Here’s a recap of what we talked about on this week’s Legit Sex Science Show on Periscope and Facebook Live (Tuesdays, 11am-1pm New York time), with info and links to all the sex research studies and sex toys we discussed. And if you’d rather watch Dr. Zhana than read here, the Periscope replay is at the bottom of this blog post! Make sure you follow Dr. Zhana on Periscope (@DrZhana) or Facebook (@ZhanaVrangalova).
Sex Research News
For Experienced Practitioners, BDSM Linked to Flow States and Decreased Stress
- Is BDSM (bondage/discipline, sadism/masochism) really all that scary and strange when compared to vanilla sex? Not according to this study!
- In this study, 14 experienced practitioners of BDSM were randomly assigned to the role of top (person who dominates) or bottom (person who’s submissive). They then engaged in that top/bottom play and rated how they felt afterward.
- Findings showed that people in both roles said that they got into mental states associated with “flow” — feeling like you’re really in the moment and totally focused on the here and now, which is generally associated with psychological wellbeing. One of those states was transient hypofrontality, where the frontal cortex, which is responsible for judgment and evaluation and critical thinking, is less active. (Which basically, validates the long-held claims by BDSM practitioners of entering “subspace” or “domspace”.)
- Unsurprisingly, engaging in topping/bottoming also decreased stress levels and negative emotions, and increased sexual arousal!
- The takeaway? What happens in BDSM isn’t that different from what happens in sex in general. This news isn’t earth-shattering, but it does support the hypothesis that (consensual) BDSM is cool, healthy, and can put you in the state of flow, baby!
Should You Talk to Your Ex or Not?
- Is talking to your ex something that might have a negative effect on your current relationship?
- In this study, 46 undergrads in romantic relationships who regularly talked to their exes were asked to complete a three-week-long daily diary of former partner communication and satisfaction with current and former relationships.
- Findings showed that talking to exes was detrimental for the current relationship ONLY for people whose self-esteem was wrapped up in the previous relationship. And not only did talking to exes decrease current relationship satisfaction, it also bolstered former relationship satisfaction.
- The takeaway? For people whose self-worth is wrapped up in a prior relationship, talking to that ex can be bad for the new relationship.
Rodriguez, L. M., Wickham, R. E., Overup, C. S., & Amspoker, A. B. (2016). Past and present, day by day: Communication with former romantic partners, relationship-contingent self-esteem, and current relationship outcomes. Journal of Research in Personality.
The Benefits of a Growth Mindset vs. a Fixed Mindset About Sex
- Do you think that good sex a product of sexual compatibility between partners OR of putting in time and effort? A series of 6 studies published together found that the expectations people have for what makes good sex affects how good their sex is!
- Some people have a “fixed” mindset about sex: It’s like destiny, you and your partner/s are either made for each other and are a good fit sexually, or you’re not. Others have a “growth” mindset: They think that sex takes work, and that if you put in time and effort, you’re bound to have good sex.
- Across all 6 studies, people with a growth mindset had more satisfying sex lives and relationships than people with a fixed mindset. And this was especially visible when people faced conflict with their partner/s about their sex lives, such as discrepancy in how often they wanted to have sex–the growth people said let’s put in the work, and the fixed people said we’ve hit a wall, let’s give up.
- The takeaway? Believing that good sex takes work is more beneficial for your sex/love life than believing it’s all about innate compatibility, because as soon as you reach a stumbling block (which is almost inevitable!), you’ll have the tools to overcome it. Interestingly, this doesn’t just hold true for sex–we know from research on intelligence that when people have a growth mindset about things, they accomplish more. So, go forth and grow!
Maxwell, J. A., Muise, A., MacDonald, G., Day, L. C., Rosen, N. O. & Impett, E. A (in press). How implicit theories of sexuality shape sexual and relationship well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
Sex Toys/Products Highlights
Fun Factory Share
The first toy we talked about today is the Fun Factory Share, my favorite dildo for pegging. The Share comes in black and pink and has two parts: a harness-free dildo that can go inside a vagina or an ass, and an internal part that can go inside a vagina. I love this toy–it’s silicone, super snug, and of course, bodysafe! You can wear it on its own or with a harness for extra support.
My favorite harness to wear with the Share is the Aslan Leather Jaguar. It’s super comfortable and incredibly durable: I’ve had it for almost a decade and it’s still as good as when I first got it.
Get both the Share and Jaguar now at my favorite sex store The Pleasure Chest with free shipping (to most countries) for all orders over $75! Or if you live in NYC, LA, or Chicago, check out one of their gorgeous stores and do some in-person shopping! They also have amazing sex education workshops you might want to check out.
The other toy I highlighted this week was the Lelo IDA, made by the great Swedish toy manufacturer, LELO. The IDA is a remote-controlled couples vibrator that’s designed to hit both the g-spot and the clit. Both the top and bottom vibrate, so you get all that yummy internal and external stimulation. Ladies, what could be better?
You can use the IDA on its own or with a penis inside, and you can also put it in your butt–this works especially well if you have a prostate. And the remote control allows you to hand off control to your partner if you so desire… so come on, be adventurous!
Like almost all LELO toys, the IDA is made of high-quality silicone that is body safe and pleasant on your skin, and it’s also waterproof and rechargeable. Just make sure you use plenty of water-based (not silicone-based) lube with all your silicone toys.
Get it now at Lelo.com and remember to use the DRZHANA discount code for 20% off and free shipping on all your purchases! And throw in some of LELO’s water-based lube while you’re at it.
Why do I have a hard time ejaculating during sex?
It’s hard to know what’s causing your own particular dilemma, but very often when men say they have a hard time cumming during sex but not while masturbating, their inability to cum from sex has to do with the way they masturbate! Often men squeeze their dicks too hard and stroke really really fast, which is not something a vagina can replicate. If this is the case with you, a sex therapist would tell you to change the way you masturbate, loosen your grip and go a bit more slowly. Perhaps even refrain from masturbating for a few days. You could also consider masturbating with a Fleshlight, which replicates the environment of a vagina much better.
Until next time,
— Zhana Vrangalova PhD (@DrZhana) October 25, 2016