Most said they want to act on their desire someday. But do open relationships actually work?
- The study involved 822 Americans who were in monogamous relationships at the time.
- Participants answered questions about their personalities, sexual fantasies, and intentions to act on those fantasies.
- Research suggests practicing consent, comfort, and communication makes open relationships more likely to succeed.
Consensual non-monogamy fantasies<p>For the new study, published in <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-020-01788-7" target="_blank">Archives of Sexual Behavior</a>, researchers asked 822 people in monogamous relationships to:</p><ul><li>Describe their favorite sexual fantasy, defined as "mental images you have while you are awake that you find to be sexually arousing or erotic."</li><li>Select which themes apply to that fantasy, such as having sex with multiple people at the same time, experimenting with taboos, or engaging in a sexually open relationship.</li><li>Answer whether they intended to carry out these fantasies, and discuss them with their partner.</li><li>Complete assessments on relationship satisfaction, erotophilia and personality, as measured by the Big Five Personality inventory.</li></ul><p>The results showed that 32.6 percent of participants said being part of a sexually open relationship was "part of their favorite sexual fantasy of all time." More surprising is that, of that one-third, 80 percent said they want to act on this fantasy in the future.</p>
Pretzelpaws via Wikipedia Commons<p style="margin-left: 20px;">"The present research confirms the important distinction between sexual fantasy and sexual desire in that not everyone wanted to act on their favorite sexual fantasy of all time," study author Justin J. Lehmiller told <a href="https://www.psypost.org/2020/09/one-third-of-people-in-monogamous-relationships-fantasize-about-being-in-some-type-of-open-relationship-study-suggests-58102" target="_blank">PsyPost</a>. "This suggests that fantasies may serve different functions for different people."</p><p>Even though most participants said they want to act out their fantasy in the future, far fewer reported acting out sexual fantasies in the past. Other findings included:</p><ul><li>Men were more likely to fantasize about CNMRs.</li><li>So were people who scored high in <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erotophilia#:~:text=Erotophilia%20is%20a%20personality%20trait,ranging%20from%20erotophobia%20to%20erotophilia." target="_blank">erotophilia</a> and sociosexual orientation.</li><li>The psychological predictors of fantasizing about CNMRs differed from predictors about infidelity fantasies.</li></ul>
Do open relationships work?<p>A <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00224499.2019.1669133" target="_blank">2019 study</a> from psychologists at the University of Rochester suggests it <em>is </em>possible<em>, </em>but especially when both partners practice a trio of behaviors: consent, communication, and comfort — or, the Triple-C Model.<br></p>But the study also suggests not all forms of open relationships are equally viable. For example, people in one-sided CNMRs — where one partner stays monogamous, the other seeks outside sexual relationships — were nearly three times more dissatisfied in their relationships than the monogamous group <em>and </em>the consensual non-monogamous group.
Positive, romantic thoughts could produce positive, romantic outcomes while dating.
- Fear of rejection, self-doubt, and anxiety are just some of the obstacles humans need to overcome to make a meaningful, romantic connection with another person.
- According to a 2020 project by a group of psychologists at the University of Rochester (and the Israeli-based Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya), humans see possible romantic partners as a lot more attractive if they go into the interaction with a "sexy mindset."
- Across three separate studies, this team discovered that this sexual activation helps people initiate relationships by inducing them to project their desires onto prospective partners.
Being in a frisky mood improves your chances with potential romantic partners<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDQzNzk0OC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0Mjc3MDA5NH0.lwJquRq9_gTYX5c_2sRzCBfkyWldjMqCJig_kGCL1uA/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C6%2C0%2C98&height=700" id="f2719" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9a29ad6b50ff3868c867fd2d0a64b8aa" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="man and woman on date woman" />
The right mood could land you the right date, according to a new study.
