Category Archives: Sex

A look at the biology, psychology, and sociology of human mating and sexuality in America. Blogs include sexual orientation, gender differences in sexuality and culture-bound practices.

Why Men Stray More than Women (And How to Prevent Cheating)

cheater-quiz-mainIt is estimated that 65% of divorces occur ?because of an extra-marital affair. And, despite the sexual revolution and the reduction of the “double standard,” more men still cheat than women. Now science shows us why this gender imbalance might exist.

First, there could be a genetic link. Swedish researchers recently identified an “infidelity gene,” which is present in four of 10 men. This gene can explain why some men are more prone to stormy relationships and bond less to their wives or girlfriends. However, it’s important to remember that biology is not destiny. People born with genetic predispositions to say, heart disease or obesity, make lifestyle adjustments that compensate for the negative gene.

Continue reading Why Men Stray More than Women (And How to Prevent Cheating)

Is Marriage Becoming Extinct?

stockvault-happy-family124699The shape of our families is changing. People are marrying for the first time later in life, and the divorce rate is soaring, giving way to many single parent households. Single life is no longer a short rite of passage; it’s an important consumer demographic. For the first time in history (since the immigration of mostly male, early settlers), almost half of adult Americans are now unmarried. There’s even a magazine devoted to the lifestyles of those who have made a commitment to be single. It includes ads for commitment rings to purchase for oneself.

But has love changed? Has committed love been replaced by a revolving door of dates? Is long-term monogamy even necessary for our species’ survival? The answers are complicated. Marriage may be changing, but it will never go out of style.  In case you’ve been living under a rock, there’s a fight going on right now in America to allow more people to be granted marital rights.

Marriage may not be going away, but its purpose has shifted. Historically, marriage was a place for women and children to have economic protection. It was a place where religious values could be taught and extended to the next generation, and a place where family fortunes could remain intact. More recently, marriage became a place for a relatively new invention: romantic love. But since dating and hooking up have morphed into America’s favorite pastime, full of hopeful highs and disappointing lows, even romantic love is losing its luster.

So why choose marriage today? Because it is an intellectual decision that leads to survival of the species. Anthropologists have always said that it was human’s sophisticated social structures, including the adoption of long-term monogamy, that help our species procreate and thrive.

Humans are the animals that require a huge amount of nurturing for our psychological and physical survival, more than virtually any other animal on earth. While most newborns are up on four legs and running with the herd just hours after birth, we Homo sapiens have a vulnerable in-arms (or stroller) phase that lasts almost four years. And it’s really, really hard to nurse and carry a baby while extracting resources from the environment. Just ask any single mother. Doable, yes, but very difficult. Remember the mission: to grow up healthy and create offspring that are also healthy and ready for careers and parenthood.

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Family therapists know that dysfunctional family systems eventually fall out of evolution’s chain. Each generation has fewer and fewer offspring that survive through the next procreation, until the family line finally dies off. Apparently, neglectful parenting can create drunk drivers, criminals caught in crossfire, hermits, drug addicts, and narcissists too selfish for parenting — all people with lower chances of reproducing. But let me make one thing clear before I get inundated with e-mails about this: I am IN NO WAY SAYING that all single mothers create dysfunctional families. What I am saying is that every time one factor is removed from a system that has been selected through evolution, the chances for dysfunction increase. Plenty of single mothers are raising healthy kids with the help of extended family, surrogate male role models, and friendship villages that act as a de facto family. And this is part of our changing family structure.

Evolution has shown that our best chances for survival and for the survival of our offspring’s offspring is a team approach to raising humans. And the best team captains are people who have a biological interest in the child. And to create that, we need to sometimes put the notion of romantic love aside and make an intellectual decision to do what’s best for our genes, ahem, I mean kids.

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How to Make Your Relationship Happier

Research has led some couples astray. Couple Fights in BedIn plenty of studies, couples who are happier also have more sex. Knowing that finding, it would make sense that having more sex should lead to increased feelings of happiness. But it turns out that having sex specifically to improve feelings of well being in a relationship more often back fires. Instead unhappy couples were left feeling tired and less interested in sex.

The truth is, happy people have more sex, and if you want to know how to make your relationship happier, there are many factors, unrelated to the bedroom, that can help. To name a few:

• A firm work/life boundary (cell phones off at home)

• Regular exercise (love those endorphins)

• Less isolation (more friends and family at the table)

• Music

But are there things that science tells us couple can clearly do more of to increase relationship satisfaction? Turns out there are two big ones: Frequent kissing and hugs of long duration. Surprisingly, frequency of kissing is linked to better relationships even more than frequency of sex. And, long bear hugs, the kind where bodies melt into each other, seem to help us release a dopamine in the brain.

So, if you’re relationship is in the doldrums, forget about high-pressured sex. Instead, turn off technology, and snuggle together for a cozy hug.

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Dr. Patti Britton: A Sex Positive Coach

Dr. Patti ImageI know. Who really sees a sexologist, right? Apparently plenty of people. I mean, if there are doctors for our mental health, our nutrition, our physical health, why not a doctor who specializes in our sexual health. That’s why I invited pioneering sexologist and sex coach, Dr. Patti Britton to join the  Love Lab LIVE! (Santa Monica, April 18th.) At the show you’ll be able to ask Dr. Brittain anything about sex, but here’s a sneak peak at her specialty.

DR. WENDY: As a sexologist, what would you say your most important role is?

