For humans, sex isn’t just about gratifying some carnal, animalistic urge. Rather, the physical act of sex can serve a lot of different psychological purposes. This helps to explain why when people are asked to report on their motivations for having sex, hundreds of distinct reasons emerge! These reasons include everything from wanting to experience pleasure to desiring an emotional connection with a partner to seeking a closer relationship with God.Read More
Sexual consent is all about having solid communication with your partner(s). However, many of us aren’t very good communicators in general when it comes to sex and, further, many of us don’t have a good model for how consent communication should actually go—when should it happen and what are the key things that should be discussed?Read More
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
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.Read More
I recently sat down for an interview with two well-known relationship experts, Drs. John and Julie Gottman. The Gottmans are a married couple, and they’re both clinical psychologists. They are also the founders of The Gottman Institute, where they have been studying sex and relationships for decades. The Gottmans have published a number of influential academic papers and bestselling books, with their latest being Eight Dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love.
I cover a wide range of topics in my interview with the Gottmans, including…Read More
It can be challenging to get over a breakup. Many people find that they can’t stop thinking about their ex and that this has negative implications for their mental health, including depression and anxiety. So if you’re having trouble moving on, is there anything you can do?Read More
There are a LOT of things that people get wrong when it comes to sex and relationships. As someone who studies these topics for a living, I’ve noticed that some false beliefs are more common than others, though.Read More
Valentine’s Day is almost upon us and many people have love on the brain. So let’s talk about the science of love! I’ve put together a video compiling five things scientists have discovered about the nature of love and loving relationships.Read More
There's a lot we can potentially gain from talking to our partners about our sexual fantasies. Among other things, this has the potential to increase our sexual and relationship satisfaction and to enhance feelings of intimacy and closeness. However, many of us don't quite know how to go about sharing and discussing our fantasies or desires. A lot of people feel too scared, anxious, or embarrassed to do so.
To help you get started, I created the video below, which offers some practical steps and guidelines for starting a productive and healthy conversation on this topic.Read More
Readers of the blog often send me their questions about sex and relationships, and one that I’ve heard several times recently concerns infidelity and whether there are any reliable indicators or red flags that your partner might be unfaithful. For example, one reader asked: “How can you tell if your man is cheating? What are the signs to look for?”Read More
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.”Read More
Research suggests that, on average, people tend to have more sex in the summer than they do in the winter; however, December is the exception to the winter sex slump. It turns out that sexual interest and activity reliably increase this month, and this is particularly true with respect to the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Check out the video below for a fascinating look at some of the many changes in our sex lives that take place in December.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
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!Read More
Most people are cisgender, meaning that their gender identity corresponds with their birth sex; however, some people are transgender, meaning their gender identity and birth sex are different. Increasingly, scientists have been working to help us understand what accounts for this gender variability, and research suggests that the answers may have to do with both genetics and the brain.Read More
Why should scientists study love? Because, as social psychologist Dr. Art Aron explains in the video below, it's central to our health and happiness. Dr. Aron talks not only about why love is a worthwhile area of scientific inquiry, but also how he started studying love in the first place and some of the most fascinating things he has discovered by researching this topic.Read More
Why does sex tend to feel good? In order to answer this question, we need to step back and look at what our brains and bodies are doing during sexual activity. In the video below, our friends over at ASAP Science provide a handy summary of the changes that occur.Read More
One of the most reliable findings across studies of human sexual behavior is that heterosexual men report substantially more lifetime sexual partners on average compared to heterosexual women. In theory, the numbers reported by straight men and women should be fairly similar, right? However, we often see guys reporting partner counts that are twice as high as that of women. So why is that? How do we explain this gender difference?
A new study published in the Journal of Sex Research offers some valuable insight.Read More
The term "blue balls" is frequently used to describe "a dull, aching sensation that occurs during sexual arousal before or without ejaculation." You may or may not realize this, but the "blue" in blue balls actually has a dual meaning. First and most obvious is the fact that the testicles themselves actually appear to take on a bluish hue. However, this term also references the fact that blue balls is considered to be a sad experience because the implication is usually that one is aroused but cannot find sexual relief (i.e., it's often considered to be a state of sexual frustration).
So what happens when someone gets blue balls anyway?Read More