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!Read More
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 . 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.Read More
If you're reading this, odds are that you love learning about the latest sex research. But have you ever wanted to go beyond just reading about it and perhaps take part in an actual sex study? If so, check out my Sex Studies page, which is updated regularly with calls for participation from sex scientists across the globe. Nine studies have already been added since the beginning of this year, with new opportunities coming in each month!Read More
Sixty-six years ago this week (August 20, 1953), the media first reported on some of the major findings from Alfred Kinsey's classic book Sexual Behavior in the Human Female. As many of you probably know, this was the first book of its kind to truly explore women's sexual attitudes and behaviors from a scientific point of view.
Kinsey's book sent shockwaves around the world and it was quickly labeled "obscene" by many, due to the prevailing views on sex in the 1950s. Today, though, we look back on Kinsey's brave work as one of the most important publications on human sexuality ever. Kinsey's research was groundbreaking in so many ways, but largely because it debunked many myths and misconceptions about women's sexuality.Read More
What does your use of emojis say about your sex and dating life? According to a new study published in the journal PLoS ONE, a lot, actually. In fact, frequent use of emojis with potential dates is linked to not only having sex more often, but also to a more active and successful dating life.Read More
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a term that most people are familiar with. But when we hear about someone having ADHD, we tend to think about children and adolescents and how this disorder affects them at home or in school because most people who are diagnosed happen to be kids and there’s a widespread belief that people eventually “outgrow” ADHD.
The reality, however, is that most kids with ADHD become adults with ADHD. Also, there are a heck of a lot of adults out there with undiagnosed ADHD. So what are the implications of ADHD in adult life, especially in people’s personal lives? Does it impact the way they approach sex and relationships?
I recently interviewed Dr. Ari Tuckman for the Sex and Psychology Podcast in order to learn more.Read More
How have Americans’ sexual behaviors changed over the past quarter of a century? A recent study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior offers some insight.
In this study, researchers explored data from the General Social Survey, a nationally representative survey conducted in the United States most years. Sexual behavior isn’t the main focus of this survey, but several questions about sex are included on it, including how many partners people have ever had as well as who they have had sex with in the past year. So what did they find?Read More
The orgasm gap refers to the well-documented research finding that heterosexual men tend to have more consistent experiences with orgasm than heterosexual women. Specifically, men are not only more likely to report having had an orgasm the last time they had sex, but they’re also more likely to say that they always or almost always have orgasms compared to women.
So what can we do to close this gap?Read More
BDSM has long been deemed a paraphilia—meaning an unusual sexual interest—by psychologists and psychiatrists. The classification of BDSM as a paraphilia implies that it’s likely to be a pretty rare sexual practice in the overall population. But is that really the case? Just how many people have ever had a BDSM experience before?
This question has been difficult to answer with any degree of certainty because, historically, nationally representative sex surveys haven’t routinely inquired about BDSM. As a result, we’ve had to base most of our knowledge on the results of convenience samples, which aren’t representative of the population and therefore don’t tell us as much about actual prevalence rates. However, a recent national US sex survey offers useful insight.Read More
I surveyed 4,175 Americans about their sexual fantasies for my book Tell Me What You Want. Since this book came out, one of the more common questions I’ve been asked about (both online and at speaking engagements) is the role that race plays in people’s sex fantasies. Specifically, do persons of color tend to have similar or different fantasies to those of White individuals? Let’s take a look at what my data say.Read More
Who’s your celebrity crush? I surveyed more than 4,000 American adults about their sexual fantasies for my book Tell Me What You Want and, among other things, I asked them who they were fantasizing about. In the images below, I focus on fantasies about the rich and famous and present the results separately for male and female celebs.Read More
As a sex researcher, I’ve read a lot of studies on the subject of pornography. One thing that’s been pretty consistent across most of them is that what counts as “porn” is usually left undefined. In other words, when people are asked about their porn usage habits, it’s generally up to them to determine what counts and what doesn’t.Read More
According to the results of Gallup's 2019 Moral Issues Survey, Americans’ views on sexual morality continue to become more liberal overall. In fact, for many of the issues Americans were surveyed about, Gallup recorded the most liberal views on record.
Among the more notable changes are that Americans are increasingly comfortable with same-sex behavior, sex between unmarried adults, divorce, and having children outside of marriage. However, while major shifts have occurred in those attitudes in recent years, Americans’ attitudes toward other sex-related issues—especially things like abortion and infidelity—haven’t really changed much.Read More
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:
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
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
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
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
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