Featured Science articles

Women: Does Orgasm Give You A Hangover?

Medusa, with live snakes for hairResearch reveals lingering postcoital cycle in women

In 2011, UK researchers released an interesting survey of postcoital symptoms in women. It didn't fit the standard script about how sex and orgasms transform women into glowing, satisfied beings or eager, contented lovers. Researchers noted,

Despite a wealth of evidence from specific internet sites and forums suggesting that irritability, crying and mood swings after sex seem to be common in females and males, to date no scientific study has tried to explore the nature of the phenomenon. ... Reports from female sufferers describing their condition suggest that [postcoital symptoms] can occur after sexual intercourse, both with and without orgasm.

The Wages of Sexual-Addiction Politics

Did addiction politics leave us stranded on a slippery slope?

Time for a radical rethink

Ever wonder why the brains of pathological gamblers, food addicts and video-game addicts have been studied, yet no one has studied the brains of porn addicts? We've certainly wondered—especially as one often hears the claim that the absence of studies is "proof" that porn addiction/sex addiction is a myth (even though clients and patients are increasingly complaining of being hooked on both).

Recently, we learned why brain-science research on porn and sex addiction is practically nonexistent.

Supersize Orgasms?

Super size friesIs hammering the brain’s desire circuitry a good idea?

A drug that makes you not only able but eager and willing isn't going to remain the exclusive property of the severely impaired. As with Viagra, there will be extensive off-label use.—Julian Dibbell, The Observer

"What Do I Do with This Surplus?"

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Submitted by Marnia on

man with a surplus of sexual energyA male friend, pictured here, said my book needed to address this question, so here's an excerpt from the new book that does so. Feel free to add your comments to the end of the article.

One reason people often believe that orgasm is purely a beneficial outlet is that it seems to solve the problem of too much sexual energy—or perhaps too much semen if you’re male. This impression seems irrefutable, in part because wet dreams are a natural phenomenon of adolescence. It’s logical to assume that the body is making extra semen that has nowhere else to go.

Oxytocin Revisited

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oxytocin bottleIn recent years scientists discovered that oxytocin – best known for its role in labor contractions1 - was also the neurochemical behind apparent monogamy (in prairie voles) and emotional bonding between parents and children, friends and lovers. An experiment showed that it increases the attraction between familiar mates (in hamsters), but not between unfamiliar potential mates. 2

What Do the Marriage Experts Tell Us?

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couple in bedDuring a chat at a social event with a geology professor at an eminent university we discussed whether the neurochemistry of mating is behind the fragility of intimate relationships. He thought not, and sent me to two books on marriage, which he said supported his views.

The Mathematics of Marriage

The Mathematics of Marriage[1] is a recent team project, published by MIT, inspired by a mathematician. I had read about the related study suggesting that one can predict divorce from the ratio of positive to negative behaviors in the discussions of newlyweds, but not about the theoretical basis of the study. I was not surprised to discover that the real indicator of compatibility is a mate's basic perception of his/her partner. Mates who perceive their partners as basically good people, tend to see negative behaviors as temporary and explained by external factors, while people who perceive their partners as basically flawed, tend to see the positive behaviors as temporary and explained by external factors.

Yesterday's Genes

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Submitted by Marnia on

ChantekChantek is a smart, lovable orangutan who lives at the Atlanta zoo. Trained in sign language, he has a vocabulary of more than 150 words, and he is considered a decent artist. …