The way we think about casual sex is all wrong, as Dr. Terri Conley argues in the TEDx talk below. Conely walks us through some of the key findings from her program of research and challenges a lot of popular ideas on the subject.Read More
Penis size is a common body concern among men. While most guys report being satisfied with the size of their genitals, a sizable minority say they’re unhappy. For example, in a survey of 4,198 US men aged 18-65 who were asked to rate their satisfaction with 14 different aspects of their manhood , 85.9% were categorized as being satisfied overall. The remaining 14.1% (or about 1 in 7 men) were dissatisfied. Perhaps not surprisingly, their most common concerns revolved around flaccid and erect penis length as well as penile girth.Read More
As a sex researcher, I’ve learned a lot about what it is that people fantasize about when it comes sex. In many of the fantasies I’ve heard, something I’ve noticed is that people— especially heterosexual men and women—often describe a scenario that results in simultaneous orgasm. The idea of climaxing at the same time seems to be appealing to a lot of people, so is there anything you can do to increase the chances of it actually happening in real life?Read More
You just might be taking your sense of smell for granted, argues Dr. Rachel Herz in the TEDx video below. In this talk, Herz describes how little appreciation we have for our sense of smell, while also describing the myriad powerful ways that smell affects our quality of life.Read More
When asked to describe a memorable regret, the things people mention most often involve love, sex, and romance. Common regrets include lost opportunities (like “the one that got away”), cheating and infidelity, and one’s first sexual experience. Men and women both report having sexual regrets, but do the nature of those regrets differ? Research suggests that, on average, they do.Read More
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.Read More
When it comes to men’s options for birth control, they really only have two choices: wear a condom or get a vasectomy. While the number of options available to women has increased dramatically in recent years, nothing has really changed for men. So why is that?Read More
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
The percentage of Americans who identify as LGBT is on the rise. Data from Gallup and other national surveys suggest that, as attitudes toward sexual minorities have become more positive, more and more Americans are comfortable reporting LGBT identities. However, these data haven’t been broken down by subgroups, so it’s not entirely clear whether we’re seeing across-the-board increases, or just increases in identification with certain subgroups. A recent analysis of data from the General Social Survey suggests that much of the increase is attributable to a rise in bisexual identification.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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 pornRead More
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.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
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.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
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?Read More
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?Read More
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.Read More