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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When Is The Right Time To Start Having Sex?

When Is The Right Time To Start Having Sex?

When you start seeing someone new, when’s the right time to begin having sex with that person? According to a non-scientific survey of OK Cupid users, people are all over the map: 28% said between 1 and 2 dates, 47% said between 3 and 5 dates, 20% said 6 or more dates, and 5% said only after getting married.  

 This pattern tells us that the “three-date rule” is something a lot of people apparently subscribe to; however, it appears to be far from universal.  

But does it actually matter when you do it?

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Does Sex Affect Athletic Performance?

Does Sex Affect Athletic Performance?

Whenever a major sporting competition is about to occur, it’s common to see news articles about athletes who say they will be abstaining from sex until the event is over. Many athletes and coaches are worried that getting it on before a big sporting event could potentially hurt performance.

But is this concern truly warranted? Does sex really have any effect on athletic performance one way or another?

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3 Sex Fantasies That Are More Common Than You Think

3 Sex Fantasies That Are More Common Than You Think

Paraphilia is the term psychiatrists and psychologists use to refer to any type of unusual or “non-normative” sexual interest. The number of sexual fantasies that have been deemed paraphilic has grown substantially over the years to the point where hundreds of things have now been labeled as unusual turn-ons. As it turns out, however, a lot of these fantasies aren’t so uncommon after all.

Here are three specific sexual fantasies that are typically considered to be paraphilic, but that are actually quite common in terms of the number of people who have fantasized about them before.

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How To Talk To Your Partner About Your Sexual Fantasies

How To Talk To Your Partner About Your Sexual Fantasies

There's a lot we can potentially gain from talking to our partners about our sexual fantasies. Among other things, this has the potential to increase our sexual and relationship satisfaction and to enhance feelings of intimacy and closeness. However, many of us don't quite know how to go about sharing and discussing our fantasies or desires. A lot of people feel too scared, anxious, or embarrassed to do so.

To help you get started, I created the video below, which offers some practical steps and guidelines for starting a productive and healthy conversation on this topic.

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How Many Americans Have Paid For Sex Before?

How Many Americans Have Paid For Sex Before?

Purchasing sex used to be a very common behavior among American men. For example, Alfred Kinsey’s famous studies of human sexual behavior from the 1940s and 50s found that 69% of the men he surveyed had paid for sex at least once! However, more recent studies suggest that the number has dropped significantly as attitudes toward sex outside of marriage have liberalized. In fact, in the 1990s, a nationally representative survey of Americans found that just 16% of men said they had paid for sex before.

So what do the numbers look like today? And how do they compare for men and women? 

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Why Is Porn Inspired By Video Games So Popular?

Why Is Porn Inspired By Video Games So Popular?

It seems as though every time a video game becomes a major hit, porn inspired by that game becomes a big thing. For example, when the PokémonGo craze hit in 2016, “Poképorn”took off. Videos were uploaded to major porn sites featuring animated Pokémon sex, as well as humans having sex while dressed up as their favorite Pokémon characters. Searches for Pokémon were notably higher, too, as reported by sites like Pornhub and xHamster.

Something similar has happened more recently with the popular video game Fortnite, which is a third-person shooter game in case you aren’t familiar with it. Fortnite-inspired porn is apparently in such great demand that “Fortnite” was one of the top 20 most-searched terms on Pornhub in 2018!

So why is that? Why is video game-based porn so popular?

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Are We Really in a “Sex Recession?”

Are We Really in a “Sex Recession?”

A recent study suggests that Americans are having less sex today than they were a quarter-century ago. These findings have received a lot of attention—I covered them on the blog when they were published in 2017, and they’ve been discussed in countless media articles around the world since, culminating in a widely read piece in The Atlantic last month, which took the results to mean that we’re in the midst of a “sex recession.”

But is that really the case?

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Nonconsensual Condom Removal: How Common is “Stealthing?”

Nonconsensual Condom Removal: How Common is “Stealthing?”

In 2017, we added a new word to our sexual vocabulary: stealthing. A paper published in the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law defined it as “nonconsensual condom removal during sexual intercourse” and set off a flurry of media articles announcing it as a new “trend” in sexual behavior. However, we didn’t really have a good sense of the scope of the problem at that time because the original paper that called our attention to stealthing was based on interviews with a small number of victims. 

