Sexlessness: How Many Americans Didn’t Have Sex Last Year?

Sexlessness: How Many Americans Didn’t Have Sex Last Year?

Most people have sex at least once in their lives. For example, in a longitudinal study of over 20,000 American adolescents who were surveyed repeatedly over a 15-year period, just 3% of them reported never having had vaginal, anal, or oral sex at any point. However, just because someone does it once, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they will remain sexually active throughout their lives.

For a variety of reasons, many people go through long periods of sexlessness, and a new study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior offers some insight into just how common this is.

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This Is How Many American Adults Have Never Had Sex

This Is How Many American Adults Have Never Had Sex

Like most sex researchers, I tend to study people who have sex--and, over the years, we've developed a large scientific literature about them. But what about the people who, for whatever reason, never start having sex? What do we know about them? As it turns out, surprisingly little. However, a recent paper published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior offers some valuable insight. This paper looks at how many people in the United States enter adulthood without any sexual experience and identifies some of the characteristics associated with people who do not become sexually active.

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Are You Asexual? Here’s How Scientists Measure Asexuality

Are You Asexual? Here’s How Scientists Measure Asexuality

Sex scientists have become increasingly interested in the topic of asexuality in the last few years. For example, they’ve published studies on everything from the genital arousal patterns of asexual individuals, to the biological correlates of asexuality, to the masturbation practices of asexuals. However, all of this research has generated some controversy over how best to measure asexuality because different researchers have used different definitions and measurement techniques. For example, some have focused on self-identification as asexual, while others have focused on a self-reported lack of attraction and/or behavior. If the broader literature on sexual orientation has taught us anything, it’s that identity, attraction, and behavior don’t always line up in the way that you might expect and shouldn’t be used interchangeably.

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Is Asexuality a Sexual Orientation?

Is Asexuality a Sexual Orientation?

In a forthcoming issue of the Archives of Sexual Behavior, a special section will be devoted to articles that address “the puzzle of sexual orientation.” I’ve been able to read a few of the articles so far, and it’s shaping up to be nothing short of fascinating! As such, I plan to cover at least a few of the articles here on Sex & Psychology. In fact, I’ve already covered one of them, which focused on the link between men’s height and their sexual orientation (read it here).

Today, I’m covering an article that addresses asexualityThis paper, co-authored by Drs. Lori Brotto and Morag Yule, was designed to explore the controversy over the nature of asexuality. This is something people have been debating for years. Some have argued that it’s a mental disorder, others have called it a sexual dysfunction, some think of it as a paraphilia (i.e., an unusual sexual interest), and yet others consider it a sexual orientation. So what does the research say? Let’s take a look.

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5 Things You Should Know About Asexuality

5 Things You Should Know About Asexuality

A small percentage of the population is asexual. This term is often defined as either a lack of sexual attraction or a lack of desire for partnered sexual activity. Asexuality is something that many people are not familiar with and, as a result, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions about it. So, let’s take a moment to review some key facts about asexuality that have emerged from the science to date. To learn more about this topic, I highly recommend Anthony Bogaert's recent book, Understanding Asexuality.

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How Many Adults Have No Sexual Experience At All?

How Many Adults Have No Sexual Experience At All?

It goes without saying that most sex researchers study people who have sex. Over the last few decades, we have accumulated a significant body of scientific knowledge about such persons. But what about the people who, for whatever reason, never become sexually active? What do we know about them? As it turns out, surprisingly little. However, a recent paper published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior sheds some light on this subject by describing how many people in the United States enter adulthood without any sexual experience and by identifying some of the characteristics associated with such persons.

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How Do Scientists Measure Whether Someone Is Asexual?

How Do Scientists Measure Whether Someone Is Asexual?

Asexuality is a topic that has received an increasing amount of attention from sex researchers in recent years. For instance, studies have been published on the genital arousal patterns of asexual individuals in response to sexually explicit stimuli, the biological correlates of asexuality, as well as the masturbation practices of asexuals. However, the research in this area has generated some controversy over how to best measure asexuality because not all researchers have used consistent definitions and measurement techniques. A new paper just published in the journal Psychological Assessment describes the first attempt at establishing a valid measure of asexuality, the Asexuality Identification Scale. 

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Do Asexual People Masturbate And Have Sexual Fantasies?

Do Asexual People Masturbate And Have Sexual Fantasies?

Asexuality is a sexual orientation that is often characterized as a lack of sexual attraction. Research suggests that up to 1% of the population may be asexual and, further, that this is not the result of a medical issue, sexual arousal problem, or fear of sex. Although we do not yet know the true origin of asexuality, research suggests that biological factors are likely involved. Given the nature of asexuality, one might reasonably assume that asexuals neither masturbate nor have sexual fantasies; however a new study published in The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality suggests that this is not necessarily the case and that there are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to the solitary sexual expression of asexual individuals.

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Sex Question Friday: Where Does Asexuality Come From?

Sex Question Friday: Where Does Asexuality Come From?

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 more about the origin of asexuality:

“What are your thoughts on asexuality? I've thought of sex as a biological imperative and sexual desire as the natural vehicle to get us to have sex. From that standpoint asexuality strikes me as a medical condition or possibly the side effect of a physical or psychological trauma or of medication (like SSRIs). Of course I could be completely wrong, which is why I'm asking.”

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Sex Question Friday: What Do We Know About Asexuality?

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 more about asexuals, or persons who lack interest in partnered sexual activity.

What is the science behind asexuality, and why is it not considered a sexuality option?

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Sex Question Friday: How Long Can You Go Without Wanting Sex?

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:   

How long can a person go without wanting physical sex?  Will that need ever come back at a specific time in a person’s life?

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