One in Five People Report Having Been in a Sexually Open Relationship

One in Five People Report Having Been in a Sexually Open Relationship

How many people have ever been involved in a consensual non-monogamous (CNM) relationship before? The results of two recent studies involving nationally representative samples (one from the United States and one from Canada) reached nearly identical conclusions: approximately 20% (or 1 in 5) respondents said they had.

The U.S. study is from 2016 and it was previously covered on the blog here; however, the Canadian study just came out, so here are a few of the highlights from it. 

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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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5 Important Things Science Has Taught Us About Sexual Attraction

5 Important Things Science Has Taught Us About Sexual Attraction

What is it that attracts us to other people? Can you fall in love at first sight? Can computer algorithms successfully predict who will make a good match? Read on for the answers to these and several other fascinating questions about sexual attraction, according to science. 

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How To Maintain A Great Sex Life As You Get Older

How To Maintain A Great Sex Life As You Get Older

When people think about sex and aging, they have a tendency to focus on all of the things that might interfere with sexual satisfaction as we get older, such as chronic illnesses. However, it's very much possible for people to maintain a satisfying sex life as they age even if their health status changes. To learn more about this subject, I recently spoke with author Joan Price, a self-described "advocate for ageless sexuality" who has written a number of books on sex and aging, including the award-winning Naked At Our Age: Talking Out Loud About Senior Sex.

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Why We Need More Research On Sex And Aging

Why We Need More Research On Sex And Aging

Sex and aging is a topic I've wanted to include more coverage of on the blog for a long time; however, when you run a research-based blog, it's hard to write about topics that don't get a whole lot of research attention. So why is it that there isn't more research out there on sex and aging? And why is this an important topic to study anyway? For some insight into these questions, I recently spoke with author Joan Price, a self-described "advocate for ageless sexuality" who has written a number of books on sex and aging, including the award-winning Naked At Our Age: Talking Out Loud About Senior Sex.

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What I Learned By Asking 4,000 Americans About Their Biggest Sex Fantasies

What I Learned By Asking 4,000 Americans About Their Biggest Sex Fantasies

My new book, Tell Me What You Want: The Science of Sexual Desire and How It Can Help You Improve Your Sex Life, will land in bookstores next week (July 10 in the US, to be exact). I couldn't be more thrilled, especially after all the years I spent writing it!

This book is built around a massive survey of sexual fantasies that I spent almost two years working on. I learned a lot in the process of conducting this survey and writing the book, so let me take a moment to share some of the key insights and takeaways. To that end, here's an excerpt from a recent Q&A I did about Tell Me What You Want, which will give you a better sense of what the book is all about and some of the most interesting things I discovered along the way:

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Is Erectile Dysfunction Really on the Rise in Young Men?

Is Erectile Dysfunction Really on the Rise in Young Men?

In the popular media, it’s easy to find claims of a rising “epidemic” of erectile dysfunction in young men. For example, this article argues that the rate of ED in young men has increased 1000% in the last decade alone—though, problematically, no research is cited to back it up, which makes this a very questionable claim. So what does the science say on this subject? Are erectile difficulties really rising at a dramatic rate in young guys? Let’s take a look.

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The Most Common Reasons For Sex And How They Differ Based On Gender And Age

The Most Common Reasons For Sex And How They Differ Based On Gender And Age

How many different reasons are there to have sex? At least 237, according to one study. However, that study was primarily based on young college students, which begs the question of how people’s sexual motivations might differ based on age. It’s also reasonable to wonder whether men and women experience similar or different changes in their reasons for having sex as they get older, too.

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What Does (And Doesn’t) Predict Divorce, According To Science

What Does (And Doesn’t) Predict Divorce, According To Science

Social scientists have long been interested in the factors that predict divorce. Over the years, they’ve identified a number of things that seem to increase the odds of a couple dissolving their marriage; however, the evidence hasn’t always been consistent across studies, with some effects being more reliable than others. In this article, we'll review some of the most interesting findings from this area of research.

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Do We Want Partners Who Are Older Or Younger Than Us? Here's What The Research Says

Do We Want Partners Who Are Older Or Younger Than Us? Here's What The Research Says

Study after study has found that men and women have different age preferences when it comes to choosing both sexual and romantic partners. On average, men seem to prefer partners who are a bit younger while women seem to prefer partners who are a bit older than they are (of course, there's individual variability when it comes to what people want and not all men and women share these preferences). Evolutionary psychologists argue that it's adaptive for most heterosexual men to have a preference for younger women because they're likely to be more fertile; by contrast, they argue that it's adaptive for most women to have a preference for older men, who are likely to have more status and resources. If that's the case, though, then what happens when reproductive concerns are removed from the equation, such as in the case of same-sex relationships? 

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Older Women Who Marry Younger Men: They're Stigmatized, but Highly Satisfied

Older Women Who Marry Younger Men: They're Stigmatized, but Highly Satisfied

Both before and after the recent election of French president Emmanuel Macron, his wife, Brigitte, found herself to be the target of constant attacks on social media. Why? Because she happens to be 24 years older than her husband.