DR. PATTI: I hold the space for my clients to discover who they truly are as sexual beings. I like to call it “Sexual Self Realization.” I am a clinician, coach, educator, trainer, speaker and advocate for positive sexuality. What I love most is coming from the sexological perspective: sex positive, client-driven, depathologizing, empowerment-based, whole person centered, seeing the center of a person’s life–the sexual component– like a bulls eye in which when they heal the sexual patterns, they heal the whole self, and embracing what is; we don’t ever get rid of parts of ourselves we learn to manage them. I work primarily in a modality I created, known as MEBES: Mind, Emotions, Body/body image/behaviors, Energy and Spirit.

DR. WENDY: What is the most common sexual problem presented in your practice?

DR. PATTI: I work with over 46 different sexual concerns, but I like to specialize in these four: Older virgin males; sexless couples; pre orgasmic women and Boomers. I host an Internet radio show with my partner, Dr. Robert Dunlap, co founder of Sex Coach University, known as “TheBoomDoctors.com” where we talk about all things related to the lives of Boomers, including sex.

DR. WENDY: If there is only one thing that a couple can do to improve their sex lives, what would that be?

DR. PATTI: Touch. I find that most people are touch deprived; sex is more than just mechanics and sometimes moving into sensual touch is the key for reconnecting with their own sexual expression. I wrote an Idiot’s Guide to Sensual Massage in which I talk about the Touch Continuum, and deconstruct for clients and students how important is touch and what those 5 different types and levels of touch mean. I’ll have more to say, at Love Lab LIVE!

DR. WENDY: Dr. Patti will be taking your question live at Love Lab LIVE! on Saturday, April 18th at The EDYE Theater in Santa Monica, California. Get your tickets here.

DR. WENDY WALSH IS AVAILABLE FOR TELEPHONE RELATIONSHIP COACHING. TO SCHEDULE, PLEASE CLICK HERE AND COMPLETE THE BOX ON THE LEFT. SHE’LL PERSONALLY RESPOND.

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WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT LOVE AND SEX? GET 50% OF MY ONLINE WORKSHOP “THE PSYCHOLOGY OF HUMAN MATING” USE PROMO CODE “LOVE 50” CLICK HERE

A Conversation About Sexual Consent

Married couple having an intimate discussionA national conversation about sexual consent has begun. In recent decades the concept of sexual consent has bogged down courts and left campus officials scratching their heads as lawmakers struggle to define the line between unlawful sex and “buyer’s remorse,” (as too many police officer’s, sadly, define date rape.) We all clearly recognize a rape when it occurs in a dark alley with a stranger and a weapon. But far more often, rape happens with someone we know. In fact, it can happen with someone we really like. When unlawful sex is preceded by consensual touching causing aroused bodies or the consensual sharing of alcohol or drugs, that line between sexual assault and permissive sex becomes terribly blurry.

But the good news is this. Sexual consent now has a clear definition and laws are finally catching up. A new law in California, for instance, states that in order to have sex on any California college campus that receives State funding, both sexual partners must give verbal or written consent. Lawmakers hope that if people talk about sex — their boundaries and their expectations — before they have sex, we’ll see a reduction in reports of date rape. I’ve always been one to vote for honest words before coitus. I mean, if you two aren’t intimate enough to talk about sex, you probably shouldn’t expose your eggs or your bloodstream to that partner.

As we continue this public conversation about what constitutes legal or illegal sex, let me outline the five rules for sexual consent:

1. YES MEANS YES. In fact “yes” is the only word that means yes. Silence isn’t consent. Moaning and smiling isn’t consent. “I think so” isn’t consent. “Maybe” isn’t consent. The words, “Yes, I want to have sex with you” are the only thing that counts in a court of law. And “NO” really does mean no. It should never be used as foreplay to help preserve a woman’s reputation.

2. BOTH PARTNERS MUST GIVE CONSENT. Ladies and gay men, listen up. Just because a guy has a throbbing flag pole does not mean that he wants to have full on intercourse with you at that very moment. An erection is not consent. Both partners, no matter their gender or orientation must give verbal consent.

3. YOU CANNOT GIVE CONSENT IF YOU ARE UNDER THE INFLUENCE of drugs or alcohol. All these conversations about sex have to take place before the first drink is poured.

4. CONSENT FOR ONE ACT DOESN’T MEAN CONSENT FOR ANOTHER ACT. I know. It gets a bit awkward here. Just because someone consents to kissing, petting or even oral sex, does not mean they are consenting to intercourse. It’s important to get verbal consent at every stage, even if that means a little coitus interruptus along the way. One solution is to have a spicy conversation about expectations at the onset.

5.  IT’S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO KNOW YOU HAVE CONSENT. Ignorance of the law is no excuse. Just like you can’t tell a traffic cop you didn’t know there was a speed limit, you can’t tell a jury that you didn’t know she had to verbally say yes.

The best solution of all? Establish emotional intimacy and trust long before you hit the hay. And have a sexy conversation when you are fully clear headed. Then enjoy some great consensual sex.

DR. WENDY WALSH IS AVAILABLE FOR TELEPHONE RELATIONSHIP COACHING. TO SCHEDULE, PLEASE CLICK HERE AND COMPLETE THE BOX ON THE LEFT. SHE’LL PERSONALLY RESPOND.

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WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT LOVE AND SEX? GET 50% OF MY ONLINE WORKSHOP “THE PSYCHOLOGY OF HUMAN MATING” USE PROMO CODE “LOVE 50” CLICK HERE

FOR MORE ON THIS TOPIC, WATCH MY GOOGLE HANG OUT WITH LEGAL EXPERTS ON SEXUALITY: How to Get Legally (and consensually) Laid.