Are We Really in a “Sex Recession?”

Are We Really in a “Sex Recession?”

A recent study suggests that Americans are having less sex today than they were a quarter-century ago. These findings have received a lot of attention—I covered them on the blog when they were published in 2017, and they’ve been discussed in countless media articles around the world since, culminating in a widely read piece in The Atlantic last month, which took the results to mean that we’re in the midst of a “sex recession.”

But is that really the case?

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Nonconsensual Condom Removal: How Common is “Stealthing?”

Nonconsensual Condom Removal: How Common is “Stealthing?”

In 2017, we added a new word to our sexual vocabulary: stealthing. A paper published in the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law defined it as “nonconsensual condom removal during sexual intercourse” and set off a flurry of media articles announcing it as a new “trend” in sexual behavior. However, we didn’t really have a good sense of the scope of the problem at that time because the original paper that called our attention to stealthing was based on interviews with a small number of victims. 

So just how many people have experienced stealthing anyway? A new study offers some insight.

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Sexual Fantasies About Body Fluids: How Many People Have Them?

Sexual Fantasies About Body Fluids: How Many People Have Them?

The human body produces a number of different fluids—and those fluids represent a sexual turn-on for some people. From semen and sweat to blood and breast milk, almost any body fluid you can think of has the potential to become a source of sexual arousal. But just how many people are turned on by each fluid? I explored this question in the data I collected for my book Tell Me What You Want. I surveyed more than 4,000 Americans about their sexual fantasies and, among other things, I asked participants whether they had ever fantasized about several different body fluids.

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We’re In Peak Online Dating Season. Here's Why

We’re In Peak Online Dating Season. Here's Why

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”)?

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What Was Popular In Porn In 2018?

What Was Popular In Porn In 2018?

Pornhub recently released their 2018 year-in-review of users’ viewing habits and the results were fascinating. Among other things, they reported an average of 92 million site visitors per day in 2018, each of whom stayed for an average of 10 minutes and 13 seconds. Also, users uploaded more than 4.7 million videos—so many, in fact, that it would take 115 years to watch all of them. That’s a lot of porn!

You can check out the full report here in all its glory, but if you’re just after a few highlights and some analysis, here are some of the things that stood out to me during my review of the data.

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Happy New Year! Here Are 9 Resolutions For Better Sex In 2019

Happy New Year! Here Are 9 Resolutions For Better Sex In 2019

Every time a new year comes around, people start making resolutions for self-improvement. For example, some of us resolve to lose weight or to get in shape, others vow to quit smoking, and yet others plan to get their finances in order. As you ponder your own personal resolutions for 2019, here's one more that you might wish to adopt: resolve to have better sex this year.

So how might you go about achieving this resolution? Scientific research offers a lot of insight. Here are nine scientifically-backed suggestions for enhancing your sex life in 2019.

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Eight Things Science Taught Us About Sex In 2018

Eight Things Science Taught Us About Sex In 2018

2018 has been memorable for a lot of reasons—including what science taught us about sex. Here’s a quick recap of some of the most interesting things we learned about sex this year. 

1. The G-Spot probably isn’t what you think it is. 

Scientists recently published one of the largest and most thorough anatomic explorations ever of the area commonly referred to as the G-Spot.

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Forbidden Fruit: How Many of Us Have Fantasized About Our Partner’s Best Friend? Or Their Sibling?

Forbidden Fruit: How Many of Us Have Fantasized About Our Partner’s Best Friend? Or Their Sibling?

In studying the sex fantasies of more than 4,000 Americans for my book Tell Me What You Want, I discovered that there’s one person who’s more likely to appear in our sexual fantasies than anyone else: a current romantic partner (or, if you’re single, an ex-partner). However, our fantasies aren’t only about our partners. For example, sometimes we fantasize about “forbidden fruit”—you know, people our partners might disapprove of, like their best friend or a sibling. Or perhaps we might fantasize about people that our culture or society would consider off-limits, such as someone else who’s married. 

So just how common are these “forbidden fruit” fantasies ? And do they differ based on gender and/or sexual orientation? Here’s a look at what I found when I dug into the data: 

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Believe It or Not, Nude Psychotherapy Used To Be A Thing—And Even The APA President Supported It

Believe It or Not, Nude Psychotherapy Used To Be A Thing—And Even The APA President Supported It

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine shared an article with me that offered a historical review of the “nude psychotherapy” movement in psychology. Wait—what? As I began to read it, I learned that in the 1960s and 70s, some psychologists were getting naked with their patients with the hope of getting them more in touch with their “true” or “authentic” selves.

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Romantic Red: Does Dressing In Red Really Make You More Sexually Attractive?

Romantic Red: Does Dressing In Red Really Make You More Sexually Attractive?

Over the last decade, scientists have published a series of studies claiming that the color red is a sexual signal and that wearing it makes you more attractive to the other sex. However, a new meta-analysis of the research in this area suggests that this claim may be overblown.

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People Think Sex Is Riskier Than It Really Is

People Think Sex Is Riskier Than It Really Is

There's a scene in the movie Mean Girls in which high school health teacher Coach Carr gives his students a lesson in sex education. It pretty much consists of him saying: "Don't have sex, because you will get pregnant...and die!"

As much as I wish I could say Coach Carr's class bears no resemblance to how we teach kids about sex in the real world, the sad fact of the matter is that the primary message many U.S. educators are sending out about sex is to be afraid. Be very afraid. Unfortunately, it turns out that this approach to sex education is problematic on multiple levels.

