The GAY (MAN)ual – 100 Things Every Man Should Know #1

How To Roll Up Your Sleeves… In Style

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What: A Button-Down Shirt

Maybe it’s because I’m still 23, but there are few sartorial pleasures more sensual than slipping on a crisply pressed, finely fitted dress shirt at the break of dawn. And the more formal shirts, like the ones with French cuffs — worn exclusively with cufflinks — gives you that nice feeling like you’ve become part of the bourgeois~~

But back to reality. Since occasions to wear nice shirts like that are far and few between, let’s focus today on the here and now: how to look good and feel equally comfortable in every-day button-down shirts. Contrary to what some people may think, good style and practicality can go hand-in-hand. Rolling up your sleeves is practical when you’re about to engage in some sort of physical activity but it can also be utilized to achieve a casual-chic look that looks dapper for a man of any age.

When: 1. Practical Necessity — Washing your hands, doing heavy lifting where the wrists and forearms are strained, or working on something dusty are all perfectly normal reasons to pull back the shirt sleeves. Anytime your sleeves might get in the way or dirty or caught in a moving part — roll ‘em up. 

While the appropriateness of rolled sleeves varies by workplace, generally, anytime you’re in a place where there is direct sunlight, rolled sleeves are acceptable. They’re also nice when you work or live inside a place where the temperature fluctuates a great deal, as it’s nice to be able to roll them down when the A/C’s blowing on you, and roll them up when the room gets stuffy.

2. Casual Attitude — As a purely stylistic expression, rolled sleeves mostly serve to “dress down” something that would otherwise be too formal/dressy for the occasion. For example, upon leaving the office for a less-formal work function or social gathering, men with their jackets off and their sleeves rolled up is a classic “Happy Hour” style. A collared shirt with rolled up sleeves is also a popular look for men out at clubs and bars over the weekend. And when in charge of a meeting or hosting a party, it’s a great way to signal to others that it’s okay to not worry about formalities.

How: The Two-Step Method

1. Flip the cuff back past your elbow.

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2. Take the bottom of the inside-out portion and fold it up until it traps the bottom of the cuff.

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That’s It!

Here’s a diagram for those who are still confused:

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The final look should be something like this:

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or this:

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but not this: 

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The best part rolling up your sleeves this way is two-fold (pun intended): it leaves less creases and when you want to unroll the sleeve, you simply grip the exposed tip of the collar and pull it down. No more unrolling sleeves like a caveman.

Sources:

http://www.blacklapel.com/thecompass/rolling-up-your-shirt-sleeves/
Images: http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m69depeIMG1r3wlbi.jpg, yesstyle.com, gq.com
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How Can I Make My Life More Efficient?

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.—Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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Use The Minimum Effective Dose

The minimum effective dose (MED) is defined simply: the smallest dose that will produce a desired outcome. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, learn a new language, study for a final, or trying to achieve a goal, knowing the minimum effective dose is the key to doing it efficiently and effectively.

Here are some examples:

To boil water, the MED is 212°F (100°C) at standard air pressure. Boiled is boiled. Higher temperatures will not make water “more boiled.” Higher temperatures will just consume more resources that could be used for something else more productive.

Anything beyond the MED is wasteful.

If you need 15 minutes in the sun to trigger a melanin response, 15 minutes is your MED for tanning. More than 15 minutes is redundant and will just result in burning and a forced break from the beach. During this forced break from the beach, let’s assume one week, someone else who heeded his natural 15-minute MED will be able to fit in four more tanning sessions. He is four shades darker, whereas you have returned to your pale pre-beach self.

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In the context of body redesign, there are two fundamental MEDs to keep in mind:

To remove stored fat → do the least necessary to trigger a fat-loss cascade of specific hormones. To add muscle in small or large quantities → do the least necessary to trigger local (specific muscles) and systemic (hormonal) growth mechanisms. Knocking over the dominos that trigger both of these events takes surprisingly little.

For example, for a given muscle group like the shoulders, activating the local growth mechanism require just 80 seconds of tension using 50 pounds once every seven days. That stimulus, just like the 212°F for boiling water, is enough to trigger certain prostaglandins, transcription factors, and all manner of complicated biological reactions.

