Why Sex Should Be About Having Fun Instead of Achieving Goals

Why Sex Should Be About Having Fun Instead of Achieving Goals

A lot of people approach sex in a goal-oriented fashion, thinking that there are certain things they need to do or “achieve” every time. High on this list is the idea that everyone is “supposed” to have an orgasm each time they have sex. So pervasive is this idea that some people do not even categorize certain sex acts as sex unless an orgasm occurs. Moreover, some people see a lack of orgasm (even if it only happens once or on rare occasions) as an inherent sign of sexual dysfunction.

This view of orgasm as essential not just to the definition of sex, but also to people’s idea of successful sex creates something sex therapists have termed the orgasmic imperative.

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How We Can Use Science To Close the Orgasm Gap

How We Can Use Science To Close the Orgasm Gap

The orgasm gap refers to the well-documented research finding that heterosexual men tend to have more consistent experiences with orgasm than heterosexual women. Specifically, men are not only more likely to report having had an orgasm the last time they had sex, but they’re also more likely to say that they always or almost always have orgasms compared to women.

So what can we do to close this gap?

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How Long Does It Take Women And Men To Reach Orgasm?

How Long Does It Take Women And Men To Reach Orgasm?

Much has been said and written in the popular media about the length of time it typically takes men and women to reach orgasm; however, most of this information is based on anecdotal reports, not science. So what does research on this subject say? Here’s what scientists have found when they’ve given men and women stopwatches and asked them to record as precisely as possible the length of time it takes them to climax. 

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This Sex Position Increases The Odds Of Simultaneous Orgasm For Men And Women

This Sex Position Increases The Odds Of Simultaneous Orgasm For Men And Women

As a sex researcher, I’ve learned a lot about what it is that people fantasize about when it comes sex. In many of the fantasies I’ve heard, something I’ve noticed is that people— especially heterosexual men and women—often describe a scenario that results in simultaneous orgasm. The idea of climaxing at the same time seems to be appealing to a lot of people, so is there anything you can do to increase the chances of it actually happening in real life?

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Women Who Use Marijuana Before Sex Report Better Orgasms

Women Who Use Marijuana Before Sex Report Better Orgasms

How does marijuana affect women’s sexual functioning? A recent study published in the journal Sexual Medicine sought to find out. Researchers anonymously surveyed hundreds of women visiting an obstetrics and gynecology clinic in St. Louis, Missouri about whether they used marijuana and, if so, whether and how it affected their sexual satisfaction, sex drive, and orgasm quality. Key results from the study are shown in the infographic below.

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7 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Orgasms

7 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Orgasms

The science of orgasm is a fascinating subject. In this post, we’ll take a look at seven of the most interesting things scientists have discovered about orgasms. What to learn more? Check out this video for even more orgasm facts.   

1.) The faces people make when they have an orgasm look different across cultures. Researchers have found that the Western orgasm face includes eyes that are opened wider and a vertically stretched mouth, while the East Asian orgasm face includes more smiling, with a raised brow and closed eyes. 

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How Vasectomies Affect Men’s (And Women’s) Sex Lives

How Vasectomies Affect Men’s (And Women’s) Sex Lives

Vasectomies are one of the most underutilized forms of birth control, in part, because a lot of men are worried about the procedure having a number of negative effects on their sex lives. According to the American Urological Association, “many patients are concerned that vasectomy may cause changes in sexual function such as erectile dysfunction, reduced or absent orgasmic sensation, decreased ejaculate volume, reduced sexual interest, decreased genital sensation and/or diminished sexual pleasure.”

But are these concerns founded? Do guys really need to be worried about vasectomies hurting their sex lives? 

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Can Pedophilies Change?

Can Pedophilies Change?

The mental health community has long been interested in developing treatments for persons who are attracted to prepubescent children with the goal of preventing sexual offenses. In fact, if you search for “pedophilia treatments” or “pedophile therapy” on Google Scholar, you’ll get thousands of hits.

Numerous treatment approaches have been tested, with many focusing on finding a “cure.” For example, some studies have explored use of aversion therapy, in which something unpleasant (such as a very bad smell) is paired with child stimuli with the goal of reducing pedophilic desires. Others have looked at orgasmic reconditioning, which involves thinking about or speaking aloud socially appropriate fantasies while masturbating to orgasm in an attempt to learn new fantasies that are pleasurable. 

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Eight Things Science Taught Us About Sex In 2018

Eight Things Science Taught Us About Sex In 2018

2018 has been memorable for a lot of reasons—including what science taught us about sex. Here’s a quick recap of some of the most interesting things we learned about sex this year. 

