Being Similar To Your Partner Doesn't Guarantee Greater Happiness

Being Similar To Your Partner Doesn't Guarantee Greater Happiness

Finding a compatible partner is one of the cornerstones of a happy and healthy relationship. But how do you determine who you’re compatible with? Intuitively, you might think the answer would be to take the approach that a lot of online dating companies do, which is try and partner-up with someone similar to you. If you’re more similar, you’ll probably have fewer disagreements, right? 

Not necessarily.  

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Why A Lot Of Gay Men Are Attracted To Straight Men

Why A Lot Of Gay Men Are Attracted To Straight Men

Pornhub’s annual year-in-review always offers tantalizing insights into what it is that turns people on—and last year’s review was no exception. I recently wrote about some of the top search results on the site and discussed the psychology behind them here. However, there was something else in last year’s Pornhub report that caught my eye that I thought deserved its own article: the fact that “straight guys” was the most-viewed category on Pornhub’s gay site.

What’s the deal with that? 

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Romantic Red: Does Dressing In Red Really Make You More Sexually Attractive?

Romantic Red: Does Dressing In Red Really Make You More Sexually Attractive?

Over the last decade, scientists have published a series of studies claiming that the color red is a sexual signal and that wearing it makes you more attractive to the other sex. However, a new meta-analysis of the research in this area suggests that this claim may be overblown.

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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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5 Things You Should Know About Bisexuality For LGBT Pride Month

5 Things You Should Know About Bisexuality For LGBT Pride Month

Bisexuality continues to be a widely misunderstood sexual orientation. Given that this is LGBT Pride Month, I thought it would be useful to put together an article that explores some of the key findings that scientists have uncovered about bisexuality that can speak to some of the biggest misconceptions about it. Here goes:

1.) Bisexuality is real, and it’s not the same as being gay or lesbian. A lot of people deny the existence of bisexuality and assume that everyone who identifies as bisexual is secretly gay; however, the results of several studies reveal that bisexuality involves a distinct pattern of sexual interest and arousal compared to homosexuality.

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Can You Really Fall In Love At First Sight?

Can You Really Fall In Love At First Sight?

A lot of people claim to have had experiences with the phenomenon of “love at first sight.” But is it really possible to fall in love with someone instantaneously? Believe it or not, social scientists really haven’t bothered to test this idea until now. A new set of studies published in the journal Personal Relationships suggests that people who report having fallen in love at first sight probably weren’t actually in love. Truth be told, they were probably in lust instead. 

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Video: Are Romantic Matching Algorithms Possible?

Video: Are Romantic Matching Algorithms Possible?

Eharmony and other popular online dating sites promise to help users find compatible romantic partners through the use of specialized matching algorithms. These services were founded on the idea that romantic attraction is something that is both rational and predictable. But is that really the case?

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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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"Common Sense" Isn't A Substitute For Scientific Research

"Common Sense" Isn't A Substitute For Scientific Research

I spend a lot of time talking, writing, and tweeting about the latest scientific research on sex and relationships. Over the years, I've had more than a few people respond to my posts and articles with comments like, “We needed research to tell us this?” In other words, it's not uncommon for people to question whether a given study was ever needed because we could have used “common sense” to figure out the results instead.

Dismissing research in favor of common sense is one of my bigger pet peeves. In fact, it ranks right up there with people asking me whether I can read their minds when they find out that I have a degree in psychology. Once and for all, no, I’m not a psychic—that’s something completely different. But I digress.

What I want to do in this post is to take a moment to explain why it’s problematic to dismiss research with "Oh, that's just common sense." 

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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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How to be Successful at Online Dating, According to Science

How to be Successful at Online Dating, According to Science

Americans are increasingly going online in order to find romantic and sexual partners. However, despite the popularity of online dating, most Americans have never tried it. That’s partially because there’s still some stigma attached to online dating, but it’s also because the sheer idea of it seems overwhelming to many. For example, how do you create an effective profile? This step alone can be very intimidating because a lot of people are worried about saying or posting the “wrong” thing and having that hurt their chances. Fortunately, there are some research-backed tips out there that can help to alleviate these fears and concerns.

