How To Talk To Your Kids About Sex

How To Talk To Your Kids About Sex

As a sex educator and researcher, one of the more common questions I get asked is when and how to talk to your kids about sex. Case in point: a reader of the blog recently asked, “At what age should parents talk about sex to their children—or at what age do children need to know about sex?”

So when should you start? And what the heck do parents need to know about navigating this discussion? Here’s a brief guide to help you get started.

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The Fascinating Psychology Behind the Popularity of MILF Porn

The Fascinating Psychology Behind the Popularity of MILF Porn

In the book A Billion Wicked Thoughts, neuroscientists Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam analyzed the contents of over a billion searches on some of the most popular porn sites. They found a lot of interesting things, including the fact that the most popular search term on Pornhub (one of the most heavily visited tube sites in the entire world) was “mom.” This book was published in 2012, but if you flash forward to today, moms are still incredibly popular in adult entertainment. 

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5 Things Americans’ Google Searches Have Taught Us About Sex

5 Things Americans’ Google Searches Have Taught Us About Sex

In the last few years, Google Trends has become a favored research tools of sex scientists. Because not everyone is willing to participate in sex studies for various reasons, Google searches offer a handy means of looking at what a broader swath of the population thinks about sex. The appeal doesn’t stop there, though.

We also know that people don’t always answer survey questions honestly (even when they’re guaranteed anonymity) due to fear, shame, and embarrassment. For instance, some people may not honestly report their turn-ons because they’re embarrassed, while others might lie about how many people they’ve had sex with in order to look good to the researcher (some might overreport, while others might underreport). When people go to Google, however, they have a powerful incentive to tell the truth: if they don’t, they won’t find what they’re looking for.

Google searches are therefore thought to be very revealing because they can give us a glimpse into the things that people might not otherwise be willing to share. Several research papers have been published recently that explore the contents of Americans’ Google search histories. Here are five of the most fascinating things we’ve learned so far from this unique research tool.

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Why Is Porn Inspired By Video Games So Popular?

Why Is Porn Inspired By Video Games So Popular?

It seems as though every time a video game becomes a major hit, porn inspired by that game becomes a big thing. For example, when the PokémonGo craze hit in 2016, “Poképorn”took off. Videos were uploaded to major porn sites featuring animated Pokémon sex, as well as humans having sex while dressed up as their favorite Pokémon characters. Searches for Pokémon were notably higher, too, as reported by sites like Pornhub and xHamster.

Something similar has happened more recently with the popular video game Fortnite, which is a third-person shooter game in case you aren’t familiar with it. Fortnite-inspired porn is apparently in such great demand that “Fortnite” was one of the top 20 most-searched terms on Pornhub in 2018!

So why is that? Why is video game-based porn so popular?

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What Was Popular In Porn In 2018?

What Was Popular In Porn In 2018?

Pornhub recently released their 2018 year-in-review of users’ viewing habits and the results were fascinating. Among other things, they reported an average of 92 million site visitors per day in 2018, each of whom stayed for an average of 10 minutes and 13 seconds. Also, users uploaded more than 4.7 million videos—so many, in fact, that it would take 115 years to watch all of them. That’s a lot of porn!

You can check out the full report here in all its glory, but if you’re just after a few highlights and some analysis, here are some of the things that stood out to me during my review of the data.

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Why So Many Women Are Drawn To Gay Male Porn

Why So Many Women Are Drawn To Gay Male Porn

Many women find man-on-man pornography to be sexually arousing. In fact, one of the world's biggest porn sites--Pornhub--has reported that gay male porn is the second most popular category among female visitors. Many of you may be wondering what it is that draws so many women to it. A recent study published in the journal Porn Studies offers some valuable insight.

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Where Do Our Sex Fantasies Come From?

Where Do Our Sex Fantasies Come From?

What’s the source of your favorite sex fantasy? Did it emerge from a previous sexual experience? Is it from something you saw in porn or in the popular media? Or did it come from somewhere else? It turns out that our fantasies can spring from several different sources. In this post, we’ll consider what 4,175 Americans said when asked where their biggest sexual fantasy of all time came from (note that this survey formed the basis for my latest book, Tell Me What You Want: The Science of Sexual Desire and How It Can Help You Improve Your Sex Life).

