Friday
Sep212012

Getting Her There: When Are Women Most Likely To Have Orgasms?

Everyone likes a good orgasm, right? In past articles we’ve covered topics like faking orgasms, the function of orgasms in sexual communication, orgasms stemming from nipple stimulation, and even highlighted “everything you need to know about female orgasm.” Okay, so maybe we didn’t tell you everything. There’s still more that you need to know about female orgasms, especially the answer to the question: when are women most likely to have an orgasm? And what sorts of relationships (e.g., romantic relationships versus casual sex) are most likely to yield sexual satisfaction? Is the big O a requirement for sexual satisfaction? First, let’s back up a bit and briefly review some of the common explanations for what leads to fulfilling sex.

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Thursday
Sep202012

(Dis)connecting People

Cell phones have revolutionized the ways we stay in touch. However, do our mobile phones affect our relationships, even when we’re not using them? Findings from two new studies suggest they do. Pairs of strangers discussed assigned topics in the presence or absence of a phone. Specifically, these “stranger-pairs” sat in a room with either a nondescript mobile phone or an old-fashioned pocket notebook placed unobtrusively on a desk to the side. The simple presence of a phone (vs. notepad) resulted in lower levels of closeness and relationship quality after their discussion. Further, when specifically asked to talk about a meaningful topic, the presence of a mobile phone also resulted in lower levels of trust and empathy. It’s possible that cell phones act as a reminder of people’s wider social networks, and the anticipation of a possible interruption (your best friend complaining about yet another awful blind date?) draws attention away from face-to-face conversations.

Przybylski, A. K. & Weinstein, N. (in press, 2012). Can you connect with me now? How the presence of mobile communication technology influences face-to-face conversation quality. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. doi: 10.1177/0265407512453827

Check out the podcast about this research here.

Wednesday
Sep192012

Help! I Don't Want to Lose Her

A reader recently submitted the following question:

“I had a 9 month long-distance relationship (LDR) with a girl I met on an internship abroad. Toward the end of the LDR, I felt that she changed and became uninterested and less available. I admit that I made a mistake by having my life revolve around her, which little by little killed her attraction. I also jeopardized our relationship by being manipulative. She originally said she didn’t want to break up and assured me that she loved me, but a day later she told me she wanted to break up. I was shocked and devastated.

We stayed friends for 2-3 weeks, but I was still miserable and tried to get her to change her mind by hanging out with her day and night. A few weeks later, I told her I loved her to death, which only turned her off more. I then told her I would stop contacting her, hoping that this would be the way to get her back. She replied, saying she respected my decision and still wanted to be friends.

I haven’t replied yet. I still love her very much and still have hope that staying away from her for a while and then reconnecting will show her that I have changed and she will want to be with me again. I’m afraid that I’m not doing the right thing, though. What steps should I take? How should I approach her again? I don’t want to lose her.”

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Tuesday
Sep182012

Feelings Of Insecurity Prompt Fantasies Of Emotionless Sex And Aggression

A new set of studies reveals that the content of our sexual fantasies is influenced by feelings of relationship insecurity. In three experiments, college undergraduates were primed to feel attachment security or anxiety. To do this, participants thought about a past relationship in which they felt secure or anxious (Study 1), or they viewed a photo of a mother either gazing at her child (security) or turning her back on her child (anxiety; Studies 2 and 3). Afterward, participants were asked to report on one of their current sexual fantasies. The anxiety prime produced fantasies in which individuals viewed themselves as more distant from and hostile toward their partners compared to the fantasies described following the security prime. More specifically, the anxiety prime was linked to fantasies that involved sex without emotion or romance, as well as fantasies that involved themes of aggression. These findings suggest that when we feel insecure about our relationships, we subconsciously alter the content of our sexual fantasies as a way of protecting the self from further feelings of rejection.  In other words, when we are feeling insecure, we may use our fantasies to create a psychological barrier between ourselves and our partners in order to protect our self-esteem.

To learn more about the details of this study, check out this article on The Psychology of Human Sexuality.

Birnbaum, G. E., Simpson, J. A., Weisberg, Y. J., Barnea, E., & Assulin-Simhon, Z. (in press). Is it my overactive imagination? The effects of contextually activated attachment insecurity on sexual fantasies. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.

Monday
Sep172012

Too Fast Too Soon?

