6 new things scientists discovered about sex & relationships in 2019

Why are women are less likely to watch porn? Can open relationships really work? Thanks to new research we now know the answers to these and other intriguing questions

08 December 2019 - 00:00 By Sanet Oberholzer
No glove, no love.
No glove, no love.
Image: 123RF/Roman Samborskyi

1. Gender, sexual orientation and the desire to form lasting romantic relationships determine the sexual risks young adults are willing to take

Heterosexual men are more likely to agree to unprotected sex despite being aware of the associated risks. They also prefer more passive tactics when it comes to negotiating the use of condoms. 

Heterosexual women are more assertive and employ tactics such as withholding sex to avoid unprotected sex. 

Of the three groups studied, the third (which includes gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men) tend to be more open to discussion about condom use and averse to confrontational tactics.

Source: Journal of Sex Research, March issue

2. Women are better at judging whether or not a man will be unfaithful.

Women are more capable of judging whether or not a man is likely to be unfaithful simply by looking at his face. Men are capable of assessing other men's likelihood of cheating but less capable of spotting a woman who is likely to cheat.

Source: the journal Royal Society Open Science, April issue

3. Men are more likely to be sexually aggressive if they frequent bars and parties.

The combination of alcohol and the setting in which the drinking takes place increases the number of aggressive tactics employed by men against women. The group of 1,000 college men studied were found to favour sex without commitment and numerous sexual partners.

Source: Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, April issue

Men are more likely to choose the meat option on a menu when sexually motivated, say researchers.
Men are more likely to choose the meat option on a menu when sexually motivated, say researchers.
Image: 123RF/sonjachnyj

4. Men who are sexually motivated are more inclined to want to eat meat.

Men in three different experiments were more likely to choose a meat option when they were feeling sexually motivated. The explanation is simple. Historically, when looking at evolutionary history, meat was hard to find and difficult to prepare. As such, it was a way for men to show off to women, increase their desirability to potential mates and provide them with nutrients and strength.

Source: Food Quality and Preference Journal, June issue

5. Stigma, not a lack of enjoyment, keeps women from watching porn.

The female brain responds to pornography in the same way that the male brain does. Women do not derive less pleasure from watching porn when compared to men; they are simply less inclined to watch porn because of the social stigma attached to doing so. 

Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

6. People in monogamous and open relationships have better relationships.

Open communication and higher levels of mutual trust between partners in monogamous and open relationships mean that they are less lonely, less psychologically distressed and more sexually satisfied than people in partially open relationships in which couples have mixed attitudes towards monogamy, and one-sided relationships in which only one partner wants to be monogamous.

Source: Journal of Sex Research, October issue