If, instead of 80 seconds, you mimic a Men’s Fitness magazine routine—say, an arbitrary 5 sets of 10 repetitions—it is the muscular equivalent of sitting in the sun for an hour with a 15-minute MED. Not only is this wasteful, it is a predictable path for preventing and reversing gains. The organs and glands that help repair damaged tissue have more limitations than your enthusiasm. The kidneys, as one example, can clear the blood of a finite maximum waste concentration each day (approximately 450 millimoles per liter). If you do a marathon three-hour workout and make your bloodstream look like an LA traffic jam, you stand the real chance of hitting a biochemical bottleneck.

Again: the good news is that you don’t need to know anything about your kidneys to use this information. The bottom line is: More is not better. Indeed, your greatest challenge might be resisting the temptation to do more.

It’s something worth thinking about.

Source:

The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman

Fitness for Geeks: Real Science, Great Nutrition, and Good Health

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Does Gay Sex = Anal Sex?

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There are many stereotypes concerning the sex lives of gay men, but just how accurate are they? One of the most prevalent stereotypes is that anal sex is the primary (if not only) sexual activity that gay men practice. Do the terms top, bottom and versatile –as ubiquitous as they are in gay culture – accurately portray the sexual preferences of all gay men? And with the advent of apps like Grindr, Jack’d, Scruff and Manhunt in recent years, the amount of anonymous bareback sex must be at an all-time high, right?

According to the most recent research, the answer is a resounding No.

A 2011 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine reported on the sexual behaviors of a national U.S. sample of 24,787 gay and bisexual men recruited online. In the survey, participants were asked to describe the details of their most recent sexual event with a male partner.

Here are the results: 

The single most commonly reported behavior was kissing on the mouth (74.5%), followed closely by oral sex (72.7%) and mutual masturbation (68.4%). Contrary to popular belief, only about one-third of men in the sample reported engaging in anal sex (37.2%). Of those individuals who engaged in anal sex, about half reported that they used a condom.

And while we’re on the subject of anal sex, what percentage of straight men do you think have engaged in anal sex at least once? 5 percent? 10 percent? 25 percent? According to the CDC’s (U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention) National Health Statistic Report, 44 percent of straight men and 36 percent of straight women have engaged in anal sex at least once in their lifetime. I never knew anal sex was so common among the straight crowd. Is this the new fad for birth control or something?

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In terms of where the sexual behavior occurs, only a very small minority of participants reported that their sexual activity took place in what would be considered a public setting (3.1%) and the vast majority had sex in their own home or in their partner’s home (77.7%). In addition, 37% reported that sex occurred with a boyfriend or dating partner, and 17% indicated a friend. Thus, for most of the men in this study, their most recent partner was well known to them and was not anonymous. But if you look at it another way, that also means 46% (close to half of all men in the study) engaged in sexual activity with someone they didn’t know personally in their last sexual encounter. That seems like a lot, but it would be interesting to see how this compares to their heterosexual counterpart. (Although I haven’t found any studies, I’m sure hook-ups occur quite frequently between straight people too).

In summary:

The results of this research counteract many of the common stereotypes about the sex lives of gay men. While it is certainly true that some gay men have anonymous anal sex in public places without a condom, this is certainly not what all or even most gay men do. Gay sex does not always equate with anal sex, and only 37 percent of respondents reported having participated in anal sex during their last encounter.

Finally, one caveat in this study, I should mention, is that the survey was conducted by Indiana University with the collaboration of Manhunt Cares, the research arm of the social networking site Manhunt (which caters to men seeking other men, most often for sex). Most, if not all of the participants in the study were recruited through users of Manhunt so they not a representative sample of the larger gay and bisexual population. 

Sources:

Rosenberger, J. G., et. al. Sexual behaviors and situational characteristics of most recent male-partnered sexual event among gay and bisexually identified men in the United States. Journal of Sexual Medicine. (2011)

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr036.pdf

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Does The Clothes You Wear Influence People’s Behavior?

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Clothes really do make a difference.

