Readers of the blog often send me their questions about sex and relationships, and one that I’ve heard several times recently concerns infidelity and whether there are any reliable indicators or red flags that your partner might be unfaithful. For example, one reader asked: “How can you tell if your man is cheating? What are the signs to look for?”Read More
Sexual orientation is something that many people consider to be an innate characteristic—it’s something you’re born with. This idea is popular within the LGBTQ community, and it’s something that has been used as a basis for arguing in favor of equal rights for sexual minorities. As the reasoning goes, if you’re “born this way,” then what basis is there for treating people differently based on their sexuality under the law?
There’s a problem with the “born this way” argument, though—actually, there are three problems, as Dr. Lisa Diamond explains in the TEDx video below: “First, it’s not scientifically accurate. Second, it’s not legally necessary. But third and most important, it’s actually unjust.”Read More
Research suggests that, on average, people tend to have more sex in the summer than they do in the winter; however, December is the exception to the winter sex slump. It turns out that sexual interest and activity reliably increase this month, and this is particularly true with respect to the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Check out the video below for a fascinating look at some of the many changes in our sex lives that take place in December.Read More
How are men’s and women’s sexual fantasies similar? And how are they different? I surveyed 4,175 Americans about their sex fantasies as part of my book Tell Me What You Want and uncovered the answers. Below, I've put together a brief video that highlights some of the important areas of overlap, but also some of the key ways in which men’s and women’s fantasies diverge.Read More
I’m answering more of YOUR questions about sex today. In the video below, I’ll review ten questions submitted by readers of Sex and Psychology and explore what science can tell us about each one. As in previous videos, these questions cover a very diverse range of topics, from how long people tend to spend on sex to the effectiveness of the “pull-out” method to how many people have shaved their pubic hair. The specific questions are listed below. Check out the video for the answers!Read More
Most people are cisgender, meaning that their gender identity corresponds with their birth sex; however, some people are transgender, meaning their gender identity and birth sex are different. Increasingly, scientists have been working to help us understand what accounts for this gender variability, and research suggests that the answers may have to do with both genetics and the brain.Read More
Today, I’m answering YOUR questions about sex. I’ve put together a brief video in which I review ten questions submitted by readers of Sex and Psychology and explore what science can tell us about each one. These questions cover a very diverse range of topics, from the best sexual position for orgasm to how often people think about sex to the sexual appeal of BDSM.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
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
One of the most reliable findings across studies of human sexual behavior is that heterosexual men report substantially more lifetime sexual partners on average compared to heterosexual women. In theory, the numbers reported by straight men and women should be fairly similar, right? However, we often see guys reporting partner counts that are twice as high as that of women. So why is that? How do we explain this gender difference?
A new study published in the Journal of Sex Research offers some valuable insight.Read More
The term "blue balls" is frequently used to describe "a dull, aching sensation that occurs during sexual arousal before or without ejaculation." You may or may not realize this, but the "blue" in blue balls actually has a dual meaning. First and most obvious is the fact that the testicles themselves actually appear to take on a bluish hue. However, this term also references the fact that blue balls is considered to be a sad experience because the implication is usually that one is aroused but cannot find sexual relief (i.e., it's often considered to be a state of sexual frustration).
So what happens when someone gets blue balls anyway?Read More
Studies suggests that most married adults have sex somewhere between a few times per month and a few times per week (side note: sexual frequency in relationships is similar for heterosexuals and gay men, with lesbians doing it less often; however, when lesbians have sex, they spend more time on it than everyone else, which balances things out). Few couples in long-term relationships have sex every single day. But let's imagine for a second that everyone in relationships who isn't currently having daily sex (which is most of us) gave it a try. What would happen? Would all of that extra bedroom activity (or wherever it is that you like to do it) make us happier in the end?Read More
When people think about sex and aging, they have a tendency to focus on all of the things that might interfere with sexual satisfaction as we get older, such as chronic illnesses. However, it's very much possible for people to maintain a satisfying sex life as they age even if their health status changes. To learn more about this subject, I recently spoke with author Joan Price, a self-described "advocate for ageless sexuality" who has written a number of books on sex and aging, including the award-winning Naked At Our Age: Talking Out Loud About Senior Sex.Read More
Sex and aging is a topic I've wanted to include more coverage of on the blog for a long time; however, when you run a research-based blog, it's hard to write about topics that don't get a whole lot of research attention. So why is it that there isn't more research out there on sex and aging? And why is this an important topic to study anyway? For some insight into these questions, I recently spoke with author Joan Price, a self-described "advocate for ageless sexuality" who has written a number of books on sex and aging, including the award-winning Naked At Our Age: Talking Out Loud About Senior Sex.Read More
What's your favorite sexual fantasy of all time? I asked 4,175 Americans to tell me their biggest sexual desire as part of a recent survey I conducted and the results were, well, fascinating, to say the least. As I combed through all of these fantasies, I uncovered seven major themes that seem to characterize the nature of sexual desire in the United States today. Below, I've put together a brief video that highlights what each of those themes are.Read More
Scientists who study sexual arousal have found that when they show participants a pornographic video, many people (especially women) show signs of genital arousal while simultaneously reporting that they do not feel aroused. This so-called arousal “nonconcordance” has presented a conundrum for researchers—which measure is the more valid way of determining what a participant truly wants and desires?Read More
Difficulties with sexual desire and arousal are common, especially among women—and they’re notoriously difficult to treat with medications alone. However, the good news is that these problems are responsive to psychological treatments. Increasingly, one such treatment researchers have focused on is something known as mindfulness, and there’s a brand new book out about it that describes how you can use this technique to not only combat sexual difficulties, but also to have better sex in general.Read More
One of the most popular stereotypes of male sexuality is that men want sex all of the time because they're just "wired" that way. In other words, sex is seen as a largely biological function for men, with their emotional and psychological states having little to do with it. This stereotype can be harmful because it can make a guy start to wonder what's wrong with him when he doesn't want sex but his partner does--and to the extent that this becomes a chronic source of concern, it can create performance anxiety and detract from his ability to become and stay aroused in the future. This is but one of the many reasons why it's important for us to rethink our assumptions about male sexuality.Read More
Incest, usually defined as sex between close blood relatives, is one of the most pervasive sexual taboos across cultures. Many different theories have been advanced to explain this taboo, but perhaps the most common is that we evolved to avoid incestuous relations because inbreeding increases the odds of health problems in any offspring produced.
So just how risky is incest anyway?Read More
Studies have found that people overwhelmingly rate monogamous relationships as superior to consensually non-monogamous relationships on virtually every dimension you can think of . For example, monogamy is seen as promoting better relationship quality in terms of enhancing intimacy, safety, honesty, and communication. Even on qualities that have nothing to do with relationship functioning, such as paying taxes on time and taking a daily multi-vitamin, monogamy is seen as better for promoting them. Do people’s perceptions match up with reality, though? Are people in monogamous relationships necessarily much better off?Read More