Age-gap 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? As you may have noticed, this same scrutiny isn’t usually applied to relationships in which men are significantly older than their female partners. As some evidence of this, just consider what a non-issue it has been that U.S. President Donald Trump happens to be 24 years older than his wife, Melania (the same age-gap as the Macrons).

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Does Anal Sex “Count” As Sex?

Does Anal Sex “Count” As Sex?

What actually counts as “having sex?” Well, it depends who you ask. Different people have different definitions. A recent study published in the Journal of Sex Research highlights just how much variability there is when it comes to whether certain forms of anal stimulation count in the eyes of heterosexual adults.

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Infographic: Americans' Attitudes Toward & Experiences With Online Dating

Infographic: Americans' Attitudes Toward & Experiences With Online Dating

In just two decades, online dating has become a multi-billion dollar industry--and it hasn't come anywhere close to reaching its full potential yet. Believe it or not, despite how much you've heard about online dating, the vast majority of Americans have never tried it. In fact, even if you only look at millennials--the group most likely to date online--only about one-quarter of them have done it before.

For a closer look at Americans' attitudes toward and experiences with online dating and how these things are related to our age and gender, check out the infographic below. 

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Gender and Sexual Orientation Differences in Preferred Sexual Partner Age

Gender and Sexual Orientation Differences in Preferred Sexual Partner Age

Several studies have found that men and women have different age preferences when it comes to selecting romantic and sexual partners. Generally speaking, it appears that men tend to prefer somewhat younger partners, whereas women tend to prefer partners who are somewhat older. Much of this research has been interpreted through the lens of evolutionary theory, which claims that it was adaptive for men to evolve a preference for younger women because they're likely to be most fertile; by contrast, this theory suggests that it was adaptive for women to have evolved a preference for older men because they presumably have more status and resources.One thing you might be wondering, though, is just how stable these age preferences are likely to be across the lifespan. Do they change as we get older? And, furthermore, what about persons who aren’t heterosexual? How are gay, lesbian, and bisexual persons’ partner age preferences similar or different? A new study published in the journal Evolutionary Psychology offers some insight into these questions.

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How Does Sexual Satisfaction Change in Older Age?

How Does Sexual Satisfaction Change in Older Age?

It’s a simple biological fact that, as we age, the odds of developing one or more sexual problems increases. But what exactly does this mean for the sexual satisfaction of older adults? Are they necessarily discontent with their sex lives? Study after study has found that there is a negative correlation between age and sexual satisfaction, such that the older people get, the less satisfied they report being [1,2]. However, if you dig a little further into the research, you will see that it would be a mistake to conclude that older adults are inherently unhappy in the bedroom.

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10 Things You Should Know About the Sex Lives of American Teenagers

10 Things You Should Know About the Sex Lives of American Teenagers

Popular media articles on adolescent sexuality usually paint a portrait of the modern American teenager as hypersexual. Among other things, these articles give the impression that teens are having sex at younger and younger ages, they’re constantly hooking up and sexting, and they’re engaging in a lot of risky sexual behavior, thanks to a diet of highly sexual movies and TV shows. By contrast, scientific research on the sex lives of adolescents suggests a very different set of conclusions. Here are 10 things you should know about the sex lives of American teenagers, according to science.

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Do Men’s Penises Get Smaller As They Get Older?

Do Men’s Penises Get Smaller As They Get Older?

A reader submitted the following question:

“I wonder, does the penis get any smaller with age? In other words, does the penis shrink as men get older?”

Thanks for this great question! If you try searching Google for the answer, you’ll quickly come across lots of articles saying that this does indeed occur—however, none of those articles actually cite any research to back up their claims. Instead, they rely on the opinions of physicians and other medical experts. That's all well and good, but I always like to have data. So, I did some digging.

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Americans’ Attitudes Toward Bisexuals: Results From a National Survey

Americans’ Attitudes Toward Bisexuals: Results From a National Survey

Researchers and public polling firms alike have extensively surveyed Americans about their attitudes toward gays and lesbians in recent years. The results of their work have shown that attitudes toward homosexuality have become far more favorable over time. Unfortunately, however, in almost all of these surveys, attitudes toward bisexuals have been neglected. As a result, we don’t really know that much about what Americans' attitudes toward bisexuality look like today, nor can we say much about the degree to which they might have changed over time.

Fortunately, a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE offers some insight.

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6 Reasons to be Thankful for Sex Today

6 Reasons to be Thankful for Sex Today

For those of you celebrating Thanksgiving today, one of the many things you might consider giving thanks for is sex. Why? Here are six good reasons, all supported by science.

1. Sex is a multi-purpose activity that allows us to meet a wide range of needs. In fact, scientists have identified at least 237 distinct reasons for having sex! Not only is sex a fun and pleasurable way to pass the time, but it's also a potential way to reproduce, to demonstrate love and affection, and to find relief (indeed, research suggests that having sex can potentially relieve stress for couples). In other words, sex can do a lot for us.

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Would Your Ideal Relationship Be Monogamous Or Open? 1,000 Americans Weigh In

Would Your Ideal Relationship Be Monogamous Or Open? 1,000 Americans Weigh In

Would your ideal relationship be completely monogamous, completely open, or somewhere in between? One thousand Americans adults were recently asked this question as part of a national YouGov survey and the results were fascinating.

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