What You Think You Know About the Male Refractory Period is Probably Wrong

What You Think You Know About the Male Refractory Period is Probably Wrong

The refractory period is usually defined as a phase following orgasm during which additional orgasms are impossible. Sexual arousal is often said to be very difficult during this time as well. The refractory period is usually discussed in relation to men; women are often said to have no such period, and this difference has been used to explain why women are more likely than men to have multiple orgasms. 

This narrative—while extraordinarily popular and pervasive in human sexuality textbooks and websites—might be incorrect, though. The truth of the matter is that we don’t actually know all that much about the refractory period—it’s a “shortcoming” in the sexuality literature, so to speak.

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How Long Does Sexual “Afterglow” Last?

How Long Does Sexual “Afterglow” Last?

Afterglow refers to “the look of contentment on a person’s face after great sex,” at least according to the Urban Dictionary. In other words, the basic idea here is that sex can sometimes be so good that it has lingering effects on our happiness that others can quite literally see. Despite the popularity of this colloquial term, it’s not something that scientists have studied, which begs the question of whether there is really something to the idea of sexual afterglow and, if so, how long it lasts. A new study published in the journal Psychological Science offers some insights.

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The Power Of Touch: The Crucial Role Of Physical Intimacy In Relationships

The Power Of Touch: The Crucial Role Of Physical Intimacy In Relationships

One of the keys to a healthy, long-term relationship is maintaining physical intimacy. I’m not just talking about sex, though—for many reasons, non-sexual physical intimacy is just as important. For one thing, touch is a form of communication. It can reveal everything from your partner’s current mood state to their stress level. In addition, touch stimulates the release of oxytocin, a hormone involved in feelings of bondedness. Touch can therefore bring you closer to your partner both physically and psychologically.

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Sex Question Friday: Why Are Straight Guys So Interested In Breasts?

Sex Question Friday: Why Are Straight Guys So Interested In Breasts?

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:

“Why are straight guys into breasts? Does it stem from them having been breastfed as children?”

Great question! I’ve heard this Freudian sort of explanation before (i.e., men’s fondness for breasts stems from having been nourished by their mothers’ breasts as infants); however, I don’t really buy it, nor do most of the other psychologists I know. I mean, if it were true, wouldn’t we expect that women and gay men would be just as sexually interested in breasts? 

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Fact Check: Can Spraying Yourself With Oxytocin Help You Get Laid?

Fact Check: Can Spraying Yourself With Oxytocin Help You Get Laid?

The hormone oxytocin is often referred to in the popular media as the “love hormone” or “cuddle drug” because research has shown that it plays an important role in human bonding. For instance, experimental studies have demonstrated that participants are more trusting of other people during social interactions after being given a nasal spray with oxytocin compared to a placebo [1]. In an attempt to capitalize on this and other such discoveries, several companies have started selling oxytocin-based products that are advertised to have a wide range of applications, from giving you an edge in the world of business to having more or better sex. The basic premise is that if you can enhance oxytocin levels in the people around you, they will develop more trust in you, thereby allowing you to get what you want sexually or otherwise. But do these products really work as promised?

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The Science Of Love (VIDEO)

“Though we often associate love with the heart, the true magic can be seen inside the brain.”

This fascinating video by ASAP Science explores the neurobiology behind love. It turns out that when we’re in love, our brains activate the same pleasure centers as when we take drugs like cocaine, thereby resulting in a psychological “high.” Specifically, when we are around the person we love, our brains release a number of chemicals, including dopamine, norepinephrine, and oxytocin, which generate sexual desire and that feeling of being bonded with another person. At the same time, our brains release lower levels of serotonin. Given that low serotonin is linked to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), this could help to explain why people in love often report having obsessive thoughts about their partner.

Check out the video below to learn more about what happens to our brains when we’re in love.

 

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Does Oxytocin Help Men Stay Faithful To Their Wives?

A flood of headlines has appeared over the past few days claiming that the hormone oxytocin may be the key to helping men with wandering eyes stay faithful to their wives. Here is a sampling of just a few of the more splashy media claims I came across: “Oxytocin Keeps Committed Men Away From Attractive Women,” “Love Hormone Promotes Monogamy in Men,” and “Oxytocin May Promote Fidelity (If Only Petraeus Knew).” But is this really true? Could oxytocin actually stop a would-be cheater? And would David Patraeus still be in charge of the CIA if only he had just had a little more of the “cuddle drug” in his system? Based upon my reading of the research, I think we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves here.
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Why Do Straight Men Like Breasts So Much?

As you may have noticed, heterosexual men seem to have a certain fascination with women’s breasts. Society feeds into this by putting the female chest on display everywhere from Hooters restaurants to nudie magazines to beer advertisements. But how do we explain men’s obsession with these two mounds of fatty tissue? If you ask guys why they like breasts so much, you probably won’t get too much insight other than “I don’t know—I just do.” So what do scientists have to say? Most theories, including a brand new one from the book The Chemistry Between Us, suggest that there is an evolutionary basis for it.
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Have Scientists Really Found The Next Viagra?

There was a recent media frenzy about a new study suggesting that the hormone oxytocin may improve male sexual desire and functioning. Among some of the more provocative headlines I came across were “Oxytocin could be new Viagra” and “Forget Viagra, the 'Cuddle drug' could be the new way to boost performance in the bedroom.” These and numerous other headlines around the world made very bold claims about oxytocin’s ability to enhance men’s sexual abilities. But were they justified? A closer look at the research reveals yet another case of the media jumping the gun and making sensationalized claims that go far beyond the available science.
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