
When it comes to what men and women want in a romantic partner, they’re stereotyped as wanting drastically different things. However, research suggests that they actually have a lot in common.Read More
The busiest time of year for online dating is the nearly two-month stretch that runs from the day after Christmas through Valentine’s Day. It reaches its peak on the Sunday after New Year’s Day, or “Dating Sunday” as it’s known by those who work in the romance industry. This is consistently the single biggest day of the year for new online dating signups.
So why is that? What’s going on in the first few months of winter that makes people want to couple-up (a phenomenon often referred to in the media as “cuffing season”)?Read More
“Welcome to the wonderful world of ex sex. It’s hot, it’s naughty…oh yeah, and it’s a really stupid idea.” – Cosmopolitan Magazine
When a couple decides to end their relationship, the result isn’t always a clean break. There’s often some degree of contact that continues and, sometimes, that includes sex. So what exactly are the implications of maintaining a sexual relationship with a former partner? According to conventional wisdom, it’s a terrible idea (as exemplified by the above quote from Cosmo). However, conventional wisdom isn’t always right.Read More
Infidelity has long been a topic of interest to scientists who study sex and relationships. Over the years, they’ve uncovered a number of fascinating things about how common cheating is, who does it, and why. Here’s a look at ten interesting things scientists have discovered about cheating.Read More
What is it that attracts us to other people? Can you fall in love at first sight? Can computer algorithms successfully predict who will make a good match? Read on for the answers to these and several other fascinating questions about sexual attraction, according to science.Read More
Nationally representative U.S. survey data reveal that approximately 1 in 7 adults today are living in a sexless marriage, meaning they report engaging in little to no sexual activity [1, 2]. Despite how common sexless marriages are, surprisingly little research exists on the topic. So why does sexual activity decline in so many couples in the first place and how does it affect the partners? Also, what are the factors that might lead people to stay in sexless marriages despite the fact that the experience tends to be highly distressing?
When I was a graduate student studying the psychology of romantic relationships, I remember learning about “the cohabitation effect” in a few of my courses. Relationship scientists coined this term to describe the increased risk of divorce that seemed to accompany living together before marriage. At the time, several studies had been published in major journals supporting this idea.
Interestingly, however, recent studies suggest that “the cohabitation effect” is a thing of the past—and may have never even existed at all.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 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
Food and romance are intimately intertwined in modern dating rituals. Indeed, restaurants are one of the most popular places people visit when they go on a date. Neuroscience research suggests that there might be a very good reason for this: having a full stomach just might make our brains more sensitive to romantic cues.Read More
People who are into bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism, and masochism (or BDSM for short) experience a lot of stigma. For one thing, they are often seen as psychologically disturbed, despite research showing that BDSM practitioners appear to be just as psychologically healthy as everyone else. For another, many people—including a lot of mental health professionals—question whether you can practice BDSM and still have a healthy relationship. In fact, in one survey of therapists, fully one-third of them reported being unsure of whether someone into BDSM could carry on a functional relationship .Read More
There’s a common assumption that monogamous relationships are superior to consensually non-monogamous relationships in virtually all ways. In fact, studies have found that monogamous relationships are thought to be better in terms of promoting closeness, trust, intimacy, companionship, and communication . However, the presumed benefits don’t stop there—monogamous relationships are assumed to be more sexually satisfying, too, because it’s presumed that people who open their relationships are only doing so because they’re unhappy in some way.
So is it really the case that monogamists necessarily have better sex lives and relationships overall compared to those who are in consensually non-monogamous relationships? Do the stereotypes reflect reality? Let’s take a look at the research.Read More
There’s a lot of research out there looking at how many people have cheated, their reasons for cheating, and what “counts” as cheating; however, surprisingly little work has looked at who people are actually having sex with when they commit infidelity. Is it usually with someone they know, or with a stranger? And does this differ for men and women? A new study published in the Journal of Family Psychology offers some answers.Read More