How Americans' Views on Sexual Morality are Changing

How Americans' Views on Sexual Morality are Changing

According to the results of Gallup's 2019 Moral Issues Survey, Americans’ views on sexual morality continue to become more liberal overall. In fact, for many of the issues Americans were surveyed about, Gallup recorded the most liberal views on record.

Among the more notable changes are that Americans are increasingly comfortable with same-sex behavior, sex between unmarried adults, divorce, and having children outside of marriage. However, while major shifts have occurred in those attitudes in recent years, Americans’ attitudes toward other sex-related issues—especially things like abortion and infidelity—haven’t really changed much.

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Sexual Orientation Statistics For LGBT Pride Month

Sexual Orientation Statistics For LGBT Pride Month

What percentage of Americans today identify as LGBT? And does this percentage differ across age groups? Also, how many Americans currently support same-sex marriage? And just how much does support differ based on political party affiliation? In the video below, I’ve put together the answers to these questions—along with a few other important sexual orientation statistics—for LGBT Pride month.

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Seven Things You Should Know About Bisexuality For LGBT Pride Month

Seven Things You Should Know About Bisexuality For LGBT Pride Month

Bisexuality continues to be a widely misunderstood sexual orientation. Given that this is LGBT Pride Month, I thought it would be useful to put together an article that explores some of the key findings scientists have learned about bisexuality that can speak to some of the biggest misconceptions about it. Here goes:

1.) Bisexuality is real, and it’s not the same as being gay or lesbian. A lot of people deny the existence of bisexuality and assume that everyone who identifies as bisexual is secretly gay; however, the results of several studies reveal that bisexuality involves a distinct pattern of sexual interest and arousal compared to homosexuality.

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What Kinds of Porn Do Men and Women Watch Most Often?

What Kinds of Porn Do Men and Women Watch Most Often?

There are lots of articles out there describing the most-viewed porn categories on Pornhub and other popular adult sites—however, that’s not what this article is. While big data insights from major porn websites are certainly interesting and informative in their own right, they are limited in several ways, not the least of which is that we don’t necessarily know how the people who visit those sites are similar to or different from the rest of the population. 

So what happens when—instead of looking at big data—researchers survey people about which types of porn they watch most often?

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Ten Myths About Sexual Orientation Debunked By Science

Ten Myths About Sexual Orientation Debunked By Science

June is LGBT Pride Month, so I'll be running several posts on LGBTQ+ issues on the blog over the next few weeks. To get us started, let's begin by debunking some of the most common myths and misconceptions about sexual orientation. 

1. ) Myth: Homosexuality is contagious (i.e., you can "catch the gay"). Truth: Same sex attraction is not transmitted through social contact. As some evidence of this, consider a recent, large-scale study finding that same-sex attraction did not spread within adolescent peer groups. Adolescents’ patterns of sexual attraction were unrelated to those of their friends.

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Men And Women Have Different Sexual Regrets

Men And Women Have Different Sexual Regrets

When asked to describe a memorable regret, the things people mention most often involve love, sex, and romance. Common regrets include lost opportunities (like “the one that got away”), cheating and infidelity, and one’s first sexual experience. Men and women both report having sexual regrets, but do the nature of those regrets differ? Research suggests that, on average, they do.

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Is Kink a Sexual Orientation?

Is Kink a Sexual Orientation?

What does it say about you if you’re into kinky or BDSM sex? Is it a serious leisure activity, or is it an innate aspect of your sexuality? Could the answer be different for different people? A recent article published in the journal Current Sexual Health Reports grapples with these questions.

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How To Talk To Your Kids About Sex

How To Talk To Your Kids About Sex

As a sex educator and researcher, one of the more common questions I get asked is when and how to talk to your kids about sex. Case in point: a reader of the blog recently asked, “At what age should parents talk about sex to their children—or at what age do children need to know about sex?”

So when should you start? And what the heck do parents need to know about navigating this discussion? Here’s a brief guide to help you get started.

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Children of Lesbian Parents are More Likely to Identify as Gay or Bisexual

Children of Lesbian Parents are More Likely to Identify as Gay or Bisexual

The idea that gay parents are more likely to have gay children has long been thought to be a myth among sexual orientation researchers. For example, a review of the literature published in 1999 emphatically stated that “the incidence of homosexuality is no higher if one is raised by a gay or lesbian parent, than if one is raised by a heterosexual parent.”  However, recent research challenges this conclusion. 

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Why Different Sexual Orientations Exist (Video)

Why Different Sexual Orientations Exist (Video)

From an evolutionary standpoint, it makes sense that males of a given species tend to be attracted to females and vice versa because this will encourage frequent reproduction and survival of the species. But if that’s the case, then why do same-sex attractions exist? This is a question that has long been of interest to scientists. In the video below, Dr. Alice Dreger breaks down some of the key things we’ve learned from the research so far.

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Why A Lot Of Gay Men Are Attracted To Straight Men

Why A Lot Of Gay Men Are Attracted To Straight Men

Pornhub’s annual year-in-review always offers tantalizing insights into what it is that turns people on—and last year’s review was no exception. I recently wrote about some of the top search results on the site and discussed the psychology behind them here. However, there was something else in last year’s Pornhub report that caught my eye that I thought deserved its own article: the fact that “straight guys” was the most-viewed category on Pornhub’s gay site.

