A new study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior offers a fascinating analysis of the way American adults' sex lives changed between the years 1989 and 2014. Specifically, it focuses on changes in the estimated number of times per year that Americans reported having had sex using data from the General Social Survey (GSS), a nationally representative U.S. survey that is conducted annually. The results suggest that, overall, Americans today are less sexually active than they were a quarter century ago.Read More
What happens to sexual satisfaction over the course of time in a romantic relationship? Does it increase as partners learn how to pleasure each other? Or does it decrease as those initial feelings of passion subside?
Previous research has led to conflicting conclusions. In addition, most of the studies in this area suffer from major limitations. Perhaps the biggest is a persistent focus on cross-sectional rather than longitudinal data (i.e., looking at data from just one snapshot in time, as opposed to tracking actual changes in satisfaction over a period of months or years). Moreover, a lot of the research is based on non-representative samples (e.g., focusing only on young adults or college students).
A new study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior addresses these main shortcomings in an attempt to perhaps provide a more definitive answer to the question of how sexual satisfaction changes with relationship duration.Read More
Several studies have found that infidelity is linked to both poor relationship quality and divorce. But is that because infidelity is harmful to relationships, or is it perhaps because low quality relationships predispose people to cheating? As it turns out, research suggests that both explanations may be correct.Read More
A number of research studies have emerged in the last few years reporting a link between sexting and sexual behavior among teenagers. However, the inherent weakness of this body of research is that most of these studies involved surveying teens at one point in time and asking about both sexting and sexual behavior, which makes it impossible to know which one came first. That is, does sexting increase the odds of future sexual activity, or is it just the case that being sexually active predisposes teens to sexting? A new study published in the journal Pediatrics provides our first clue to this “chicken and egg” question by analyzing data from a longitudinal study of teen sexting.Read More
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.Read More
It is an unfortunate reality, but not all marriages last. In fact, research in the United States finds that newlywed couples have only a 50-50 chance of their marriage lasting 20 years. This has led many scientists to wonder whether there is any way to predict whether a given marriage will stand the test of time. A new study suggests that one important factor in predicting long-term marital bliss may be the unconscious feelings people have about their partners.