Changes in Americans' Sexual Behavior Since the 1990s

Changes in Americans' Sexual Behavior Since the 1990s

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?

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Women Who Use Marijuana Before Sex Report Better Orgasms

Women Who Use Marijuana Before Sex Report Better Orgasms

How does marijuana affect women’s sexual functioning? A recent study published in the journal Sexual Medicine sought to find out. Researchers anonymously surveyed hundreds of women visiting an obstetrics and gynecology clinic in St. Louis, Missouri about whether they used marijuana and, if so, whether and how it affected their sexual satisfaction, sex drive, and orgasm quality. Key results from the study are shown in the infographic below.

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The State of Sex Education in the United States in 2019 (Infographic)

The State of Sex Education in the United States in 2019 (Infographic)

In the United States today, adolescents' experiences with sex education are anything but consistent. Believe it or not, less than half of all states even require that sex education be taught at all. In those states that mandate sex ed, the information teachers provide doesn't necessarily have to be useful and, in some states, the materials does not even have to be accurate! The status of American sex education in 2019 is poor, and this is a large part of the reason why we continue to have one of the highest rates of teen pregnancies and STIs in the industrialized world. Check out the infographic below for a closer look at just how incredibly variable sex education is throughout the nation.

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Sexual Fantasies About Body Fluids: How Many People Have Them?

Sexual Fantasies About Body Fluids: How Many People Have Them?

The human body produces a number of different fluids—and those fluids represent a sexual turn-on for some people. From semen and sweat to blood and breast milk, almost any body fluid you can think of has the potential to become a source of sexual arousal. But just how many people are turned on by each fluid? I explored this question in the data I collected for my book Tell Me What You Want. I surveyed more than 4,000 Americans about their sexual fantasies and, among other things, I asked participants whether they had ever fantasized about several different body fluids.

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The Most Common Reasons For Becoming a Sex Worker in a Country Where Sex Work is Legal

The Most Common Reasons For Becoming a Sex Worker in a Country Where Sex Work is Legal

There are a lot of stereotypes about female sex workers, and one is that no woman would ever choose this profession voluntarily. Some people see sex work as inherently victimizing, which means that—in their view—no women could truly ever enjoy this job. But is it true? According to research on female sex workers in cultures where sex work is legal, it turns out that many women decide to become sex workers precisely because they enjoy the work.

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Why Are Some People Sexually Attracted To Animals?

Why Are Some People Sexually Attracted To Animals?

People who are sexually attracted to animals are often referred to as "zoophiles" in the psychological literature. Zoophilia is something that has long been considered a paraphilia, meaning an uncommon sexual interest. Although zoophilia is something that most people have heard of before, very little research exists on the subject. So what do we know about the psychology behind zoophilia anyway? 

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Why Dutch Teens Have Better Sexual Health Than American Teens

Why Dutch Teens Have Better Sexual Health Than American Teens

This week in my study abroad course on sex and culture in the Netherlands, we're focusing on cross-cultural differences in sexual health and sex education. As a starting point, we're reviewing some statistics that highlight how dramatically different teens’ sexual health outcomes are in the Netherlands relative to the U.S. Check out the infographic below for a quick overview, which shows that teen girls in the Netherlands have much lower rates of pregnancy, birth, and abortion. Below, we’ll discuss why.

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Why Cars Are One Of The Most Popular Places To Have Sex

Why Cars Are One Of The Most Popular Places To Have Sex

People fantasize about having sex in a wide range of settings, but cars are one of the most popular. As some evidence of this, I surveyed more than four thousand Americans about their sexual fantasies for my forthcoming book Tell Me What You Want and found that the vast majority (77%) said they'd fantasized about sex in motor vehicles. Moreover, about 1 in 5 people who took the survey said they had fantasies about this often.

Clearly, cars represent an appealing place to have sex. A lot of people seem to be acting on their car sex fantasies, too.

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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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What Percentage of the Population is Lesbian, Gay, or Bisexual? (Infographic)

What Percentage of the Population is Lesbian, Gay, or Bisexual? (Infographic)

How many people are lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB)? For one answer, check out the infographic below, which summarizes recent data from Britain's National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles. As you'll see, the researchers asked about sexual orientation in three different ways: sexual identity, sexual attraction, and sexual behavior--and each one yielded quite different numbers. It might be tempting to think that people's responses to these questions would line up, but they don't for several reasons including the fact that sexuality can be fluid and some people with same-sex attractions are uncomfortable with them and choose not to identify as a sexual minority. 

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The State of Sex Education in the United States in 2018 (Infographic)

The State of Sex Education in the United States in 2018 (Infographic)

Students' experiences with sex education are anything but consistent in the United States. Consider this: less than half of the states even require that it be taught at all! Moreover, even in those states that mandate sex education, the information teachers provide doesn't necessarily have to be useful and, at least in some states, it doesn't have to be correct, either! The status of sex education in the US continues to be poor as we enter 2018, which is a large part of the reason why this country has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancies and STIs in the industrialized world. Check out the infographic below for a closer look at just how incredibly variable sex education is across the nation.

