10 Scientific Sex Terms You Probably Didn’t Know

10 Scientific Sex Terms You Probably Didn’t Know

Scientific research papers are often indecipherable to the average reader. This is due, in part, to the fact that scientists use a lot of jargon—they have a special vocabulary that usually doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to non-scientists. This jargon issue is something that occurs across all scientific disciplines, and sexology is no exception.

In this post, let’s take a look at several sex jargon terms I’ve come across in research papers and decipher what the researchers were really talking about. Here goes…

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Five of the Most Absurd Sex Laws in History

Five of the Most Absurd Sex Laws in History

History is full of examples of governmental and religious authorities going to great lengths to regulate people’s sex lives. Of course, these efforts continue in the modern world--however, sex today isn't regulated to quite the same extent as it was in the past, at least in the Western world. 

By today’s standards, many of the older laws—and their corresponding punishments—seem, well, downright absurd. Below are five such examples drawn from the book, Sex and Punishment: Four Thousand Years of Judging Desire by Eric Berkowitz.

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America's College Rape Problem Is Real, But Not Everything You've Heard About It Is True

America's College Rape Problem Is Real, But Not Everything You've Heard About It Is True

We have a rape problem on college and university campuses throughout the United States--there is no denying or debating that. And correcting this problem should merit a lot of our time, attention, and resources. However, attempting to fix a problem like this is impossible if we don't approach it with an accurate understanding of its scope or causes. Unfortunately, it turns out that much of what we think we know about America's college rape problem is not an accurate reflection of the data.

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Sex Question Friday: Why Am I Turned On By Rape Fantasies?

Sex Question Friday: Why Am I Turned On By Rape Fantasies?

Every Friday on the blog, I answer people’s questions about sex, love, and relationships. This week’s question comes from a female reader who wanted to know more about the topic of so-called “rape fantasies”:

“How is it possible that rape is my greatest fear and yet a sexual fantasy that I find arousing?”

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Sex Question Friday: Do Women Enjoy Anal Sex?

Sex Question Friday: Do Women Enjoy Anal Sex?

Every Friday on the blog, I answer people’s questions about sex, love, and relationships. This week’s question comes from reader who wanted to know how many women have experienced anal sex and their perceptions of this activity.

How many women have had anal sex? Is it possible for a woman to enjoy it and even orgasm from it? Or do women just have anal sex because they feel pressure from their partners?

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Are There More Sex Crimes On Halloween?

Every time Halloween rolls around, people start telling stories about “Halloween sadism,” or the practice of providing trick-or-treaters with tainted treats. Parents are told to be on the lookout for everything from razor blades in Reece Cups to cyanide-laced Good & Plenty. Despite how much we hear about Halloween sadism in the popular media, there has never been a substantiated case of death or serious injury linked to it. Nonetheless, the myth persists and it continues to frighten parents to this day. But this isn’t the only thing today’s parents are told to worry about on Halloween—they are also being told to watch out for sex offenders using costumes and candy to prey upon innocent children (here’s just one example of what the media is telling people, complete with creepy photoshopped image: Halloween Warning to Parents: Look for Sex Offenders). This concern has even prompted some states to pass laws regulating the activities of convicted sex offenders on Halloween. But is all of this worry about increased risk justified, or are we being fed another media myth?
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Sex Question Friday: Is it Normal to Fantasize About Forced Sex?

Every Friday on the blog, I answer people’s questions about sex, love, and relationships. This week’s question comes from a reader of the blog who was wondering whether the content of their sexual fantasies was “normal.”

Is it normal to have sexual fantasies that involve forced sex?

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What Is A “Legitimate” Rape Anyway?

“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” – Todd Akin, Republican Senate Candidate from Missouri

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably seen a ton of headlines over the past few days referencing Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin’s comments about rape. Akin’s remarks were asinine on multiple levels because not only is it patently offensive to suggest that some rapes are “legitimate” while others are not, but there is absolutely nothing to back up his provocative claim that women’s bodies have mechanisms in place to prevent rape-related pregnancies from occurring. In fact, research has actually found the opposite of what Akin suggested: specifically, the per-incident pregnancy rate is higher for rapes than it is for consensual sex.1

Although the Akin controversy has stoked a lot of public anger, the silver lining is that his remarks have prompted a public dialogue about sexual assault that we desperately need to have. I have read so many excellent articles this week that are providing some much-needed attention to this important issue. If I may add one small bit to this, I would like to talk briefly about the definition of rape and how the wide variability in legal definitions of this crime may be contributing to confusion about what rape is and distracting us from the bigger issues at stake here.

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Sex Surveys Pose No Harm To Student Participants

Sex Surveys Pose No Harm To Student Participants
Sex surveys have been controversial ever since the pioneering work of Alfred Kinsey in the 1940s and 50s. There has been a persistent concern that asking people questions about sex is simply too personal and is likely to make them feel distressed and uncomfortable. Although there may have been some validity to this concern several decades ago, times have changed. We now live in a world where people talk about sex more freely than ever before and sex is represented everywhere in the media. So should ethics review boards continue to scrutinize sex studies more than other types of research? A new study suggests not.
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Oddities In The History Of Sex Research: Homosexual Necrophilia In The Mallard Duck

Oddities In The History Of Sex Research: Homosexual Necrophilia In The Mallard Duck

As discussed in previous blog posts, a number of unusual sexual behaviors have been documented in human beings, from cutting a hole in one’s pants in order to masturbate easily in public to letting insects bite one's genitals during sexual activity. However, humans aren’t the only ones with curious sexual proclivities—unusual behaviors also occur in the animal kingdom with some frequency. In this post, I’d like to share what is perhaps the most interesting scientific study of animal sexuality I have ever come across.

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Sex Question Friday: I Have Trouble Getting Physical Because of My Past. What Can I Do?

Sex Question Friday: I Have Trouble Getting Physical Because of My Past. What Can I Do?

Every Friday on the blog, I answer questions about sex, love, and relationships. This week’s question comes from a reader of the blog who is having issues expressing physical intimacy as a result of a previous sexual trauma.

I have a problem getting physical with anyone because of my past. I was molested and almost raped when I was younger and anytime I try to be physical with my partner, I start having a panic attack. Are there any studies about this kind of thing about a solution? It doesn’t help that my partner isn't as understanding as they should be, but I would really like to get past this. Thanks for any help you can offer.

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Is Pornography Harmful to Our Brains and to Our Love Lives?

Is Pornography Harmful to Our Brains and to Our Love Lives?

"America is suffering a pandemic of harm from pornography.  A wealth of research is now available demonstrating that pornography causes profound brain changes in both children and adults, resulting in widespread negative consequences…Pornography is toxic to marriages and relationships. It contributes to misogyny and violence against women."

The above quote comes from 2012 Presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s Campaign Website. He and a number of other prominent politicians have recently waged a war on porn, claiming that it is damaging to society on a number of levels. In fact, Cogresswoman Michele Bachmann has gone as far as to pledge her support for a constitutional ban on all forms of pornography in order to combat these supposed negative effects. But is there anything to all of these claims that exposure to porn is harmful? Is there really a “wealth of research” indicating that pornography causes a host of “widespread negative consequences?”

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