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.Read More
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:
What percentage of Americans today identify as LGBT? And does this percentage differ across age groups? Also, how many Americans currently support same-sex marriage? And just how much does support differ based on political party affiliation? In the video below, I’ve put together the answers to these questions—along with a few other important sexual orientation statistics—for LGBT Pride month.Read More
Bisexuality continues to be a widely misunderstood sexual orientation. Given that this is LGBT Pride Month, I thought it would be useful to put together an article that explores some of the key findings scientists have learned about bisexuality that can speak to some of the biggest misconceptions about it. Here goes:
1.) Bisexuality is real, and it’s not the same as being gay or lesbian. A lot of people deny the existence of bisexuality and assume that everyone who identifies as bisexual is secretly gay; however, the results of several studies reveal that bisexuality involves a distinct pattern of sexual interest and arousal compared to homosexuality.Read More
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?”Read More
Scientists have been working on developing a birth control pill for men for years. One prominent line of research has focused on using hormones to block production of sperm; however, this approach has come with a number of side effects and there is a significant number of men for whom it don’t seem to work. As a result, some researchers have begun turning to methods that don’t require the administration of hormones, as Dr. John Amory explains in the TEDMED video below.Read More
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.Read More
Gonorrhea is a relatively common sexually transmitted infection (STI) that can be passed along through oral, vaginal, and anal sex. It was once thought that these were the only sexual activities that posed a significant risk for this particular STI; however, a recent study suggests that gonorrhea can potentially be transmitted through kissing as well, regardless of whether any genital contact occurs.Read More
What are the keys to a leading a happy and healthy sex life? And how do you unlock your authentic sexual self? Dr. Emily Nagoski addresses these questions in the TEDx talk below from a science-based perspective. Nagoski walks us through the research on how our brains respond to sexual cues and helps us to understand why that’s important for the way that we approach sex. She also discusses the importance of expanding our definition of what’s “normal” when it comes to sex and learning to be comfortable and confident in our own skin. Check out the video below to learn more.Read More
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?Read More
June is LGBT Pride Month, so I'll be running several posts on LGBTQ+ issues on the blog over the next few weeks. To get us started, let's begin by debunking some of the most common myths and misconceptions about sexual orientation.
1. ) Myth: Homosexuality is contagious (i.e., you can "catch the gay"). Truth: Same sex attraction is not transmitted through social contact. As some evidence of this, consider a recent, large-scale study finding that same-sex attraction did not spread within adolescent peer groups. Adolescents’ patterns of sexual attraction were unrelated to those of their friends.Read More
A few days ago, I received several messages from friends saying they heard a segment on NPR about kink that mentioned me. Naturally, I was curious to give it a listen, but mostly because kink is a topic that I’m not sure I’ve ever heard covered on NPR—and I listen to NPR a lot! It turns out that the segment is all about what the kink community can teach us about sexual consent and communication, and it’s pretty well done.Read More
Whenever someone asks what I do for a living, I have a decision to make: do I “out” myself as a sex scientist, or do I give a generic answer that doesn’t emphasize the fact that I study sex for a living? For example, I could simply say that I’m a social psychologist or an author and leave it at that. This choice is something that all sex educators, researchers, and therapists face. Each of us has to figure out on our own what we want to reveal about our jobs to different audiences. However, there’s one audience that’s often especially tricky to navigate: our families.Read More
The internet is rife with articles describing people’s frustration with online dating apps like Tinder. It’s interesting when you think about it because these apps were designed to make dating easier and more efficient than ever; however, they haven’t necessarily made the process more satisfying. One of the problems for those attracted to different genders is that men and women tend to take very different approaches to Tinder—approaches that often end up creating frustration on all sides.Read More
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