Entries in gender differences (18)

Monday
Jan232017

Sex Differences in Kissing: A Quick Review

Studies have shown that women place greater importance on kissing than do men. Females are more likely to use kissing “…as a means of initiating, maintaining, and monitoring the current status of their relationship with a long-term partner.”1 Women are also more likely to judge how committed a partner is based on the way he or she kisses.1 Whereas some studies show that females desire kissing more than men,2 others show that desire to engage in kissing behavior for men and women is the same.3

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Thursday
Oct012015

A “Double-Shot” of Cheating

The need to belong is a basic human drive; we as humans have a pervasive desire to form and maintain lasting, positive relationships.1 Relationships are important for our well-being, as their initiation is often associated with happiness, elation, love, and joy. Marital relationships serve as important buffers against stress;2 and marital quality is associated with better health.3 The benefits of being in a relationship, such as those just mentioned may explain why people are often very resistant to breaking social bonds and experience strong negative emotions when they feel as if their relationships may be compromised.

Cheating (or being cheated on) is one of the most detrimental behaviors for the survival of a relationship. Infidelity shakes the ground upon which the relationship was built, as it creates a violation of trust and breaks the commitment each partner made to one another. Not only does the act of cheating create tension and potentially destroy the relationship, but the perception that a partner may be cheating is also problematic. If there is suspicion of infidelity, that suspicion often creates a rift between couple members. Therefore, it is important to know how people view cheating and what behaviors people believe violate the terms of a committed relationship. 

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Tuesday
Dec022014

Love or Lust?: Follow the Eyes

What can you learn from a person’s gaze? Apparently, a lot. Researchers asked male and female participants to look at photos of couples or opposite-sex individuals and indicate whether the photos elicited lust (i.e., sexual desire) or love. Eye tracking software determined exactly what parts of the photos participants focused on when making their lust vs. love judgments. When deciding whether a given photo portrayed love, male and female participants focused on the faces depicted in the photos, but very little attention was paid to the individuals’ and couples’ bodies. In contrast, when looking for signs of lust, both males and females generally focused more on the bodies in the photos. The researchers suggest this work could inform interventions for therapists who want to identify how couple members view each other.

Bolmont, M., & Cacioppo, J. T., & Cacioppo, S. (2014). Love is in the gaze: An eye-tracking study of love and sexual desire. Psychological Science, 25, 1748-1756.

Thursday
Sep272012

“We Can Still Be Friends”: Six Ways You Can Stay Friends After a Breakup

Unlike Jerry and Elaine in the classic TV sitcom Seinfeld, or Ted and Robin in How I Met Your Mother, it isn’t easy for ex-romantic partners to remain friends. Think about it…how many of your exes are still friends of yours? Half of them? 25%? If you’re like me, the answer is more likely zero, nil, nada, zilch.

Even if your ex assured you that “it’s not you, it’s me,” breakups are still upsetting. Because of this, it may not surprise you that about 60% of ex-partners do not have contact with one another post-breakup. However, some exes do keep in touch and even become friends after the breakup. In fact, there are several situations in which post-dissolution friendships are more likely.

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Wednesday
Jul252012

"Hooking Up" – What is it Exactly?

“Hooking up” has become a catch-all phrase in our culture to describe casual romantic or sexual activity. Despite the pervasiveness of the phrase, however, no one (lay people or relationship scientists) has a solid, agreed-upon definition for exactly what it is. What specifically does “hooking up” entail? A recent review article sheds light on this question.

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Tuesday
Jul172012

Responsiveness and Desire for Sex: The Goldilocks Phenomenon

Gurit Birnbaum presented research on how a partner’s responsiveness (in other words, their emotional availability and supportiveness) influences a person’s desire for sex with them during a first impression, and how this differs based on attachment style and gender.

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Friday
May112012

The Importance of What Happens After Sex

Popular media portrays a range of after sex activities – some partners cuddle, drift off to sleep, spend hours talking, smoke a cigarette, or, in some cases, rush out the door after sex. But, what do we really know about after sex behaviors? As we have discussed in previous articles, researchers have studied when, how often, and with whom people have sex. In comparison, we know much less about what people do after sex. This is unfortunate, because post-coital sexual activities, or the activities that occur during the time after sex (while partners are awake together), could be important for relationship commitment and satisfaction.

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Friday
Feb172012

Is Pornography to Blame For the High Divorce Rate?

Ever since the invention of pornography, politicians and the public alike have expressed concerns about the potential negative effects that porn has on those who view it. In particular, many people worry that exposure to porn is destructive to people’s romantic and sexual relationships. This concern was seemingly validated by a recent study reporting that Playboy magazine was the “cause” of up to 25% of all divorces that occurred in the United States in the 1960s and 70s. Could this really be the case? Is exposure to porn destroying our love lives?

