A good friend of mine (who is 7 months pregnant) told me recently that she is concerned about her sex drive. I recalled that my sex drive dropped to almost zero when I was pregnant with both of my boys, so I assumed that this might be the case for her. Surprisingly, my friend’s experience was quite the opposite: she wanted it all the time. When her husband couldn’t help her out (and he was generally happy to do so), she felt compelled to masturbate. She was worried something might be wrong with her.
Entries in sex (139)
For heterosexual couples, just making sure that both partners reach orgasm during vaginal intercourse can be difficult. Achieving orgasm at the exact same moment (i.e., “simultaneous orgasm”)? That’s even more of a challenge. Why? Because the typical motion of penile thrusting does not seem to provide adequate sexual stimulation for many women. In fact, only about half of women report being able to climax from penile movements alone during sex and, even among those women, many of them report that they do not experience orgasm reliably.1 As a result, many women find that adding clitoral stimulation to intercourse (e.g., with the use of one’s hand or a vibrator) or attempting different sexual activities is necessary to help them climax. However, it turns out that you may not need to do these other things if you can better align your own and your partner’s genitals during sex.
In a previous post, I critiqued the recently-released report of the “Singles in America” survey. The report is the third annual attempt of Match.com to perpetuate the myth that what single people care about, more than anything else, is becoming unsingle. The company pretends to don the mantle of science, and gets lots of media attention, so it is important to take the report apart claim by claim, rather than just dismissing it out of hand.
The Huffington Post took the press release from Match.com and turned it into a slide show with the title, 10 things you didn’t know about single people. The 10 things included such topics as sexting, sex, more sex, snooping in a partner’s Facebook or email account, hiding things online, dating, and more dating.
Real single people live bigger, more interesting, and more meaningful lives than those very circumscribed topics would suggest. So here, in tribute to the real lives of single people, are 10 meaningful things you might want to know about them.
According to a recent study published in Psychological Science,1 teenagers who wait longer to have sex experience different kinds of romantic relationships later in life compared to teens that start having sex earlier. This 15-year longitudinal study (beginning in 1994 and concluding in 2009) tracked teenagers’ sexual activity and long-term relationships into their late 20s/early 30s. Those teens that had sex before age 15 (23%) were considered “early” sexual bloomers. Most teens (60%) had sex for the first time between the ages of 15 and 19, which scientists consider normal for American teenagers (thus, “on time”), and 16% of teens reported having sex for the first time after age 19, and were labeled “late” sexual bloomers (8% of the sample did not report having sex at all in their lives).
I kicked off SPSP this year by attending the close relationships pre-conference where Dr. Emily Impett (my mentor) received the Early Career Award. In her award address, Dr. Impett presented research on how we may give up our self-interests to meet our relationship partner’s needs, and when this can be beneficial and when it is may be less ideal.
Over the course of a romantic relationship, there are bound to be times when your sexual interests diverge from your partner’s interests. Perhaps you enjoy having sex at night, but your partner prefers morning sex. Maybe you desire sex about once or twice a week, but your partner would like to have sex once or twice a day. Or maybe you fantasize about being tied to the bedpost, but bondage is not one of your partner’s sexual fantasies. Although a satisfying sex life is an important part of overall relationship happiness,1,2 sex can also be one of the most challenging issues to negotiate in a romantic relationship.2 Romantic partners may disagree on when to have sex, how often to have it, and what those sexual activities involve. If romantic partners have differing sexual interests, what can they do?
I met my first boyfriend in a Sailor Moon chat room. For the uninitiated, Sailor Moon was a Japanese anime show that was “popular” in the late 1990s. My online alter ego, a character I named Hiko Aino (Japanese for “fire child of love”), was tall, graceful, and witty—everything that I, at the time, was decidedly not. After a few weeks of frequenting the chat room, I started a relationship with a guy whose online persona was a dog (yes, a dog, as in a canine…oh, the shame is endless). It’s probably worth mentioning I was thirteen at the time and wildly unpopular at school (given what I just shared, I can’t imagine why). But the chat room allowed me to reinvent myself, connect with others with similar interests, and—in short—escape the sad reality of middle school. And although the Sailor Moon chat room is probably long gone, other virtual worlds have sprung up in its wake. One such environment is the online community named Second Life.
Was 2012 a sexy year for you? It sure was here at ScienceOfRelationships.com. Here are the highlights of our "Year in Sex":
- Supersize Me: Does Penis Size Matter to Women?
- Getting Her There: When Are Women Most Likely To Have Orgasms?
- The Ins and Outs of Sexual Frequency
- Breaking It Off: Sex-Positive Shops and the Women’s Sex Toy Revolution
- Is Masturbation Bad For Your Health and Your Relationship?
- Monkey See, Monkey Do (and by “Do” We Mean “Have Sex”)
Have you ever read The Game1 or seen the VH1 series The Pickup Artist? Even though The Game is no longer topping the New York Times bestsellers list and The Pickup Artist has long since left the air, the pickup community is alive and well. In fact, in my hometown of Austin, Texas, there are at least three major pickup companies and dozens of independent instructors, all willing to provide (expensive) one-on-one lessons designed to teach the unlucky-at-love how to play the game. As someone who enjoys the nightlife arguably more than she should, it was only a matter of time before I stumbled across the local pickup community and, as a result, met some of the biggest names in the seduction industry (yes, I have met Neil Strauss. No, he did not make a pass at me—and no, I’m not disappointed).
Makes us wonder if this penguin is in any way related to the ScienceOfRelationships penguin. If so, we should name our penguin Muffins.
Our friend and colleague Dr. Gurit Birnbaum recently contributed to a discussion on the New York Times website on the topic of sexy Halloween costumes and fear of death. Check it out here.
We've covered Dr. Birnbaum's research in the following articles:
“Oh yeah, that’s it, right there”
“That feels good”
Moaning, groaning, and words of encouragement during sex enhance your partner’s sexual pleasure and a recent study suggests that talking during sex is also linked to your own satisfaction. People who communicate their likes and dislikes to their partners during sex are more sexually satisfied.
Talking about your sexual needs and desires is not always easy; many people feel that having sex is easier than talking about sex.
Obviously, many variables affect the decision to have or not have sexual intercourse (e.g., Are you in the “mood?” Did you have a romantic dinner? Did he remember the flowers?). Although most people probably don’t think the outcome of a political election is especially romantic, or has much effect on their libidos, recent research suggests that political elections could influence your sex life!
Last weekend, I went on a road trip with The Consultant. I was nervous, as we hadn’t been sexually intimate with each other since our first, failed attempt several weeks ago. A weekend away together pretty much guaranteed that we would try again. We have hung out a few times since that frustrating night, but I have made myself conveniently busy to give myself some time to process the new, more intimate direction of our relationship. He was patient and persistent, so when he invited me to spend the weekend away with him, I accepted.
There has been a lot of talk in the American media recently about a perhaps more “evolved” form of love in which people have open or multiple relationships—polyamory. Tanzanians have a history of this practice through polygynous practices (having multiple wives), which is rooted in the Bantu tradition. In fact, polygyny is permitted for up to 4 wives in Tanzania, with the permission of the first wife.
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.
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.
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?
Many people assume that having conflict in a relationship reduces sexual desire and relationship satisfaction. Yet, conflict may also present a constructive opportunity for partners to discuss important relationship issues, or it may simply create a general sense of arousal that transforms into sexual excitement.