People Think Sex Is Riskier Than It Really Is

People Think Sex Is Riskier Than It Really Is

There's a scene in the movie Mean Girls in which high school health teacher Coach Carr gives his students a lesson in sex education. It pretty much consists of him saying: "Don't have sex, because you will get pregnant...and die!"

As much as I wish I could say Coach Carr's class bears no resemblance to how we teach kids about sex in the real world, the sad fact of the matter is that the primary message many U.S. educators are sending out about sex is to be afraid. Be very afraid. Unfortunately, it turns out that this approach to sex education is problematic on multiple levels.

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4 Things Science Has Taught Us About Polyamorous Relationships

4 Things Science Has Taught Us About Polyamorous Relationships

During my teaching stint at Harvard a couple of years back, a few colleagues from out of state came to visit me on a lovely spring afternoon. I gave them a brief tour of campus, followed by some bar-hopping through Harvard Square. It was a memorable day for several reasons, but mainly because, over a few drinks at my favorite local dive bar, we laid the groundwork for one of the most ambitious research projects I’ve ever undertaken in my professional career. Specifically, we set out to conduct the largest and most comprehensive scientific investigation of polyamorous relationships to date.

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Virginity Has Fallen Out Of Favor In Modern America

Virginity Has Fallen Out Of Favor In Modern America

Throughout much of recorded history, female virginity is something that has been highly coveted by heterosexual men who were looking to marry. Women who were known to have lost their virginity faced stiff social penalties, including a tendency to be deemed umarriageable.

This still holds true in many parts of the world today, including a number of countries in Africa and the Middle East, where women who have lost their virginity sometimes go to great lengths to become surgically “revirginized” due to fear of social exclusion and, in some cases, physical harm (you can learn more about so-called "revirginization" procedures and the psychology behind here)

In the Western world, however, things have changed dramatically in the past few decades.

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How Do You Manage A Herpes Infection In A Long-Term Relationship?

How Do You Manage A Herpes Infection In A Long-Term Relationship?

A reader submitted the following question: 

“I have had one sexual partner and contracted herpes from him. Though I haven't had sex in 5-7 years and no recurrence of symptoms, I am scared about it recurring and giving it to a partner who will freak out on me and curse me. I want to get married, but I am never going to be comfortable telling my partner about having this infection. What do you think I can do so that recurrence doesn’t occur and I can enjoy condom free sex with my partner?”

Thank you for sending in this question. Genital herpes is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs)—in fact, the CDC estimates that about 16% of the U.S. population has it. As a result, you are far from the only one out there who wants to know more about how to manage this infection, especially in the context of a relationship with a partner who doesn’t have it.

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People Think Sex Is Much Riskier Than It Really Is

People Think Sex Is Much Riskier Than It Really Is

There's a scene in the movie Mean Girls in which high school health teacher Coach Carr gives his students a lesson in sex education. It pretty much consists of him saying: "Don't have sex, because you will get pregnant...and die!" As much as I wish I could say Coach Carr's class bears no resemblance to how we teach kids about sex in the real world, the sad truth of the matter is that the primary message many educators are sending out about sex is to be afraid. Be very afraid. 

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Sex Question Friday: Can A Man Fantasize About Another Man And Still Be “Straight?”

Sex Question Friday: Can A Man Fantasize About Another Man And Still Be “Straight?”

Every Friday on the blog, I answer people’s questions about sex, love, and relationships. This week’s question comes from a reader who wanted to know whether a guy can still be straight if he watches gay porn and fantasizes about being with other men.

If a boyfriend (of a female, so a "straight guy") appears to prefer gay male porn, gets incredibly turned on by it and fantasizes about anal sex (both giving and receiving) and oral sex (both giving and receiving) with a guy, is he really straight or is this a sign of something he's not sharing?

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Sex Question Friday: Older Women Dating Younger Men--Can It Work?

Every Friday on the blog, I answer people’s questions about sex, love, and relationships. This week’s question comes from a reader who wanted to know whether it is possible for an age-gap relationship to work out when it involves an older woman and a younger man.

I am a 46-year-old woman recently married to a man 18 years younger than myself. We've been together about 2 years, and got married mainly so that he can live with me and my two children from a previous marriage. So far we all get along great, but from the beginning I've wondered how realistic it is to hope for long-term success given the age difference. In particular, our society ridicules and devalues older women, and I worry that as I get older, it will be harder and harder for my husband to feel attracted to me even if he still loves me. I don't know any other women who have tried dating younger men, but I've noticed that you are one of very few people who has published research on this subject. Is there any advice you would give, based on your research or on your experience with age-gap couples?

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Are Couples Who Meet Online More Likely to Break Up?

Are Couples Who Meet Online More Likely to Break Up?
Ever since the Internet arrived in our homes, people have been using it as a tool for making love connections. In fact, research indicates that about one in five heterosexual couples and two in five same-sex couples in the United States today met online [1]. Despite the frequency of Internet dating in the modern world, looking for love on the Internet online carries some degree of stigma [2]. For instance, people are often embarrassed to tell others they belong to an online dating site because they are afraid this information will make them look desperate. Another factor that makes people cautious about online dating is the well-known fact that lying is rampant on Internet personal profiles [3]. Between the prejudice and the lies, online romances would appear doomed to fail right from the start. But is there any truth to this idea? Are online daters really any worse off than couples who meet in other ways?
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Fact Check: Is the Saliva of an HIV+ Person Really a “Deadly Weapon?”

Fact Check: Is the Saliva of an HIV+ Person Really a “Deadly Weapon?”
It was recently reported in several media outlets that an HIV-positive Texas man was sentenced to 35-years in prison for spitting at a police officer. The reason? Prosecutors argued that because he was infected with HIV, his saliva constituted a “deadly weapon.” Had the man not been infected with the virus, he still would have been prosecuted for his actions, but the sentence would have been far less severe. So was this ruling justified? Is there a strong risk of disease transmission from coming into contact with the saliva of an HIV-positive person?
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