A large number of people have sexual fantasies that are impossible to act out because they feature elements of science fiction. As some evidence of this, I surveyed more than 4,000 Americans about their sexual fantasies for my book Tell Me What You Want and found that more than half of my respondents had fantasized about a fictional character from a book or movie, one-third had fantasized about a mythical creature (like a vampire or werewolf), one-quarter had fantasized about a cartoon or anime character, and one-sixth had fantasized about sex with an alien. That’s a lot of sci-fi sex!Read More
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
It’s easy to find articles in the popular media talking about how porn ruins relationships. Many scientific studies have made this claim, too. However, there’s a problematic assumption embedded in most of these writings, which is that porn affects all people the same way. That’s not a very good assumption to make.
When it comes to something like porn, different people are going to be affected by it in different ways because of their unique psychological profile. Some of us are predisposed to view porn (and its effects) in a negative light, whereas others are predisposed to view it in a positive light. A new study published in the Journal of Sex Research offers support for this nuanced view of the effects of porn on relationships.Read More
A recent study published in the Journal of Sex Research identified eight distinct motivations people can have for cheating (read all about those motives here). Beyond simply demonstrating the factors that motivate cheating, however, this study also examined how our personality, gender, and attachment style are linked to our reasons for committing infidelity. Here’s a quick review of the key findings.Read More
Americans are very interested in the idea of consensual nonmonogamy. In fact, a 2016 national YouGov poll of 1,000 adults found that 48% of men and 31% of women said that their ideal relationship would be nonmonogamous to some degree; however, far fewer than that indicated that they were currently involved in a nonmonogamous relationship. So, while lots of people seem to think that they'd be happier if they opened their relationship in some way, would that actually be the case in reality? Not necessarily.Read More
Given how high the rate of infidelity is, some people have argued that humans are, by nature, not very well suited to monogamy. Others have gone even further and argued that we’d probably all be a lot happier if we were consensually nonmonogamous instead. But is that likely to be the case? Would everyone be better off if they were in some kind of sexually open relationship?
According to data I presented at last month’s meeting of the International Association for Relationship Research, probably not. Rather, my data suggest that whether we respond favorably to monogamy or consensual nonmonogamy is, to some extent, a matter of personality.Read More
Sexual fetishes consist of recurring sexual fantasies, urges, and/or behaviors that center around nonliving objects, body parts, and secretions. People can develop fetishes for a wide range of things, including (but not limited to) feet, shoes, and dirty underwear (to learn about some of the more unusual sexual fetishes ever documented, click here). In this article, we’re going to look at one specific type of fetish: autonepiophilia, also known as paraphilic infantilism and Adult Baby Syndrome. A few cases of autonepiophilia have been reported in the psychological literature to date, which typically involve adults who derive sexual gratification from engaging in infant-like behavior. This may include acting like a baby, being taken care of like a baby, and/or wearing and using a diaper (not because they need to, but because they want to).Read More
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is one of the most common sexual difficulties in men. Because the prevalence of it increases so much with age, ED is a sexual problem that most people tend to think of as having a biological basis, thus necessitating biological treatment (e.g., Viagra, or other ED medications). However, such a view of ED overlooks the important role that psychology plays in this sexual difficulty. Indeed, research has found that a wide range of psychological variables can trigger and/or exacerbate ED, from depression to poor body image to stress. In this article, we will take a look at one specific psychological risk factor for ED that, to date, has received relatively little empirical attention: early childhood attachment disruptions.Read More