How Booze and Weed Affect Us During Sex

How Booze and Weed Affect Us During Sex

Alcohol and marijuana are among the most popular substances people use to enhance their sexual experiences. But when it comes to their effects, how similar or different are these drugs? A study published this year in the Archives of Sexual Behavior offers some insight.

Researchers conducted in-depth interviews with 24 young adults in New York City and asked them to compare their past experiences using alcohol and marijuana during sex. Obviously, this is a very small sample and we must be cautious when it comes to generalizing the findings; however, the results still tell us some important things. Here’s a quick rundown of the highlights:

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"Beer Goggles" Can Increase Straight People's Attraction to the Same Sex

"Beer Goggles" Can Increase Straight People's Attraction to the Same Sex

Alcohol has the power to change not only the way we see ourselves, but also the way we see other people. Indeed, research has found that when we drink, we have a tendency to rate ourselves and the people around us as more attractive than we otherwise would if we were sober. Both of these are manifestations of the so-called “beer goggles” phenomenon. A new study published in The Journal of Social Psychology suggests that beer goggles might have at least one other interesting effect: alcohol also seems to increase straight people’s interest in having a same-sex experience.

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Why Americans Are Having Less Sex—And What It Means

Why Americans Are Having Less Sex—And What It Means

I recently blogged about the results of a new study reporting that Americans today are having less sex than they were a quarter century ago. Specifically, this research suggests that Americans are having sex about 9 fewer times per year than they were in the 1990s. So what accounts for this apparent decline? And does it necessarily mean—as many assume—that Americans’ sex lives and relationships are less satisfying than they once were? 

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Why So Many College Students Have Risky Sex on Spring Break

Why So Many College Students Have Risky Sex on Spring Break

My university, like many schools around the country, is on spring break this week. A lot of students are using this opportunity to not just take a breather from their studies, but also to travel. As I’m sure you’re well aware, spring break trips have a reputation for getting a little wild and crazy—I mean, just look at how they’re depicted in Hollywood films.

But why is that exactly? What accounts for why so many college students partake in risky behaviors—especially risky sexual behaviors—at this time of year? Let’s take a look at a recent study published in the journal Prevention Science that attempted to address this question.

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6 Resolutions For Better Sex In The New Year

6 Resolutions For Better Sex In The New Year

Every time a new year rolls around, people start making resolutions for self-improvement--you know, like losing weight, getting your spending under control, or finally giving up smoking. As you ponder your own resolutions, let me give you one more worth considering: resolve to have better sex this year.

Not sure where to start? When in doubt, do what I do and take a cue from science. Here are six scientifically-backed suggestions for enhancing your sex life in 2017.

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Alcohol vs. Marijuana: Which One is a Better Aphrodisiac?

Alcohol vs. Marijuana: Which One is a Better Aphrodisiac?

Alcohol and marijuana are among the most popular drugs people use for sexual enhancement. But when it comes to their effects, how similar or different are they? A new study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior offers some insight.

In this study, researchers conducted in-depth interviews with 24 young adults in New York City and asked them to compare past experiences using these substances during sex. Obviously, this is a very small sample and we should be very cautious when it comes to generalizing the results; however, the findings are still certainly informative. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the highlights:

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6 Resolutions to Improve Your Sex Life in 2016

6 Resolutions to Improve Your Sex Life in 2016

At the start of each new year, many of us make resolutions for self-improvement, such as losing weight, getting one's finances in order, or giving up smoking. As you ponder your own resolutions, let me give you an additional one to consider: resolve to have better sex. Not sure how? According to scientific research, here are six things you might consider doing in 2016 that have the potential to improve your sex life.

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Medicated Sex: How Many People Use Drugs To Enhance Their Sexual Performance?

Medicated Sex: How Many People Use Drugs To Enhance Their Sexual Performance?

Using drugs to enhance one’s libido or sexual performance is nothing new, but there are certainly more options today than ever before. This includes prescription drugs (e.g., Viagra for erectile dysfunction and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors for premature ejaculation), as well as recreational drugs (e.g., crystal meth for heightening arousal and amyl nitrate/“poppers” for enhancing the experience of anal sex). Surprisingly little research exists regarding the prevalence of “medicated sex,” not to mention who does it and the factors associated with it; however, a new study published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections provides some revealing insight.

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From Vodka Tampons To Beer Bong Enemas: Non-Traditional Alcohol Use Among College Students

From Vodka Tampons To Beer Bong Enemas: Non-Traditional Alcohol Use Among College Students

The other day, I overheard a couple of college-age guys talking about what they thought was an ingenious method for never failing a breathalyzer test again when stopped by police on suspicion of drunk driving: ingesting alcohol anally instead of orally—specifically, by inserting vodka-soaked tampons into their rear ends (actually, one guy suggested vodka, but the other guy said he’d prefer a tequila tampon. I suspect your anus wouldn’t know the difference, though). That way, according to their logic, you won’t smell like booze or breathe it out. Upon hearing this, my first thought was that the best way to avoid failing a breathalyzer test is simply to not drink and drive in the first place and maybe download the app for Uber or Lyft instead. My second thought was one of concern because these guys actually sounded serious about trying it. So, does anyone actually do this? And what kind of effects would this have on the body?

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The Science of “Beer Goggles”: Is Beauty In The Eye Of The Beer Holder?

