How prevalent is heterosexual anal sex? No one knows. Anal sex has long been considered taboo—and in some quarters, still is—so people may not be honest when surveyed about it. But since the early 1980s when receptive anal intercourse was identified as a key route of HIV transmission, research into anal sex, including heterosexual anal, has increased substantially, and all credible evidence suggests that hetero-anal has become increasingly popular.
Psychologists have identified three reasons why people have sex: procreation, sexual pleasure, and to strengthen the bonds of relationships. But University of Texas at Austin researchers have discovered more reasons—234 more.
Psychologists Cindy Meston and David Buss surveyed 442 people, aged 17 to 52, asking just one question: “Please list all the reasons you can think of why you or someone you have known has engaged in sexual intercourse.”
The myth is that men and women have very different motivations for sex. An old saying about sex and intimacy illustrates this: Women have sex to become intimate. Men become intimate to have sex. There’s some truth to this. But surprisingly, in the Meston-Buss survey, eight of the top ten reasons why men and women have sex and 20 of the top 25 are remarkably similar:
Are you the parent or grandparent of hormone-crazed teens? Do you worry about their sexual responsibility? Pregnancies? STDs? AIDS? You can now relax a bit. A recent survey of sex in the U.S. involving more participants than any study in 20 years shows that compared with single adults of all ages, teens, age 14 to 17, are considerably more likely to use condoms every time they have intercourse.
This comes from the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior conducted by researchers at the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University (where Alfred Kinsey launched modern American sex research in the 1940s). The new report surveyed 5,865 individuals, age 14 to 94, of whom 800 were under 18. The results are surprising.
Down through the ages, women have used a number of herbs in hopes of increasing the size of their breasts. A report in the medical journal Obsetrics and Gynecology reviewed the evidence and found no studies showing that any traditional breast-building herb performs as hyped. Of course, an absence of scientific evidence doesn’t not mean there’s clear evidence of no effect. Some of the herbs used to enhance breast size may, in fact, have more going for them than folklore.
Viagra ranks among the best-known brand names on earth, up there with Coca-Cola and McDonald’s. But in recent years, sales of Viagra have been going, well, flaccid.
As recently as 2007, Viagra controlled 62 percent of the U.S. erection-medication market, while Cialis ran a distant second at 26 and Levitra was just a blip on the radar at 12 percent. Since then, it’s not exactly clear what’s been happening to sales of erection medications. The companies that manufacture the drugs make contradictory claims. However, one thing seems certain. Cialis is gaining on Viagra, especially outside the U.S. Eli Lilly, maker of Cialis, says its drug is number one worldwide, though Pfizer, maker of Viagra, disputes this. Viagra is still the top-seller in the U.S., but its market share is slipping.
Almost 30 years ago, the AIDS epidemic made condoms a necessary part of sex in anything other than monogamous relationships. But traditional antipathy toward condoms never disappeared, and many people who want to use them don’t follow through, often because they fear their partner might be put off by condoms. However, a recent study shows that men are more open to condoms than many women believe.
Over the past 30 years, I’ve gotten this question fairly often. Since the 1980s when vibrators became a common sexual appliance, most men have considered them masturbation aides for women. Vibrators are, indeed, marvelous solo sex enhancers, but they can also add enjoyment to partner sex, and unfortunately, few men are into that.
Want to try an exciting erotic variation that’s easy, cheap, and not at all threatening? Then try playing with a blindfold in bed. As sex toys, blindfolds don’t hold a candle to the most popular toy, vibrators, but they offer wonderfully erotic sexual enhancement—especially (in heterosexual couples) when worn by the woman.
Many lovers enjoy the special closeness, emotional intimacy, and erotic intensity of intercourse with the man on top. But the according to a great deal of research, only 25 percent of women are consistently orgasmic in the missionary position no matter what size the man’s penis nor how vigorous or prolonged the intercourse.
A growing body of literature shows that for older adults, yoga offers subtle but significant sexual benefits. In a recent study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, Indian researchers surveyed the sexual functioning of 65 men, age 24 to 60, and then taught them yoga. After 12 weeks, the men rated their sexual functioning “significantly improved.” Now this was a small study, so it can’t be considered definitive. But it’s certainly intriguing.