What’s the deal with that? 

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The Man Who Said a Vasectomy Made Him Gay

The Man Who Said a Vasectomy Made Him Gay

I spend a lot of time reading scientific journal articles as part of my job and, every now and then, I come across a paper that makes me say “WTF?” Case in point: in doing background research for a blog post about the effects of vasectomies on men’s sex lives a few weeks back, I stumbled onto a paper titled “Homosexual Behavior After Vasectomy.” It turned out to be a case report from 1980 about a man whose sexual orientation reportedly changed after he underwent a vasectomy.  

Yep—you read that right. A vasectomy supposedly made him gay. 

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Can Pedophilies Change?

Can Pedophilies Change?

The mental health community has long been interested in developing treatments for persons who are attracted to prepubescent children with the goal of preventing sexual offenses. In fact, if you search for “pedophilia treatments” or “pedophile therapy” on Google Scholar, you’ll get thousands of hits.

Numerous treatment approaches have been tested, with many focusing on finding a “cure.” For example, some studies have explored use of aversion therapy, in which something unpleasant (such as a very bad smell) is paired with child stimuli with the goal of reducing pedophilic desires. Others have looked at orgasmic reconditioning, which involves thinking about or speaking aloud socially appropriate fantasies while masturbating to orgasm in an attempt to learn new fantasies that are pleasurable. 

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9 Out of the Top 10 Traits Men and Women Want In a Romantic Partner are the Same

9 Out of the Top 10 Traits Men and Women Want In a Romantic Partner are the Same

When it comes to what men and women want in a romantic partner, they’re stereotyped as wanting drastically different things. However, research suggests that they actually have a lot in common.

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The Problem With The "Born This Way" Argument (Video)

The Problem With The "Born This Way" Argument (Video)

Sexual orientation is something that many people consider to be an innate characteristic—it’s something you’re born with. This idea is popular within the LGBTQ community, and it’s something that has been used as a basis for arguing in favor of equal rights for sexual minorities. As the reasoning goes, if you’re “born this way,” then what basis is there for treating people differently based on their sexuality under the law?

There’s a problem with the “born this way” argument, though—actually, there are three problems, as Dr. Lisa Diamond explains in the TEDx video below: “First, it’s not scientifically accurate. Second, it’s not legally necessary. But third and most important, it’s actually unjust.”

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Forbidden Fruit: How Many of Us Have Fantasized About Our Partner’s Best Friend? Or Their Sibling?

Forbidden Fruit: How Many of Us Have Fantasized About Our Partner’s Best Friend? Or Their Sibling?

In studying the sex fantasies of more than 4,000 Americans for my book Tell Me What You Want, I discovered that there’s one person who’s more likely to appear in our sexual fantasies than anyone else: a current romantic partner (or, if you’re single, an ex-partner). However, our fantasies aren’t only about our partners. For example, sometimes we fantasize about “forbidden fruit”—you know, people our partners might disapprove of, like their best friend or a sibling. Or perhaps we might fantasize about people that our culture or society would consider off-limits, such as someone else who’s married. 

So just how common are these “forbidden fruit” fantasies ? And do they differ based on gender and/or sexual orientation? Here’s a look at what I found when I dug into the data: 

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Sharing and Acting on Group Sex Fantasies: Gender and Sexual Orientation Differences

Sharing and Acting on Group Sex Fantasies: Gender and Sexual Orientation Differences

I surveyed more than 4,000 Americans about their sexual fantasies for my book Tell Me What You Want and I found that group sex was one of the most common things that turned people on, regardless of their gender and sexual orientation. While threesomes were the most popular form of group sex, they were just one of many kinds of group activities that people fantasized about.

In the book, I talk at length about why group sex is such a popular fantasy and what people’s general experiences are like sharing and acting on it. However, when you dig a little deeper into the data, it turns out that the way things go when people share and act on group sex fantasies differs depending upon their gender and sexual orientation. So let’s take a closer look at those results.

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10 More of Your Burning Questions About Sex, Answered (VIDEO)

10 More of Your Burning Questions About Sex, Answered (VIDEO)

I’m answering more of YOUR questions about sex today. In the video below, I’ll review ten questions submitted by readers of Sex and Psychology and explore what science can tell us about each one. As in previous videos, these questions cover a very diverse range of topics, from how long people tend to spend on sex to the effectiveness of the “pull-out” method to how many people have shaved their pubic hair. The specific questions are listed below. Check out the video for the answers!

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What Percentage of Americans Identify as LGBT?

What Percentage of Americans Identify as LGBT?

What percentage of the United States population identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT)? A large, nationally representative survey conducted by Gallup in 2017 put the overall number at 4.5% of the U.S. population. This number is up a full percentage point from 2012, when it stood at 3.5%. This trend suggests that as the LGBT community has made more social and political gains--including nationwide marriage equality in 2015--more Americans have decided to come out.

The overall number is but one small part of the story here, however.

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