Relationships: The Importance of Being Growth-Oriented

Relationships: The Importance of Being Growth-Oriented

A lot of people end relationships before ever truly giving them a chance, and it's because many of us take the "shopping list" approach to love. In other words, some people have an extensive checklist of the things they're looking for and they don't stick with partners who fail to meet their criteria.

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When Is The Right Time To Start Having Sex?

When Is The Right Time To Start Having Sex?

When you start seeing someone new, when’s the right time to begin having sex with that person? According to a non-scientific survey of OK Cupid users, people are all over the map: 28% said between 1 and 2 dates, 47% said between 3 and 5 dates, 20% said 6 or more dates, and 5% said only after getting married.  

 This pattern tells us that the “three-date rule” is something a lot of people apparently subscribe to; however, it appears to be far from universal.  

But does it actually matter when you do it?

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5 Important Things Science Has Taught Us About Sexual Attraction

5 Important Things Science Has Taught Us About Sexual Attraction

What is it that attracts us to other people? Can you fall in love at first sight? Can computer algorithms successfully predict who will make a good match? Read on for the answers to these and several other fascinating questions about sexual attraction, according to science. 

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10 More of Your Burning Questions About Sex, Answered (VIDEO)

10 More of Your Burning Questions About Sex, Answered (VIDEO)

I’m answering more of YOUR questions about sex today. In the video below, I’ll review ten questions submitted by readers of Sex and Psychology and explore what science can tell us about each one. As in previous videos, these questions cover a very diverse range of topics, from how long people tend to spend on sex to the effectiveness of the “pull-out” method to how many people have shaved their pubic hair. The specific questions are listed below. Check out the video for the answers!

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Video: The Science of Love With Dr. Art Aron

Video: The Science of Love With Dr. Art Aron

Why should scientists study love? Because, as social psychologist Dr. Art Aron explains in the video below, it's central to our health and happiness. Dr. Aron talks not only about why love is a worthwhile area of scientific inquiry, but also how he started studying love in the first place and some of the most fascinating things he has discovered by researching this topic.

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These Are The 8 Main Reasons People Cheat

These Are The 8 Main Reasons People Cheat

Research consistently finds that between 1 in 4 and 1 in 5 married persons in the United States has committed infidelity [1]. Rates of infidelity in dating relationships are even higher. Why are so many people cheating? Surprisingly little research has explored the motivations behind infidelity; fortunately, however, a new study published in the Journal of Sex Research offers some valuable insight [2]. 

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Can You Really Fall In Love At First Sight?

Can You Really Fall In Love At First Sight?

A lot of people claim to have had experiences with the phenomenon of “love at first sight.” But is it really possible to fall in love with someone instantaneously? Believe it or not, social scientists really haven’t bothered to test this idea until now. A new set of studies published in the journal Personal Relationships suggests that people who report having fallen in love at first sight probably weren’t actually in love. Truth be told, they were probably in lust instead. 

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The Unique Benefits of a Consensually Non-Monogamous Relationship

The Unique Benefits of a Consensually Non-Monogamous Relationship

In a consensually non-monogamous (CNM) relationship, the partners involved agree that having more than one sexual and/or romantic partner at the same time is permissible. Although interest in CNM relationships appears to be on the rise, these relationships continue to be widely stigmatized, with people tending to see them as inferior to monogamous relationships in most ways [1]. This is interesting when you consider that research comparing the quality of CNM to monogamous relationships reveals few differences and suggests that CNM relationships are not inherently less satisfying or stable. Findings like this suggest that perhaps those who view CNM relationships as inferior simply have a difficult time imagining the potential benefits that these relationships afford.

So what exactly are the benefits of a CNM relationship anyway? And how are the benefits similar to or different from those afforded by a monogamous relationship?

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4 Fascinating Things Scientists Have Learned About Love

4 Fascinating Things Scientists Have Learned About Love

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, a lot of folks have love on the brain—so, let’s talk today about the science of love. Here are four of the most fascinating things researchers have found by studying love relationships. 

1.) We lie to ourselves about the ones we love. People have a tendency to idealize their romantic partners—to think of them as being better than they really are in some way, like thinking that your partner is the absolute best romantic partner anyone could ever have. Scientists refer to these beliefs as “positive illusions” and, believe it or not, these inaccurate beliefs are actually beneficial for our relationships in many ways.

