A lot of people end relationships before ever truly giving them a chance, and it's because many of us take the "shopping list" approach to love. In other words, some people have an extensive checklist of the things they're looking for and they don't stick with partners who fail to meet their criteria.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
Maintaining sexual desire is a challenge that many long-term couples face. So how do you keep the passion alive? As sex and relationship therapist Esther Perel argues, one of the keys is to give your partner space and freedom to be themselves.Read More
I recently sat down for an interview with two well-known relationship experts, Drs. John and Julie Gottman. The Gottmans are a married couple, and they’re both clinical psychologists. They are also the founders of The Gottman Institute, where they have been studying sex and relationships for decades. The Gottmans have published a number of influential academic papers and bestselling books, with their latest being Eight Dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love.
I cover a wide range of topics in my interview with the Gottmans, including…Read More
It can be challenging to get over a breakup. Many people find that they can’t stop thinking about their ex and that this has negative implications for their mental health, including depression and anxiety. So if you’re having trouble moving on, is there anything you can do?Read More
Readers of the blog often send me their questions about sex and relationships, and one that I’ve heard several times recently concerns infidelity and whether there are any reliable indicators or red flags that your partner might be unfaithful. For example, one reader asked: “How can you tell if your man is cheating? What are the signs to look for?”Read More
It’s that time of year when many of us begin to search frantically for the perfect holiday gift for a significant other. Despite all of the time, effort, and money we put into buying this present, though, a lot of us find that—after the holidays—it is quickly forgotten and, at best, brings only temporary happiness. You might be able to avoid that outcome this year and potentially improve your relationship at the same time by instead giving your partner a gift that promotes touch and intimacy.Read More
The idea that men and women are polar opposites when it comes to sex is a popular one, immortalized in bestselling books like Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus. But are the sexes really that different in their sexual wants and needs? In this lecture and workshop (co-taught with Dr. Zhana Vrangalova), we will explore the most popular stereotypes about gender and sex—such as the idea that men are “wired” for short-term flings and women for long-term relationships—and consider them in light of what the science really says. There are undoubtedly some important gender differences, but as you’ll see, it turns out that much of what we’ve been led to believe about men, women, and sex just doesn’t hold up.Read More
“Welcome to the wonderful world of ex sex. It’s hot, it’s naughty…oh yeah, and it’s a really stupid idea.” – Cosmopolitan Magazine
When a couple decides to end their relationship, the result isn’t always a clean break. There’s often some degree of contact that continues and, sometimes, that includes sex. So what exactly are the implications of maintaining a sexual relationship with a former partner? According to conventional wisdom, it’s a terrible idea (as exemplified by the above quote from Cosmo). However, conventional wisdom isn’t always right.Read More
Infidelity has long been a topic of interest to scientists who study sex and relationships. Over the years, they’ve uncovered a number of fascinating things about how common cheating is, who does it, and why. Here’s a look at ten interesting things scientists have discovered about cheating.Read More
When I was a graduate student studying the psychology of romantic relationships, I remember learning about “the cohabitation effect” in a few of my courses. Relationship scientists coined this term to describe the increased risk of divorce that seemed to accompany living together before marriage. At the time, several studies had been published in major journals supporting this idea.
Interestingly, however, recent studies suggest that “the cohabitation effect” is a thing of the past—and may have never even existed at all.Read More
Relationships can take a lot of different forms, from monogamous to “monogamish” to polyamorous. Each approach has its own unique set of advantages and challenges. So how do you figure out what kind of relationship is right for you—and how do you navigate it successfully?Read More
Why should scientists study love? Because, as social psychologist Dr. Art Aron explains in the video below, it's central to our health and happiness. Dr. Aron talks not only about why love is a worthwhile area of scientific inquiry, but also how he started studying love in the first place and some of the most fascinating things he has discovered by researching this topic.Read More
Are you getting what you want when it comes to sex? Odds are, probably not. Most of us have sexual fantasies that we wish were part of our sexual reality; however, few of us have shared these desires with our partners, let alone acted on them.
Learning to communicate our desires is vital for maintaining happy and healthy relationships. Sexual communication has a number of benefits, from establishing greater intimacy and closeness to keeping passion alive for the long haul.
So how do we get what we want? Join me for a lecture and workshop at the V Club in New York City on August 8 to learn more.Read More
Studies suggests that most married adults have sex somewhere between a few times per month and a few times per week (side note: sexual frequency in relationships is similar for heterosexuals and gay men, with lesbians doing it less often; however, when lesbians have sex, they spend more time on it than everyone else, which balances things out). Few couples in long-term relationships have sex every single day. But let's imagine for a second that everyone in relationships who isn't currently having daily sex (which is most of us) gave it a try. What would happen? Would all of that extra bedroom activity (or wherever it is that you like to do it) make us happier in the end?Read More
Sex scientists have found that people’s sexual satisfaction seems to depend on a wide range of factors, from how often they’re having sex to the types of sexual activities they’re practicing. Here’s a brief review of some of the key factors that are linked to higher versus lower levels of sexual satisfaction.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
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 . 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.Read More