There is perhaps no larger mystery in the science of human reproduction than the role of the female orgasm. Sensations of pleasure generally aren’t random and are usually the result of some evolutionary pressure driving us to engage in adaptive behaviours. When it comes to sex we know where babies come from, we know why mammals have breasts, and we know more than enough about erections and ejaculation but we can’t for life of us work out just what the role of the female orgasm is in all this.
What do you think of when you contemplate being intimate with your partner? Many would answer ‘sex’ or some variation on that theme. But romance researchers tend to look more broadly at intimacy than that, and with good reason. Good sex in long-term relationships rests upon a deeper, more full connection than ‘just’ sex, cuddling or romance. One useful model for thinking about what generates strong intimacy between partners has been..
Too fast or too slow (or not at all!) Premature ejaculation for men and anorgasmia (no orgasm) for women are the two most common sexual problems that plague a couple’s sexual experience. Anxiety is the root cause of both problems – the majority of the time. Ironically trying to do exactly what the problem is turns anxiety around slowing him down and speeding her up.
In movies, porn, and on the Internet, the message is that first-class sex involves spontaneous erections, intercourse, and orgasm, and is mind-blowingly wonderful. A great fantasy which has nothing to do with real-life couple sexuality. I tell my clients if they have Hollywood sex once a month, they beat 95% of American couples.
An intimidating expectation is that anything other than perfect sex performance (erection, intercourse, and orgasm for the man and orgasm, preferably during intercourse, for the woman) means there is something wrong with you or your relationship. By that definition there is something sexually wrong with most…
I just finished teaching an undergraduate Psychology of Human Sexuality course, filled with well over 100 interesting and interested college students. The vast majority of these students entered the course with a vast amount of misinformation about sex. In fact, a goal of my course is to help students evaluate the images and messages they have learned through the media (e.g., television, movies, and internet) against scientific information about sexuality.
Nowhere is the gap between media images and reality greater than in the realm of women’s orgasms. Media images (including porn images and mainstream movies) portray women as..
To understand why women have orgasms, let’s begin with a related question: Why do men have them?
In evolutionary terms, the answer is simple. The biological purpose of life is to reproduce life, to send one’s genes into the next generation. That can’t happen without insemination. However, insemination takes energy. Men must find and woo cooperative women, or if women are uncooperative, some men expend energy doing the despicable. The exertion required deters the toil. But men who feel motivated to inseminate gain a natural-selection advantage. So orgasm evolved to compensate men for their energy investment…
If you’re in a long-term relationship, you probably remember the early “honeymoon period”—those first few months when you couldn’t get enough of each other (and maybe couldn’t keep your hands off each other). But, if you’re like most couples, your sex life has changed between then and now. In fact, it’s likely that there are (more) times in your relationship when one of you wants to have sex, but the other is not in the mood.
In a new set of studies, my colleagues and I looked at how couples manage these situations when..
When we seek help for a mental health condition, we can expect to hear about various medications and treatment options, but what’s often missing from the conversation is any talk of lifestyle changes. In a recent University of Illinois study(link is external), about half of those with symptoms of mental illness reported that they failed to receive any wellness advice from their health care provider.
That’s a lamentable oversight because lifestyle changes things as simple as nutrition and exercise(link is external) can have a significant impact on quality of life for those dealing with…
I’ve always said that divorce resembles marriage. For example, I’ve found in my clinical practice that couples who’ve experienced consistent control struggles during their marriages tended to have extended post-marital legal battles for control. This control might manifest in lengthy, expensive fights over child custody, or certain assets. Some of these couples actually bankrupt themselves in a legal contest. In contrast, those couples that distanced during their marriages tended to fade rather than fight during the divorce process.
Obviously if a couple has decided to split, the marital issues were big enough to merit a divorce…
Most people know that communication is a healthy and necessary part of any sexual relationship. But let’s face it—sex is tough to talk about! Many people have never talked about sex openly in their relationship, so they don’t even know where to start. I’ve seen couples in my sex therapy practice who have been together for decades, but have never really had an in-depth conversation about their sex life.
My favorite way to teach couples to start communicating about sex is by using prompts. Prompts are simple, open-ended….