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3 Studies Refute Idea that Exposure to Sexy Centerfolds Harms Men’s Relationships

3 Studies Refute Idea that Exposure to Sexy Centerfolds Harms Men’s Relationships

A study from the 1980s found that heterosexual men who viewed images of Playboy and Penthouse centerfolds reported less love for their romantic partners than men who saw images of abstract art [1]. Since then, this study has been cited frequently as evidence of the damaging effects of porn. However, I’ve always had some concerns about this study and everything that has been made of it in the media, which I expressed a few years back on my blog (see here). It turns out that there’s now even more reason for skepticism in light of the fact that a group of researchers who just tried to replicate this finding couldn't.

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Video: The Science Behind Long-Term Relationship Happiness

Video: The Science Behind Long-Term Relationship Happiness

The U.S. marriage rate is in decline. In fact, it keeps hitting record lows. Some view this as a very discouraging sign about the state of Americans’ relationships. However, whereas this has led some to adopt a rather pessimistic view of the future, others believe there is still much reason for optimism. For example, as Dr. Helen Fisher argues in the Big Think video below, the fact that Americans aren’t rushing into marriage the way that they used to may actually signify something very positive.

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5 Videos on the Science of Love

5 Videos on the Science of Love

For your viewing (and learning) pleasure this Valentine's Day weekend, here's a playlist of five of my favorite videos on the science of love. These videos span quite the range of topics, including what actually goes on inside our brains when we experience love and heartbreak, as well as scientifically-based tips on what you can do to improve your own relationship. Enjoy!

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Video: The Mathematics Of Love

Video: The Mathematics Of Love

In this TEDx talk, mathematician Dr. Hannah Fry discusses what mathematics can offer to the study of love and how we can potentially apply it to our everyday lives. Not only does her analysis yield tips on obtaining success in online dating, but it also speaks to how we might go about picking the "perfect" partner, as well as avoiding divorce. I know it's not very romantic to suggest that understanding love and attraction can be boiled down to a series of mathematical equations, but after watching this video, you just might come to realize that there's something to this idea.

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Video: The Secret To Desire In A Long-Term Relationship

Video: The Secret To Desire In A Long-Term Relationship

In this TED talk, therapist Ester Perel (author of Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence) argues that, in the modern world, married people have come to expect a lot of their spouses. We want our partner to simultaneously be both our best friend and our enduring object of sexual desire. In other words, we want our spouse to fulfill all of our needs, many of which would seem to be in conflict with one another (e.g., the need for stability vs. the need for surprise). Not only that, but we want our partners to do this in an age where humans are living far longer than ever before! So how do we balance these competing needs in a long-term relationship? Check out the video below to learn more.

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Video: Why We Love, Why We Cheat

Video: Why We Love, Why We Cheat

In this fascinating TED talk, anthropologist Helen Fisher describes the evolution of love, the neurochemical foundation behind it, and the essential role in plays in our lives. She also talks about how use of antidepressants affects our brain chemistry and the potentially disastrous implications this might have for our love lives. After you watch the video below, click here to learn more about the neurochemistry of love.

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5 Fantastic Videos On The Science Of Love and Attraction

5 Fantastic Videos On The Science Of Love and Attraction

For your viewing (and learning) pleasure this Valentine's Day weekend, I've put together a playlist of five of my favorite videos on the science of love and attraction. These videos span a range of topics, including what actually goes on inside our brains when we experience love and heartbreak, why we become attracted to certain people, what you can do to improve your own relationship, and much more. Enjoy!

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Two Hearts Beat As One, Literally: Our Heartbeats Synchronize With Those Of Our Loved Ones

Two Hearts Beat As One, Literally: Our Heartbeats Synchronize With Those Of Our Loved Ones

When people talk about love, they often describe it in terms of “two hearts beating as one.” Although you might be tempted to think of this as nothing other than a cute saying, research suggests that when we love someone, our hearts literally do beat to the same rhythm. 

Consider this: in a 2011 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers examined what happened to the heart rates of both observers and performers during a fire-walking ritual [1]. During rituals of this nature, people walk over a firey bed of coals one at a time while a crowd watches on, often as a test of faith or courage.

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Is It Lust Or Is It Love? (VIDEO)

Is It Lust Or Is It Love? (VIDEO)

In this TEDx talk, Dr. Terri Orbuch describes the science behind lust and love. Research shows that these are completely distinct experiences and, as Orbuch explains, there are actually four specific signs that you can use to tell them apart. In addition to detailing the physiology and psychology behind lust and love, Orbuch offers research-based advice on ways of recreating lust for long-term, loving couples. This is a must-watch video for anyone interested in learning more about the science of relationships. Happy viewing!

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