Monday
Aug262013

She Wants To, She Wants To Not: Predicting Women’s Casual Sex in College

We’ve highlighted a fair amount of research on casual sex (see here) and hookups (see here) over the past couple of years. Although these studies are incredibly interesting, past researchers typically have not tracked people (and their hookups) over time to identify the factors that signal if hookups are likely to occur in the future. In a new article published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, the researchers do just that, by measuring a range of characteristics among women when they first started college and then tracking their hookups across the next eight months (i.e., their first year of college).

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Sunday
Aug252013

The Ideal Partner, With Apologies to Our Friends Down Under

Saturday
Aug242013

The Grown-Up Version of the Children's Book

Friday
Aug232013

Am I Too Old? Is Her Boss Too Nice? Help!

I have been dating a Filipino girl for about 7 months. It has been a very serious relationship at times, and I decided to give her a friendship ring. I am much older than her; she in her 30s and I'm in my mid-50s. Sometimes I feel embarrassed to walk with her, and I think she does, too, because of the age difference. Lately we have been arguing a lot about things related to jealously. She is a nanny at a huge home in the city. I see her only on weekends. She and I have discussed marriage and buying a house, but I get the feeling she is nervous as I am, too. The place where she lives is odd to me; maybe I am just ignorant, but it seems to me that she adores her employer, who can do nothing wrong; he is a really, really nice guy (so she says). She lights up when talking about him and looks for him when she goes there, and when he is not there she seems depressed. I wonder if there is anything there? He gives her gifts, which makes me feel uncomfortable. I worry if I am wasting my time. He has asked her if I have a house, and they just seem a little too close for my liking. In the summer he is with her all day, and I feel insecure. She tells me I am her man, but I've noticed a few looks here and there. I think his marriage is not the best; he is on the road all week and sees her only on weekends. Should I be concerned or am I just an idiot??!!! Is it possible that she developed an attachment to him when she first arrived from the Philippines? And she also has had a troubled relationship with her dad at home in the Philippines. I do love her very much and want to marry her some day. I think she does, too, but I have an odd feeling about it is all...

Dear BJ,

I think you answered your own question. You start by saying your relationship has been very serious “at times,” implying the seriousness fluctuates. You feel “embarrassed” to walk around with each other in public. There seems to be a lot of jealousy and arguing. You are both “nervous” about next steps (buying a house and getting married). Sounds to me like you may want to address these issues before considering taking the relationship to the next level.

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Thursday
Aug222013

In Defense of Psychological (and Relationship) Science

Thursday
Aug222013

Relationships 101: Having Healthy Relationships in Your First Year of College

For a .PDF version of this article, please click here. This article is free to any college/university for purposes of dissemination to students (e.g., as part of college orientation, first-year seminar, or college course).

College is all about new experiences: the start of a new life, new friends, new freedom, and new relationship experiences. Not surprisingly, romantic relationships are responsible for life’s happiest moments. For that reason, it is important to avoid problematic relationships that could jeopardize your college education. To help, we’ll identify qualities of healthy relationships in the context of common relationship experiences that students encounter during their first year in college.

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Wednesday
Aug212013

Manscaping: A Question of Bushwhacking

Over cocktails this week, my girlfriends and I got into a discussion about grooming. We first compared notes on our preferred “wax specialists” who have been keeping our bikini hair lines nice and neat for our pool and beach excursions. We then started talking about the men in our lives and found considerable variation in opinion as to whether manscaping (the trimming or shaving of genital hair) is desirable. This got me thinking about why we each differed so much in our preferences. Anthropologists have documented that the removal of body hair from the neck down (called body depilation) was socially desirable in Egyptian and Greek cultures,1 but the presence of back, buttocks, and genital hair has been (and remains) associated with masculinity and fertility for men in other cultures.2

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Tuesday
Aug202013

More Reasons to Have Sex: Money and Health

Want to earn more money and lead a healthier life? Have more sex (correlation/causation issues aside). Not that you needed more reasons to have sex on a weekly basis, a recent study of Greek men and women found that those who reported having more sex earned higher salaries and were less likely to suffer from certain health problems. You can read more over at the Huffington Post.

Check out our articles about the psychological and physical benefits of sex here and here, respectively, and more generally about the reasons people give for having sex here.

Monday
Aug192013

Four Tips for Navigating Long-Distance Relationships

Editors' note: Last week, Dr. Andy Merolla responded to a reader's question about distance in relationships; this week, he gives four tips for maintaining long-distance relationships. 

What can you do to improve your long-distance relationship? Research on relational uncertainty, expectations, and long-distance relationships offers us the following ideas.

  1. Be direct. During periods of heightened uncertainty, it’s important to openly talk about your concerns with your partner.1 In light of your budget and time constraints, you and your partner need to have some frank discussions about the appropriate number and timing of visits in the coming months. Unfortunately, there does not appear to be a “magic number,” so the two of you need to determine what makes sense for you. If you aren’t sure, that’s okay.

