Being Similar To Your Partner Doesn't Guarantee Greater Happiness

Being Similar To Your Partner Doesn't Guarantee Greater Happiness

Finding a compatible partner is one of the cornerstones of a happy and healthy relationship. But how do you determine who you’re compatible with? Intuitively, you might think the answer would be to take the approach that a lot of online dating companies do, which is try and partner-up with someone similar to you. If you’re more similar, you’ll probably have fewer disagreements, right? 

Not necessarily.  

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Seven Fascinating Facts About Sexual Fantasies

Seven Fascinating Facts About Sexual Fantasies

I surveyed 4,175 Americans from all 50 states about their sexual fantasies for my book Tell Me What You Want. Participants were asked to describe their favorite sexual fantasy of all time, as well as report on how often they fantasized about hundreds of different people, places, and things. They were also asked extensive questions about their personalities, sexual histories, and demographic backgrounds. The results are a treasure trove of information about what it is that turns us on and why. Here’s a sneak peek at seven of the most fascinating things I found:

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What Your Sexual Fantasies Say About Your Personality

What Your Sexual Fantasies Say About Your Personality

Our sexual fantasies appear to reflect, at least in part, our personality traits and characteristics. In studying the sex fantasies of more than 4,000 Americans for my book Tell Me What You Want, I found that the Big Five personality factors of openness to experience, conscientiousness, agreeableness, extraversion, and neuroticism were all linked to the types of fantasies people reported having. 

Below, I briefly describe what each of these traits is all about and how they are related to the types of things you’re more (or less) likely to fantasize about:

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Your Personality Traits Can Predict Your Sexual Behaviors, Attitudes, and Sexual Health

Your Personality Traits Can Predict Your Sexual Behaviors, Attitudes, and Sexual Health

Your sex life is, to some extent, a function of your personality. Sex scientists have accumulated a large body of research revealing linkages between what are known as the "Big Five" personality traits and people’s sexual attitudes, behaviors, and health. These findings were recently summarized in a meta-analysis published in the journal Psychological Bulletin.

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What Does (And Doesn’t) Predict Divorce, According To Science

What Does (And Doesn’t) Predict Divorce, According To Science

Social scientists have long been interested in the factors that predict divorce. Over the years, they’ve identified a number of things that seem to increase the odds of a couple dissolving their marriage; however, the evidence hasn’t always been consistent across studies, with some effects being more reliable than others. In this article, we'll review some of the most interesting findings from this area of research.

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Why Some People May Be Better Suited To Consensual Nonmonogamy Than Others

Why Some People May Be Better Suited To Consensual Nonmonogamy Than Others

Given how high the rate of infidelity is, some people have argued that humans are, by nature, not very well suited to monogamy. Others have gone even further and argued that we’d probably all be a lot happier if we were consensually nonmonogamous instead. But is that likely to be the case? Would everyone be better off if they were in some kind of sexually open relationship?

According to data I presented at last month’s meeting of the International Association for Relationship Research, probably not. Rather, my data suggest that whether we respond favorably to monogamy or consensual nonmonogamy is, to some extent, a matter of personality.

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Sex Question Friday: Are Some People Born With Fetishes?

Sex Question Friday: Are Some People Born With Fetishes?

Every Friday on the blog, I answer people’s questions about sex, love, and relationships. This week’s question comes from a reader who was curious about the origin of sexual fetishes:

“Are we born with fetishes or are they things that we learn and develop throughout our lives?”

Good question! Over the years, I have heard many people claim that fetishes and other unusual sexual interests must be inborn because these urges tend to emerge very early in life and people feel that they do not have any choice or conscious control in the matter (much like sexual orientation). However, I personally don’t buy the idea that people are “born with” very specific and highly unique sexual interests in things like rubber, pantyhose, or feet, and I’m not aware of any research to suggest that this is likely to be the case. Scientists have not identified a foot fetish gene, or a gene for any other fetish for that matter--and although I can't say with any certainty if they ever will, I wouldn't hold my breath. Instead, I would argue that a person is more likely to be born with a generalized predisposition to developing fetishes, as opposed to being born with a specific fetish. Also, regardless of one’s predispositions, some research suggests that fetishes can potentially be learned by just about anyone under the right circumstances.

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Are Sexting And Cybersex Signs of Loneliness And Low Self-Esteem?

Are Sexting And Cybersex Signs of Loneliness And Low Self-Esteem?

In a recent New York Times editorial, author Susan Jacoby laments the increasingly popularity of “sexting,” cybersex, and other such virtual connections. Jacoby argues that virtual sex lacks the sensuality inherent in an in-person sexual encounter and that people who have sex online are settling for a much lesser experience. She also implies that the people who are drawn to such behavior suffer from low self-esteem. Indeed, she (judgmentally) ponders “what does a man really think of himself when he must feed his ego with phony gasps of erotic pleasure from strangers in a digital vastness? What does a woman think of herself in the same arid zone of sex without sensuality?” However, she goes further and argues that virtual sex represents an even more problematic behavior for women than for men. Indeed, she claims that “women who settle for digital pornography are lowering their expectations and hopes even more drastically than their male collaborators are.” So are sexting and cybersex really so terrible and are the people who engage in these behaviors as pathetic as Jacoby suggests?

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