The Science of Sex

Recent posts

New Study: Women with Vaginismus or Vulvar Vestibulitis

This study is seeking participants. 

University of Ottawa

Researchers at the University of Ottawa are looking for women with vaginismus or provoked vestibulodynia (aka vulvar vestibulitis syndrome) to complete a questionnaire study on sexual health. Women between the ages of 18 and 44 who have always had difficulty with vaginal penetration or have had pain during half of all intercourse attempts are invited to participate in this research project. Participation involves completing a set of questionnaires at home and sending them anonymously to the Human Sexuality Research Laboratory at the University of Ottawa. For more information about this study, please call 613-562-5800, ext. 2220, or email sexualhealth@uottawa.ca. Continue Reading →

Need Another Reason To Masturbate? It Relieves Restless Leg Syndrome.

Shaking legs aren’t always a desirable thing in the bedroom. On April 1, NewScientist reported on an article from the scientific journal Sleep Science about a recent Brazilian study. The study findings suggest that masturbation can relieve the symptoms of restless leg syndrome (RLS). Despite my initial suspicion, this was not a fabulous April Fool’s joke. RLS, which affects 7-10% of American and Europeans, can be the result of a dopamine imbalance. Continue Reading →

Kissing Better Than Claritin D?

I just returned from Washington D.C., where I attended an advocacy summit. While I had a great time (especially on my last day when the weather was so lovely I only wore a cardigan), my allergies were kicking into high gear. I was a sneezing sensation. I went from no sneezing and sniffling to sneezing multiple times a minute – I think this may be one of the worst super powers ever. There is nothing like meeting with politicians and their aides, and sneezing all over them. Continue Reading →

Interpreting Studies On The “Slut Gene”

The media has dubbed a certain gene, DRD4, the “slut gene,” interpreting limited scientific evidence to claim that this single gene is responsible for certain people’s inclinations to have lots of sex (especially if it’s adulterous sex). One neuroscientist questions these claims, explaining why trying to trace complex human behavior to a single gene is difficult and far-fetched at best. Continue Reading →

Sixth Sense For Couples?

Just when I thought I was done talking about how your partner can’t read your mind,  science had to go and say that in some ways they can. It isn’t exactly mind reading or telepathy though. They have found that in many cases, people who are very close with each other start exhibiting the same brain activity. This synchronicity of their nervous systems helps them understand each other better. I wouldn’t give up on talking just yet though. Continue Reading →

Porn, Addiction, And The Brain: Neuroscientists Weigh In

When Dan Savage and our own Debby Herbenick discussed porn addiction, among other fascinating sex topics, they agreed that porn addiction is not, in fact, an actual addiction (meaning there is no physical component making one become addicted to porn, though it can become a compulsion). An essay by a neuroscientist evaluating scholarship on the topic backs up their claim, stating that there is no peer-reviewed scientific work proving that porn addiction occurs at the chemical level in the brain. The differences between an addiction and a compulsion may be slight, but hopefully more research is forthcoming. Continue Reading →

Pet Named After Famous Sex Researcher

The names people choose for their pets often reflect their personality or their interests. Some people (my best friend) name their cats after Star Wars characters. Others name their pets after their literary heroes. My wife named her cat Butch … But I’m a sex educator so you can imagine the route I took with my cat.  No, nothing dirty. Continue Reading →

Learning New Things Almost As Good As Sex?

A study that doled out water – and also information about the water – to monkeys and studied their responses found that learning can release dopamine, a feel-good neurotransmitter. The act of seeking out new knowledge thus appears to be programmed into primate brains, stimulating the same pleasure-centers as sex can. If experiences of learning and sex might be cognitively linked, one can only wonder what special joys learning about sex yields! This research complements work by Dr. Arthur Aron and his team that has found that couples who spend time doing new/exciting things together, rather than the same-old stuff, on date night, tend to be more in love and more satisfied with their relationships. Follow us on Twitter @mysexprofessor. Follow Jeana, the author of this post, @foxyfolklorist. Continue Reading →