I received an email from a reader the other day who read an article chastising a lot of popular magazines and websites for pushing the narrative that we should be having sex more often because it’s good for our health. The point of this article was to say that when sex becomes a utilitarian activity, it takes all the fun out of it—it becomes something we think we need to do instead of something we want to do. The reader asked what I thought about this idea, and my answer is simple: I completely agree. And here’s why.Read More
We’ve all seen headlines before that say things like “More Sex Means More Money.” These headlines try to present the results of scientific studies in very simple and straightforward terms: if you do this, that will happen. However, what you’ll almost invariably find if you look past these claims is that they’re based on correlational data. This is a type of research in which scientists look to see how strongly two variables are statistically associated with one another. While correlational studies have the potential to be very informative and useful, the unfortunate reality is that they can’t tell us anything about whether one variable (like sex) truly causes another (like making more money).Read More
Although sex is a topic about which many of us are inherently curious, there are surprisingly few reliable sources out there for learning about it, especially sources that are grounded in scientific research instead of arbitrary notions of sexual morality. That is precisely the reason I started this blog in the first place. However, in order to get the most out of the sex research I share on this site (not to mention the research you might come across elsewhere in the media), it is vital that you first become literate in the science of sex. That is, it is important to understand and appreciate what sex research can and cannot tell us. To that end, below are six things you should keep in mind any time you sit down to read the latest write-up of sex research.Read More
A new study that sought to uncover what factors predict women’s likelihood of committing infidelity has been making a lot of headlines . Although this study identified several variables linked to women’s cheating behaviors, most media reports have focused exclusively on one: women were statistically more likely to cheat on men with longer penises. Most of the headlines said something along the lines of “The Larger Your Penis, The More Likely Your Wife Will Cheat.” Others went as far as claiming that penis size is “a leading cause of marital infidelity.” The message is clear: large penises are destroying the institution of marriage! But why? According to media reports, it’s because bigger penises cause painful and uncomfortable sex, which leads women to look for partners who are packing less heat. So are these claims warranted by the data? A closer look at the research suggests that the headlines have been wildly exaggerated.Read More
Erotic dreams are common. In fact, research has found that as many as 93% of men and 86% of women report having had them before . Some people dream about sex a lot more than others, though. Indeed, for some folks, such dreams are a pretty regular occurrence, whereas for others, they are pretty rare. Why is that? A new study suggests that one’s likelihood of having sex dreams may be a function of the position in which that person usually sleeps .Read More
The title of a forthcoming article in the journal Personal Relationships recently caught my eye: “Sowing Wild Oats: Valuable Experience, or a Field Full of Weeds?” As a sex researcher, I was naturally intrigued, but a little irritated. I despise article titles that give the impression that certain sexual behaviors are universally good or bad for everyone--in reality, nothing is ever that simple. My disappointment didn't stop with the title, though. In fact, after reading the entire article, I was left wondering how it ever got published in the first place because it feels more like an exercise in moralizing about the dangers of premarital sex than a piece of scientific writing.Read More
A new study looking at the link between men’s testicular size and their parenting qualities has been making the rounds in the media lately, with provocative headlines ranging from “Choose Dads with Smaller ‘Nads” to “Dudes with Smaller Balls are Better Parents” to “Big Testicles Indicate Rubbish Dads.” The message is pretty clear: if you’re looking for a baby daddy who’s going to stick around and take care of your kids, look for the guy with the smallest testicles you can find. However, before you go and dig out the measuring tape, it's worth taking a closer look at the details of this study.
According to almost every teen-centered film or television show ever produced, losing your virginity is a big deal. A really big deal. But just how important is that one sexual event when the reality is that sexually active people may have sex hundreds if not thousands of times during their entire lives? A new study published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy suggests that your first sexual experience can potentially set the tone of your sex life for years to come.Read More
Every Friday on the blog, I answer people’s questions about sex, love, and relationships. This week, we’re talking about whether you can pick the sex of your baby by having sex in certain positions or by timing how closely you have sex to when a woman ovulates. It appears that a lot of people are interested in learning about this topic because questions of this nature have come up with surprising frequency among students in my classes!
Can different sexual positions determine the sex of a child?
Can timing intercourse in relation to ovulation affect whether you have a boy or girl?
Men are masturbating 50 to 500% more than they would normally without Internet porn. So if a guy normally masturbated once a day, he might now be doing it two or three times a day. If he masturbated three times a week, he might now be getting graphic with his graphics 15 times a week. – Ian Kerner
I recently read an article claiming that men are masturbating up to 500% more often now that porn has become so widely available on the Internet. Most people (including myself) would agree that men are probably masturbating more in the digital era because it seems intuitive that greater access to porn would “stimulate” more self-pleasure, right? However, is this actually the case, and are we really talking about a potential 500% increase?Read More
"America is suffering a pandemic of harm from pornography. A wealth of research is now available demonstrating that pornography causes profound brain changes in both children and adults, resulting in widespread negative consequences…Pornography is toxic to marriages and relationships. It contributes to misogyny and violence against women."
The above quote comes from 2012 Presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s Campaign Website. He and a number of other prominent politicians have recently waged a war on porn, claiming that it is damaging to society on a number of levels. In fact, Cogresswoman Michele Bachmann has gone as far as to pledge her support for a constitutional ban on all forms of pornography in order to combat these supposed negative effects. But is there anything to all of these claims that exposure to porn is harmful? Is there really a “wealth of research” indicating that pornography causes a host of “widespread negative consequences?”