1. The G-Spot probably isn’t what you think it is. 

Scientists recently published one of the largest and most thorough anatomic explorations ever of the area commonly referred to as the G-Spot.

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People’s Orgasm Faces Look Surprisingly Different Across Cultures

People’s Orgasm Faces Look Surprisingly Different Across Cultures

When I was training to become a social psychologist, I learned that many emotions and facial expressions seem to be universal across cultures. Recently, however, researchers have begun to debate this idea, suggesting that facial expressions of emotion are not necessarily the same from one culture to the next. A new study adds an interesting development to this debate by showing cross-cultural variation in the facial expressions people associate with having an orgasm. Yep, you read that right.

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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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How Booze and Weed Affect Us During Sex

How Booze and Weed Affect Us During Sex

Alcohol and marijuana are among the most popular substances people use to enhance their sexual experiences. But when it comes to their effects, how similar or different are these drugs? A study published this year in the Archives of Sexual Behavior offers some insight.

Researchers conducted in-depth interviews with 24 young adults in New York City and asked them to compare their past experiences using alcohol and marijuana during sex. Obviously, this is a very small sample and we must be cautious when it comes to generalizing the findings; however, the results still tell us some important things. Here’s a quick rundown of the highlights:

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Video: 10 Questions About Sex

Video: 10 Questions About Sex

Today, I’m answering YOUR questions about sex. I’ve put together a brief video in which I review ten questions submitted by readers of Sex and Psychology and explore what science can tell us about each one. These questions cover a very diverse range of topics, from the best sexual position for orgasm to how often people think about sex to the sexual appeal of BDSM. 

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Orgasms Trigger Migraine Headaches in Some, But Cure Them in Others

Orgasms Trigger Migraine Headaches in Some, But Cure Them in Others

We’ve long known that there’s a link between sex and headaches. In fact, we can trace this all the way back to Hippocrates, who is thought to be the first to point out a connection between “immoderate venery” and headaches (if, like me, you aren’t familiar with the term “venery,” I’ll save you the trouble of Googling it—it refers to “the practice or pursuit of sexual pleasure”) [1]. However, it wasn’t until the late 1960s and early 1970s that physicians really began formally documenting this in medical case reports [2].

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My Favorite Story About the History of the Vibrator Isn't True

My Favorite Story About the History of the Vibrator Isn't True

About a decade ago, I came across a book entitled The Technology of Orgasm by Rachel Maines. It quickly became one of my favorites on the history of sex because it presented a fascinating and scandalous story behind how the vibrator came to be such a popular device—a story that appeared to be grounded in rigorous academic research. It turns out that there’s a major problem with this story, though: it’s not true.

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Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Pegging

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Pegging

Anal activities have become increasingly popular in porn—and in people’s sex lives, too. For example, changes in Pornhub search trends reveal that queries for anal sex have increased by more than 100% in the last decade. At the same time, there’s been a sizeable increase in the number of men and women who say they’ve tried anal sex at least once before when you compare recent data to 1990s data.

Anal sex isn’t just one thing, though—people are exploring anal stimulation in multiple forms, from rimming to pegging. And if there’s a trend in anal sex right now, it seems to be pegging, an act that has been depicted and discussed with great frequency not just in porn, but also in pop culture.

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How Your Sense Of Smell Shapes Your Sexual Experiences

How Your Sense Of Smell Shapes Your Sexual Experiences

It’s hardly a new revelation that our sense of smell plays an important role in our sexual and romantic lives. I mean, after all, the multi-billion dollar perfume, cologne, and deodorant industries are founded on the premise that smelling good is one of the keys to finding—and keeping—a relationship partner. The role our nostrils play in our sex lives appears to go much deeper than this, though. Smells don’t just have the potential to shape who we find to be attractive, but also how we experience sex itself.

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Swingers And Polyamorists May Have More Satisfying Sex Lives Than Monogamists

Swingers And Polyamorists May Have More Satisfying Sex Lives Than Monogamists

There’s a common assumption that monogamous relationships are superior to consensually non-monogamous relationships in virtually all ways. In fact, studies have found that monogamous relationships are thought to be better in terms of promoting closeness, trust, intimacy, companionship, and communication [1]. However, the presumed benefits don’t stop there—monogamous relationships are assumed to be more sexually satisfying, too, because it’s presumed that people who open their relationships are only doing so because they’re unhappy in some way.

So is it really the case that monogamists necessarily have better sex lives and relationships overall compared to those who are in consensually non-monogamous relationships? Do the stereotypes reflect reality? Let’s take a look at the research.

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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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