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.

For Couples: Dealing with Mismatched Libidos

iStock_000023453813LargeOne of the most consistent challenges of marriage and long-term monogamous relationships are mismatched libidos. Research psychologist, Robert Epstein, Ph.D., estimates that in many couples the issue is so extreme, that approximately 40 million Americans face the challenge of a sexless marriage.

For most people, sexual pleasure is a highly individualized experience. Because of that individualized experience, it’s not realistic that a couple is going to be in sync with each other 100% of the time. But beyond basic differences in the sexual needs of each partner, external pressures can negatively impact a couple’s ability to maintain a healthy sex life over a long period of time. Stress, anxiety, children, and even boredom can all impact a couple’s sex life.

The first step to addressing the problem of mismatched libidos is developing and showing empathy toward your partner’s side. Getting a sexual needs met by someone you are angry isn’t exactly a turn on. Understand that there is frustration on both sides of a mismatch, and talking respectfully about the experiences of each partner can take some pressure off. Acknowledging the problem in a non-judgmental manner is crucial to resolving it.

Next, create a space for non-sexual intimacy in the relationship. Sometimes it is difficult for one partner to engage physically because they fear that any physicality will have to lead to sex. In fact, most sex therapists prescript a strict “no sex!” rule for the first six weeks of sex therapy in order to get couples in a sex rut to explode others forms of touch and other erogenous zones. Don’t rush through things, and remember that intimacy doesn’t have to be sex! Feeling comfortable with physical intimacy is essential for a healthy sex life, and can jumpstart a transition back into a sexual relationship.

One company that understands this is Hello Cheri. A new brand of adult accessories for your love life, Hello Cheri believes that intimacy and physicality come in all styles. They want to help you to improve your romantic life, whatever form it might take.

Hello Cheri provides an entire line of scented massage oils and handmade massage stones. For those not ready to rush back into sex, these are a wonderful place to start, and a low-pressure way to be physical with a partner. Massaging builds intimacy and, importantly, sexual tension, and can help reduce stress surrounding physical engagement. Adding small touches like a scented candle can easily change the mood of a room, and help your partner relax and engage.

Communication and physicality are two large steps towards reconciling mismatched libidos, but sometimes couples do need professional advice. The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists is a phenomenal resource for locating trained therapists with the knowledge to help you develop a sexy health life. Meanwhile, don’t be afraid to discuss intimacy with your partner and find ways to explore physicality that make you both comfortable!


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FOR SINGLES: Is His Interest Genuine, or Just a Way to “Get Some”

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Is he really into you, or is he just there to GET SOME? This is the oldest question in the history of the human species, because, as women know too well, often men are happy to just have sex– without all the hard work of developing a lasting long-term relationship.

There is only one surefire way to tell if he’s truly into you or if he’s just leading you on for sex, and that’s to delay the onset of sex. If he’s just looking for a one-night-stand (or week, or month-long), he’s going to move on and find a woman who he can just have sex with. If he’s looking for more than that, he’ll stick around to prove it to you. The good news is that we’ve actually EVOLVED to test men to see if they are going to stick around to raise a baby, or if they are just looking to pollinate (so to speak). So trust your instincts, and watch the video below to learn more.

Great Sex, Bad Relationship. Here’s Why.

stockvault-grunge-warning-sign---less-hate-more-lov133326She texts too much. He disappears sometimes. Why does he/she freak out when I just need space? It’s the most common relationship mis-match, the partner who feels squeamish with too much closeness is attracted to the contact junkie. And the strange thing is, the sex is always hot, hot, hot.

Attachment style is one of the most misunderstood, and easily managed relationship problems. But before you can change the uncomfortable pattern, you need to understand your own role in the chase/retreat pattern.

First of all, we all have a unique attachment style. It is part biological and part early childhood experience. Some people are more worried and anxious about relationships and fear abandonment, thus most of their behaviors are designed to vigilantly watch for signs of a break up and to try to elicit attention from their partner. Their behaviors might include:

• Too many texts, calls, and emails.
• The silent treatment – pretending to ignore calls to try to get the partner to pursue more.
• Clock watching. Counting the minutes and hours between contact.
• Unexplained anger – Threatening a break up or breaking up and getting back together a lot.
• Invoking Jealousy – Flirting with other people.