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Friday
Jan132012

Do Internet Daters Lie In Their Personal Profiles? And Does It Help Them Succeed?

Online dating has become incredibly common since the mid-1990s. For example, a recent nationally representative survey conducted in the United States revealed that 17% of heterosexual couples and 41% of same-sex couples met over the internet. However, as anyone who has ever dated online can tell you, internet dating is a tricky business. People have a tendency to lie and misrepresent themselves in an attempt to maximize their appeal to potential partners. But just how common and serious are these lies, and what effect do they have on someone’s likelihood of getting a date?

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Friday
Jan062012

Do Men Really Think About Sex Every Seven Seconds?

Most of you have probably heard the statistic that men think about sex every seven seconds. If this is correct, it means that sex crosses men’s minds 514 times per hour. Talk about sex on the brain! But is there any truth to this statistic?

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Thursday
Dec012011

Ask Dr. Loving: Dealing with "Stupid-Boy-Syndrome"

"A Little Frustrated" asked: "Stupid-Boy-Syndrome" is a term my friend uses to describe a tendency of some guys to be oblivious to feelings and situations that the woman feels to be obvious. Now, my boyfriend seems to be especially prone to this syndrome, appearing absent minded and downright clumsy when it comes to discussing my feelings. If I tell him his approach isn't working, he says he's just not good at remembering details. What's the trick to being in a relationship with a man if he cares about you, but he isn't attentive unless you prod him to be and he has a memory like a sieve?

Dear L. F.;

There’s nothing wrong with prodding.

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Monday
Nov072011

Hey Ladies!: The Benefits of Being a Mover (and Shaker)

Ladies, consider the following setting: It’s a Friday night. The place is buzzing. Across the room, a handsome stranger has caught your eye. You want to attract his attention, but how? If one were to follow traditional protocol, you would bat your eyelashes, flash a well-toned calf, sit and wait, hoping he will somehow get the message and make the journey across the room. However, it is 2011. Surely, sitting and waiting is not the only way for a woman to make contact with a man.

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Wednesday
Oct122011

Sexual Strategies in Cross-Sex Friendships

Evolutionary psychologists, including pioneers such as David Buss, have yet another perspective on this type of friendship. These researchers tend to view cross-sex friendship as an evolved reproductive tactic, or “sexual strategy.” In a nutshell, evolutionary processes have created differences between men and women with regards to sex. Thus, men and women may have different motivations for becoming friends with the opposite sex.

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Friday
Oct072011

Marriage and Divorce: A New Window to Weight Gain? 

Marriage and divorce alter our lives in a number of ways, and recent research suggests that our waistlines are among the first things to change in response to these events.1  However, men and women appear to respond differently to these relationship transitions, especially when it comes to experiencing a significant weight increase. Specifically, women are more likely to pack it on after marriage, while men are more likely to do so after divorce.

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Tuesday
Sep202011

Faking Orgasms: Who Benefits More From a False Finish?

According to Meg Ryan’s character in When Harry Met Sally, “Most women at one time or another have faked it.” By “it” she was, of course, referring to the seemingly elusive female orgasm. And she’s right—studies consistently show that somewhere between one-half and two-thirds of women have faked a climax at some point in their lives.

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Monday
Sep052011

Bring Home the Bacon. And Cook It. 

A number of theories attempt to explain why married women tend to do more housework than their husbands (note: none of them are called the “Men Are Lazy Theory”). Among the explanations offered is the “power,” or “bargaining,” perspective. Here, so the argument goes, people who make more money outside the home can essentially get by with doing less inside the home because their extra income ‘allots’ them that luxury (i.e., I bring home the bacon. You cook it. Even-Steven). It’s an interesting theory, but one that has received only mixed support…until now.

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Monday
Aug082011

Is the Unemployment Rate Tied to the Divorce Rate?

If you’re like most people, you probably read the question posed in the title of this article and thought, “Of course!” And you would be right—there is indeed a statistical association between the unemployment rate and the divorce rate. But what is the nature of that association? Is unemployment related to an increase or a decrease in the number of divorces? Unfortunately, that question is somewhat more difficult to answer. So far this year, scientists have released two studies on this topic and have come to two seeming different conclusions. 

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Thursday
Jun302011

Men are from Earth, Women are from Earth

According to Dr. John Gray’s popular series of self-help relationship books, men and women struggle with one another in their relationships because they are from “different planets.”

One of our readers, Lizette, was curious about the validity of the claims made in Gray’s books. Specifically, she asked: What truth is there to Dr. John Gray's (Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus) theory that men are like rubber bands?

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