Q: I just got dumped by my girlfriend a couple weeks ago. It was a short relationship (3 months) which started out slow but gradually ramped up in intensity as we started spending more time together. Things seemed to be going great right up until she dumped me. We were making plans together for the future - trips we were going to take, dates we were going to go on. She seemed very much as "into" the relationship as I was - sending loving texts and buying me gifts. Then all of a sudden, as if overnight, she got cold and distant, and then she dumped me the next day.

I was totally blindsided and heartbroken by her actions. How can someone seem so into you in one instant and decide they don't want it in the next? And how come this hurts just as much as a breakup of a long term relationship, even though we were only together for a few months?

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Sunday
Sep162012

The Sex Talk: Perspectives From A Father And A Son

Sunday
Sep162012

"He Just Didn't Work Out"

Saturday
Sep152012

Playing the Role of a Non-Monogamist

Saturday
Sep152012

Week in Review: 9-15 September 2012

Friday
Sep142012

The Birds And The Bees: When And How Should Fathers Talk To Their Sons About Sex?

How are adolescent boys learning about sex these days? By pointing, clicking, and streaming through a seemingly endless supply of Internet pornography. That’s right…online porn is now the default form of sex education for a growing number of young boys because they simply are not getting the information they need elsewhere. Personally, I find this prospect kind of scary. I mean, do you really want your son to learn everything he knows about sex from watching Ron Jeremy?

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Thursday
Sep132012

Thanks for the Love: ScienceOfRelationships.com Wins the 2012 SPSP Media Prize

We've had to keep this under our hats for a couple of weeks, but we're excited to be able to announce today that ScienceOfRelationships.com is the recipient of the 2012 Media Prize presented by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP; see their press release here). Thanks for all the support we've received from readers and fans, and especially to our staff writers and contributors to the site.

We hope to see many of you at the SPSP conference in New Orleans in January 2013. We'll be the ones carrying the big trophy.

Thursday
Sep132012

Should You Stay “Friends” With Your Ex-Partner On Facebook?

Let’s face it, Facebook has changed the way we experience romantic relationships. The widespread popularity of Facebook has increased the amount of information people can access about their romantic partners - past, present, and future. In addition, Facebook has provided new ways for romantic partners to communicate. In previous posts, I talked about research findings linking Facebook use to higher levels of romantic jealousy and greater relationship satisfaction when going “Facebook official”. But, what are the consequences of staying Facebook “friends” with a partner after breaking up with said partner?

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Wednesday
Sep122012

Date See - Date Do

Many of us played the game “copycat” as a child. It was probably quite fun to annoy siblings or parents by imitating every word or action they had performed. Indeed, playing copycat seems to be very much engrained in us. Even in the first few hours that babies spend in this world, they readily (and automatically) imitate simple facial expressions (such as mouth openings) of those they observe.1 Although it may seem as if we grow out of playing copycat as we get older (and of course, wiser), recent research in social psychology shows that imitation, or mimicry, not only persists throughout our lives, but has some powerful effects on our interactions with others.2

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Tuesday
Sep112012

Two’s Company. But Is It Necessarily Bad Company?

Last week we were fortunate to publish a post on cohabitation guest-authored by two of the foremost experts on the topic. Their research addresses one of the more controversial and hotly-debated patterns of findings in the relationship science world: the marriages of couples that live together (cohabit) before tying the knot often fare worse than the marriages of couples that do not cohabit prior to marrying (commonly referred to as “the cohabitation effect”). There are a number of possible explanations for this effect, (and remember, correlation does not equal causation), but the purpose of this follow-up post is not to dig into those explanations (for now). Rather, I want to put the authors’ key conclusion in context for all those who might be second-guessing their decision to shack up after reading this post.

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Monday
Sep102012

“Insanimus Guano,” Stalking, and How to Deal with Unstable Ex-partners

My friend Jessica just broke up with her boyfriend of 6 months. Why? Her boyfriend’s ex-wife went crazy after finding out he was dating someone new; she created a scene in front of his house that ultimately required him to call the police to get her to leave his property. Suffice it to say, my friend did not want to be involved with someone who brought so much baggage to the table.

I understood all too well. Sadly, many of my closest friends have had similar experiences. A few of my favorite gems (names have been changed to protect the innocent):

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Sunday
Sep092012

Your Mind Makes It Real

Sunday
Sep092012

The Science of Orgasms (Video)

Saturday
Sep082012

Week in Review: 2-8 September 2012

Saturday
Sep082012

What Your Bow Says About Your Relationship (Circa 1944)

Relationship science has come a long way since 1944. From Life magazine.

Friday
Sep072012

Would You Make Love to Bob Dylan?