So just how many people have experienced stealthing anyway? A new study offers some insight.

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Sexual Fantasies About Body Fluids: How Many People Have Them?

Sexual Fantasies About Body Fluids: How Many People Have Them?

The human body produces a number of different fluids—and those fluids represent a sexual turn-on for some people. From semen and sweat to blood and breast milk, almost any body fluid you can think of has the potential to become a source of sexual arousal. But just how many people are turned on by each fluid? I explored this question in the data I collected for my book Tell Me What You Want. I surveyed more than 4,000 Americans about their sexual fantasies and, among other things, I asked participants whether they had ever fantasized about several different body fluids.

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We’re In Peak Online Dating Season. Here's Why

We’re In Peak Online Dating Season. Here's Why

The busiest time of year for online dating is the nearly two-month stretch that runs from the day after Christmas through Valentine’s Day. It reaches its peak on the Sunday after New Year’s Day, or “Dating Sunday” as it’s known by those who work in the romance industry. This is consistently the single biggest day of the year for new online dating signups.

So why is that? What’s going on in the first few months of winter that makes people want to couple-up (a phenomenon often referred to in the media as “cuffing season”)?

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What Was Popular In Porn In 2018?

What Was Popular In Porn In 2018?

Pornhub recently released their 2018 year-in-review of users’ viewing habits and the results were fascinating. Among other things, they reported an average of 92 million site visitors per day in 2018, each of whom stayed for an average of 10 minutes and 13 seconds. Also, users uploaded more than 4.7 million videos—so many, in fact, that it would take 115 years to watch all of them. That’s a lot of porn!

You can check out the full report here in all its glory, but if you’re just after a few highlights and some analysis, here are some of the things that stood out to me during my review of the data.

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Happy New Year! Here Are 9 Resolutions For Better Sex In 2019

Happy New Year! Here Are 9 Resolutions For Better Sex In 2019

Every time a new year comes around, people start making resolutions for self-improvement. For example, some of us resolve to lose weight or to get in shape, others vow to quit smoking, and yet others plan to get their finances in order. As you ponder your own personal resolutions for 2019, here's one more that you might wish to adopt: resolve to have better sex this year.

So how might you go about achieving this resolution? Scientific research offers a lot of insight. Here are nine scientifically-backed suggestions for enhancing your sex life in 2019.

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Eight Things Science Taught Us About Sex In 2018

Eight Things Science Taught Us About Sex In 2018

2018 has been memorable for a lot of reasons—including what science taught us about sex. Here’s a quick recap of some of the most interesting things we learned about sex this year. 

1. The G-Spot probably isn’t what you think it is. 

Scientists recently published one of the largest and most thorough anatomic explorations ever of the area commonly referred to as the G-Spot.

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Forbidden Fruit: How Many of Us Have Fantasized About Our Partner’s Best Friend? Or Their Sibling?

Forbidden Fruit: How Many of Us Have Fantasized About Our Partner’s Best Friend? Or Their Sibling?

In studying the sex fantasies of more than 4,000 Americans for my book Tell Me What You Want, I discovered that there’s one person who’s more likely to appear in our sexual fantasies than anyone else: a current romantic partner (or, if you’re single, an ex-partner). However, our fantasies aren’t only about our partners. For example, sometimes we fantasize about “forbidden fruit”—you know, people our partners might disapprove of, like their best friend or a sibling. Or perhaps we might fantasize about people that our culture or society would consider off-limits, such as someone else who’s married. 

So just how common are these “forbidden fruit” fantasies ? And do they differ based on gender and/or sexual orientation? Here’s a look at what I found when I dug into the data: 

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Believe It or Not, Nude Psychotherapy Used To Be A Thing—And Even The APA President Supported It

Believe It or Not, Nude Psychotherapy Used To Be A Thing—And Even The APA President Supported It

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine shared an article with me that offered a historical review of the “nude psychotherapy” movement in psychology. Wait—what? As I began to read it, I learned that in the 1960s and 70s, some psychologists were getting naked with their patients with the hope of getting them more in touch with their “true” or “authentic” selves.

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