The Science of “Beer Goggles”: Is Beauty In The Eye Of The Beer Holder?

According to the Urban Dictionary, the term beer goggles is defined as the “phenomenon in which one's consumption of alcohol makes physically unattractive persons appear beautiful.” In recent years, much has been said and written about beer goggles in the popular media (including the so-bad-it’s-good country song “Billy’s Got His Beer Goggles On”), but just how much truth is there to this idea? Does alcohol consumption really change our perceptions of attractiveness that much? Let's see what the science has to say.

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Do Cheaters Practice Safe Sex? (Infographic)

Do Cheaters Practice Safe Sex? (Infographic)

Although people almost universally agree that cheating is wrong, infidelity remains incredibly common. Most discussions about cheating tend to focus on the powerful emotional consequences of it; however, there are also some important health risks associated with infidelity. The reality is that when people cheat, not only do they tend to take very few safety precautions, but most people also lie about it to their partners, thereby creating opportunities to spread STIs. Check out the infographic below for some statistics on the risky sexual practices of admitted cheaters.

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Do People Get Better Looking When The Bar Is About To Close?

“Ain't it funny, ain't it strange the way a man's opinions change when he starts to face that lonely night.” – Lyrics from the song “Don’t the Girls All Get Prettier at Closing Time” by Mickey Gilley

What happens when something is only available for a short period of time or exists in limited quantities? We want it. Badly. That’s why advertisements and infomercials are always telling you to “act now, before time runs out” if you want to get your hands on the latest, overpriced, completely unnecessary product they’re selling. However, the illusion of scarcity and its effects are not unique to the world of business—scarcity may also affect how we perceive potential sexual and romantic partners. As some evidence of this, consider a classic study on the so-called “closing time effect,” or the idea that everyone gets better looking when the bar is about to close because the window of opportunity for finding someone to take home dwindles.

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Sex Question Friday: Can Too Much Weed Hurt Your Sex Life?

Every Friday on the blog, I answer people’s questions about sex, love, and relationships. This week’s question comes from a reader who wanted to know whether substance use can lead to problems “keeping it up” during sex.

What does it mean when men in college can't stay hard during sex? If you smoke a lot of weed, does that make it more difficult to stay hard in the same way alcohol does?

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A Look At The Risky Practice Of “Penile Incarceration”

A fascinating case study entitled “Penile Incarceration Secondary to Masturbation with a Steel Pipe” was recently published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior. Based on the title alone, I knew I had to blog about it. As it turns out, men have been “incarcerating” their penises for more than 250 years, sometimes resulting in rather unpleasant consequences and inventive “jailbreaks” [1].

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Are You An Exhibitionist?

Although displaying your genitals in public is illegal in many parts of the world, a huge number of people have done it at one time or another. Countless men and women have flashed each other at Mardi Gras celebrations, and many a college fraternity and sorority have gone streaking across campus. So does this mean that the world is full of exhibitionists? Not exactly. Behaviors like this are usually fueled by alcohol and a temporary loosening of one’s inhibitions. The true exhibitionist (in the clinical sense) doesn’t require any “liquid courage” and doesn’t get naked as part of an organized social event or in a situation in which public nudity is accepted. Instead, psychologists reserve the term “exhibitionist” for persons who engage in socially inappropriate nudity for the sole purpose of sexual arousal.
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Fact Check: Do Skinny Jeans And “Excessive” Masturbation Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

In a recent online survey, a sample of 1,500 men were asked to identify the most common causes of erectile dysfunction (ED). Results indicated that 1 out of 3 guys pointed to wearing skinny jeans and 1 out of 10 guys pointed to “excessive” masturbation as the primary culprits. Is there any truth to the idea that wearing tight pants or “overusing” your genitals can affect your ability to achieve erections in the future? No. There is simply no research to suggest wearing slimmer pants or underwear will cause ED (incidentally, the often cited claim that tight undies impairs sperm production appears to be exaggerated too1). And scientists have found no association between frequency of masturbation and reports of erectile problems.2 So let’s talk about the actual causes of ED and what you can do to maintain erectile health.  
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All I Want For Christmas Is Some Safe Sex

So this is Christmas, and what have you done? In all likelihood, you’ve probably had some sex. Research has found that there are seasonal peaks in sexual activity, with one of the biggest spikes occurring right around the Christmas holiday [1]. In a lot of ways, this makes sense. Most people are off work for a couple of days and college students are out of school for a couple of weeks. Without the stress and distraction of deadlines and homework, people have more time and energy to, ahem, get busy. However, it turns out that while people are having lots of holiday sex, it appears that they aren’t having very safe sex, which may result in some unexpected outcomes.
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Are Porn Actresses “Damaged Goods?”

Society views women who appear in pornographic films negatively. For instance, both male and female college students rate porn actresses as having more negative traits and characteristics than mainstream movie actresses and women in general [1]. The only group of women porn actresses are rated more favorably than is prostitutes. In addition, porn actresses are believed to come from dysfunctional home environments characterized by sexual abuse and drug use [2]. Such findings suggest that women who have sex on film are thought to be damaged goods, meaning that they are seen as having traumatic backgrounds and poor psychological health. But is there any truth to this stereotype? A recent study published in the Journal of Sex Research suggests not.
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