What You Think You Know About the Male Refractory Period is Probably Wrong

What You Think You Know About the Male Refractory Period is Probably Wrong

The refractory period is usually defined as a phase following orgasm during which additional orgasms are impossible. Sexual arousal is often said to be very difficult during this time as well. The refractory period is usually discussed in relation to men; women are often said to have no such period, and this difference has been used to explain why women are more likely than men to have multiple orgasms. 

This narrative—while extraordinarily popular and pervasive in human sexuality textbooks and websites—might be incorrect, though. The truth of the matter is that we don’t actually know all that much about the refractory period—it’s a “shortcoming” in the sexuality literature, so to speak.

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Nine Things You Should Know About Casual Sex

Nine Things You Should Know About Casual Sex

Casual sex is common, and studies suggest that most people will have it at one point or another. However, despite its prevalence, casual sex is widely misunderstood. Here are nine things science has taught us about casual sex that are worth knowing.

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Why It's Important To Recognize Differences Between Men and Women

Why It's Important To Recognize Differences Between Men and Women

I’ve read a lot of media articles recently arguing that men and women really aren’t that different—and that any differences that do exist are due entirely to cultural conditioning. While I believe the authors of these articles are well intentioned and are striving for a noble goal of wanting to reduce gender inequality, I can’t help but feel that they are doing a disservice to readers by minimizing or (in some cases) completely ignoring important sex differences. The scientific reality is that men’s and women’s bodies are fundamentally different, and it’s in everyone’s interest to pay careful attention to those differences.

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What Does It Mean To Be Sex Positive?

What Does It Mean To Be Sex Positive?

What does it mean to be sex positive? This is one of those terms that different people define in different ways; however, at the core of most definitions is the idea that we must recognize that human sexuality—in its diverse and myriad forms of expression—is natural and healthy. Of course, there is an important caveat to this, which is that we’re only talking about consensual sexual expression here. Nonconsensual sex is another matter entirely.

Anyone who works in the areas of sex education, research, or therapy would do well to spend some time thinking about their own sex-positive philosophy because it’s vital that all of us approach our work in a non-judgmental fashion.

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Older Women Who Date Younger Men Are More Satisfied

Older Women Who Date Younger Men Are More Satisfied

Relationships in which a woman is significantly older than her male partner have always attracted a lot of attention and scrutiny. Case in point: remember what big news it was when Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher were together? Or the international media obsession that followed French president Emmanuel Macron and his spouse, Brigitte, who happens to be 24 years his senior?

This same scrutiny isn’t usually applied to relationships in which men are significantly older than their female partners. For example, U.S. President Donald Trump happens to be 24 years older than Melania. Certainly, the Trumps have attracted a lot of media attention—it just hasn’t been for their age difference! Research on age-gap relationships bears out this double standard.

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How Porn Changes The Way Teens Think About Sex, And Why We Need Porn Literacy

How Porn Changes The Way Teens Think About Sex, And Why We Need Porn Literacy

How does pornography affect the way that teens think about and approach sex? Is there a link between pornography and sexual violence, as many in the media have claimed? Also what’s the most effective way to talk to teens about sex and pornography in the first place? Dr. Emily Rothman thoughtfully addresses these questions and more in the TEDMed video below.

Rothman’s talk is one of the best porn talks I’ve seen because it presents a very balanced take on the issue. It’s not an ideologically driven pro-porn or anti-porn take; rather, it’s an attempt to start a nuanced conversation about what we do and don’t know concerning the effects of porn and how we can use that knowledge to inform sex education efforts.

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In Nature, Sexual Deception is Everywhere You Look

In Nature, Sexual Deception is Everywhere You Look

A few weeks ago, I posted an article about the beautiful—but sexually deceitful—orchid. Some orchids have evolved to mimic the appearance and scent of female bees in order to lure male bees, which then attempt to have sex with the flowers. This is in the orchid’s interest, of course, because the bees’ actions actually help the orchid to reproduce through pollination. However, it’s not necessarily in the interest of the male bees. 

This kind of sexual deception is hardly unique to orchids—in fact, you can find evidence of it throughout nature.

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The Erotic Equation and Why We’re Drawn to People Who Play Hard to Get

The Erotic Equation and Why We’re Drawn to People Who Play Hard to Get

In Jack Morin’s classic book The Erotic Mind, he describes the “erotic equation” as follows:  

Attraction + Obstacles = Excitement

What this equation means is basically that if we’re attracted to something and we’re told we can’t have it, this makes us come to want it even more. It’s kind of like the phenomenon of reverse psychology, and it seems to be a basic part of human nature. Indeed, there’s a lot of evidence that this is true when it comes to both our sexual turn-ons and the romantic partners we’re drawn to. 

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Porn Ed: What Happens When Porn Replaces Sex Education?

Porn Ed: What Happens When Porn Replaces Sex Education?

Adolescents today have greater access to a wider range of pornography than any previous generation. So how is it affecting them?  

This question is the crux of a new episode of Lisa Ling’s CNN series This is Life titled “Porn Ed,” which premieres September 29. Ling wanted to better understand how accessibility to porn is changing the way adolescents and young adults think about sex and approach relationships.  

I had a chance to preview the episode and sit down with Ling to discuss it.

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Do People With ADHD Have a Harder Time With Monogamy?

Do People With ADHD Have a Harder Time With Monogamy?

Do people with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have a more difficult time being monogamous? Are they more inclined to be in sexually open relationships?