Other people easily feel smothered. Too much closeness makes them activate behaviors designed to create some distance:

• Creating a Stale Mate – Staying together without moving to the next level of commitment.
• Looking at Deal Breakers – Rationalizing your lack of commitment by focusing on your partner’s small flaws.
• Keeping a back up mate
• Being a Houdini with a great disappearing act when things are going well (especially after great sex)
• Dating unavailable partners – people who are married or long distance
• Being vague and foggy in conversations. Leaving out important details. Keeping secrets.

Here’s the good news: When people who are “anxious” mate with someone who is “avoidant,” the sex is usually off the charts.In fact, great sex is the thing that often keeps them coming back. That’s because, under it all, they both crave the intimacy that they can’t tolerate. So, it’s this fear mixed with excitement that causes the sexual passion.

Here’s the bad news: If left unchecked, these kind of relationships are filled with all kinds of pain. Interestingly, anxious/avoidant pairs can last for many years and decades, super glued by the unhealthy cycle of intensity followed by loss. They stay bonded but they don’t stay happy. In the next few blogs, I’ll give you some tips for how to manage this kind of painful roller coaster relationship.

WATCH: What To Do if Your Date Disappears

FOR MEN: What She Won’t Do In Bed With Hot Guys

Attracting-Hot-WomenIf you’re a regular single guy with a warm heart and an average face you probably know that sex with a woman is a joy, a pleasure, and maybe even part of a relationship that brings all kinds of emotional benefits. And if the relationship is new, or STD tests haven’t been done on both of you, I’m sure you’re using condoms. She insisted on it, right? Because she does that with every guy, right?


A new study in the Journal of Health Psychology called, The Role of Men’s Physical Attractiveness in Women’s Perceptions of Sexual Risk, showed a startling fact. Women are less likely to insist that a man put on a condom when he is especially attractive. Clearly, this is a dangerous practice, considering that the hotter a guy is, the more sexual opportunity he has, (read: potential to be exposed to more germs) and if most women who sleep with hot guys are also not insisting on condom use, then it doesn’t take a math genius to see that hot guys can be one big populated petri dish.

Here’s why this should matter to you. While it’s true that women have a much higher risk of contracting an STD, as they are the ones who accept the deposits, so to speak, most men don’t know that when they do contract an STD, it often has absolutely no symptoms at all. Without a condom, you can become the carrier to the whole female species. Take Chlamydia, for instance, one of the most common STD’s. Not a lick of a symptom in most men. Yet this pesky bacteria is the most common sexually transmitted disease and can cause infertility in women.

Light bulb going off yet? Fast forward a decade long after you and that hot girl blow up to the point where you debate putting some revenge porn online (By the way, that’s illegal now.) But now you’re happily nesting with a good woman, you’re got a secure financial life, a new house and the only thing left are little guys to throw a ball with. Imagine learning than that you accidentally gave your wife the STD that caused her to be infertile?

Just saying.

FOR COUPLES: Are You in a Sex Rut?

Couple sitting up in bed, both looking away   Original Filename: couple.jpgProbably the biggest problem that long-term committed couples present to a certified sex therapist is something called a “high desire/low desire dynamic.” In plain speak that means one partner wants sex way more than the other. There are two areas that sex therapists and relationship counselors look at when determining a treatment for this kind of sex rut, physical and emotional.

Emotional issues in a relationship commonly play out in the bedroom. Seething anger will kill a sex drive faster than anything. Before the physical can be addressed a therapist will guide couples through the relationship dynamics that could be affecting their sexual communication. Talk therapy can help couples learn some better ways to express their feelings, gain some effective conflict resolution skills, and even work on time management, can go a long way to improving a couple’s sex life.

As for the physical side, the most common thing that happens to couples is that they learn to play each other’s instrument so well that they go down to plucking one string. Every couple has a go-to position and a go-to set of arousal techniques. The problem is, exciting sex requires novelty. A sex therapist would advise a couple to move the sensation out of the genitalia and back out to every other part of the body. The prescription would be simple: No sex for six weeks. This takes the pressure off the partner who’s being hounded and sets up a nice obstacle that can lead to arousal. The world’s most powerful aphrodisiac is the word “no.”

Finally, the couple would be asked to perform a series of sensate focus exercises over six weeks, where they begins with hand holding and exploring every crevice of each other’s hands, to foot massages, back massages, and finally on week six, a return to the family jewels. Games like this can actually trick the body into thinking they have been given a new toy.


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