One in Five People Report Having Been in a Sexually Open Relationship

One in Five People Report Having Been in a Sexually Open Relationship

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. 

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Why Spooning After Sex Might Be Good For Your Love Life

Why Spooning After Sex Might Be Good For Your Love Life

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.

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Sex and Psychology Podcast: An Interview with the Gottmans on Sex, Love, and Relationships

Sex and Psychology Podcast: An Interview with the Gottmans on Sex, Love, and Relationships

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…

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How To Get Over Your Ex, According To Science

How To Get Over Your Ex, According To Science

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?

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How Can I Tell If My Partner Is Cheating?

How Can I Tell If My Partner Is Cheating?

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?”

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The Best Present You Can Give Your Partner This Holiday Season? Touch

The Best Present You Can Give Your Partner This Holiday Season? Touch

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.

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Are Men And Women Really That Different When It Comes To Sex? Join Me For a Course on the Mars/Venus Debate

Are Men And Women Really That Different When It Comes To Sex? Join Me For a Course on the Mars/Venus Debate

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.

Join us for a lecture and workshop at the V Club in New York City on December 11 to learn more.

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Sex With An Ex: Is It A Terrible Idea?

Sex With An Ex: Is It A Terrible Idea?

“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. 

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10 Facts About Cheating And Infidelity, According To Science

10 Facts About Cheating And Infidelity, According To Science

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.  

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Living Together Before Marriage Doesn't Doom Relationships After All

Living Together Before Marriage Doesn't Doom Relationships After All

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.

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Monogamous, Monogamish, or Polyamorous? Join Me For a Course on Figuring Out Which Type of Relationship is Right For You

Monogamous, Monogamish, or Polyamorous? Join Me For a Course on Figuring Out Which Type of Relationship is Right For You

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?

Join me for a lecture and workshop at the V Club in New York City on October 16 to learn more.

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Video: The Science of Love With Dr. Art Aron

Video: The Science of Love With Dr. Art Aron

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.

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Join Me in NYC on August 8 For a Course on Getting the Sex Life and Relationship You Want

Join Me in NYC on August 8 For a Course on Getting the Sex Life and Relationship You Want

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.

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If You Could Have Sex Every Day, Would You Be Happier?

If You Could Have Sex Every Day, Would You Be Happier?

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? 

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7 Things That Predict Higher (Or Lower) Sexual Satisfaction

7 Things That Predict Higher (Or Lower) Sexual Satisfaction

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.

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How the Practice of BDSM is Linked to Relationship Satisfaction

How the Practice of BDSM is Linked to Relationship Satisfaction

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 [1].

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Swingers And Polyamorists May Have More Satisfying Sex Lives Than Monogamists

Swingers And Polyamorists May Have More Satisfying Sex Lives Than Monogamists

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 [1]. 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.

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Our Reasons For Cheating Depend On Our Personality, Gender, and Attachment Style

Our Reasons For Cheating Depend On Our Personality, Gender, and Attachment Style

A recent study published in the Journal of Sex Research identified eight distinct motivations people can have for cheating (read all about those motives here). Beyond simply demonstrating the factors that motivate cheating, however, this study also examined how our personality, gender, and attachment style are linked to our reasons for committing infidelity. Here’s a quick review of the key findings.

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How Do Monogamous And Consensually Non-Monogamous Relationships Compare? (Video)

How Do Monogamous And Consensually Non-Monogamous Relationships Compare? (Video)

Studies have found that people overwhelmingly rate monogamous relationships as superior to consensually non-monogamous relationships on virtually every dimension you can think of [1]. For example, monogamy is seen as promoting better relationship quality in terms of enhancing intimacy, safety, honesty, and communication. Even on qualities that have nothing to do with relationship functioning, such as paying taxes on time and taking a daily multi-vitamin, monogamy is seen as better for promoting them. Do people’s perceptions match up with reality, though? Are people in monogamous relationships necessarily much better off?

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