What do you do after sex? Some people like to spoon or cuddle, others go to sleep, and yet others get up to grab something to eat or drink. But does what you do matter? For people in relationships, it certainly seems to, according to research. In fact, the more that couples spoon or otherwise express affection or intimacy after sex, the happier they tend to be.Read More
We tend to think of casual sex as, well, a pretty casual affair, meaning it’s just about the sex and nothing else. This view of casual sex is pervasive, even among those who study sex for a living. However, it turns out that casual sex is often about more than just a physical act of sexual gratification. For many people, there’s an important emotional component to it as well, according to a new study published in the Journal of Relationships Research.Read More
As part of the study abroad course I’m teaching on Sex and Culture in the Netherlands, I booked us a tour of Amsterdam’s Red Light District with the famous Fokken twins, Louise and Martine. The Fokken sisters have been employed as sex workers for over a half-century and the day we met just happened to be their 77th birthday. In addition to answering our questions, they talked with us about what it’s like to be a sex worker and how they’ve seen the business change over time. Here are a few of the most interesting parts of our conversation:Read More
One of the most common stereotypes about straight men’s same-sex friendships is that they’re lacking in emotional depth. Their friendships are seen as revolving around shared activities like watching football or going hunting and fishing—not sitting around and talking about their feelings. Though extremely popular, a new study suggests that this characterization is inaccurate, at least among younger guys today.Read More
Sex stands to benefit us in many ways. For example, research has found that being sexually active appears to be good for our physical health—not only does having sex burn calories, but frequent orgasms have been linked to better immune function and longer life expectancies. In addition, sex has been linked to enhanced cognitive functioning (including better memory), which suggests the provocative possibility that having sex just might make us smarter. As if that weren’t enough, a new study published in the journal Emotion reveals that sex also seems to be good for our mental health and well-being.Read More
In order to develop a close, intimate relationship with someone else, you need to be willing to open up to that person—to let your defenses down and become emotionally vulnerable. As you may have found in your own personal experience, this process sometimes takes a very long time to unfold. However, research suggests that it doesn’t necessarily have to.Read More
Valentine's Day is almost upon us and many are still hunting for the perfect gift for their significant other. Unfortunately, a lot of folks will end up buying an expensive material object that ultimately provides only temporary happiness, is quickly forgotten, and ends up collecting dust somewhere. You can avoid this outcome--and potentially improve your relationship at the same time--by giving your partner something much more personal this year: touch.Read More
It’s that time of year when people start hunting for the perfect holiday gift for their significant other. Despite all of the effort and thought that goes into this process, many people will end up buying expensive material objects that provide only temporary happiness, are quickly forgotten, and end up collecting dust somewhere. You can avoid this outcome--and potentially improve your relationship at the same time--by giving your partner something much more personal this year: touch.Read More
Some scientists have argued that kissing is an evolutionarily adaptive behavior. Their hypothesis is that, because kissing provides a mechanism for sharing certain types of bacteria and viruses, it could therefore potentially offer certain benefits, such as providing a form of immunization against viruses that might be harmful to a developing fetus (see here for more on this idea). However, there really hasn’t been any research on the biology of kissing that can speak to whether or not there is anything to back up this idea—until now. A new study just published in the journal Microbiome reveals that passionate kissing may fundamentally alter the composition of the microorganisms that colonize the insides of our mouths.Read More
Post-sex behaviors are highly variable from one person to the next. Some of us spoon or cuddle, some of us go right to sleep, and some of us get up to have a sandwich. But does what you do after sex matter? A new set of studies published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior suggests that, at least for people in relationships, it might. Specifically, the more that couples spoon and express affection after sex, the happier they tend to be.Read More
Every Friday on the blog, I answer questions about sex, love, and relationships. This week’s question comes from a reader of the blog who is having issues expressing physical intimacy as a result of a previous sexual trauma.
I have a problem getting physical with anyone because of my past. I was molested and almost raped when I was younger and anytime I try to be physical with my partner, I start having a panic attack. Are there any studies about this kind of thing about a solution? It doesn’t help that my partner isn't as understanding as they should be, but I would really like to get past this. Thanks for any help you can offer.