Today, I’ll focus on clothes and the color red: Red conveys energy, passion, and sex. It makes men more attractive to women. It makes women more attractive to men. The abstract from one of the studies explains:

In Experiment 1, men who viewed an ostensible conversation partner in a red versus a green shirt chose to ask her more intimate questions. In Experiment 2, men who viewed an ostensible interaction partner in a red versus a blue shirt chose to sit closer to her. These effects were observed across participants’ perceptions of their own attractiveness (Experiment 1) and general activation and mood (Experiment 2). Our findings suggest that red acts as a basic, non-lexical prime, influencing reproduction-relevant behavior in like manner across species.

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and another:

We demonstrate that women perceive men to be more attractive and sexually desirable when seen on a red background and in red clothing, and we additionally show that status perceptions are responsible for this red effect. The influence of red appears to be specific to women’s romantic attraction to men: Red did not influence men’s perceptions of other men, nor did it influence women’s perceptions of men’s overall likability, agreeableness, or extraversion. Participants showed no awareness that the research focused on the influence of color. These findings indicate that color not only has aesthetic value but can carry meaning and impact psychological functioning in subtle, important, and provocative ways.

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For those who hitchhike: 

In a different study, researchers found that wearing red helps hitchhikers get picked up. Women who were wearing red solicited a higher response in the number of male drivers who stopped to offer them a ride. Unfortunately,  the same effect could not be replicated with female drivers.   

For athletes: 

According to Hill and Barton’s study, published in the prestigious science journal Nature in 2005, athletes dressed in red had a measurable advantage. This was particularly the case with Taekwondo, where competitors who were assigned to be on the red side or team won 57 percent of all match-ups.  They found similar results for boxing as well, with boxers wearing red gloves and red shorts having a 55 percent victory quotient.

I think it’s pretty clear what we need to do now: Go out and buy some red clothes!! 

Sources:

“Red, rank, and romance in women viewing men.” Journal of Experimental Psychology. (2010)

“Red and romantic behavior in men viewing women.” European Journal of Social Psychology. (2010)

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v435/n7040/abs/435293a.html

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/col.20651/pdf

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Politics of Homosexuality: Can Men Stop Being Gay? What About Women?

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These days, nothing seems to polarize a crowd faster than the issue of sexual orientation (other than gun control). Religious fundamentalists believe homosexuality is a matter of choice made consciously by people. The opposite side argues that gays are “born this way,” and thus any effort to change their orientation is ineffective, not to mention cruel and demoralizing.

Gays Are Not Born this Way (Sort of)

From a strictly technical and somewhat pedantic standpoint, gay people aren’t really “born that way” in the sense of having same-sex attractions from the moment of birth. Sexual orientation cements around puberty, and according to Gerulf Rieger, a sexual orientation researcher at Cornell University, “it is quite possible that there are several influences on forming a homosexual orientation.” Genes do appear to contribute, but so do other factors, including a fetus’ level of exposure to certain sex hormones in the womb, and possibly early life experiences.

Some of the newest evidence that has come out of researching the human genome suggests that the gay gene simply does not exist. Scientists who worked on the Human Genome Project hypothesize that homosexuality is not written in our DNA sequence itself, which explains why they have failed so far to find any “gay genes,” despite intensive investigations. Instead, they believe it is written in how our genes are expressed: that is, in certain modifications to how and when DNA is activated. “It’s not genetics. It’s not DNA. It’s not pieces of DNA. It’s epigenetics,” says Sergey Gavrilets, a researcher at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS). Epi-marks regulate the expression of genes according to the strength of external cues, such as hormone levels. In other words, genes are basically the instruction book, while epi-marks direct how those instructions get carried out. They can determine, for example, when, where, and how much of a gene gets expressed.

If Sexual Re-Orientation Was Possible, How Would It Be Done? (Hint: you can’t pray it away, obviously)

To date, there have been no verified cases of formerly gay people completely ridding themselves of same-sex attraction. However, some new research suggests that it does appear possible for some people who are predisposed to same-sex attraction to expand their sexual repertoire – develop attractions for opposite-sex partners and even opt for the opposite sex exclusively.