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Sunday
Aug182013

Venn Diagramming a Breakup

Saturday
Aug172013

Sometimes Your Best Alternative is You

Friday
Aug162013

Getting It On vs. Getting It Over With: How Reasons for Having Sex Impact Relationships (Part 2)

In a recent article, I discussed my research using fictional scenarios to show that perceptions of why someone is having sex with their partner influences how people rate that person’s sexual desire and satisfaction. In that study, people who were perceived as having sex for approach goals, such as to enhance intimacy or to feel closer to a partner, as opposed to avoidance goals, such as to avoid conflict or a partner’s disappointment, were perceived as feeling more sexual desire for their partner and being more satisfied with their sex lives and relationships. In our next study, we wanted to consider people’s actual goals for sex and how having sex for different reasons is associated with a person’s sexual and relationship quality. So, how do a person’s own reasons for having sex influence their own feelings of desire and satisfaction? 

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Thursday
Aug152013

Internet Dating by the Numbers (Sponsored Post)

Internet dating received another vote of confidence recently. A study compiled by Harris Interactive showed that the percentage of marital break-ups for couples who met online was 25% lower than for those who met the old-fashioned way, which is a figure that will probably shock many people. 

According to the research, 25.7% of responders met their other half on eHarmony.com, making it the most popular dating website for lasting love. The responses, which were taken from a sample of approximately 20,000 people, showed that those who found each other online were more likely to stay together than couples who met through more traditional methods (for details of the research, click here). 

Online dating takes work in much the same way as meeting people in real life. It’s not a case of finding the right person straight away – but if the results of this latest research are anything to go by, you’ve got a better chance of finding someone you can stay with long-term, and build a steady and compassionate relationship with which will stand the test of time.

For more on this topic, see Cacioppo, J. T., Cacioppo, S., Gonzaga, G. C., Ogburn, E. L., & Vanderweele, T. J. (2013). Marital satisfaction and break-ups differ across on-line and off-line meeting venues. Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences. Volume 10.

(Editors' Note: This post is sponsored by eHarmony.com)

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Thursday
Aug152013

Hand Signals

Take note the next time you are holding hands with someone: Is your hand on top or in front with your palm facing back? In a recent study researchers observed heterosexual couples, adult/child pairs, and older/younger child pairs holding hands in public. Replicating and extending previous research on hand-holding, men in the couple pairs, adults in the adult/child pairs, and older children in the child pairs were more likely to have their hand in front with their palm facing back indicating social dominance, or alternatively, protection. This study shows that something as simple as hand position can signal one’s social role. What role are you signaling?

Pettijohn, T. F., Ahmed, S. F., Dunlap, A. V., & Dickey, L. N. (2013). Who’s got the upper hand? Hand holding behaviors among romantic couples and families. Current Psychology: A Journal for Diverse Perspectives on Diverse Psychological Issues, doi:10.1007/s12144-013-9175-4

Wednesday
Aug142013

“Still Too Close for Comfort”: The Paradox of Closeness

In a previous post, we looked at some recent research on the hidden risks of closeness in romantic relationships. It turns out that the closeness that people feel in romantic relationships may not be so beneficial when it doesn’t match the closeness they would ideally like. People who don’t feel close enough to their romantic partners tend to be more depressed, less satisfied with their relationships, and less committed to their partners, and they, not surprisingly, think about breaking up more often.1 And guess what? The same is true of people who feel too close to their romantic partners. These findings raise questions about what couples can do when the closeness one or both partner's desire is different from the closeness they actually feel. 

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Tuesday
Aug132013

Who Thinks About Family More? And Who Gets More Stressed About It?

According to a recent piece on the Smithsonian website, although "women and men spend the same amount of time worrying about family matters, women feel a disproportional amount negative emotional affects-- stress, depression, and the like-- from this mental labor." Read the complete article on smithsonianmag.com here.

Check out our articles on juggling family and work here and here.

 

Monday
Aug122013

Distance and Relationships: “Stuck in the Middle with You”

Q: A lot of research has been done on long distance relationships, and internet articles abound with advice for those couples. However, what about couples who aren't quite long distance, but certainly aren't geographically close? My partner of over a year and I are navigating this sort of relationship right now (as college students on a budget), where we either live 50 to 90 minutes apart by car, depending on whether school is in session or not. As committed as we are, and as excited as we are, it's not always easy to know how to handle this sort of "middle distance" relationship. Is there any research on this? Thanks!

A: As you might have read about in the research you’ve done, long-distance relationships are full of contradictions.1 For every drawback of long-distance relating—the boring commutes, lonely Friday nights, uncertainty about the timing of the next visit—there seems to be a silver lining. Take, for instance, research suggesting partners can learn to communicate better by seeing each other less.1 Or, consider recent research showing partners can benefit from missing one another.2 

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Sunday
Aug112013

Is Having Sex with a Robot Considered Cheating?

Would you have sex with a robot? If your partner did, would you consider it to be cheating? According to this article on Smithsonianmag.com, 9% of people would shag a cyborg, and 42% say that robot sex counts as cheating.

Check our our articles on what counts as cheating here and here. Sadly, we don't have any articles about having sex with robots to share with you; the closest we could find is this post by SofR contributor Dr. Justin Lehmiller on his excellent site.

 

Saturday
Aug102013

Coming Soon...Americans in Bed (HBO Documentary)

HBO's PR folks contacted us and asked us if we thought our readers would have interest in HBO's upcoming documentary Americans in Bed. It is a film that follows a cross-section of ages, ethnicities, religions and sexual orientation as they disclose their thoughts about passion, fidelity, family obligations, separation, conflict, illness, and intimate details about how they met and fell in love.

It debuts on MONDAY, AUGUST 12 (9:00-10:30 p.m. ET/PT).

 

Saturday
Aug102013

Parental Knowledge: Take What You Can Get