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
Difficulties with sexual desire and arousal are common among women and men alike. Unfortunately, medications don’t always fix these problems, in part, because many of these issues have psychological causes, such as distraction or anxiety. When the root of the problem is psychological rather than physiological, we need to look for treatments beyond pills.
One treatment scientists have increasingly focused on is mindfulness, which is defined as “non-judgmental, present-moment awareness.”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
How are men’s and women’s sexual fantasies similar? And how are they different? I surveyed 4,175 Americans about their sex fantasies as part of my book Tell Me What You Want and uncovered the answers. Below, I've put together a brief video that highlights some of the important areas of overlap, but also some of the key ways in which men’s and women’s fantasies diverge.Read More
Nationally representative U.S. survey data reveal that approximately 1 in 7 adults today are living in a sexless marriage, meaning they report engaging in little to no sexual activity [1, 2]. Despite how common sexless marriages are, surprisingly little research exists on the topic. So why does sexual activity decline in so many couples in the first place and how does it affect the partners? Also, what are the factors that might lead people to stay in sexless marriages despite the fact that the experience tends to be highly distressing?
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
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
My new book, Tell Me What You Want: The Science of Sexual Desire and How It Can Help You Improve Your Sex Life, will land in bookstores next week (July 10 in the US, to be exact). I couldn't be more thrilled, especially after all the years I spent writing it!
This book is built around a massive survey of sexual fantasies that I spent almost two years working on. I learned a lot in the process of conducting this survey and writing the book, so let me take a moment to share some of the key insights and takeaways. To that end, here's an excerpt from a recent Q&A I did about Tell Me What You Want, which will give you a better sense of what the book is all about and some of the most interesting things I discovered along the way:Read More
What's your favorite sexual fantasy of all time? I asked 4,175 Americans to tell me their biggest sexual desire as part of a recent survey I conducted and the results were, well, fascinating, to say the least. As I combed through all of these fantasies, I uncovered seven major themes that seem to characterize the nature of sexual desire in the United States today. Below, I've put together a brief video that highlights what each of those themes are.Read More
Difficulties with sexual desire and arousal are common, especially among women—and they’re notoriously difficult to treat with medications alone. However, the good news is that these problems are responsive to psychological treatments. Increasingly, one such treatment researchers have focused on is something known as mindfulness, and there’s a brand new book out about it that describes how you can use this technique to not only combat sexual difficulties, but also to have better sex in general.Read More
There's been a lot of talk about the issue of sexual consent in response to the #MeToo movement. Much of this talk has focused on getting men to understand that obtaining consent is the right and respectful thing to do—a point that they increasingly appear to recognize and appreciate. However, something a lot of guys do not yet seem to realize is that focusing on consent can be worthwhile for at least one other reason: it has the potential to make sex even better. Here's why:Read More
I received an email from a reader the other day who read an article chastising a lot of popular magazines and websites for pushing the narrative that we should be having sex more often because it’s good for our health. The point of this article was to say that when sex becomes a utilitarian activity, it takes all the fun out of it—it becomes something we think we need to do instead of something we want to do. The reader asked what I thought about this idea, and my answer is simple: I completely agree. And here’s why.Read More
Over the years, I’ve received countless emails from readers saying things along the lines of, “He says I don't want it enough. I think he wants it too much. What do we do?” Sometimes it’s women who want less sex than their male partners, sometimes it’s men who want less sex than their female partners, and sometimes it’s same-sex couples who aren’t on the same page about how much sex (or what kind of sex) they'd like to have.
Cases like this—where couples have persistent problems when it comes to matching up their sexual wants and needs—are known as sexual desire discrepancies. They’re incredibly common, too.Read More
One of the most popular stereotypes of male sexuality is that guys want sex ALL the time. They're always in the mood because they're constantly thinking about it. After all, men think about sex once every seven seconds, right? Er, well, not exactly. Research has found that men don't think about sex nearly as often as that (it's more like twice per hour, at least among college-age guys).
Another common stereotype of male sexuality is that sex and emotion are totally separate for guys. In other words, it's widely believe that men's sexual desire doesn't have a whole lot to do with their emotional connection to their partners. As it turns out, though, research suggests that this belief isn't true either.Read More
Imagine you're in the midst of flirting with someone. How can you tell whether that person is looking for sex or something more? Research suggests that their eyes just might hold the answer. A recent study suggests that the amount of time a person spends looking at another individual's face versus body can indicate whether their intentions are romantic or purely sexual in nature.Read More
A lot of people think there’s something wrong with them because they don’t have the constant desire for sex that people on TV and in the movies seem to have. However, if you’re one of these folks, you don't necessarily need to be alarmed or worried. In fact, the truth of the matter is that you’re probably just fine.
As our friends at the Science of Us explain in the video below, some of us just don’t experience spontaneous sexual desire very often and, instead, experience more “responsive desire.”Read More
A reader submitted the following question:
"Is there such a thing as wanting too much sex? He says I don't want it enough. I think he wants it too much. He fully admitted to thinking twice a day would be good. I think that's excessive considering that we are parents and have lives. Is there some study out there about this issue?"
It sounds like you and your partner may have a sexual desire discrepancy, a situation in which two people prefer different amounts or types of sex. Believe it or not, this is one of the most common sexual problems out there. Consider this: a national survey of British adults found that 27.4% of women and 23.4% of men reported having a sexual desire discrepancy.Read More
In this TED talk, therapist Ester Perel (author of Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence) argues that, in the modern world, married people have come to expect a lot of their spouses. We want our partner to simultaneously be both our best friend and our enduring object of sexual desire. In other words, we want our spouse to fulfill all of our needs, many of which would seem to be in conflict with one another (e.g., the need for stability vs. the need for surprise). Not only that, but we want our partners to do this in an age where humans are living far longer than ever before! So how do we balance these competing needs in a long-term relationship? Check out the video below to learn more.Read More
How do you know whether your date is looking for a one-night stand or a long-term love? A new study just published in the journal Psychological Science suggests that the answer may be in their eyes. I know this will not be surprising to some of you, but the amount of time a person spends looking at your face versus your body appears to be indicative of whether their intentions are romantic or purely sexual in nature.Read More
Every Friday on the blog, I answer people's questions about sex, love, and relationships. This week's question comes from a female reader who isn't satisfied with the amount and type of sex she is having with her husband:
“I have been married for 11 years. We are good together, but our sexual drive, what I want, how I want it, and how frequently I want it does not match. Talking to him has not helped. I get frustrated. I masturbate but don't feel satisfied. What can I do?”Read More