Heather Hoffmann, a professor of psychology who chairs the neuroscience program at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, affirms that “highly motivated people can change their behavior, and they can clearly change their label.” Hoffmann’s research has demonstrated that sexual arousal is subject to Pavlovian conditioning, the method of repeatedly pairing one stimulus with another until, eventually, the first triggers an expectation of the second. Her work shows that both men and women can be conditioned to become sexually aroused by exposure to a cue, such as an odor or an object.

It Never Fails, Go Watch Fu*king Quails 

Sexual experiences affect our arousal patterns by altering what activities or features of sexual partners arouse us. But can we ever be conditioned to become aroused by members of our non-preferred sex? In one experiment, male quails were hormonally altered so as to allow other “sexually naive” (virgin) male quails to have sex with them. After this learning experience, the latter group of quails maintained a sexual preference for males, suggesting that they were being sexually oriented through learning. However, their natural predilection for females was not lost: Another experiment showed it was much easier to reorient those male quails toward females through “reverse learning” than it was to try and reorient males who had already had sex with females toward other males.

Another example that captures this phenomenon quite well is the Sambia tribe of Papa New Guinea. If you’ve ever taken a class on human sexuality or anything similar, you’ve probably learned or read about the interesting ritual that Sambian males participate in. The tribe engages in a unique ritual meant to transform boys who are considered feminine into fierce, strong, male warriors. They believe that in order for a boy to become a man, he must first be brought up on mother’s milk and nurtured by her until the age of 7 or 8. At this point, in order for the boy to reach puberty, he needs to continue drinking milk, but from this point forward, from a man. The boy is taken away from their mother and lives communally with other boys until the age of 17 or 18. In this exclusive community, pre-pubescent boys fellate post-pubescent boys until they climax and drink their ejaculate. Once they reach puberty several years later, they switch roles where they are fellated by younger boys. One would think that engaging in this type of homosexual behavior for so many years before and after puberty would make all Sambian men gay, but that obviously does not happen (otherwise the tribe would become extinct). Once the older boys leave the community, they find a girl, get married and live completely heterosexual lives thereafter! This demonstrates two important things. First, it shows that sexual orientations are indeed malleable and can be manipulated to a certain extent. But at the same time, when given the opportunity, both humans and quails revert back to their “default” orientation.

Women: Fluid Sexuality Or Merely Bisexual?

As in many areas of sexuality, research on women’s sexual arousal patterns has lagged far behind men’s, but the limited research on the subject does suggest that, compared with men, women’s sexual arousal patterns may be less tightly connected to their sexual orientation.

To examine sexual arousal differences in men and women, researchers at Northwestern University measured the psychological and physiological sexual arousal in homosexual and heterosexual men and women as they watched erotic films. They were shown three types of erotic films: gay porn (featuring only men), lesbian porn (featuring only women) and straight porn (featuring male and female couples). As with previous research, the researchers found that men responded consistent with their sexual orientations, i.e., gay men found gay porn to be the most sexually arousing. In contrast, both homosexual and heterosexual women showed a bisexual pattern of psychological as well as genital arousal. In other words, heterosexual women were just as sexually aroused by watching female erotica as by watching male erotica, even though they prefer having sex with men rather than women. This explains why most women with same-sex predispositions report better success adjusting to heterosexual lifestyles than gay men do, but switching to a “straight” identity doesn’t mean that their former attractions are wiped completely. Hoffmann reiterates, “sexual fluidity is more of a broadening of your attraction pattern rather than erasing your original pattern. I think men may have this capacity, too, but I think it may be more prominent in women.” 

Conclusion:

It is currently still unknown whether some combination of Pavlovian conditioning, learning processes and hormone therapies could enable truly motivated individuals with a same-sex predisposition to adapt to heterosexual lifestyles, whether for religious, cultural or personal reasons. Will there be a day in the near future where some clinical therapy will be developed for sexual re-orientation?

Perhaps.

Sure, we may one day be able to condition ourselves to become aroused to the opposite sex, but is this something we really want? Why is it so hard to accept peoples’ differences? Why should my moral character be immediately diminished based on who I love?  

If only more people would realize that our energy is better spent trying to reduce the misunderstanding, discrimination, and hostility that exists towards homosexuals instead of focusing on trying to change an aspect of our humanity that may very well be immutable, I think the world would be a slightly better place to live in. 

