What percentage of Americans today identify as LGBT? And does this percentage differ across age groups? Also, how many Americans currently support same-sex marriage? And just how much does support differ based on political party affiliation? In the video below, I’ve put together the answers to these questions—along with a few other important sexual orientation statistics—for LGBT Pride month.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
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
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.Read More
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?Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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:Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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?Read More
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).Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More