Credit: BlueSkyImage on Shutterstock<p><a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-09/uor-ffm092320.php" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">According to a 2020 study</a> by a group of psychologists at the University of Rochester (and the Israeli-based Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya), humans see possible romantic partners as a lot more attractive if they go into the interaction with a "sexy mindset."</p><p><a href="https://www.sas.rochester.edu/psy/people/faculty/reis_harry/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Harry Reis</a>, professor of psychology and the Dean's Professor in Arts, Sciences & Engineering at Rochester, and <a href="https://www.idc.ac.il/en/pages/faculty.aspx?username=birnbag" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Gurit Birnbaum</a>, a social psychologist and associate professor of psychology at the IDC (Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya) have dedicated decades of their lives to studying the intricate dynamics of sexual attraction and human sexual behavior. </p><p>In <a href="https://www.rochester.edu/newscenter/relationships-uncertainty-are-you-really-in-to-me-323512/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a previous study,</a> the pair discovered that when people feel greater certainty about a romantic partner's interest, they put more effort into seeing that person again. Additionally, this study found people will rate the possible partner as more "sexually attractive" if they knew the person was interested in seeing them again.</p><p><a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-09/uor-ffm092320.php" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">For this project</a>, Reis and Birnbaum, along with their team, examined what would happen if a person's sexual system is activated by exposing them to brief sexual cues that induced a thought process that included the potential for sex or heightened attraction. </p><p>Across three separate studies, the team discovered that this sexual activation helps people initiate relationships by inducing them to project their desires onto prospective partners. </p><p><strong>Study one: Immediacy</strong></p><p>In the first study, 112 heterosexual participants (between the ages of 20-32) who were not in a romantic relationship were randomly paired with an unacquainted participant of the opposite sex. Participants introduced themselves to each other (speaking about their hobbies, positive traits, career plans, etc.), all while being recorded. </p><p>The team then coded the recorded interactions and searched for nonverbal expressions of immediacy (such as close proximity, frequent eye contact, smiles, etc.) that could indicate interest in starting a romantic relationship. </p><p>In the study, the team determined that the participants exposed to a sexual stimulus before the meeting (versus those exposed to a neutral stimulus) exhibited more immediacy behaviors towards their potential partners and also perceived the partners as more attractive and/or more interested in them. </p><p><strong>Study two: Interest</strong></p><p>In the second study, 150 heterosexual participants (between the ages of 19-30) who were not in a romantic relationship served as a control for the potential partner's attractiveness and reactions. All participants in study two watched the same pre-recorded video introduction of a potential partner of the opposite sex. They then introduced themselves to the partner while being filmed themselves. </p><p>The researchers found that the activation of the sexual system led to participants viewing the potential partner as more attractive as well as more interested in them. </p><p><strong>Study three: How it all ties together</strong></p><p>In the third and final study, the team investigated whether a partner's romantic interest could explain why sexual activation impacts how we view other people's romantic interest in ourselves. </p><p>In this study, 120 single heterosexual participants (between the ages of 21-31) interacted online with another participant who was actually an attractive opposite-sex member of the research team. This was a casual "get-to-know-you" kind of interaction. The participants rated their romantic interest in the other person as well as that person's attractiveness and interest in them.</p><p>Again, the team found that sexual activation increased a person's romantic interest in the other person, which, in turn, predicted that the other person would then be more interested in a romantic partnership as well. </p><p><strong>The takeaway: Positive, romantic thoughts could produce positive, romantic outcomes. </strong></p><p>The basis of this multi-study theory is simple: Having active sexual thoughts arouses romantic interest in a prospective partner and often leads to an optimistic outlook on dating. </p><p>"Sexual feelings do more than just motivate us to seek out partners. It also leads us to project our feelings onto the other person," <a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-09/uor-ffm092320.php" target="_blank">said Reis to Eurekalert</a>. </p><p>Reis goes on to explain, "...the sexual feelings need not come from the other person; they can be aroused in any number of ways that have nothing to do with the other person."</p>
A new study used artificial intelligence to analyze relationship data from thousands of couples.
- Artificial intelligence discovered key relationship predictors in psychology study of over 11,000 couples.
- The researchers utilized machine learning to find the best predictors of relationship success and failure.
- The study showed the survival of a relationship depends more on its quality than individual characteristics of the people.
Credit: Western University.
Surveys show three different types of couples who live apart together.
There are several things both men and women can do to actively boost low libido, according to research.
- Low libido, or sudden changes in your sex drive, can be overwhelming and cause embarrassment or shame, but this is a common problem that could have many different solutions.