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How Is Porn Use Linked To Relationship Satisfaction? It’s Complicated

How Is Porn Use Linked To Relationship Satisfaction? It’s Complicated

It’s easy to find articles in the popular media talking about how porn ruins relationships. Many scientific studies have made this claim, too. However, there’s a problematic assumption embedded in most of these writings, which is that porn affects all people the same way. That’s not a very good assumption to make.

When it comes to something like porn, different people are going to be affected by it in different ways because of their unique psychological profile. Some of us are predisposed to view porn (and its effects) in a negative light, whereas others are predisposed to view it in a positive light. A new study published in the Journal of Sex Research offers support for this nuanced view of the effects of porn on relationships.

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Is Watching Porn a Form of Infidelity?

Is Watching Porn a Form of Infidelity?

What “counts” as cheating on a romantic partner? It depends who you ask. Research finds that people define infidelity in very different ways. However, there are some things that people seem to agree on more than others.

For example, people largely agree that having sexual intercourse with someone who isn’t your partner is a form of cheating (assuming, of course, that you agreed to be monogamous with that partner). The same goes for taking a shower with another person or sending them naked photos. But what about just watching porn by yourself? Do people typically categorize that as a form of infidelity? A recent study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior offers some insight into this question.

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Can You Build Up A Tolerance To Porn?

Can You Build Up A Tolerance To Porn?

There’s a widespread belief that, if you watch enough porn, your brain will build up a tolerance to it, meaning that you will require more and more extreme stuff in order to become—and stay—sexually aroused. Unfortunately, there hasn’t really been any compelling research to either support or refute this idea; however, a new study published in the journal Sexual Medicine suggests that the notion of porn causing a tolerance effect is probably a myth.

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Porn Use Is Linked To Lower Sexual Satisfaction In Men—But Only If They’re Religious

Porn Use Is Linked To Lower Sexual Satisfaction In Men—But Only If They’re Religious

Several studies have found that pornography use is associated with lower levels of sexual satisfaction (see here and here and here for a few examples). On the basis of this pretty consistent finding, many have concluded that porn necessarily has negative implications for people’s sex lives. As it turns out, however, porn per se probably isn’t the problem here.

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What Was Popular In Porn In 2017?

What Was Popular In Porn In 2017?

Pornhub recently released their annual year-in-review of users’ viewing habits and, as usual, the results were fascinating. Among other things, they reported an average of 81 million site visitors per day in 2017, each of whom stayed for an average of 9 minutes and 59 seconds. Also, users uploaded more than 4 million videos—so many, in fact, that it would take 68 years of continuous viewing to get through them all. That’s a lot of porn!

You can check out the full report here in all its glory, but if you’re just after a few highlights and some analysis, here are some of the things that stood out to me during my review of the data.

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What A Decade Of Data From Pornhub Reveals About Our Sexual Interests

What A Decade Of Data From Pornhub Reveals About Our Sexual Interests

This year, Pornhub celebrated its tenth birthday. To commemorate the occasion, they released some fascinating data on trends in users’ viewing habits. Among other things, over 10 million videos have been posted on the site to date. Also, Pornhub now receives 75 million (!) visitors per day, and the average user spends about 10 minutes there per visit.

You can check out the full report here in all its glory; however, if you’re just after a few highlights and some analysis, keep on reading. Here are some of the things that stood out to me regarding the most popular porn genres on the site.

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How Erotic Dreams Are Connected To Pornography Use And Sexual Behavior

How Erotic Dreams Are Connected To Pornography Use And Sexual Behavior

Most people have had dreams about sex before. However, there’s a lot of variability in the kinds of sex dreams that people have. So where does all of that variation come from? Psychologists believe it’s because our sex dreams are, to some extent, a reflection of our waking sexual interests. In other words, the things that we’re attracted to in our everyday life have a tendency to carry over into our dreams. As some evidence of this, a recent study examined how men’s actual sexual behaviors and the type of porn they watch are related to the content of their sex dreams.

