Entries in sexual activity (20)

Friday
Feb102017

To Put Out or Not to Put Out? 23 Years of Reasons for Maintaining Virginity

A recent study examined 23 years of college students’ explanations for their virginity.1 [It’s worth noting from the outset that “virginity” is a loaded term, one that’s replete with religious and moral overtones, but there’s no great alternative. Scratch “abstainer” and “sexually inexperienced,” as these simply are inaccurate descriptors for most people who have not had an experience of sexual intercourse].

Over 7,000 students completed a questionnaire that asked for details about their sexual histories.

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Tuesday
Nov242015

Is More Sex Always Better?

When it comes to sex, the more the better right? Popular perception would suggest that the answer to this question is yes. Media messages often tout the benefits of sex, going as far as to suggest that having sex every day in a relationship might be one route to greater happiness. In a recent set of studies my colleagues and I investigated whether more frequent sex was, in fact, associated with more happiness and found that it was, but only to a point.1

Across three studies of over 30,000 participants, we found that people who reported having more frequent sex in their relationship also reported being happier. But this association was no longer true at frequencies greater than once a week. To be clear, having sex more frequently than once a week was not associated with less happiness, it just wasn’t associated with more happiness on average.

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Tuesday
Sep242013

Sleep Tight...Will the Sex Dreams Bite?

In a previous article, I mentioned that having sex dreams is associated with feelings of love and intimacy with romantic partners on the following day. This finding begs the question: What else do we know about sex dreams? Much has been theorized (beginning with some wacky ideas from Freud1 and psychoanalysis, which I won’t go into here) but when you examine the research that has used modern scientific methods, it becomes clear that we don’t know very much. Sex dreams have been documented worldwide, but the frequency of sexual content in dreams is really tough to estimate (some early studies estimated 5-10%,2 while others peg the frequency around 80%3). In addition, some studies have found gender differences (men having more frequent sex dreams than women2), but that has not been replicated in all samples; for example, in a sample of Brazilian participants, sex dreams appeared roughly 10% of the time in both men and women.4 Some of these discrepancies in the research could be due to inconsistent frequency of dreaming in general, or less willingness to report sex dreams in some samples.

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Tuesday
Jan152013

Are There Benefits to Making Sexual Changes for your Partner?

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?

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Tuesday
Aug072012

The Seasons for Sex

When researchers examine sexual behaviors they tend to focus on who is most sexually promiscuous. For example, men and women with dominant personalities tend to sleep with more people than submissive individuals. But what about the equally interesting question: when are individuals most promiscuous? Is there a time of the year when people tend to be the horniest?

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Tuesday
Jul312012

Paging Dr. Love

The legendary rockers of the American band KISS may not have been so far off when they belted out, “Baby, I know what your problem is...the first step of the cure is a kiss!” in their hit single, “Calling Dr. Love.” They couldn’t have known it at the time, but current relationship scientists may now agree with Gene Simmons’ medical claims. There might be a little something special to that kiss.

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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
Apr062012

The Ins and Outs of Sexual Frequency

People have a lot of questions when they learn that I study sex and relationships. One of the most common questions people ask is how often couples typically have sex. This question generally comes from the person’s desire to learn if they are on par with other couples’ sexual frequency.

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Thursday
Mar222012

Curves that Drive the Mad Men Mad

Although Mad Men revolves around the life of the mysterious Don Draper, undoubtedly the coolest character on the show is Ms. Joan Holloway. When you talk to anyone that watches Mad Men, they all either want to be her or be with her. But what makes Joan so appealing? After all, Christina Hendricks, the actress that plays Joan, is not your typical overly skinny Hollywood actress. Instead, Joan Holloway’s appeal may come down to one simple number: .70.

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Thursday
Mar152012

Marvin Gaye was Right On: Sex and Stress Relief

Sexually active Israelis in monogamous cohabiting relationships reported on their stress levels and sexual activity each day for three weeks. Having sex on one day predicted lower stress the following day, and feeling stressed on one day was associated with an increased likelihood of having sex the next day. Convenient, eh? These associations were stronger for men than for women. This work suggests that people (especially men) may use sex to (effectively) alleviate daily stress.

Ein-Dor, T., & Hirschberger, G. (2012). Sexual healing: Daily diary evidence that sex relieves stress for men and women in satisfying relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 29, 126-139.

Support SofR by downloading "Sexual Healing" (or some other groovy Marvin Gaye tunes; we highly recommend the Let's Get It On album for facilitating your stress relief) on Amazon.com.

