Narcissism is a frequently maligned personality trait that involves being self-centered, entitled, and holding grandiose views of oneself. Sex researchers have long been interested in how narcissism plays out in people’s sexual and romantic lives; to date, however, they’ve really only focused on the potentially harmful outcomes associated with being narcissistic, such as being more likely to commit infidelity . New research challenges the widespread belief that narcissism is inherently bad, though. In fact, in some ways, narcissism just might be good for your sexual health and well-being.Read More
Finding a compatible partner is one of the cornerstones of a happy and healthy relationship. But how do you determine who you’re compatible with? Intuitively, you might think the answer would be to take the approach that a lot of online dating companies do, which is try and partner-up with someone similar to you. If you’re more similar, you’ll probably have fewer disagreements, right?
Not necessarily.Read More
How many people have ever been involved in a consensual non-monogamous (CNM) relationship before? The results of two recent studies involving nationally representative samples (one from the United States and one from Canada) reached nearly identical conclusions: approximately 20% (or 1 in 5) respondents said they had.
The U.S. study is from 2016 and it was previously covered on the blog here; however, the Canadian study just came out, so here are a few of the highlights from it.Read More
What do you do after sex? Some people like to spoon or cuddle, others go to sleep, and yet others get up to grab something to eat or drink. But does what you do matter? For people in relationships, it certainly seems to, according to research. In fact, the more that couples spoon or otherwise express affection or intimacy after sex, the happier they tend to be.Read More
People who are into bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism, and masochism (or BDSM for short) experience a lot of stigma. For one thing, they are often seen as psychologically disturbed, despite research showing that BDSM practitioners appear to be just as psychologically healthy as everyone else. For another, many people—including a lot of mental health professionals—question whether you can practice BDSM and still have a healthy relationship. In fact, in one survey of therapists, fully one-third of them reported being unsure of whether someone into BDSM could carry on a functional relationship .Read More
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.Read More
Stealing someone else’s spouse or lover is a common occurrence on television shows and in the movies. This phenomenon, known scientifically as mate poaching, is not just the stuff of Hollywood fiction, though--it's incredibly common in the real world too. For instance, survey research on North American adults reveals that about half of them report having been poached successfully from a previous relationship ! So what comes of romances that begin with poaching. Can luring someone away from their current partner form the basis of a healthy, long-term relationship? According to a new set of studies published in the Journal of Research in Personality, not so much .Read More
Post-sex behaviors are highly variable from one person to the next. Some of us spoon or cuddle, some of us go right to sleep, and some of us get up to have a sandwich. But does what you do after sex matter? A new set of studies published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior suggests that, at least for people in relationships, it might. Specifically, the more that couples spoon and express affection after sex, the happier they tend to be.Read More
Imagine that you’re sitting in bed watching some porn on your smartphone or laptop. You look up to see that your partner has just entered the room. What do you do? Do you try your best to hide the porn from your partner and pretend like you were doing something else? Or are you just up front about what you were looking at? For many of you, your immediate reaction is probably to try and disguise this and every other instance of porn viewing in the hope that your partner doesn’t find out; however, research suggests that this kind of deception may not necessarily be in the best interest of your relationship.Read More
It is an unfortunate reality, but not all marriages last. In fact, research in the United States finds that newlywed couples have only a 50-50 chance of their marriage lasting 20 years. This has led many scientists to wonder whether there is any way to predict whether a given marriage will stand the test of time. A new study suggests that one important factor in predicting long-term marital bliss may be the unconscious feelings people have about their partners.
The title of a forthcoming article in the journal Personal Relationships recently caught my eye: “Sowing Wild Oats: Valuable Experience, or a Field Full of Weeds?” As a sex researcher, I was naturally intrigued, but a little irritated. I despise article titles that give the impression that certain sexual behaviors are universally good or bad for everyone--in reality, nothing is ever that simple. My disappointment didn't stop with the title, though. In fact, after reading the entire article, I was left wondering how it ever got published in the first place because it feels more like an exercise in moralizing about the dangers of premarital sex than a piece of scientific writing.Read More