Sex therapist Ari Tuckman just published a book titled ADHD After Dark that explores these questions, as well as how ADHD impacts people’s sex lives and relationships more broadly. For this book, Tuckman surveyed more than 3,000 people who were in relationships in which one partner has ADHD and the other doesn’t in order to better understand when these relationships work—and when they don’t.  

One of the things Tuckman’s survey revealed was that persons with ADHD were more likely to have participated in both consensual nonmonogamy (i.e., being in some kind of sexually open relationship) and nonconsensual nonmonogamy (i.e., cheating or infidelity). Persons with ADHD also expressed more interest in having an open relationship compared to their non-ADHD counterparts.

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Announcing the 7th Annual SPSP Sexuality Pre-Conference!

Announcing the 7th Annual SPSP Sexuality Pre-Conference!

I am pleased to announce the seventh annual SPSP Sexuality Pre-Conference! It will be held next February prior to the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. Our last six pre-conferences were wildly successful and we are excited to further build on this tradition.

The next SPSP Sexuality Pre-Conference will take place on Thursday, February 27, 2020 at the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans. The theme will be "sex on the margins."  We selected this theme in order to highlight sexual practices, movements, and identities that are often overlooked in mainstream research. Among the topics that will be highlighted in this pre-conference are bisexuality and Black women’s sexuality.

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The HPV Vaccine is Underutilized--And How We Can Change That

The HPV Vaccine is Underutilized--And How We Can Change That

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection and it’s responsible for a number of negative health effects. In addition to genital warts, it has the potential to cause a number of cancers, including those of the cervix, anus, and throat. A vaccine that can prevent HPV (and, therefore, its associated health problems) has been around for nearly a decade; however, it continues to be widely underutilized in the United States.

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Why I Deleted My Academia.edu Account and Why You Should, Too

Why I Deleted My Academia.edu Account and Why You Should, Too

The traditional model of academic publishing restricts access to research by putting it in the hands of private companies. As a result, I’ve had to work hard to make my research available to those who wish to read it. I’ve done so by publishing accessible summaries on this blog, by publishing as much as I can in open-access journals, and by establishing profiles on file-sharing sites like Academia.Edu and ResearchGate, which allow you to store and share full-text uploads of papers with anyone. I will keep doing the first two going forward, but I’ve grown leery of the latter and have increasingly come to realize that these file-sharing websites aren’t an effective solution to the problems of academic publishing. In fact, I’ve grown quite concerned about these sites and have come to realize that academics need to pursue other means of sharing their work. Let me explain.

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Study Abroad With Me in Amsterdam for a Course on Sex and Culture

Study Abroad With Me in Amsterdam for a Course on Sex and Culture

I’m excited to announce a unique study abroad opportunity in conjunction with the Sexual Health Alliance. We are offering a one-week study abroad program in Amsterdam focused on sex and culture, which will take place in May 2020! Join us for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

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ADHD After Dark: How ADHD Affects People’s Sex and Love Lives

ADHD After Dark: How ADHD Affects People’s Sex and Love Lives

How does attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affect people in adult life? Specifically, what are the implications for people’s sexual and romantic relationships? 

For the answers to these questions, I spoke with a certified sex therapist, Dr. Ari Tuckman. He has just published a book titled ADHD After Dark, which explores how adult ADHD affects people in the bedroom and beyond. For this book, Tuckman surveyed more than 3,000 people who were in relationships in which one partner has ADHD and the other doesn’t in order to better understand when these relationships work—and when they don’t.  

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Science Fiction Sex Fantasies: Why Some People are Turned on by Impossible Scenarios

Science Fiction Sex Fantasies: Why Some People are Turned on by Impossible Scenarios

A large number of people have sexual fantasies that are impossible to act out because they feature elements of science fiction. As some evidence of this, I surveyed more than 4,000 Americans about their sexual fantasies for my book Tell Me What You Want and found that more than half of my respondents had fantasized about a fictional character from a book or movie, one-third had fantasized about a mythical creature (like a vampire or werewolf), one-quarter had fantasized about a cartoon or anime character, and one-sixth had fantasized about sex with an alien. That’s a lot of sci-fi sex!

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Sex and Disability: Intellectual Disabilities and the Right to Sexuality

Sex and Disability: Intellectual Disabilities and the Right to Sexuality

In many countries, including the United States, persons with intellectual disabilities are deemed unable to provide sexual consent. The argument behind this is usually that these individuals cannot understand the potential risks of sex and, therefore, they cannot offer informed consent. So does this mean that everyone with an intellectual deficit must necessarily remain celibate lifelong?

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No Strings Attached? Many Friends with Benefits are Actually Looking for Love

No Strings Attached? Many Friends with Benefits are Actually Looking for Love

When people become friends with benefits (FWBs), what is it that they truly want from that arrangement? Are they just in it for the “benefits” (that is, sex)? Or are they perhaps looking for more? I’ve conducted some research on this subject and here’s what I found.

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Being a Little Narcissistic Could Mean Having a Better Sex Life

Being a Little Narcissistic Could Mean Having a Better Sex Life

Narcissism is a frequently maligned personality trait that involves being self-centered, entitled, and holding grandiose views of oneself. Sex researchers have long been interested in how narcissism plays out in people’s sexual and romantic lives; to date, however, they’ve really only focused on the potentially harmful outcomes associated with being narcissistic, such as being more likely to commit infidelity [1]. New research challenges the widespread belief that narcissism is inherently bad, though. In fact, in some ways, narcissism just might be good for your sexual health and well-being. 

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