Thursday
Jan192012

Why People Have Sex (“The Naked Man” Redux)

How many reasons can you think of for having sex? Some people may assume that there are relatively few motivations (for example: physical pleasure, intimacy, reproduction, sexual release), but psychologists Cindy Meston and David Buss have identified two-hundred and thirty-seven (237) distinct reasons for engaging in sexual activity (clustered in 4 broad categories). There isn’t enough room in this article to identify each of them, but we can certainly touch on some of the more surprising reasons people give. 

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Monday
Dec122011

The Third Date Rule: Fact or Fiction?

“This is our third date, and we both know what that means.”

“We do?”

“Sex.”

On a classic episode of The Big Bang Theory, Howard learns about the third date rule – the idea that the third date is the “sex date,” the date when it is deemed appropriate for a new couple to have sex. Is this a dating rule that people take to heart (or to bed) or is it just another urban dating myth? 

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Saturday
Dec032011

Playing with Sex Data: The Sexperience 1000

Admit it...You've probably had questions about others' sex lives. Now you can answer those questions based on data from a represetative sample of 1,000 people in the United Kingdom from "The Sexperience 1000" project. Have fun playing with their data!

Also see our article on OkCupid's creative use of data here.

Monday
Oct242011

Do People Have More Sex on Vacation?

One thing that researchers know about sex is that context matters. Think “What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas.” A vacation provides a break from work or school, a chance to relax and let loose, and the opportunity to explore a new part of the world...but does a vacation also bring more opportunities for sex?

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Friday
Sep302011

Does That Count? Differing Definitions of Sex

A few weeks ago some friends and I were discussing the recent date of a male member of the group. He said that he did not have sex on his date. But, after he described the encounter (in which both he and his partner had an orgasm, but did not have intercourse) one of our friends disagreed with him and argued that sex did occur. So who’s right?

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Friday
Sep092011

Ask Dr. Loving: Can Our Relationship Survive His STD?

I have a friend who has been very forthcoming about his sexual experiences and how he was diagnosed with an STD when he was 20 years old. I am very attracted to him and although he has an STD, knowing that does not repulse or drive me away. But it does make me seriously consider, if I were ever to be with him in a relationship, would it work without sex?  -- trustingHim

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Thursday
Aug182011

Who Has the Busier Bedroom: Single People or Married Couples?

I pose this question to the students in my Human Sexuality course every semester and invariably get the same response: “Isn’t that kind of obvious? Single people, of course!” My students are not alone in thinking this either—it is a pretty widely held belief that singles are always getting it on, and that sex after marriage is, well, improbable (to say the least). It does not surprise me that so many people believe this, given how popular media portrayals back up these stereotypes.

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Wednesday
Jul202011

Can Cybersex be Good for Your Relationship?

Let’s start with the basics: What is cybersex? Researchers at the University of New Brunswick found that people actually have varied ideas of what activities fit into the term cybersex. Based on their findings, they propose that we can broadly define cybersex as “a sexual communication between at least two people that is focused on sexual relations and occurs via synchronous Internet modes.”

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Friday
Jun032011

Our Take on "There’s Nothing Brief About a Hookup": The Devil is in the Details

A recently published op-ed by Dannah Gresh on CNN.com makes the controversial argument that “there’s nothing brief about a hookup” (read the full op-ed here). As of posting, Gresh’s op-ed, which supposedly draws on scientific evidence to support her conclusion that casual sex is unhealthy, has inspired over 800 comments and some heated debate, much of it centered around Gresh’s admission near the end of the op-ed that:

"In the interest of full disclosure, my motivation here is my Christian faith. I believe sex to be an incredible gift from God, meant to transcend the physical to discover something emotional and spiritual with another person.

But since my faith may alienate some of you from my message, I ask you not to think too hard about religious differences. Stick to the facts."

Here at ScienceOfRelationships.com we are always encouraged when we see articles on relationships (and sex) that incorporate scientific evidence, but we are admittedly wary when there is reason to believe the interpretation of those scientific data might be distorted by an underlying agenda. Thus, we took it upon ourselves to do just what Gresh requested: Stick to the facts. After careful scrutiny of her arguments, and review of the empirical work she cites as support for her conclusions, we have identified three important ways that Gresh either overstates or misuses specific research findings. Below, we identify and provide an examples of instances where the facts do not support the claim.

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Thursday
May262011

What Are the Health Benefits of Sex? There’s an App for That (Sort of)

In an effort to manage my snacking while dissertation writing I recently downloaded an app to my iPhone called LoseIt! LoseIt! is essentially a food diary that keeps track of your caloric intake for the day. You can increase the amount of calories you can eat in day by entering any exercise you have done. I noticed that sexual activity is listed as one of the exercises and you can even select whether your sexual activity was passive, moderate, or vigorous. I'm not exactly sure how to validate these categories, so you just have to use your best judgment.

LoseIt! suggests that an hour of vigorous sexual activity burns about 33 calories. That's it!?!?

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