FOXSexpert: Ridiculously Obvious Sex Studies of 2008

You don’t say. We fielded a number of studies this past year that warranted that response. Research findings were published all over the place that didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know. But since sex sells, they became some of the year’s biggest headlines.

So, just like in 2007, here’s a rundown of the ridiculously obvious sex findings of 2008 ...

Attractive people probably have more sex.

Researchers at the University of Durham in Britain found that your face says it all. If you’re hot, people make the assumption that you get a lot of action. In looking at photographs of faces, most men and women were able to accurately judge whether the person would be a safe bet for a committed relationship or fling. Men whose faces were more “masculine” and women whose faces were more “attractive” were rated as likelier to have casual sex.

Unplanned pregnancy affects her quality of life.

Pregnancy is a tough adjustment — even when it’s planned. So imagine our lack of surprise when research in the September issue of Contraception found that 94 percent of sexually active women who don’t want to get pregnant wouldn’t feel as healthy if they got pregnant. Researchers concluded that unintended pregnancy has adverse effects on a woman’s quality of life … Really?

Porn as sex educator.

A study conducted by the Austrian Institute for Sexual Education found that over half of Austrian male youth rely on pornography for sex information. Not surprising, given the prevalence of porn. It’s also not a jaw-dropper that using porn as a resource has given both male and female youth a warped idea of what sex is.

She’s good to ride horses.

Research conducted by Dr. Shaheen Alanee and colleagues at the University of Minnesota found that horseback riding is not associated with female sexual dysfunction. Good to know, though I would’ve rather seen a study exploring how riding horses can benefit a gal’s sex life...

Methamphetamine use makes for risky sexual behaviors.

Chances are, if someone using drugs is having sex, then it is risky sex to begin with. Substance abuse has long been associated with risky sexual behaviors, so is it any wonder that research in the Journal of School Health found that using methamphetamine is associated with risky sexual behaviors and adolescent pregnancy?

He said/she said.

As if we didn’t know the genders don’t see eye to eye on sex ... Research in the College Student Journal found that men are more likely to think that oral sex is not sex, while women felt that such intimacy was very much sex. On the matter of cybersex, men did not regard it as cheating, while women did. Finally, men thought that the frequency of sex drops in a marriage, while women thought that it stays high.

It’s okay to pressure her.

It’s a sad reality that society has been grappling with forever. But still, it hurts to hear that research out of Sheffield University in England confirmed that teen boys think that it’s acceptable to pressure girls into sex — and to use alcohol in that effort.

Condoms make for less pleasure.

People are always complaining about having to use condoms. Researchers at the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University found that women who used condoms, whether solo or with other hormonal methods, reported decreased sexual pleasure. The article in Sexual Health also reported that those who relied upon only a hormonal contraceptive were less likely to attribute any decreased sexual pleasure with their method.

Investigators concluded that a decrease in sexual pleasure would make these women less likely to use condoms consistently. Any sex educator on the front lines could’ve told them that. Duh!

Ugh! It’s Brad and Jen all over again.

An investigation conducted at Queen’s University Belfast found that sexual infidelity was more upsetting for men, whereas emotional unfaithfulness was more distressful for women. It was also found that men think that women have sex when they’re in love. You’re kidding? Hmmm ….

Intra … what?

Survey results published in the September 2008 issue of Contraception found that over 60 percent of 14- to 24-year-old females had never heard of an IUD — intrauterine device. This isn’t mind-blowing given most youth do not receive education on any contraceptives, period. Researchers concluded that women who are sexually active should be educated about IUD use – shocking. Of course, one also has to ask, why we should leave those who aren’t currently sexually active in the dark …

Abstinence-only programs do not delay the onset of intercourse.

In a Sexuality Research and Social Policy review of 56 studies assessing the impact of comprehensive, STD/HIV education, and abstinence-based sex education programs, most of these programs did not delay the initiation of sex.

Comparatively, about two-thirds of the comprehensive sex education programs showed a positive effect on young people’s sexual behavior, including delaying the loss of virginity and increasing condom and contraceptive use. Imagine: people are more likely to use contraceptives when they are taught how to use them.

A study to be published in the January issue of the journal Pediatrics draws a similar conclusion.

Such data wouldn’t have be such a broken record if it weren’t for the many states opting for ideology over scientific findings when it comes to in-school sex education.

It’s all in your head.

Sex is a mind-body-soul experience, with your brain being your biggest sex organ. Sexologists have been saying that for years, especially in helping people to understand sexual disorders. Yet this past year, we actually saw the publication of an article titled “Cognitions, emotions, and sexual response: Analysis of the relationship among automatic thoughts, emotional responses, and sexual arousal.”

Published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, this Portuguese study reported that men’s concern over erection negatively correlated with sexual arousal. For women, lack of erotic thoughts and failure to control intrusive thoughts were found to impact their sexual response.

Parents want comprehensive sex education.

For decades, parents have declared that they want their children to get information that protects them from pregnancy, HIV, and STDs. A study in the April issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health once again found that nine out of 10 parents want their children to be educated on both contraception and abstinence.

Perhaps the only somewhat surprising news is that even parents who were Catholic, born-again Christian, or “politically very conservative” largely wanted their children to receive comprehensive sex ed, according to the study.

Dr. Yvonne K. Fulbright is a sex educator, relationship expert, columnist and founder of Sexuality Source Inc. She is the author of several books including, "Touch Me There! A Hands-On Guide to Your Orgasmic Hot Spots."

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