What Kinds of Porn Do Men and Women Watch Most Often?

What Kinds of Porn Do Men and Women Watch Most Often?

There are lots of articles out there describing the most-viewed porn categories on Pornhub and other popular adult sites—however, that’s not what this article is. While big data insights from major porn websites are certainly interesting and informative in their own right, they are limited in several ways, not the least of which is that we don’t necessarily know how the people who visit those sites are similar to or different from the rest of the population. 

So what happens when—instead of looking at big data—researchers survey people about which types of porn they watch most often?

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The Truth About the “Oral Sex Gap”

The Truth About the “Oral Sex Gap”

According to countless popular media articles, there is a massive disparity between heterosexual men and women when it comes to giving oral sex. Some of these articles suggest that, in male-female sexual encounters, “blowjobs are basically a given” while cunnilingus is “one of the least-often performed sex acts.” In other words, men are getting oral all the time from women, whereas women are almost never receiving it from men—a situation that has been dubbed the “oral sex gap.”

However, I did some digging into the prevalence of oral sex across genders and it turns out that these claims don’t quite match up with what the research says. The oral sex gap isn’t exactly what we have been led to believe.

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Are We Really in a “Sex Recession?”

Are We Really in a “Sex Recession?”

A recent study suggests that Americans are having less sex today than they were a quarter-century ago. These findings have received a lot of attention—I covered them on the blog when they were published in 2017, and they’ve been discussed in countless media articles around the world since, culminating in a widely read piece in The Atlantic last month, which took the results to mean that we’re in the midst of a “sex recession.”

But is that really the case?

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Can Medications and Drugs Be Transferred Through Semen?

Can Medications and Drugs Be Transferred Through Semen?

Readers of the blog frequently send me questions about sex, and I’ve noticed that some of them seem to pop up more often than others. One that I find myself hearing over and over again is whether medications can potentially be transferred from one sexual partner to another through semen. For example, these are just a few of the many questions that I’ve received recently:

“My boyfriend is currently taking prednisone, which I'm allergic to. Will this steroid come to my body through his semen?”

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10 Things You Should Know About Oral Sex

10 Things You Should Know About Oral Sex

How many people have had oral sex? Do men and women have similar feelings about this activity? Does oral sex "count" as sex? In this post, we'll take a look at the answers to these and other questions about oral sex.

1.) Most adults in the United States have engaged in oral sex before. A recent, nationally representative survey found that 86-87% of men and women say they have done it at least once.

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Do Men And Women Find Giving And Receiving Oral Sex Equally Pleasurable?

Do Men And Women Find Giving And Receiving Oral Sex Equally Pleasurable?

A reader asked:

“What percentage of men and women actually enjoy giving or receiving oral sex?”

Good question! Let me start by saying that oral sex has become an incredibly common sexual practice in the United States in recent years. In fact, nationally representative survey studies have routinely found that the vast majority of both men and women have engaged in this activity. For example, recent data from the National Survey of Family Growth finds that 86-87% of American adults aged 18-44 have done it at least once (see here for stats on other sexual behaviors).

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Shifting Standards Of Sex: Whether A Given Behavior “Counts” As Sex Depends On Who Does It

Shifting Standards Of Sex: Whether A Given Behavior “Counts” As Sex Depends On Who Does It

You might think that it would be easy to define a term like sex—but it’s not. It turns out that different people have very different definitions, and they make all kinds of interesting distinctions. For example, some people only think that intercourse “counts” as sex if they have an orgasm. Further complicating matters is the fact that who’s participating in a given behavior influences what counts. Specifically, we seem to hold ourselves to different standards compared to other people.

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Could Antibacterial Mouthwash Help Prevent the Spread of Gonorrhea?

Could Antibacterial Mouthwash Help Prevent the Spread of Gonorrhea?

One sexually transmitted infection (STI) that has public health officials increasingly worried is gonorrhea. Although infection rates have declined dramatically from their peak in the 1970s, research has found that not only is gonorrhea on the rise again, but that this infection has also become more resistant to antibiotic treatments. Essentially, what this means is that we have fewer and fewer drugs available that can successfully clear it from the body. Scientists fear that, eventually, a strain may emerge that we can’t cure. As such, more research into gonorrhea treatment and prevention strategies is urgently needed.

A new set of studies suggests that one tool that could potentially help in the fight against antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea is—wait for it—mouthwash. But not just any mouthwash—we’re talking specifically about antibacterial mouthwashes, such as Listerine.

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The Sex Lives of Older Adults

The Sex Lives of Older Adults

A reader submitted the following question:

"How many people over age 50 are still having sex?"

Older adults are often assumed to be celibate, but the truth of the matter is that many of us remain sexually active for our entire lives.

As some evidence of this, let's consider findings from a recent, nationally representative U.S. survey of adults aged 14-94.

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Infographic: Sexual Behavior in the United States Today

Infographic: Sexual Behavior in the United States Today

How many American adults have ever had sex? And what kind(s) of sex have they had? For a look at the answers, check out the infographic below, which summarizes findings from the most recent wave of the National Survey of Family Growth. The prevalence of each sexual behavior assessed is reported separately for men and women. The numbers were very similar across the sexes, with one exception: reports of having ever engaged in same-sex behavior. Women were almost three times as likely to report this as men. See below for a closer look at the numbers.