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3 Studies Refute Idea that Exposure to Sexy Centerfolds Harms Men’s Relationships

3 Studies Refute Idea that Exposure to Sexy Centerfolds Harms Men’s Relationships

A study from the 1980s found that heterosexual men who viewed images of Playboy and Penthouse centerfolds reported less love for their romantic partners than men who saw images of abstract art [1]. Since then, this study has been cited frequently as evidence of the damaging effects of porn. However, I’ve always had some concerns about this study and everything that has been made of it in the media, which I expressed a few years back on my blog (see here). It turns out that there’s now even more reason for skepticism in light of the fact that a group of researchers who just tried to replicate this finding couldn't.

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Why Romantic Partners Tend To Look Like Each Other

Why Romantic Partners Tend To Look Like Each Other

If you're anything like me, you've probably noticed that a lot of romantic couples look alike. Have you ever wondered why that is? Scientists have found that there may be at least two reasons for this: not only do we have a tendency to choose partners who look like us in the first place, but it also turns out that the longer we're with a partner, the more we come to look like them.

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How Birth Control Pills Change Which Men Women Are Attracted To

How Birth Control Pills Change Which Men Women Are Attracted To

Women’s behavior changes in several ways when they reach the most fertile part of their menstrual cycle--that is, when they ovulate. Among other things, research has found that ovulating women fantasize about sex more often and are more likely to wear red or pink clothing. Interestingly, ovulation also appears to change which kinds of men heterosexual women find most sexually attractive, such that they tend to be drawn to “manlier” men during peak fertility.

So what happens when women take birth control pills or other hormonal contraceptives that prevent ovulation?

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When Strong Emotions are Mistaken for Sexual Attraction

When Strong Emotions are Mistaken for Sexual Attraction

A lot of reality dating shows share the same premise: one contestant goes on a series of brief dates--each with an attractive stranger--and then decides who he or she would like to continue seeing off-screen. I've seen more than my fair share of these shows in my day--all for research purposes, of course--and have found that I'm often pretty good at figuring out who the contestant is going to select by paying attention to just one thing: how physiologically arousing were the activities that took place during the mini-dates? Did they do something active and exciting, or did they just sit around?

Why do I focus on this? Because a large body of psychological research has found that when people are highly aroused and interact with a stranger of their desired sex, the odds of attraction increase.

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Video: Will Having A “Wingman” Help You Get A Date?

Video: Will Having A “Wingman” Help You Get A Date?

A lot of books and websites featuring pick-up tips for straight men extoll the virtues of having a so-called "wingman." According to the Urban Dictionary, a wingman is "a guy you bring along with you on singles outings (like to bars) that helps you out with the women." Proper wingman protocol appears to be the subject of great debate and that’s not something I’m going to get into here—so, instead, let’s just address the question of whether having a wingman can actually help when it comes to getting a date.

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Video: 36 Questions That Make Strangers Fall In Love

Video: 36 Questions That Make Strangers Fall In Love

In order to develop a close, intimate relationship with someone else, you need to be willing to open up to that person—to let your defenses down and become emotionally vulnerable. As you may have found in your own personal experience, this process sometimes takes a very long time to unfold. However, research suggests that it doesn’t necessarily have to.

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We Tend To Select Romantic Partners Who Look Like Our Parents

We Tend To Select Romantic Partners Who Look Like Our Parents

Throughout the animal kingdom, scientists have found that early caregiving experiences shape later patterns of sexual attraction.

For example, if you ever took an Introductory Psychology course, you probably learned about Konrad Lorenz’s discovery that baby geese “imprint” on the first moving object they see shortly after birth, meaning they treat that object as if it were their mother and start following it around [1]. Perhaps your textbook even included some adorable photos of Lorenz being trailed by a gaggle of geese that had imprinted on him. However, what’s even more fascinating than this is that, when they grew up, these geese would attempt to mate with human men that physically resembled Lorenz himself—in this case, white dudes with big white beards!

This isn’t a phenomenon unique to geese, though—something similar happens in humans. I know some of you will find this creepy, but humans have a tendency to select romantic partners who physically resemble their childhood caretakers.

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Study: Men Think Women With Tattoos Are More Interested In Casual Sex

Study: Men Think Women With Tattoos Are More Interested In Casual Sex

Men appear to make judgments about women’s sexual intent based upon their physical appearance. For example, research has found that heterosexual men think women are more interested in and willing to have sex to the extent that they’re wearing red and/or revealing clothing. Psychologists believe that men have evolved to pay attention to these and other physical cues that might signal a woman’s interest in sex in order to avoid missing out on potential reproductive opportunities.

It isn’t just what women are wearing that matters, though. A recent set of studies published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior suggests that men also consider women’s tattoos to be a sign of sexual interest.

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