The Science of Sex

Recent posts

SURVEY: Pleasure/Orgasm During Exercise?

Our research team at The Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University Bloomington Indiana is conducting a study about women, sexual pleasure and exercise. Anecdotally, some women will talk about having experienced sexual pleasure or orgasm while performing physical exercise, such as sit-ups, weight lifting or other forms of exercise. However, there has been very little scientific research on the topic. Women who are at least 18 years of age are invited to participate in a study about their experiences related to sexual pleasure and/or orgasm during physical exercise. To learn more about this anonymous, online survey, please visit the study web site at:

If you have questions about the study, please contact the principal investigator, Dr. Debby Herbenick, at

Thank you. Continue Reading →

Chromosomes And Other Aspects Of Reproductive Sex

Scientists at UC Berkeley are studying how sex chromosomes in animals can yield information about the reproductive history of a species. From fruit flies (one of the most popular case studies) to emus, each species differentiates chromosomes and assigns genetic information to those chromosomes in a particular way. For instance, the XY pair of sex chromosomes we’re used to discussing in humans is not present in the sexual differentiation of every species. Ideally, comparing animal sex chromosomes across a wide variety of species will help us learn more about the purpose of biological sex. Continue Reading →

The Science of Booty Calls

Since I am currently writing a paper on the different definitions of “date” and “hookup”, I am always interested in new research that comes out which talks about the definition and practice of various sexual situations.  That’s why I was intrigued when I found two articles referencing the same scientific study about “booty calls.” Kinsey Confidential’s own Kristen Mark talks about it here. has an interview with the author here. However, shouldn’t there be more technical names for these important sexual issues?  Talking about “the booty call” and “one night stand” seems weird.  What about a “Telephone-Initiated Long term but Mostly Sexual relationship?”  (TILMS)  Or perhaps a “Brief One-Time Sexual Encounter” (BOTSE).  Because, let’s face it, there’s very little standing involved. Continue Reading →

The Kinsey Institute Call for Student Grant Proposals

My wonderful friend and colleague, Dr. Brian Dodge, is also the Chair of The Kinsey Institute’s Student Research Grants Committee (Disclosure: I am often one of several independent reviewers). The Committee has just posted its call for grant proposal applications. Grad students, check it out – it’s a very competitive process, but worth applying (I think): Continue Reading →

Are Men More Attracted to Tall Women with Small Feet?

New Scientist reported on a very interesting study that addressed issues of male and female attraction to people based on body part size such as height, foot size, wrist size and more. Instead of just showing research participants photos of people with large feet or small feet or what have you, they did something pretty interesting: Continue Reading →

Clelia Mosher: Sex Pioneer

Before there was Alfred Kinsey, there was Clelia Mosher, a Stanford professor who interviewed women about their sex lives beginning in the late 1800s. Her interview data weren’t published in 1980 when they were discovered by a scholar who was surprised at this early look at female sexuality. This made news again recently (maybe a month ago?) though it came to my attention this week when I was working on a paper and cited her work. [Stanford Alumni Magazine] Continue Reading →

Sex, Pittsburgh and Me in June

This June, I’ll be co-presenting at the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists annual meeting. Together with a colleague, we’ll be sharing the results of a large scale nationally representative study of sexual behavior that we recently conducted in the United States. As described in the AASECT newsletter, the study involved about 6000 men and women ages 14 to 94, making it one of the most expansive studies of sexual behavior across the life course. The study was conducted by a large team of us and you can look out for more specific results this Fall, so stay tuned. [AASECT] Continue Reading →

Have a Dog or Cat? Like Sex? Take This Survey.

Although I often write about sexuality issues, you may  know that my primary job is as a sexuality researcher at Indiana University. While much of my work relates to women’s sexual health, couples and pleasure, I’m currently working on another issue: the sex lives of people with pets (yes, that’s our dog in the photo). Read on and please consider participating! Best,




Our research team at The Center for Sexual Health Promotion is conducting a study about the sexual lives of women and men who lives with dogs and cats. Although there is a fair amount of research that has examined people’s sexual experiences after they have children, little is known about women’s and men’s sexual lives after they adopt a pet. Continue Reading →

I Was Involved in Two Sex Discoveries in 2009 That Made People Blush

Another piece of excitement happened earlier this week when I learned that 2 of the “9 Discoveries That Made Us Blush in 2009″ were studies conducted by our research team at the Center for Sexual Health Promotion. The first was our study of women’s and men’s vibrator use (we found that more than half of women and nearly half of men had used a vibrator, findings that later found their way into a New York Times article and Jay Leno’s opening monologue). The second blush-worthy discovery was I study I conducted about women’s and men’s attitudes toward women’s genitals. In it, I learned that women who feel more positively about vulvas and vaginas are more likely to find it easier to orgasm and to have an annual gyn exam. Oh, and also men tend to feel  more positively about women’s genitals… Continue Reading →