Celebrating 66 Years of Women's Sex Research This Week

Celebrating 66 Years of Women's Sex Research This Week

Sixty-six years ago this week (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 probably know, this was the first book of its kind to truly explore women's sexual attitudes and behaviors from a scientific point of view.

Kinsey's book sent shockwaves around the world and it was quickly labeled "obscene" by many, due to the prevailing views on sex in the 1950s. Today, though, we look back on Kinsey's brave work as one of the most important publications on human sexuality ever. Kinsey's research was groundbreaking in so many ways, but largely because it debunked many myths and misconceptions about women's sexuality.

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People Who Use More Emojis Have More Sex

People Who Use More Emojis Have More Sex

What does your use of emojis say about your sex and dating life? According to a new study published in the journal PLoS ONE, a lot, actually. In fact, frequent use of emojis with potential dates is linked to not only having sex more often, but also to a more active and successful dating life. 

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Sex and Psychology Podcast: How ADHD Affects People's Sex Lives and Relationships

Sex and Psychology Podcast: How ADHD Affects People's Sex Lives and Relationships

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a term that most people are familiar with. But when we hear about someone having ADHD, we tend to think about children and adolescents and how this disorder affects them at home or in school because most people who are diagnosed happen to be kids and there’s a widespread belief that people eventually “outgrow” ADHD.

The reality, however, is that most kids with ADHD become adults with ADHD. Also, there are a heck of a lot of adults out there with undiagnosed ADHD. So what are the implications of ADHD in adult life, especially in people’s personal lives? Does it impact the way they approach sex and relationships?

I recently interviewed Dr. Ari Tuckman for the Sex and Psychology Podcast in order to learn more.

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Changes in Americans' Sexual Behavior Since the 1990s

Changes in Americans' Sexual Behavior Since the 1990s

How have Americans’ sexual behaviors changed over the past quarter of a century? A recent study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior offers some insight.

In this study, researchers explored data from the General Social Survey, a nationally representative survey conducted in the United States most years. Sexual behavior isn’t the main focus of this survey, but several questions about sex are included on it, including how many partners people have ever had as well as who they have had sex with in the past year. So what did they find?

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How We Can Use Science To Close the Orgasm Gap

How We Can Use Science To Close the Orgasm Gap

The orgasm gap refers to the well-documented research finding that heterosexual men tend to have more consistent experiences with orgasm than heterosexual women. Specifically, men are not only more likely to report having had an orgasm the last time they had sex, but they’re also more likely to say that they always or almost always have orgasms compared to women.

So what can we do to close this gap?

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How Many People Have Experimented With BDSM Before?

How Many People Have Experimented With BDSM Before?

BDSM has long been deemed a paraphilia—meaning an unusual sexual interest—by psychologists and psychiatrists. The classification of BDSM as a paraphilia implies that it’s likely to be a pretty rare sexual practice in the overall population. But is that really the case? Just how many people have ever had a BDSM experience before?

This question has been difficult to answer with any degree of certainty because, historically, nationally representative sex surveys haven’t routinely inquired about BDSM. As a result, we’ve had to base most of our knowledge on the results of convenience samples, which aren’t representative of the population and therefore don’t tell us as much about actual prevalence rates. However, a recent national US sex survey offers useful insight.

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Do People’s Sexual Fantasies Differ Depending on Their Race or Ethnicity?

Do People’s Sexual Fantasies Differ Depending on Their Race or Ethnicity?

I surveyed 4,175 Americans about their sexual fantasies for my book Tell Me What You Want. Since this book came out, one of the more common questions I’ve been asked about (both online and at speaking engagements) is the role that race plays in people’s sex fantasies. Specifically, do persons of color tend to have similar or different fantasies to those of White individuals? Let’s take a look at what my data say.

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The Most Fantasized About Male and Female Celebrities

The Most Fantasized About Male and Female Celebrities

Who’s your celebrity crush? I surveyed more than 4,000 American adults about their sexual fantasies for my book Tell Me What You Want and, among other things, I asked them who they were fantasizing about. In the images below, I focus on fantasies about the rich and famous and present the results separately for male and female celebs.

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What Counts as “Pornography?” It Depends Who You Ask

What Counts as “Pornography?” It Depends Who You Ask

As a sex researcher, I’ve read a lot of studies on the subject of pornography. One thing that’s been pretty consistent across most of them is that what counts as “porn” is usually left undefined. In other words, when people are asked about their porn usage habits, it’s generally up to them to determine what counts and what doesn’t. 

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How Americans' Views on Sexual Morality are Changing

How Americans' Views on Sexual Morality are Changing

According to the results of Gallup's 2019 Moral Issues Survey, Americans’ views on sexual morality continue to become more liberal overall. In fact, for many of the issues Americans were surveyed about, Gallup recorded the most liberal views on record.

Among the more notable changes are that Americans are increasingly comfortable with same-sex behavior, sex between unmarried adults, divorce, and having children outside of marriage. However, while major shifts have occurred in those attitudes in recent years, Americans’ attitudes toward other sex-related issues—especially things like abortion and infidelity—haven’t really changed much.

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How Long Does It Take Women And Men To Reach Orgasm?

