Our Sexual Fantasies Tell Us Something Important About Who We Are

Our Sexual Fantasies Tell Us Something Important About Who We Are

Two people can have sex fantasies about the same activity, but the way that specific activity plays out isn’t necessarily going to be the same from one person to the next. In fact, it might be very, very different. For example, if two people who had sexual fantasies about threesomes described those fantasies to you in detail, it’s quite possible that they might bear little resemblance to one another beyond the number of participants involved. One individual, for example, might describe wanting to be the center of attention and engaging in sex with two people they know extremely well; by contrast, another individual might desire a threesome with two strangers in which everyone participates equally.

What accounts for such great variability in fantasy content? I think it’s a reflection of our tendency to construct sexual fantasies that meet our unique psychological needs. A new study I published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior (co-authored by Dr. David Ley and sex advice columnist Dan Savage) supports this idea. 

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Is An Open Relationship Right For You?

Is An Open Relationship Right For You?

Americans are very interested in the idea of consensual nonmonogamy. In fact, a 2016 national YouGov poll of 1,000 adults found that 48% of men and 31% of women said that their ideal relationship would be nonmonogamous to some degree; however, far fewer than that indicated that they were currently involved in a nonmonogamous relationship. So, while lots of people seem to think that they'd be happier if they opened their relationship in some way, would that actually be the case in reality? Not necessarily.

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Why Some People May Be Better Suited To Consensual Nonmonogamy Than Others

Why Some People May Be Better Suited To Consensual Nonmonogamy Than Others

Given how high the rate of infidelity is, some people have argued that humans are, by nature, not very well suited to monogamy. Others have gone even further and argued that we’d probably all be a lot happier if we were consensually nonmonogamous instead. But is that likely to be the case? Would everyone be better off if they were in some kind of sexually open relationship?

According to data I presented at last month’s meeting of the International Association for Relationship Research, probably not. Rather, my data suggest that whether we respond favorably to monogamy or consensual nonmonogamy is, to some extent, a matter of personality.

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Do Grindr And Other Smartphone Hookup Apps Promote Risky Sexual Behavior?

Do Grindr And Other Smartphone Hookup Apps Promote Risky Sexual Behavior?

In the last few years, several smartphone apps that help men who have sex with men (MSM) find casual sex partners have entered the market. Perhaps the most well-known of these is Grindr, which claims more than four million users. This app shows thumbnail photos of local guys who are arranged in order of how close they are to you. Users can chat, exchange pictures, and even send their exact GPS coordinates, if desired. The app can also be enabled to send instant notification of messages so that users can be immediately informed when someone is interested in them. Given that people today pretty much have their phones on them at all times and the ease with which these apps can locate available partners, some sexual health experts have begun to question whether usage of these apps might promote riskier sexual behavior. I sought to test this idea in a new study published in the journal PLoS ONE.

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Is Sexual Content In Movies Related To Sexual Risk Taking?

Over the past two decades, sexual content in the movies and on television has become more explicit than ever before. These graphic depictions of sex have become a source of social concern for many parents, who worry that the increased visibility of sex in the media may lead adolescent viewers to imitate the behaviors they see on screen. This concern is compounded by the fact that most media depictions of sex portray it in risky and unrealistic terms. For example, an analysis of sexual content from the most popular movies released between 1983 and 2003 revealed that the vast majority of sex acts depicted (70%) occurred among people who had just met, and almost every scene (98%) failed to address the topic of contraception in any way.1 Not only that, but virtually none of these sexual acts resulted in negative consequences (e.g., unintended pregnancies, STIs, etc.). So is parents' concern warranted? Do such media depictions of sex have the potential to generate risky sexual behaviors among adolescents? A recent study published in Psychological Science suggests that they might.
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