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Sources:

Hoffman, H. “The Role of Classical Conditioning in Sexual Arousal.” The Psychophysiology of Sex. (2007)

Schachtman , T.R., & Reilly, S. “Hot and bothered: Classical conditioning of sexual incentives in humans.” Associative Learning and Conditioning Theory: Human and Non-Human Applications. (2011)

http://www.canyons.edu/faculty/labriem/psych230/sexdifferencesinspecificitysexualarousal.pdf

Rice, W.R., et. al. “Homosexuality as a Consequence of Epigenetically Canalized Sexual Development” The Quarterly Review of Biology. (2012)

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How Can You Be More Attractive Without Actually Doing Anything?

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Have A Decoy.

Whether it be digital cameras, puppies, restaurant entrees, cosmetics or love, we all view things relative to the things around it. Take the image above for example; this graphic depicts the illusion of relativity. Although the circles in the middle are the same size, (you can measure them if you don’t believe me) when placed within the smaller circles on the left the circle seems bigger than when it is placed within the larger circles on the right.

Dan Ariely explains relativity from Predictably Irrational:

When Williams-Sonoma first introduced a home “bread bakery” machine (for $275), most consumers were not interested. What was a home bread-making machine, anyway? Was it good or bad? Did one really need home-baked bread? Why not just buy a fancy coffeemaker sitting nearby instead? Flustered by poor sales, the manufacturer of the bread machine brought in a marketing research firm, which suggested a fix: introduce an additional model of the bread maker, one that was not only larger but priced about 50 percent higher than the initial machine. Now sales began to rise (along with many loaves of bread), though it was not the large bread maker that was being sold. Why? Simply because consumers now had two models of bread makers to choose from. Since one was clearly larger and much more expensive than the other, people didn’t have to make their decision in a vacuum. They could say: “Well, I don’t know much about bread makers, but I do know that if I were to buy one, I’d rather have the smaller one for less money.” And that’s when bread makers began to fly off the shelves.

But enough with bread makers. Let’s now take a look at relativity and how a decoy would work in a completely different situation.

What if you are single, and want to appeal to as many attractive potential dating partners as possible? Simple: Bring a friend who has your basic physical characteristics but is slightly less attractive than you. People tend to compare things with one another but they also tend to focus on comparing things that are easily comparable – and avoid comparing things that are dissimilar. So if you’re Asian, 5’8”, slim build, and upscale-casually dressed, bring along another friend who is also Asian, around 5’8”, has a similar body-type, and slightly less well-dressed. If your best friend happens to be Caucasian, 6’2”, muscular, and wearing a sports jersey, he’ll do you no good. Why? Because the folks you want to attract will have a hard time evaluating you with no comparables around. However, if you are compared with a “you (-1),” the decoy friend will do a lot to make you look better, not just in comparison with the decoy but also in general, and in comparison with all the other people around.

There. Look awesome with no extra effort on your part.

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And now that you know this secret, be careful: when a similar but better-looking friend of the same sex asks you to accompany him or her for a night out, you might wonder whether you have been invited along for your company or merely as a decoy.  –Dan Ariely

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Where’s A Great Place to Find A Date?

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The Gym. Seriously. 

Why? Here’s some background:

The technical term is “misattribution of arousal.” In one study, heterosexual men walked across either a very high and unstable suspension bridge (an anxiety-inducing experience) or a bridge that was closer to the ground and wasn’t scary at all. In the middle of the bridge, each man was approached by an attractive female research assistant, who gave them a survey to fill out. Upon completing the questionnaire, she provided the man with her phone number and asked him to give her a call later that night if he had any questions about the study. It turned out that the men who walked across the shaky bridge were much more likely to call the woman than the men who walked across the stable bridge.

What’s happening? When the men who crossed the safe bridge saw the research assistant, most of them looked at her and saw just that, a studious research assistant. But for the men who crossed rickety, unstable bridge, anxiety and adrenaline translated into a heightened romantic interest in the assistant. 