How Long Does It Take Women And Men To Reach Orgasm?

Much has been said and written in the popular media about the length of time it typically takes men and women to reach orgasm; however, most of this information is based on anecdotal reports, not science. So what does research on this subject say? Here’s what scientists have found when they’ve given men and women stopwatches and asked them to record as precisely as possible the length of time it takes them to climax. 

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People Have More Sex in the Summer. Here's Why

People Have More Sex in the Summer. Here's Why

Sex is seasonal.

Our patterns of sexual activity ebb and flow throughout the year, and right now we’re entering peak territory because it’s officially summer. Research from a variety of sources suggests that early summer is one of the busiest times for, well, getting busy. Here’s some of the evidence:

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The Psychology of Sadism: Why Some People Are Turned On By Others' Pain

The Psychology of Sadism: Why Some People Are Turned On By Others' Pain

Sexual sadists are people who derive arousal from inflicting pain on others. This could be physical pain, such as hitting someone else, or it could be psychological pain, such as humiliating another person. Where does this sexual interest come from? A lot of people are curious, including a reader who recently sent me the following question:

“My friend expressed that he is turned on by the idea of seeing someone feel pain and/or discomfort. He said if you want to turn him on, you should whimper or cry. Of course this isn’t his only turn on, but I wonder where it comes from. Why would seeing someone hurt turn him on sexually?”

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Four Things You Can Do To Keep Passion Alive And Boost Sexual Satisfaction

Four Things You Can Do To Keep Passion Alive And Boost Sexual Satisfaction

How does sexual satisfaction change over time in a relationship? The good news is that scientists have found that it increases. The bad news is that this increase only occurs throughout the first year—and then it typically starts dropping after that. 

 We are, of course, talking about what happens on average. There’s certainly a lot of individual variability, which means that some people buck the trend and find that their satisfaction either remains high or keeps going up. 

So let’s say you want your sex life to stay on a positive trajectory. How do you ward off that decline in satisfaction that so many of us seem to experience? Here are four science-backed tips for keeping passion alive and improving your sex life. 

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What Kinds of Porn Do Men and Women Watch Most Often?

What Kinds of Porn Do Men and Women Watch Most Often?

There are lots of articles out there describing the most-viewed porn categories on Pornhub and other popular adult sites—however, that’s not what this article is. While big data insights from major porn websites are certainly interesting and informative in their own right, they are limited in several ways, not the least of which is that we don’t necessarily know how the people who visit those sites are similar to or different from the rest of the population. 

So what happens when—instead of looking at big data—researchers survey people about which types of porn they watch most often?

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Is Kink a Sexual Orientation?

Is Kink a Sexual Orientation?

What does it say about you if you’re into kinky or BDSM sex? Is it a serious leisure activity, or is it an innate aspect of your sexuality? Could the answer be different for different people? A recent article published in the journal Current Sexual Health Reports grapples with these questions.

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The Truth About the “Oral Sex Gap”

The Truth About the “Oral Sex Gap”

According to countless popular media articles, there is a massive disparity between heterosexual men and women when it comes to giving oral sex. Some of these articles suggest that, in male-female sexual encounters, “blowjobs are basically a given” while cunnilingus is “one of the least-often performed sex acts.” In other words, men are getting oral all the time from women, whereas women are almost never receiving it from men—a situation that has been dubbed the “oral sex gap.”

However, I did some digging into the prevalence of oral sex across genders and it turns out that these claims don’t quite match up with what the research says. The oral sex gap isn’t exactly what we have been led to believe.

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Women Who Use Marijuana Before Sex Report Better Orgasms

Women Who Use Marijuana Before Sex Report Better Orgasms

How does marijuana affect women’s sexual functioning? A recent study published in the journal Sexual Medicine sought to find out. Researchers anonymously surveyed hundreds of women visiting an obstetrics and gynecology clinic in St. Louis, Missouri about whether they used marijuana and, if so, whether and how it affected their sexual satisfaction, sex drive, and orgasm quality. Key results from the study are shown in the infographic below.

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Why Sex Education Can’t Wait: Sex Before Age 13 is More Common Than You Think

Why Sex Education Can’t Wait: Sex Before Age 13 is More Common Than You Think

In the United States, the average age of first sexual intercourse is 17 for men, according to data from the CDC. The number is roughly the same for women, and it has remained pretty constant for the last two decades. Based on these data, some parents might be tempted to think that talking to their kids about sex can wait until they’re fairly grown up and almost ready to leave for college; however, that would be a poor assumption to make. 

It turns out that there is wide individual variability in when adolescents start having sex and a new study suggests that, on average, about 1 in 12 high school boys in the US say they’ve had sex before the age of 13—and, for certain groups of boys, the number is actually more like 1 in 4.

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How Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors Change as We Get Older

How Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors Change as We Get Older

Sex and aging is a topic that has been underexplored in sexuality research, given that the bulk of sex studies to date have focused on college students. However, we’ve learned more in the last few years, as online data collection and national surveys of sexual behavior have increased. 

One study of sex and aging that recently caught my attention explored how people’s sexual attitudes and behaviors change over the lifespan using data from a large and diverse sample of 1,522 adults from across the United States.

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