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How Are Rates Of STDs Changing In The US? (Infographic)

How Are Rates Of STDs Changing In The US? (Infographic)

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are a major public health concern in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are estimated to be 110 million infections in the U.S. today, with 20 million new infections occurring each year. So what's been happening with STD rates over the last few years? Have they been rising or falling? And is the pattern similar or different across various infections? For a look at the data, check out the infographic below, which includes selected figures complied from the CDC's website.

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Infographic: Women's Experiences With Orgasm During Vaginal Intercourse

Infographic: Women's Experiences With Orgasm During Vaginal Intercourse

How often do women orgasm during penile-vaginal intercourse? And just how important is clitoral stimulation when it comes to a woman's likelihood of experiencing orgasm during sex? A new paper published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy addresses these questions with data from a nationally representative U.S. sample of women. This study also tells us that, for most women, not all orgasms feel the same and, further, that there are several different factors that have the potential to enhance the quality of women's orgasms. Check out the infographic below for a look at some of the highlights from this study.

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Women's Preferred "Shapes" and Styles of Genital Touch (Infographic)

Women's Preferred "Shapes" and Styles of Genital Touch (Infographic)

What kinds of genital touch do women find to be most pleasurable? A lot of research has explored this question; however, most of it has suffered from major limitations. For example, almost all of the studies that have emerged thus far have been based on non-representative convenience samples (meaning we don't know how generalizable the results are) and none have delved into very specific kinds of genital stimulation. However, a new paper published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy addresses these limitations, providing us with the most detailed look to date into women's preferred "shapes" and styles of genital touch. Check out the infographic below for some of the highlights from this study.

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How Many Americans Have Tried BDSM? (Infographic)

How Many Americans Have Tried BDSM? (Infographic)

The immense popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey has prompted a lot of curiosity about BDSM (bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism, and masochism). Among other things, people have begun to wonder just how many of us have explored BDSM practices before. Unfortunately, however, this isn't a sexual activity that researchers have routinely inquired about on national sex surveys--at least not until now. A study published last month in the journal PLOS ONE offers some insight. Check out the infographic below for a look at Americans' interest in and experiences with various BDSM acts and some of the key takeaways from this survey.

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How Many American Adults Have Had a Same-Sex Experience?

How Many American Adults Have Had a Same-Sex Experience?

Since becoming an adult, how many Americans have ever had a sexual experience with someone of the same sex? And how has this number changed over time? According to a recent study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, 8-9% of American adults today have had a same-sex experience—a figure that has doubled since the late 1980s. Check out the infographic below for a closer look at the numbers and how they have changed over time.

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Why Teens Have Better Sexual Health in the Netherlands than the US

Why Teens Have Better Sexual Health in the Netherlands than the US

The next unit in my Amsterdam study abroad course focuses on sexual health and sex education. As a starting point, I shared some statistics with my students highlighting just how dramatically different teens’ sexual health outcomes are in the Netherlands compared to the United States. So that you can get some sense of this, too, I’ve put together the infographic below, which reveals that teen girls in the Netherlands have far lower rates of pregnancy, birth, and abortion. Below, we’ll discuss why.

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Infographic: Americans' Attitudes Toward & Experiences With Online Dating

Infographic: Americans' Attitudes Toward & Experiences With Online Dating

In just two decades, online dating has become a multi-billion dollar industry--and it hasn't come anywhere close to reaching its full potential yet. Believe it or not, despite how much you've heard about online dating, the vast majority of Americans have never tried it. In fact, even if you only look at millennials--the group most likely to date online--only about one-quarter of them have done it before.

For a closer look at Americans' attitudes toward and experiences with online dating and how these things are related to our age and gender, check out the infographic below. 

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Infographic: The State of Sex Education in the U.S. in 2017

Infographic: The State of Sex Education in the U.S. in 2017

Sex education is wildly inconsistent throughout the United States. For one thing, only about half of the states even require it, while the other half do not. However, even in the states that mandate sex education, the information teachers are required to provide doesn't necessarily have to be useful--in fact, in some states, it doesn't even have to be correct! The current status of sex education in the U.S. remains pretty poor as we enter 2017, which is a big part of the reason this country has one of the highest teen pregnancy and STI rates in the industrialized world. Check out the infographic below for a closer look at just how incredibly variable sex education is across the country.

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Infographic: How STD Rates in the United States are Changing

Infographic: How STD Rates in the United States are Changing

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are a massive public health issue in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are 110 million infections in the U.S. today. Furthermore, 20 million new infections are estimated to occur each year. All of these infections translate to significant healthcare costs: believe it or not, we spend an estimated $16 billion per year on STD treatment! 

So what's going on with rates of STDs? Have they been increasing or decreasing over the last few years? 

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