The Truth About How Porn Affects Us

The Truth About How Porn Affects Us

In the popular media, pornography has seemingly become the default source of blame for any and all sexual problems. Why are we in a “sex recession?” Porn. Why do we have such a big problem with sexual violence? Porn. Why are sexual difficulties like erectile dysfunction so common? Porn. 

The truth, however, is that science has a complex and nuanced story to tell about the effects of porn

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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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Being Similar To Your Partner Doesn't Guarantee Greater Happiness

Being Similar To Your Partner Doesn't Guarantee Greater Happiness

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.  

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When Sex Is More Than Just Sex

When Sex Is More Than Just Sex

For humans, sex isn’t just about gratifying some carnal, animalistic urge. Rather, the physical act of sex can serve a lot of different psychological purposes. This helps to explain why when people are asked to report on their motivations for having sex, hundreds of distinct reasons emerge! These reasons include everything from wanting to experience pleasure to desiring an emotional connection with a partner to seeking a closer relationship with God.

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One in Five People Report Having Been in a Sexually Open Relationship

One in Five People Report Having Been in a Sexually Open Relationship

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. 

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Should Men Be Circumcised In Order To Help Reduce STIs?

Should Men Be Circumcised In Order To Help Reduce STIs?

Some physicians argue that male circumcision should be a routine procedure because it can help fight the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Not only does circumcision reduce men’s odds of contracting STIs, they say, but it also lowers women’s risk of contracting STIs and developing cervical cancer. 

But is male circumcision really that effective when it comes to protecting sexual health? 

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What We Can Learn About Consent From The BDSM Community

What We Can Learn About Consent From The BDSM Community

Sexual consent is all about having solid communication with your partner(s). However, many of us aren’t very good communicators in general when it comes to sex and, further, many of us don’t have a good model for how consent communication should actually go—when should it happen and what are the key things that should be discussed?

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The History of Obscene Telephone Calls

The History of Obscene Telephone Calls

People have been making obscene telephone calls for almost as long as the telephone has been in existence. In recent years, however, they have begun to change form, as digital communications have offered several new ways of achieving the same goals, while maintaining more anonymity. 

A recent paper in the Archives of Sexual Behavior traced the history of obscene telephone calls and the people who make them. Below, I share some the timeline and some of the key takeaways from this review.

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The Sexual Fantasies of People With Non-Binary Gender Identities

The Sexual Fantasies of People With Non-Binary Gender Identities

I have written quite a bit about similarities and differences in the sexual fantasies of self-identified men and women (see here for a summary).  Of course, however, not everyone identifies as male or female. So what do people who have non-binary gender identities (e.g., transgender, bigender, genderqueer) fantasize about? And how are they similar or different to those of self-identified men and women? 

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How To Talk To Your Kids About Sex

How To Talk To Your Kids About Sex

As a sex educator and researcher, one of the more common questions I get asked is when and how to talk to your kids about sex. Case in point: a reader of the blog recently asked, “At what age should parents talk about sex to their children—or at what age do children need to know about sex?”

So when should you start? And what the heck do parents need to know about navigating this discussion? Here’s a brief guide to help you get started.

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Why Spooning After Sex Might Be Good For Your Love Life

Why Spooning After Sex Might Be Good For Your Love Life

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.

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Children of Lesbian Parents are More Likely to Identify as Gay or Bisexual

Children of Lesbian Parents are More Likely to Identify as Gay or Bisexual

The idea that gay parents are more likely to have gay children has long been thought to be a myth among sexual orientation researchers. For example, a review of the literature published in 1999 emphatically stated that “the incidence of homosexuality is no higher if one is raised by a gay or lesbian parent, than if one is raised by a heterosexual parent.”  However, recent research challenges this conclusion. 

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The Fascinating Psychology Behind the Popularity of MILF Porn

The Fascinating Psychology Behind the Popularity of MILF Porn

In the book A Billion Wicked Thoughts, neuroscientists Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam analyzed the contents of over a billion searches on some of the most popular porn sites. They found a lot of interesting things, including the fact that the most popular search term on Pornhub (one of the most heavily visited tube sites in the entire world) was “mom.” This book was published in 2012, but if you flash forward to today, moms are still incredibly popular in adult entertainment. 

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7 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Orgasms

7 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Orgasms

The science of orgasm is a fascinating subject. In this post, we’ll take a look at seven of the most interesting things scientists have discovered about orgasms. What to learn more? Check out this video for even more orgasm facts.   

1.) The faces people make when they have an orgasm look different across cultures. Researchers have found that the Western orgasm face includes eyes that are opened wider and a vertically stretched mouth, while the East Asian orgasm face includes more smiling, with a raised brow and closed eyes. 

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5 Things Americans’ Google Searches Have Taught Us About Sex

5 Things Americans’ Google Searches Have Taught Us About Sex

In the last few years, Google Trends has become a favored research tools of sex scientists. Because not everyone is willing to participate in sex studies for various reasons, Google searches offer a handy means of looking at what a broader swath of the population thinks about sex. The appeal doesn’t stop there, though.

We also know that people don’t always answer survey questions honestly (even when they’re guaranteed anonymity) due to fear, shame, and embarrassment. For instance, some people may not honestly report their turn-ons because they’re embarrassed, while others might lie about how many people they’ve had sex with in order to look good to the researcher (some might overreport, while others might underreport). When people go to Google, however, they have a powerful incentive to tell the truth: if they don’t, they won’t find what they’re looking for.

Google searches are therefore thought to be very revealing because they can give us a glimpse into the things that people might not otherwise be willing to share. Several research papers have been published recently that explore the contents of Americans’ Google search histories. Here are five of the most fascinating things we’ve learned so far from this unique research tool.

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The State of Sex Education in the United States in 2019 (Infographic)

The State of Sex Education in the United States in 2019 (Infographic)

In the United States today, adolescents' experiences with sex education are anything but consistent. Believe it or not, less than half of all states even require that sex education be taught at all. In those states that mandate sex ed, the information teachers provide doesn't necessarily have to be useful and, in some states, the materials does not even have to be accurate! The status of American sex education in 2019 is poor, and this is a large part of the reason why we continue to have one of the highest rates of teen pregnancies and STIs in the industrialized world. Check out the infographic below for a closer look at just how incredibly variable sex education is throughout the nation.

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Why Different Sexual Orientations Exist (Video)

Why Different Sexual Orientations Exist (Video)

From an evolutionary standpoint, it makes sense that males of a given species tend to be attracted to females and vice versa because this will encourage frequent reproduction and survival of the species. But if that’s the case, then why do same-sex attractions exist? This is a question that has long been of interest to scientists. In the video below, Dr. Alice Dreger breaks down some of the key things we’ve learned from the research so far.

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