In a more related study, male participants were asked to run on a treadmill for either a few minutes or a few seconds. Afterward, they rated their degree of sexual and romantic attraction toward a female college student they observed in a video. Results indicated that the men who exercised longer were more attracted to the woman than the men who did not get their blood pumping as much. That is, when there are competing explanations for the arousal (you aren’t sure if your heart is pounding because you just exercised or because you just met someone really hot), people seem to err on the side of attributing it to the new person. Wonderful.

So get out there, work up a sweat, and approach that hot guy or girl who is equally working hard. You’re more likely to make a stronger first impression than somewhere more sedated and they might even make the mistake of attributing some of the arousal from the workout to you! Plus, going to the gym is like killing two birds with one stone. You get in better shape, which increases your overall physical attractiveness and there’s the added bonus of potentially finding a date. Just go already! 

To learn more about how (irrationally) our minds work and how to take advantage of them, I recommend these two great books: Predictably Irrational and The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home.

Sources:

Dutton, Donald G.; Aron, Arthur P. “Some evidence for heightened sexual attraction under conditions of high anxiety.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, (1974)
White, G. L., & Kight, T. D. “Misattribution of arousal and attraction: Effects of salience of explanations for arousal.”  Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, (1984)
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Do You Really Know What You Desire In A Romantic Partner?

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No, not really.  

Saying things like “looks don’t really matter to me” or “it’s his character and personality that really counts” has become  commonplace nowadays. But what people say they want and what they actually want are often two very different things when it comes to romantic attraction. We tell our friends and family and even to ourselves what we value in a romantic partner but study after study show that those preferences don’t accurately predict who or what they are actually attracted to.

To investigate this further, researchers from Northwestern University and Texas A&M University measured whether people’s implicit preferences for physical attraction matched what they consciously stated or thought. The test they used was similar to the one developed at Harvard called the IAT, or the Implicit Association Test. These tests try to examine thoughts and feelings that exist either outside of our conscious awareness or outside of conscious control through quick, reflex-type inputs.

To describe the task briefly, a word would pop-up on the screen and the participant’s task was to categorize that word into one of two categories, things they thought was important or things they thought was unimportant at a lightning pace so that their conscious mind would have little time to affect their answers. So synonyms of “physical attractiveness” (like chiseled abs or broad shoulders) with other words that they happen to like, such as Britney Spears, or fried chicken, or romance novels would come up on the screen and they would use two keys on the keyboard to quickly sort through the list of words as quickly as possible.* The people who performed well on this task have a strong implicit preference for physical attractiveness, and it just so happens that most people do have a moderate to strong preference for physical attractiveness.

In most cases, people’s consciously stated attitudes and preferences predict their corresponding behavior quite well. But when it comes to attraction, people’s implicit and unconscious preferences seem to do a better job. So I guess it’s possible to delude ourselves to a certain extent, but our unconscious side is not swayed that easily. 

Bottom line: Most people still want sexy partners, despite what we might say. 

*If you had a hard time understanding my explanation, just go take one of the tests yourself. It’s pretty straightforward. And the results might be quite interesting.

Source:

Eastwick, Paul., et. al. “Implicit and Explicit Preferences for Physical Attractiveness in a Romantic Partner: A Double Dissociation in Predictive Validity.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, (2011)

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Is Having Sex Early In The Relationship Harmful in the Long Run?

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Keep reading below.

A new study published in The Journal of Sex Research concludes that the sooner a couple starts having sex, the lower the quality of their relationship. And not surprisingly, media outlets are quick to pick up these findings and publish headlines along the lines of “First-Date Sex May Harm Couples. or “How Leaping into Bed Harms Relationships

This study, conducted by researchers at the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University (your BS meter should be on high alert at this point)* asked participants in an online survey about when they started having sex with their partner and completed several measures of relationship functioning (e.g., satisfaction, communication). Participants were then lumped into one of four groups based upon timing of first sex: Predating Sex (hooking-up before becoming a couple; 9.9%), Early Sex (sex on the first date or two; 35.5%), Delayed Sex (sex after a few weeks; 47.9%), and No Sex (couples who were still abstaining; 6.6%). Results revealed that people who waited longer to have sex scored the highest on all measures of relationship quality. Based upon these findings, the authors concluded that dating couples who have sex therefore have “poorer” outcomes than couples who abstain and that timing of sex represents an important “turning point” in the relationship.

But is this really the case? 

