About a decade ago, I came across a book entitled The Technology of Orgasm by Rachel Maines. It quickly became one of my favorites on the history of sex because it presented a fascinating and scandalous story behind how the vibrator came to be such a popular device—a story that appeared to be grounded in rigorous academic research. It turns out that there’s a major problem with this story, though: it’s not true.Read More
Many women find man-on-man pornography to be sexually arousing. In fact, one of the world's biggest porn sites--Pornhub--has reported that gay male porn is the second most popular category among female visitors. Many of you may be wondering what it is that draws so many women to it. A recent study published in the journal Porn Studies offers some valuable insight.Read More
Sixty-five years ago today (August 20, 1953), the media first reported on some of the major findings from Alfred Kinsey's classic book Sexual Behavior in the Human Female. As many of you know, this was the first book of its kind to really explore women's sexual attitudes and behaviors from a scientific point of view.Read More
Few aspects of genital anatomy have sparked as much scientific debate as the so-called G-spot (also known as the Grafenberg spot). Some researchers have argued that it is a distinct anatomic site, claiming to have found definitive evidence for its existence, whereas others have argued that the evidence behind such claims is far from convincing.Read More
Several studies have looked at women’s experiences with orgasm during penile-vaginal intercourse. However, these studies have produced variable results, making it difficult to draw firm conclusions about how often women tend to reach orgasm during this sexual activity.
Why have the findings varied so much? According to a new study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, part of the reason may be due to the fact that the questions researchers have been asking have been somewhat ambiguous. It turns out that question wording matters when it comes to studying women’s orgasms. It matters a lot.Read More
How often do women orgasm during penile-vaginal intercourse? And just how important is clitoral stimulation when it comes to a woman's likelihood of experiencing orgasm during sex? A new paper published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy addresses these questions with data from a nationally representative U.S. sample of women. This study also tells us that, for most women, not all orgasms feel the same and, further, that there are several different factors that have the potential to enhance the quality of women's orgasms. Check out the infographic below for a look at some of the highlights from this study.Read More
What kinds of genital touch do women find to be most pleasurable? A lot of research has explored this question; however, most of it has suffered from major limitations. For example, almost all of the studies that have emerged thus far have been based on non-representative convenience samples (meaning we don't know how generalizable the results are) and none have delved into very specific kinds of genital stimulation. However, a new paper published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy addresses these limitations, providing us with the most detailed look to date into women's preferred "shapes" and styles of genital touch. Check out the infographic below for some of the highlights from this study.Read More
Sixty-four years ago this Sunday (August 20, 1953), the media first reported on some of the major findings from Alfred Kinsey's classic book Sexual Behavior in the Human Female. As I'm sure many of you know, this was the first book of its kind to explore women's sexual attitudes and behaviors from a scientific point of view.Read More
There are a lot of different things that can motivate people to have sex. In fact, one study identified 237 distinct reasons for getting it on! But do our reasons and motivations for sex differ based on the type of relationship we're in (i.e., casual vs. committed)? Further, do our reasons for sex depend on our sexual orientation? A recent study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior sheds some light on the answers, at least for women.Read More
Women don’t need to have sex in order to reach orgasm. In fact, they don’t necessarily even need any genital stimulation at all. Here are five ways women can experience what scientists call “non-genital” orgasms.
1. Some women can literally think themselves to orgasm.Read More
Porn has been criticized for a lot of reasons, but one of the most common complaints lodged against it is that it isn’t realistic, especially in the way it depicts women’s sexuality. For example, some have described it as “a fantasy world in which women…always experience orgasm.” While there’s a lot of truth to the general idea that porn doesn’t provide an accurate depiction of sex, you may be surprised to learn that this specific critique does not appear to be valid. In fact, research suggests that, rather than the female orgasm being ubiquitous in online porn, it’s actually pretty uncommon.Read More
Both before and after the recent election of French president Emmanuel Macron, his wife, Brigitte, found herself to be the target of constant attacks on social media. Why? Because she happens to be 24 years older than her husband.
Age-gap relationships in which a woman is significantly older than her male partner have always attracted a lot of attention and scrutiny. Case in point: remember what big news it was when Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher were together? As you may have noticed, this same scrutiny isn’t usually applied to relationships in which men are significantly older than their female partners. As some evidence of this, just consider what a non-issue it has been that U.S. President Donald Trump happens to be 24 years older than his wife, Melania (the same age-gap as the Macrons).Read More
A reader asked the following question:
“Is it true that peeing right after sex can stop you from getting a UTI?”
Thanks for this great question. Let’s take a look at what the research says. Before we do, let me first mention that it is pretty well established that urinary tract infections (UTIs) can be caused by sexual activity; however, this appears to be something that happens to women more often than men .Read More
American sex education courses are seriously lacking when it comes to the subject of women's sexual anatomy and pleasure. Not only are terms like "vulva" and "clitoris" rarely uttered, but students typically learn nothing at all about the female orgasm, which (sadly) explains why so many college students set foot in my human sexuality course asking whether it's even a thing. I kid you not.Read More
Both men and women report a wide range of reasons for having sex. In fact, one previous study identified as many as 237 distinct sexual motivations! But how do our reasons for sex differ based on the kind of relationship we're in? And do our sexual motivations differ depending upon our sexual orientation? A recent study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior offers some insight into these questions, at least for women.Read More
On average, women in the United States hit menopause at age 51. At this point, they enter what some scientists call a “post-reproductive lifespan” (or PRLS for short), during which their bodies are no longer physically capable of sexual reproduction. Compared to other species, women are not unique in having a PRLS. In fact, so many primate and non-primate species show evidence of a PRLS that it has been classified as "a general mammalian trait" . However, the thing that is unique about humans is the relative length of the female PRLS.
So why does menopause account for such a large proportion of women’s lives?Read More
Sixty-three years ago this week (August 20, 1953), the media first reported on some of the major findings from Alfred Kinsey's classic book Sexual Behavior in the Human Female. In case you aren't familiar, this was the first book of its kind to truly explore women's sexual attitudes and behaviors from a scientific perspective.
Kinsey's book sent shockwaves around the world and was quickly dubbed "obscene" by many; however, we now look back upon it as one of the most important publications ever on human sexuality. Kinsey's research was groundbreaking because it debunked numerous myths and misconceptions about women, revealing that they are far more sexual than most people had previously assumed.Read More
When it comes to teaching American adolescents about sexuality, “we are completely silent around girls' sexual entitlement and girls' pleasure,” says Peggy Orenstein, author of the new book Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape. But it’s not just that—American culture is sending a message to young women today that “they're supposed to be sexy, that they're supposed to perform sexuality for boys, but that their sexual pleasure is unspoken.”Read More
Women’s behavior changes in several ways when they’re ovulating. Among other things, research has found that ovulating women fantasize about sex more often, they're more likely to wear red or pink clothing, and they’re more likely to flirt with “bad boys.” Together, these findings suggest that ovulation in humans isn't as concealed as previously thought.
Indeed, scientists have found that men seem to be able to identify when women are ovulating. Interestingly, however, a new set of studies suggests that women may also be able to pick up on other women’s ovulation and, furthermore, that there might be an evolutionary reason for this.Read More
There are a lot of women out there who find man-on-man pornography to be highly arousing. As some evidence of this, one of the biggest porn websites in the world, Pornhub, has reported that gay male porn is actually the second most popular category viewed by female visitors of the site. This has led many to wonder what it is that draws so many women to this type of porn. A new study published (appropriately enough) in the journal Porn Studies sheds some light on the answer.Read More