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
I have written quite a bit about similarities and differences in the sexual fantasies of self-identified men and women (see here for a summary). Of course, however, not everyone identifies as male or female. So what do people who have non-binary gender identities (e.g., transgender, bigender, genderqueer) fantasize about? And how are they similar or different to those of self-identified men and women?Read More
How do you feel after sex? If you’re like most people, you’re probably pretty happy. After all, “it feels good” and “it’s fun” are among the most common reasons men and women alike report having sex in the first place. We have sex, in part, because it’s a rewarding activity that creates positive affect—it tends to make us feel pretty damn good. However, not everyone experiences sex that way.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
Pink and blue are colors that are commonly associated with gender in many Western cultures. Specifically, pink is widely considered to be a “girl color,” whereas blue is widely thought of as “boy color.” However, this hasn’t always been the case. In fact, historically, we didn’t associate these colors with a particular gender—and there was even a period not that long ago when some argued that pink was for boys and blue was for girls.Read More
Consensually non-monogamous (CNM) relationships are those in which all of the partners involved agree to have sexual and/or romantic relationships with other persons. This can take many forms, from swinging to polyamory to cuckolding to open relationships. Research suggests that approximately one-fifth of Americans have previously been in some type of CNM relationship, whereas about 5% are currently in such a relationship.
Who’s most likely to have experience with consensual non-monogamy? Are there certain demographic traits or characteristics linked to this relationship practice? A recent review paper published in the journal Current Sexual Health Reports explored this very question. Here’s what the authors found:Read More
Several studies have found that men and women have different age preferences when it comes to selecting romantic and sexual partners, with men preferring partners who are somewhat younger and women preferring partners who are somewhat older. Much of this research has been interpreted through the lens of evolutionary theory, which argues that it's adaptive for men to have evolved a preference for younger women because they're likely to be most fertile, whereas it's adaptive for women to have evolved a preference for older men, who presumably have more status and resources. But if that's the case, then what happens when reproductive concerns aren't part of the equation, such as in the case of same-sex relationships?Read More
Despite how much scientific research is out there on the topic of pornography, surprisingly little of it has looked at what types of porn people are watching. Most research involves simply asking participants whether or how often they use porn, without giving any consideration to theme or genre. As a result, we don't know all that much about which kinds of porn are more or less popular and how that might be similar or different based on people's gender and sexual orientation.Read More
In the last few years, a growing media panic has emerged about the dangers of pornography. Much of this has centered around the concepts of "pornography addiction" and "porn-induced erectile dysfunction." However, a fair amount has focused on how porn supposedly affects the way that men view and treat women, with some claiming that porn is a major contributor to misogyny and sexual violence. So what does the research say? Is there really a link between pornography consumption and hatred of women?Read More
For much of our history, our bodies have been used to separate us into categories that tell us who we are (e.g., male vs. female). However, the more that science has advanced, the more we have come to realize that the categories we created are not as clear cut as we once thought. In this TED talk ("Is Anatomy Destiny?"), Dr. Alice Dreger walks us through history and science to demonstrate that the line separating man from woman (not to mention the lines separating several other social categories) is actually pretty fuzzy.Read More
Diversity courses dealing with sexuality, gender, and race offer a range of benefits to the students who take them. As a result, U.S. colleges and universities are increasingly adding such courses to their curricula, with many now requiring students to take a certain number of them in order to graduate. Requiring that students take diversity courses does not guarantee that they will benefit from them, though, because the benefits of such classes depend, to some extent, upon students’ initial attitudes toward the course. Those attitudes are crucial because they shape how students approach the material and how engaged they become with it. However, we know relatively little about the factors that shape these initial attitudes. In order to address this knowledge gap, one of my colleagues (Dr. Jennifer Spoor of LaTrobe University) and I conducted an experiment to see how the title of a diversity course dealing with women’s and gender issues affects students’ perceptions of it and their interest in taking it. We focused on course title because it is usually the very first piece of information students hear about a course and, as such, may be the point at which attitudes toward a class begin to take shape.Read More
The orgasm gap (which refers to the idea that men have more consistent experiences with orgasm than women) has been widely publicized. To date, however, research on this topic has focused almost exclusively on heterosexuals. So how does sexual orientation factor into this equation?
Check of the infographic below for the answers from a recent study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine. The results suggest that the orgasm gap is persistent across sexual orientations; however, there is a smaller gap between lesbians and gay men than there is between women and men of other sexual orientations.Read More
A recent New York Times piece by Lori Gottlieb entitled "Does a More Equal Marriage Mean Less Sex?" made a lot of waves over the weekend. Gottlieb's analysis suggests that couples in egalitarian marriages (i.e., marriages in which the spouses share power and divide responsibilities equally) tend to have worse sex lives than couples who adopt more traditional gender roles. As some support for this idea, Gottlieb cited a study published in the American Sociological Review last year, which reported that married couples who divide household chores along gendered lines (i.e., with women doing more work inside the home, such as cleaning and ironing, and men doing more work outside of the home, such as mowing the lawn and fixing the car) have sex more often than couples who divide chores evenly . However, a closer look at this research suggests that Gottlieb (like many others who have reported on this particular study) may be overselling the implications.Read More
As we head into the holiday season, many of you will be buying gifts for children. Some of you will undoubtedly question whether the toy you've selected is gender appropriate. Fortunately, I've found the solution to this age-old dilemma! The handy infographic below will tell you whether the toy you've chosen is indeed made for a boy or for a girl.Read More