From Friends With Benefits To Threesomes, How Single Americans Feel About Sex (Infographic)

From Friends With Benefits To Threesomes, How Single Americans Feel About Sex (Infographic)

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. 

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Experiences With BDSM And Group Sex Among Friends With Benefits And Romantic Partners

Experiences With BDSM And Group Sex Among Friends With Benefits And Romantic Partners

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 [1].

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 [1].

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Why Some People May Be Better Suited To Consensual Nonmonogamy Than Others

Why Some People May Be Better Suited To Consensual Nonmonogamy Than Others

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.

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The Sex Lives of Older Adults

The Sex Lives of Older Adults

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.

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Sex Question Friday: Can "Friends With Benefits" Go Back To Being Friends?

Sex Question Friday: Can "Friends With Benefits" Go Back To Being Friends?

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 [1]. So what ends up happening in the long run when two friends start having sex? Here's what the research says.

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Sex Question Friday: What's The Secret To Making Friends With Benefits Work?

Sex Question Friday: What's The Secret To Making Friends With Benefits Work?

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 [1]. 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.

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Can Friends Who Have Sex Stay Friends?

Can Friends Who Have Sex Stay Friends?

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.

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Can "Friends With Benefits" Ever Go Back To Just Being Friends

Can "Friends With Benefits" Ever Go Back To Just Being Friends

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 [1]. 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 [2]. 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.

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The Flavors Of Casual Sex

The Flavors Of Casual Sex

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.

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Sex Question Friday: How Do You Navigate A Friends With Benefits Relationship?

Sex Question Friday: How Do You Navigate A Friends With Benefits Relationship?

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?

 

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Sex Question Friday: Is Sex Better If You Do It With Someone You Love?

Sex Question Friday: Is Sex Better If You Do It With Someone You Love?

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?

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Are College Students Today Hooking Up More Than Ever?

Are College Students Today Hooking Up More Than Ever?

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.


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Reader Survey Results: How Do You Feel About Non-Monogamy?

Reader Survey Results: How Do You Feel About Non-Monogamy?

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.

 

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The Sex Lives Of Friends With Benefits (Infographic)

What do "friends with benefits" do beneath the sheets? And do they ever want more than just casual, "no strings attached" sex? Check out the infographic below for the answers. The statistics presented here are based on the results of two recent studies of predominately heterosexual persons who reported currently having at least one friend with benefits.
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Contribute To The Science Of Sex By Participating In A Sex Study

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.

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What Is Sex Like With A “Friend With Benefits?”

“Friends with benefits” (FWBs) are a popular type of sexual relationship these days, with several survey studies of college students finding that about half of them report having had one or more previous FWBs [1]. However, it is important to note that FWBs are by no means limited to college campuses—for instance, Internet research has found men and women in their 50s and 60s reporting experience with these relationships too [2]. As a result of their popularity, one of the questions people often have about FWBs concerns the quality and nature of the sex. Specifically, how does it stack up to the sex one might have in a traditional romantic relationship? A new study published in the Journal of Sex Research provides some answers.
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Can “Friends With Benefits” Transition Into A Successful Romantic Relationship?

Many people involved in “friends with benefits” (FWB) relationships are hoping that their relationship will eventually turn into a full-fledged romance. For instance, in a recent Internet survey of FWBs, 43.3% of women and 23.7% of men expressed a desire to eventually transition from “no strings attached” to true love (read more about that study here) [1]. Such findings beg the question of how often these relationships make the jump into romantic territory and, more importantly, whether they achieve success. A new study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships provides some preliminary answers [2].
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Are There Different Types of “Friends With Benefits?”

Are There Different Types of “Friends With Benefits?”
“Friends with Benefits” (FWBs) are usually thought of as relationships in which two good friends decide to become sexually involved. This is how they are most often depicted in the popular media, such as in the recent films No Strings Attached and Friends with Benefits. However, research suggests that FWBs are much more complicated than this and do not necessarily represent just one thing. In fact, there may actually be as many as seven distinct types of FWBs!
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No Strings Attached? Many “Friends with Benefits” are Actually Hoping for Romance

No Strings Attached? Many “Friends with Benefits” are Actually Hoping for Romance
“Friends with Benefits” (FWB) relationships seem to be all the rage these days. Several recent studies of college students have reliably found that over one half of the students surveyed had at least one FWB at some point in their lives [1]. However, despite their popularity on college campuses, we know surprisingly little about how FWBs operate and whether they live up to their reputation of offering “no strings attached” sex between friends. A new study suggests that these relationships are actually fairly complicated, with many women (and a significant number of men) viewing their FWBs as a potential stepping stone to romantic love [2].   
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