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The Most Common Reasons For Becoming a Sex Worker in a Country Where Sex Work is Legal

The Most Common Reasons For Becoming a Sex Worker in a Country Where Sex Work is Legal

There are a lot of stereotypes about female sex workers, and one is that no woman would ever choose this profession voluntarily. Some people see sex work as inherently victimizing, which means that—in their view—no women could truly ever enjoy this job. But is it true? According to research on female sex workers in cultures where sex work is legal, it turns out that many women decide to become sex workers precisely because they enjoy the work.

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How Many People Want To Have Sex With A Robot?

How Many People Want To Have Sex With A Robot?

I’ve seen a lot of articles lately about sex robots and how they’re supposedly going to revolutionize our sex lives. A lot of these articles make the assumption that there’s a lot of demand and desire for sex robots, but is that really the case? How many people are into the idea of getting it on with a bot anyway? And are robots likely to replace a lot of human-on-human sex?

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People’s Orgasm Faces Look Surprisingly Different Across Cultures

People’s Orgasm Faces Look Surprisingly Different Across Cultures

When I was training to become a social psychologist, I learned that many emotions and facial expressions seem to be universal across cultures. Recently, however, researchers have begun to debate this idea, suggesting that facial expressions of emotion are not necessarily the same from one culture to the next. A new study adds an interesting development to this debate by showing cross-cultural variation in the facial expressions people associate with having an orgasm. Yep, you read that right.

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Sharing and Acting on Group Sex Fantasies: Gender and Sexual Orientation Differences

Sharing and Acting on Group Sex Fantasies: Gender and Sexual Orientation Differences

I surveyed more than 4,000 Americans about their sexual fantasies for my book Tell Me What You Want and I found that group sex was one of the most common things that turned people on, regardless of their gender and sexual orientation. While threesomes were the most popular form of group sex, they were just one of many kinds of group activities that people fantasized about.

In the book, I talk at length about why group sex is such a popular fantasy and what people’s general experiences are like sharing and acting on it. However, when you dig a little deeper into the data, it turns out that the way things go when people share and act on group sex fantasies differs depending upon their gender and sexual orientation. So let’s take a closer look at those results.

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Why Being a “Details Person” Just Might Make You a Better in Bed

Why Being a “Details Person” Just Might Make You a Better in Bed

Many psychologists believe that our personalities consist of five underlying traits: openness to experience (your willingness to try new things), conscientiousness (how detail oriented and organized you are), extraversion (how outgoing and sociable you are), agreeableness (how much care and concern you have for other people), and neuroticism (how well you deal with stress and how emotionally stable you are). Scientists have studied how each of these traits is related to people’s sexual attitudes and behaviors (and you can read all about that here), but some new research suggests that one of these traits in particular might be especially important when it comes to our sex lives: conscientiousness. 

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Some Doctors Are Smearing C-Section Babies With Bacteria To Boost Their Health

Some Doctors Are Smearing C-Section Babies With Bacteria To Boost Their Health

A few years ago, I came across some research reporting that the way a child is born appears to have consequences for their health. How so? Scientists believe that the bacterial composition of a woman’s vagina changes during pregnancy in order to allow certain bacteria to coat the child as it passes through the birth canal during delivery. These bacteria are thought to promote healthy development and functioning. If a child is delivered via Caesarean section (i.e., C-section), that child does not have the benefit of being exposed to those bacteria and, as a result, could potentially experience worse health outcomes than those born vaginally. However, some doctors believe there may be a way to remedy this and boost the health of C-section babies.

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“Casual Sex” Isn’t All That Casual

“Casual Sex” Isn’t All That Casual

We tend to think of casual sex as, well, a pretty casual affair, meaning it’s just about the sex and nothing else. This view of casual sex is pervasive, even among those who study sex for a living. However, it turns out that casual sex is often about more than just a physical act of sexual gratification. For many people, there’s an important emotional component to it as well, according to a new study published in the Journal of Relationships Research.

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Halloween Sex Offender Panic Is Here Again—But It’s Still Not Making Us Safer

Halloween Sex Offender Panic Is Here Again—But It’s Still Not Making Us Safer

Each October, the media runs story after story warning parents about the dangers that sex offenders pose to children on Halloween. All of the panic stoked by these claims has prompted lawmakers across the country to begin passing laws that restrict the activities of convicted sex offenders on Halloween or that require police officers to check up on sex offenders during trick-or-treat hours. For example, in Tennessee, registered sex offenders must comply with a 6pm – 6am curfew each day from October 21 until November 1, during which time they must stay home but act like they aren’t there. Among other things, they must keep their porch lights off, avoid using decorations, and only answer the door for law enforcement. During this time, police go around the state and perform thousands of random checks to ensure compliance. This massive effort is known officially as “Operation Blackout.”

But is it justified? Is there really such a heightened risk of sex crimes on Halloween that we need to go to such great lengths? Let's take a look at the data.

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Future Doctors Score a “D” in Sexual Health Knowledge Because Sex Ed Barely Exists in Medical School

Future Doctors Score a “D” in Sexual Health Knowledge Because Sex Ed Barely Exists in Medical School

The state of sex education is poor for American adolescents—but you probably already knew that. However, what you may not have realized is that the state of sex education for US medical students isn’t all that great, either. This is both surprising and sad, given all of the important implications (good and bad) that sex can have for our health. 

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