When people become friends with benefits (FWBs), what is it that they truly want from that arrangement? Are they just in it for the “benefits” (that is, sex)? Or are they perhaps looking for more? I’ve conducted some research on this subject and here’s what I found.Read More
How have Americans’ sexual behaviors changed over the past quarter of a century? A recent study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior offers some insight.
In this study, researchers explored data from the General Social Survey, a nationally representative survey conducted in the United States most years. Sexual behavior isn’t the main focus of this survey, but several questions about sex are included on it, including how many partners people have ever had as well as who they have had sex with in the past year. So what did they find?Read More
How many single adults in the United States have had a friends with benefits relationship? How many are open to the idea of having a threesome? And what do they think the characteristics of both good and bad sex are? For a look at the answers to these questions, check out the infographic below, which reviews selected results from Match.com's eighth annual Singles in America survey. This survey featured a large, demographically representative sample of single people living in the US who were surveyed about their sexual attitudes.Read More
Do people engaged in casual, “no strings attached” sexual relationships engage in similar sexual activities compared to people in committed romantic relationships? There is some research to suggest that the answer is yes, at least when looking at relatively conventional sexual practices. For instance, in a 2014 study I published on this subject, I found no differences in experiences with kissing, mutual masturbation, oral sex, vaginal intercourse, and anal intercourse when comparing people who had a friend with benefits (FWBs) to those who had a romantic partner .
However, we didn’t inquire about participation in less conventional sexual activities, such as BDSM and group sex. It’s possible that we might see different engagement in these activities based on relationship type, given the fact that these relationships--romances and FWBs--tend to differ in terms of both sexual exclusivity and sexual communication .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
A reader submitted the following question:
"How many people over age 50 are still having sex?"
Older adults are often assumed to be celibate, but the truth of the matter is that many of us remain sexually active for our entire lives.
As some evidence of this, let's consider findings from a recent, nationally representative U.S. survey of adults aged 14-94.Read More
A reader submitted the following question:
"Can friends with benefits stop having sex and go back to being friends? Or is that just wishful thinking?"
Good question! Navigating a “friends with benefits” (FWB) relationship can be complicated. People sometimes start these relationships for different reasons, and it's not uncommon for partners to have very different expectations for how these relationship will develop over time . So what ends up happening in the long run when two friends start having sex? Here's what the research says.Read More
A reader submitted the following question:
"What's the secret to making a friends with benefits situation work? How do you avoid things getting complicated?"
There's no doubt about it--friends with benefits (FWBs) sometimes turn into complicated situations, often because one person ends up wanting more from the relationship than the other. As a result, it is perhaps not surprising that the development of unreciprocated feelings is one of the most commonly cited concerns people have about starting FWB relationships . So what can you do to reduce the odds that this will happen? A growing body of research suggests that the key to a successful FWB is up-front communication.Read More
Some of my colleagues and I have published a series of studies on friends with benefits (FWBs) over the last few years, which I have written about before on the blog (see here and here). Among the many things we have found in our research is that people get into these relationships for a range of reasons and, as a result, sometimes have wildly different expectations for what they hope will happen to their FWB in the future. For instance, some people hope that their FWB will become a romantic partner, others hope to go back to being "just friends," whereas some simply want to remain FWBs for as long as possible. These findings led us to wonder what ultimately happens to FWBs over time and how likely it is that different relationship transitions will occur. We recently completed a one-year longitudinal study of FWBs that we presented at the November 2014 meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality. Below, I will summarize some of the key results from this research.Read More
Navigating a “friends with benefits” (FWB) relationship is complicated. People sometimes start these relationships for different reasons, and they often have very different expectations for how the relationship will develop in the future . So what ends up happening in the long run when two friends start having sex? We know that some (but not most) go on to have romantic relationships . But what about everyone else? Can these people go back to being “just friends,” or do they inevitably drift apart? A new study provides some preliminary answers to these questions.Read More
People have a tendency to equate terms like “casual sex” and “sexual hookup” with “one-night stand.” However, this greatly oversimplifies that nature of casual sex in the modern world. The reality is that casual sex, like ice cream, comes in a variety of flavors, and each is important to consider in its own right. In this post, we will take a look at four distinct types of casual sex that have been identified by researchers.Read More
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 what advice I would offer someone who is interested in having a “friends with benefits” (FWB) relationship and wants to avoid the seemingly inevitable complications.
Are there any secrets to a successful friends with benefits arrangement? It seems like they’re usually great in the beginning, but then one person develops feelings and things just get messy. Is there any way to keep things from getting so complicated?
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 the quality of the sex you have depends upon how you feel about your partner.
I have often heard sex is better with someone you love, always from people who have had many sexual partners, so I am wondering is sex really more pleasurable with someone you love?Read More
For the last several years, the popular media has been running story after story about college “hookup culture.” These articles argue that today’s youth are more sex-crazed than previous generations and that casual sex is largely replacing traditional dating and relationships. But is there any truth to these frequent claims? A closer look at trends in sexual behavior reveals that college students today are no more sexually active than students were a couple of decades ago.
Results from The Psychology of Human Sexuality’s second Reader Survey are in! Today, we will be taking a look at your views on the subject of consensual non-monogamy (i.e., relationships in which both partners consent to allowing each other to have sex with outside partners).
Let’s begin with a look at the overall sample.
If you’re anything like me, you probably think there’s nothing more fun or interesting than learning about the latest sex research. But have you ever wanted to go beyond just reading about it and actually contribute to sexual science by participating in a sex study or two (or three or four)? If so, today is your lucky day. Below are links to a series of sexuality studies that are either run by me or some of my esteemed research collaborators. Each study addresses a distinct aspect of sex and you are eligible to participate in as many or as few of the studies as you would like, depending upon whether you meet the selection criteria. Any help you can provide by participating or spreading the word is greatly appreciated and will help to advance our understanding of human sexuality.Read More