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.Read More
In the United States today, 37 states mandate that information on abstinence be provided in sex education courses. As you might imagine, it’s not uncommon for students to be asked to take “purity” or virginity pledges as part of the sex ed. curriculum in these states.
Students are encouraged to take these pledges in order to reduce the spread of sexually transmitted infections, but also to prevent unwanted pregnancies. As it turns out, however, abstinence pledges don’t necessarily accomplish either of these goals. In fact, a recent study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family suggests that they might do just the opposite!Read More
The amount of sexual experience you have (or don’t have) could potentially affect how willing other people are to date or have sex with you, according to a new study published in the Journal of Sex Research. However, what makes for a desirable sexual history depends upon many things, including whether you are male or female and, further, whether we’re talking about desirability for a short-term sexual relationship vs. a long-term romantic relationship.Read More
When Alfred Kinsey published his pioneering research on Americans' sexual behaviors back in the 1950s, he found that a sizable number of men and women were having premarital sex and, further, that a lot of this sex was taking place in automobiles. In fact, 41% of the women he surveyed who reported having had premarital sex said they had done it in a car !
Parked cars were clearly popular places for sex back then--but what about now?Read More
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.Read More
In the U.S. today, 37 states mandate that information on abstinence be provided in sex education courses. In those states, it is not uncommon for students to be asked to take “purity” or virginity pledges as part of the curriculum.
Students are often encouraged to take these pledges in order to both reduce the spread of sexually transmitted infections and to prevent unintended pregnancies. As it turns out, however, abstinence pledges don’t necessarily accomplish either one of these things. In fact, a study published earlier this year in the Journal of Marriage and Family suggests that they may do just the opposite!Read More
A female reader submitted the following question:
“If a woman does not have intercourse over a long period of time, is it possible for her hymen to grow back and make her a virgin again?”
Thanks for asking this question. There are a surprising number of myths and misconceptions about the hymen, so before I answer your specific question, let’s first step back and talk about what the hymen actually is.Read More
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 the following:
“The first time a couple has sex, is it possible to physically tell if the woman is a virgin? Do all women have a hymen that breaks and bleeds during sex?”Read More
How do you feel about the first time you had sex? If you pose this question to a bunch of different people, you’re bound to find a range of responses. Some will remember it as incredibly positive and pleasurable, while others will say it was just awkward and uncomfortable. These emotional reactions to our first sexual experiences seem to be important too—studies have found that people who evaluate their virginity loss positively report having more satisfying sex lives than those who look back with anxiety and regret. However, a new study just published in the Journal of Sex Research reports some encouraging news: overall, first-time sex appears to be a more positive experience than it was a few decades ago.Read More
According to almost every teen-centered film or television show ever produced, losing your virginity is a big deal. A really big deal. But just how important is that one sexual event when the reality is that sexually active people may have sex hundreds if not thousands of times during their entire lives? A new study published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy suggests that your first sexual experience can potentially set the tone of your sex life for years to come.Read More
The hymen is a membrane that partially covers the vaginal opening and is thought be break during a woman’s first attempt at intercourse. An intact hymen is therefore often presumed to indicate virginity. Given that it may be possible to physically detect virginity status by noting the presence or absence of the hymen, this small piece of tissue has come to take on great social meaning in some parts of the world. In fact, in some African and Middle Eastern cultures, a woman may be considered unmarriageable if her hymen is not intact, even if it was broken through non-sexual activity or as a result of rape. Because there is such great social pressure for these women to demonstrate virginity on their wedding night, “revirginization” surgery has become an increasingly popular medical procedure in some parts of the world. So how does it work, and are women satisfied with the outcomes?Read More