To date, most national sex surveys in America have focused on people's attitudes toward and experiences with a relatively narrow range of sexual behaviors, namely: vaginal intercourse, oral sex, anal sex, and masturbation. As a result, we now have a pretty good idea as to how many people have engaged in those activities. However, this provides only a very limited understanding of Americans' sexuality because there are numerous other ways that people might express themselves sexually. Fortunately, a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE offers some insight into various other forms of sexual expression. The infographic below takes a look at Americans' interest in and experiences with sex toys and sexual media (think pornography, sexting, etc.) specifically.Read More
Teen sexting is an issue that parents and politicians alike are increasingly worried about. The message they’ve been sending to teens has been pretty uniform: don’t do it. Of course, a lot of teenagers do it anyway—and, unfortunately, some of them end up facing criminal consequences as a result. Sharing nude images of persons under age 18--even if they are images of yourself--falls under the category of child pornography. Sadly, more and more teens are being arrested for child porn for having done nothing more than engage in consensual sexting with their peers. Believe it or not, 7% of all arrests for possession of child pornography in the U.S. are among teens aged 17 and under—a figure that has more than double since the year 2000.Read More
Last week, I was talking in class about differences in how men and women use Tinder and other online dating apps. In the midst of this class discussion, a student asked why so many straight men who use these apps send unsolicited or unwanted photos of their penises to women. This led to a long, but fascinating discussion that I thought readers of the blog might be interested in, too.Read More
Popular media articles on adolescent sexuality usually paint a portrait of the modern American teenager as hypersexual. Among other things, these articles give the impression that teens are having sex at younger and younger ages, they’re constantly hooking up and sexting, and they’re engaging in a lot of risky sexual behavior, thanks to a diet of highly sexual movies and TV shows. By contrast, scientific research on the sex lives of adolescents suggests a very different set of conclusions. Here are 10 things you should know about the sex lives of American teenagers, according to science.Read More
How many American adults are sending and receiving sext messages? And what's happening with of those sexts we're exchanging anyway? Are people keeping them private, or are they sharing them with others? A new study published in the journal Sexual Health sheds some light on the answers to these questions and more. The results of this study reveal that sexting is a very common behavior and that, while there's a widespread expectation that people will keep sexts private, a whole lot of them are being shared. For a closer look at the numbers, check out the infographic below.Read More
A number of research studies have emerged in the last few years reporting a link between sexting and sexual behavior among teenagers. However, the inherent weakness of this body of research is that most of these studies involved surveying teens at one point in time and asking about both sexting and sexual behavior, which makes it impossible to know which one came first. That is, does sexting increase the odds of future sexual activity, or is it just the case that being sexually active predisposes teens to sexting? A new study published in the journal Pediatrics provides our first clue to this “chicken and egg” question by analyzing data from a longitudinal study of teen sexting.Read More
Every Friday on the blog, I answer people’s questions about sex, love, and relationships. This week, we're talking about the frequency of sexting, the effect of pheromones on sexual attraction, and how many people are asexual.
How common is “sexting” in our generation?
Numerous media reports have appeared recently suggesting that there has been an “explosion” of sexting behavior among adolescents, which is just the latest in a string of claims about the hypersexual nature of today’s youth. These reports claim that kids are increasingly taking and sharing nude photos of themselves with their smartphones, webcams, and applications like Snapchat, which allows users to upload photos that are only visible to other users for 10 seconds (unless, of course, another user takes a screenshot on their end). But just how common is this behavior? Is it actually becoming normative for kids to share naked photos online? A new study published in the journal Pediatrics suggests that while adolescent sexting is indeed a problematic behavior on multiple levels, it isn’t nearly as common as we’ve been led to believe.Read More
In a recent New York Times
editorial, author Susan Jacoby laments the increasingly popularity of
cybersex, and other such virtual connections. Jacoby argues that virtual
the sensuality inherent in an in-person sexual encounter and that people
who have sex online are settling for a much lesser experience. She also
implies that the people who are drawn to such behavior suffer from low
self-esteem. Indeed, she (judgmentally) ponders “what does a man really
think of himself when he must feed his ego with phony gasps of erotic
from strangers in a digital vastness? What does a woman think of herself
same arid zone of sex without sensuality?” However, she goes further and
that virtual sex represents an even more problematic behavior for women
for men. Indeed, she claims that “women who settle for digital
lowering their expectations and hopes even more drastically than their
collaborators are.” So are sexting and cybersex really so terrible and
people who engage in these behaviors as pathetic as Jacoby suggests?