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
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
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
As a sex educator and researcher, one of the more common questions I get asked is when and how to talk to your kids about sex. Case in point: a reader of the blog recently asked, “At what age should parents talk about sex to their children—or at what age do children need to know about sex?”
So when should you start? And what the heck do parents need to know about navigating this discussion? Here’s a brief guide to help you get started.Read More
In the book A Billion Wicked Thoughts, neuroscientists Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam analyzed the contents of over a billion searches on some of the most popular porn sites. They found a lot of interesting things, including the fact that the most popular search term on Pornhub (one of the most heavily visited tube sites in the entire world) was “mom.” This book was published in 2012, but if you flash forward to today, moms are still incredibly popular in adult entertainment.Read More
The science of orgasm is a fascinating subject. In this post, we’ll take a look at seven of the most interesting things scientists have discovered about orgasms. What to learn more? Check out this video for even more orgasm facts.
1.) The faces people make when they have an orgasm look different across cultures. Researchers have found that the Western orgasm face includes eyes that are opened wider and a vertically stretched mouth, while the East Asian orgasm face includes more smiling, with a raised brow and closed eyes.Read More
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.Read More
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?Read More