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Sex Question Friday: Are There Any Health Effects Of Swallowing Semen?

Sex Question Friday: Are There Any Health Effects Of Swallowing Semen?

A reader asked the following:

“Are there any health effects of swallowing semen? Is it better to spit it out instead of swallowing?"

Thanks for these very interesting questions. Let me start by saying that if you perform oral sex on a man who has an STI (e.g., chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis), you run the risk of contracting that infection. It doesn't matter whether his semen is actually swallowed—the risk comes from simply having his ejaculate in your mouth. So, if you know your partner has an infection or you aren’t sure of his status, it would be advisable to use a condom to prevent contact with his semen, thereby lowering your infection risk (read more about the potential STI risks of oral sex in this article). 

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How Do College Students Define Sex?

How Do College Students Define Sex?

What does it actually mean to "have sex?" It depends who you ask. According to a new study published in the Journal of Sex Research, there is some pretty incredible variability in how college students personally define the term sex. There certainly seems to be a lot of agreement that things like vaginal and anal intercourse count as sex; however, students appear to be very split on whether things like oral sex and mutual masturbation count. It's also important to note that even behaviors such as breast stimulation and cybersex are viewed as sex by some folks. Check out the infographic below to learn more.

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Did The Invention Of Oral Sex Give Rise To Gonorrhea?

Did The Invention Of Oral Sex Give Rise To Gonorrhea?

Humans aren’t the only ones that have to deal with sexually transmitted infections—animals do too. Indeed, chlamydia, syphilis, and several other STIs known all too well among humans have been documented in the animal kingdom with some frequency. Among primates, however, one STI that is unique to humans is gonorrhea. This observation has led some scientists to question why. What gave rise to gonorrhea in humans, but not in other primate species? Some scientists argue that it might have something to do with the fact that humans frequently practice oral sex, a behavior that is rare in non-human primates.

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Sex Question Friday: Should I Be Using Condoms During Oral Sex?

Sex Question Friday: Should I Be Using Condoms During Oral Sex?

A reader submitted the following question:

“Is it necessary to use condoms/dental dams for oral sex? What if it is not used? Does that guarantee transmission of sexually transmitted infections?”

Thanks for this great question! Oral sex has become a very common sexual activity in the Western world. For instance, most U.S. adults under age 50 say that they have given and/or received oral sex in the past year in the form of fellatio or cunnilingus, a number that has increased significantly during the past few decades.

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Sex Question Friday: Can Medications Be Transferred To Sex Partners Through Semen?

Sex Question Friday: Can Medications Be Transferred To Sex Partners Through Semen?

A reader submitted the following question:

Can medications that men take regularly (like blood pressure, cholesterol, or diabetes meds) be passed through their seminal fluid to their oral sex partner? Many sex workers prefer to perform oral sex without a condom (bareback) and they often make the decision to swallow rather than spit. If medication can be passed like this, are these girls at any risk?”

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Sex Question Friday: Is “Rimming” Safe?

Sex Question Friday: Is “Rimming” Safe?

Every Friday on the blog, I answer people’s questions about sex, love, and relationships. This week’s question comes from a reader who wanted to know:

“Is rimming safe?”

In case anyone reading this is unfamiliar with the term “rimming,” what we’re talking about here is oral stimulation of the anus (also known as anilingus).

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Sex Question Friday: Is “Swallowing” Bad For Your Health?

Sex Question Friday: Is “Swallowing” Bad For Your Health?

Every Friday, I answer people’s questions about sex, love, and relationships. This week’s question comes from a reader who wanted to know the following:

“Is the ingestion of a man's ejaculate harmful?”

Good question! There are actually a lot of myths and misconceptions out there about semen, so let’s take a few moments to clear them up.

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Sex Question Friday: How Sexually Active Are Older Adults?

Sex Question Friday: How Sexually Active Are Older Adults?

Every Friday on the blog, I answer people’s questions about sex, love, and relationships. This week’s question comes from a reader who wanted to know more about what happens to our sex lives as we age.

Can you still have sex and enjoy it when you’re old?

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College Women's Hookup Experiences (Infographic)

College Women's Hookup Experiences (Infographic)

Much has been written in the popular media about hookups among college students; however, surprisingly little research has actually been conducted on this topic, particularly with regard to how young women experience and perceive casual sex. The infographic below summarizes data from a recent study published in the American Sociological Review about college women's perceptions of sexual hookups and their experiences with orgasm during casual sex.

 

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What Is The Evolutionary Significance Of Cunnilingus?

I recently came across a journal article entitled Is Cunnilingus-Assisted Orgasm a Male Sperm-Retention Strategy? Naturally, I dropped everything I was doing and read it immediately--how could I not with a title like that? The researchers sought to test the novel hypothesis that, after ejaculation during intercourse, heterosexual men try to get their female partners to reach orgasm via oral sex in order to help them retain as much sperm as possible.1 To the extent that the female orgasm produces uterine contractions that draw sperm further into the reproductive tract, this would theoretically facilitate conception.  However, in order for the cunnilingus-assisted orgasm to serve this purpose, it would need to occur right around the man’s ejaculation (specifically, anywhere from one minute before to about 45 minutes after)—if her orgasm occurs sooner or later than that, it will not have a sperm-retaining effect.
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