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Porn Isn’t The Reason Millennials Are Having Less Sex

Porn Isn’t The Reason Millennials Are Having Less Sex

Compared to generations past, millennials are having less sex. And the post-millennials—or iGen, as social psychologist Jean Twenge has dubbed them—are doing it even less. Much has been said and written about why, but one of the most frequently cited culprits in the popular media is porn, given that no previous generation has had so much unfettered access to pornography of all kinds. In other words, it’s widely believed that adolescents and young adults today are getting it on less often because they’re spending more time viewing online pornography. But is it true?

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Till Porn Do Us Part: Why You Should Be Skeptical of the New Study Claiming Porn Kills Love

Till Porn Do Us Part: Why You Should Be Skeptical of the New Study Claiming Porn Kills Love

A new study published in the Journal of Sex Research reports that when married people start using porn, their odds of getting divorced double. In other words, the results would appear to suggest that porn is inherently destructive to relationships.

Though the findings are provocative and based on longitudinal data from the General Social Survey (which is often a great source of information), I’m just not sold on the conclusion. Here’s why.

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5 Fascinating Things Americans’ Google Searches Have Taught Us About Sex

5 Fascinating Things Americans’ Google Searches Have Taught Us About Sex

Google Trends has quickly become one of the favorite research tools of sex scientists. Why? In part, because not everyone is willing to participate in sex studies and, among those who are, we know they don’t always answer survey questions honestly. For instance, some people won’t report what actually turns them on because they’re embarrassed by it. Likewise, others lie about how many people they’ve had sex with in order to make themselves look better in the eyes of others. When people go to Google, though, they have a powerful incentive to tell the truth because, otherwise, they won’t find what they’re looking for. As a result, Google searches are thought to be very revealing because they can give us a glimpse into the things that people might not be willing to share with scientists, or anyone else for that matter.

In the last few years, several research papers have been published exploring the contents of Americans’ Google search histories. In this post, we’ll take a look at five of the most fascinating things we’ve learned so far from this unique research tool.

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The Orgasm Gap in Porn is Bigger Than We Realized

The Orgasm Gap in Porn is Bigger Than We Realized

Porn has been criticized for a lot of reasons, but one of the most common complaints lodged against it is that it isn’t realistic, especially in the way it depicts women’s sexuality. For example, some have described it as “a fantasy world in which women…always experience orgasm.” While there’s a lot of truth to the general idea that porn doesn’t provide an accurate depiction of sex, you may be surprised to learn that this specific critique does not appear to be valid. In fact, research suggests that, rather than the female orgasm being ubiquitous in online porn, it’s actually pretty uncommon.

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Genital Arousal and Sexual Desire Aren’t Necessarily the Same Thing

Genital Arousal and Sexual Desire Aren’t Necessarily the Same Thing

Scientists who study sexual desire have long been wary of over-relying on self-report data because people don’t always tell the truth on surveys. Some people answer questions about what turns them on and what their sex lives are like in whatever way makes them look best. For example, someone might underreport their sexual desires and experiences in order to appear wholesome, or perhaps because they don't want to own up to something. To get around this issue, many sex scientists utilize devices that can measure genital arousal under the assumption that “genitals don’t lie.” Among researchers who subscribe to this belief, they have a tendency to let genital data trump self-report data whenever they seem to be saying different things.

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What Was Popular In Porn In 2016?

What Was Popular In Porn In 2016?

Pornhub recently released their annual year-in-review of users’ viewing habits and, as usual, the results were fascinating. Among other things, they reported that nearly 92 billion videos were viewed on their site in 2016 (to put that number in context, that’s the equivalent of each person on earth watching 12.5 videos). In addition, the most popular porn-watching times were between 11 PM to 1:00 AM (or “fappy hour,” as they call it), and the most popular search term overall on the site was “lesbian” (for the second year in a row) You can check out the full report here in all its glory, but if you’re just after a few highlights, here are some of the things that stood out to me during my review of the data.

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