You might think that not much has been learned about relationships and sex in the past, oh, million years – but it turns out scientists are still studying and learning a lot about our most carnal act every day. From our standards for our partners to that oh-so-nice feeling after a good ol’ fashioned romp… here are 5 new findings about sex (and dating) from the last decade.
1. Women are happier with less attractive men.
Maybe all those CBS shows about schlubby leading men with hot wives were onto something: A 2017 study out of Florida State University found that in successful relationships, the woman is generally more “aesthetically gifted” than her partner ? and that women are happier with less attractive men.
In the survey, a group of 113 newlywed couples were rated on their individual looks. The researchers found that if the male was less attractive than his wife, he was much more likely to compensate with gifts, sexual favors and doing chores around the house. Unsurprisingly, that lead to higher marital satisfaction for the wife.
2. If your ex wants to be friends, they might be a psychopath.
The next time your ex asks “can we still be friends?” you might want to be wary. In 2016, researchers from Oakland University in Michigan found that people with the so-called “dark triad” personality traits ? like narcissism and psychopathy ? often keep their exes around for calculating, self-serving purposes.
A desire for continued sexual access, financial help or a need to still exert some control over a former partner were among key reasons for maintaining contact, especially for men, according to the study.
3. We might be in the middle of a millennial “sex recession.”
In December 2018, the Atlantic ran a cover story with a hyper-dramatic headline: “The Sex Recession: Why Young People Are Retreating From Intimacy ? And What This Means For Society.” Drawing on a 2017 study led by psychologist Jean M. Twenge and data from the General Social Survey (GSS), the story suggested that today’s young adults are on track to have fewer sex partners than members of the two preceding generations.
People in their early 20s were two-and-a-half times as likely to be abstinent than Gen Xers were at that age, the story said, and 15% reported having had no sex since they reached adulthood.
4. Most of us are trying to date out of our league.
Swipe right, even if you’re doubtful that Chris Hemsworth lookalike will do the same for you. According to a study published in August 2018 in the journal Science Advances, users of online dating sites spend most of their time trying to contact people out of their league.
Researchers reviewed thousands of messages exchanged on an unnamed “popular, free online-dating service” between nearly 200,000 straight men and women.
After a month of careful observation, they found most online daters tend to message people exactly 25% more desirable than they are (with desirability determined by how many messages a user received during the month).
5. That sexual afterglow you feel after sex lasts 48 hours.
You’re generally in a better mood after sex, thanks to a flood of endorphins and other feel-good hormones released post-climax ? aka, sexual afterglow.
In 2017, researchers from Florida State University found that the positive effects of getting laid last up to two days ? and that the feeling can help couples bond over time.