What every single media failed to report was that the average levels of satisfaction, communication, and commitment were high for both men and women no matter when they started having sex. For instance, looking at relationship satisfaction, which was rated on a scale ranging from 0 to 12 in this study, the midpoint for this scale was 6, which means that anything above that represents satisfaction and anything below that represents dissatisfaction. For women, those who had sex in the first month had a satisfaction score of 7.9, while those who waited six or more months had a score of 8.5. For men, the numbers were 8.2 and 8.5, respectively. Thus, average levels of satisfaction were high for all groups. 

So where is the “harm” and all of the “unhappy” couples? There aren’t any, at least in this study. Indeed, the people in the survey who delayed sex in their relationship were happier, but that does not mean people who had sex sooner were unhappy. This study simply does not provide any evidence that abstaining from sex is a better recipe for success than having sex whenever you and your partner feel most comfortable.

Will jumping into bed sooner truly hurt your chances at a lifetime of happiness? No. Just do it when you’re both comfortable.

*If you didn’t already know, Brigham Young University is a Mormon-controlled university. Mormons aren’t allowed to have sex before marriage so it’s no surprise that studies like this support their irrational doctrine through more legitimate and scientifically accepted methods. Unfortunately for them, I could sense their bias from a mile away.

Sources:

Willoughby, B. J., Carroll, J. S., & Busby, D. M. Differing relationship outcomes when sex happens before, on, or after first dates. The Journal of Sex Research (2012)

Sassler, S., Addo, F. R., & Lichter, D. T. “The tempo of sexual activity and later relationship quality,” Journal of Marriage and Family (2012)

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Book Recommendation #2

A Billion Wicked Thoughts

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Humans Are A Real Pain in the Ass To Study

The best way to study something is through direct observation. But finding people who are willing to have scientists poke and prod at them during sex or disclose their deepest and darkest desires to them are few and far between. Radio waves may be invisible, but they don’t try to deceive curious physicists and they’re incapable of self-deception. Humans are guilty of both.

Enter, The Internet

With a visit to an adult video site like Xtube, you can see more naked bodies in a single minute than what a normal person would see in their entire lifetime in real life. And since we no longer have to interact with anyone to obtain erotica, women who fell too mortified to be seen in an adult video store are finally empowered to explore their erotic interests in privacy and comfort. Gay men who were previously isolated in rural neighborhoods can now pursue a hook-up without leaving their chair. Billions of people around the planet are free to satisfy their most secret erotic desires by thinking, clicking, and typing—all while remaining cloaked by the anonymity of the Internet.

But then how do we observe people’s sexual activities on the Web if they are indeed anonymous? The fact is, our online behavior is rarely untraceable;  we leave behind a trail of digital footprints everywhere we go on the internet. Let’s say, for example, you did a search for Taylor Lautner’s abs in Google Images and then browsed for dress shirts on Express’s online store. Don’t be surprised if Groupon sends you an email telling you of a great round-trip deal to San Francisco. (They know you’re gay. I mean, no heterosexual man would look at another guy half-naked and then nonchalantly go online shopping for clothes) Or, have you recently searched for “ways to reduce smell of weed” after posting on Facebook how stupid the English homework assignment is? Facebook will show you ads of sites promising “Quality Vaporizers with Free Shipping!” (They know you’re probably an underage, spoiled, stoner looking to get high in your parents’ home with your friends without getting caught) The point is that search engines and social media know a lot about us, in fact, maybe a little too much…but that’s great news if you’re a researcher!

The authors of A Billion Wicked Thoughts attempt to analyze this untapped goldmine of information and apply psychological and sociological research to try and answer these questions: What turns us on? How does it differ from your friends or the person living in Japan or Norway? Or does it even differ? Why is what we desire so diverse yet so predictable? A fascinating read for those who are sex geeks like me. It’s a clever, entertaining and informational book worth reading.

Reviews:

“I am 42, married for 16 years and learned more about women and men’s differences by reading this book than I did in 16 years of marriage. I found it fascinating. This book could be a dangerous weapon in the wrong hands!”  – Bernie

“Smart, readable and handles even the most bizarre fetishes with both humor and respect.”  -Salon.com

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