Why Spooning After Sex Might Be Good For Your Love Life

Why Spooning After Sex Might Be Good For Your Love Life

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

“Casual Sex” Isn’t All That Casual

“Casual Sex” Isn’t All That Casual

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

What I Learned From An Afternoon With Two 77-Year-Old Sex Workers

What I Learned From An Afternoon With Two 77-Year-Old Sex Workers

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

Straight Men’s Same-Sex Friendships Are Surprisingly Intimate

Straight Men’s Same-Sex Friendships Are Surprisingly Intimate

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 Is Good For Our Mental Health

Sex Is Good For Our Mental Health

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

Video: 36 Questions That Make Strangers Fall In Love

Video: 36 Questions That Make Strangers Fall In Love

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

Why A Massage Is The Perfect Valentine's Day Gift

Why A Massage Is The Perfect Valentine's Day Gift

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

The Best Present You Can Give Your Partner This Holiday Season? Touch

The Best Present You Can Give Your Partner This Holiday Season? Touch

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

What’s In A Passionate Kiss? About 80 Million Bacteria

What’s In A Passionate Kiss? About 80 Million Bacteria

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

Spooning After Sex Might Be Good For Your Relationship

Spooning After Sex Might Be Good For Your Relationship

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

What Your Sexual Vocabulary Says About Your Relationship

Being able to talk about sex with your partner is important. As I have discussed in previous articles, couples who communicate more in the bedroom (or wherever it is that they have sex) tend to be more sexually satisfied. But does it matter how you talk about sex? For example, are couples who use very clinical-sounding terms (e.g., “Would you like to copulate?”) as satisfied as those who use sexual slang (e.g., “Let’s screw!”)? A recent study published in the Journal of Sex Research sheds some light on what your sexual vocabulary says about the nature of your relationship.
Read More

Sexual Desire Discrepancies Are A Relationship Problem, Not A Gender Problem

A recent piece in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) entitled “How often should married couples have sex? What happens when he says ‘more’ and she says ‘no?” caused quite a stir this past week. The original piece told the tale of a married couple (Chris and Afton) that developed a sexual desire discrepancy (the clinical term for a case in which one partner wants more sex than the other). The couple communicated with each other about the discrepancy, read a self-help book together, and ultimately worked through it. That’s a positive outcome, right?  Judging by the responses that appeared on Jezebel, The Week, New York Magazine, and several other websites, this is anything but a happy ending. The problem? The partner who desired more sex in this scenario was male and the one who wanted less sex was female.
Read More

Sex Question Friday: I Have Trouble Getting Physical Because of My Past. What Can I Do?

Sex Question Friday: I Have Trouble Getting Physical Because of My Past. What Can I Do?

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.

Read More

Does It Pay To Be A “Nice” Guy? In The Long Run, Yes, But In The Short Term, Not Necessarily

You don’t have to be a relationship expert to know that intimacy is one of the cornerstones of a successful long-term partnership. Couple members who make a sincere attempt to understand and validate each other typically stay together longer than those who are less responsive and supportive. However, what role does intimacy play in initial attraction? According to psychologist Dr. Gurit Birnbaum, “people often say that they are looking for a lover who is ‘responsive to their needs.’” But is it really the case that we find highly responsive and caring people to be more sexually desirable? A new set of studies led by Birnbaum and collaborator Dr. Harry Reis suggests that emotional intimacy and responsiveness are not always desirable in a prospective partner and, in some cases, can actually be a turn off.
Read More