- According to research, managing your anxiety/stress levels, maintaining a healthy diet and proper sleeping habits, and cutting down on things such as alcohol or smoking can all boost your libido.
- Low libido can have many causes (physical, emotional, medical, etc). If you find you are struggling with this and are not able to find a solution, consider consulting a doctor and/or sex therapist to discuss your concerns.
How to boost low libido in men<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzU1MDI1Ny9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2MDYxMTY5NH0._u7vEfRhfpTofFWLR6k9TQgR7XoCRI0PQSSC6XlEquA/img.jpg?width=980" id="55f3c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="6f283deba8e4978da62652c7823e03ba" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="man sitting on couch frustrated" />
Properly managing your stress and anxiety can boost libido in both men and women.
Photo by G-Stock Studio on Shutterstock<p>Struggling with low libido can feel isolating and embarrassing. However, according to a study linked in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 19 percent of participants reported a low libido at the baseline of <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article/91/7/2509/2656285" target="_blank">this testosterone study</a>.</p><p><strong>If a male is experiencing low libido, there are several things that could be causing it: </strong></p><ul><li>Physical issues such as low testosterone, prescription medications, alcohol, and drug abuse</li><li>Psychological issues such as depression, stress, relationship tension</li><li>Outside factors such as problems at work, a death in the family, emotional turmoil</li></ul><p><strong>Talk to your partner about what you're experiencing. </strong></p><p>Low libido can be incredibly difficult to talk about with your partner, especially if it's causing problems in the relationship, but it could give you support and help you find alternative ways to connect until you find an answer. </p><p><strong>Check your hormone levels and your health with a doctor. </strong></p><p>According to WebMD, around 28 percent of men with low testosterone also struggle with low libido. Having low or decreased testosterone levels can impact more than just your sex drive, as testosterone plays a few important roles in the body. Testosterone <a href="https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/understanding-how-testosterone-affects-men" target="_blank">has also been linked</a> to bone mass, fat distribution, muscle mass, and strength. </p><p>Completing a physical and bringing up low libido concerns with your doctor can help you rule out any physical things that could be causing your low sex drive. Perhaps a medication that you're on is giving an unwanted side effect. Medications such as morphine, opioid pain relievers, corticosteroids, and certain antidepressants <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/low-testosterone/conditions-that-cause-low-libido#medications" target="_blank">can impact your libido</a>. You may have the option to be moved to another, or your doctor may insist on checking your testosterone levels.</p><p>According to the American Urological Association (AUA) guidelines, adult men are considered to have low testosterone (or low T) if their levels fall below <a href="https://www.auanet.org/guidelines/testosterone-deficiency-guideline" target="_blank">300 nanograms per deciliter</a>. <a href="https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/low-testosterone/low-testosterone-diagnosis#:~:text=A%20simple%20blood%20test%20can,blood%20test%20in%20the%20morning." target="_blank">A simple blood test</a> will be able to tell your doctor your testosterone levels. </p><p>Consider meeting with a sex therapist or counselor about any relationship struggles that could be impacting your libido. </p><p><strong>Manage your anxiety. </strong></p><p>High levels of anxiety and stress are extremely common barriers to sexual functioning for both men and women. You can manage your anxiety by practicing good sleeping habits, exercising regularly, working to improve your relationship(s), speaking with a therapist, or consulting a doctor about anti-anxiety medications. </p><p><strong>Regular exercise could be key to maintaining proper hormone levels and boosting sexual function. </strong></p><p>Strength training, walking, and swimming may all work to improve sexual function and libido (in both men and women). In fact, <a href="https://www.mdlinx.com/article/5-exercises-scientifically-proven-to-boost-libido/lfc-3510#:~:text=Strength%20training%2C%20Kegels%2C%20yoga%2C,finding%20holds%20in%20habitual%20exercisers." target="_blank">one-time acute exercise sessions have been linked to boosted sexual arousal</a> because of the activation of the sympathetic nervous system. </p>
How to boost low libido in women<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzU1MDI1NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NTAyMDQwMX0.6mhDbzwIAjy5shAQWEE8mxxg0bMgSMdM_ET-84pnT-A/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=42%2C0%2C42%2C0&height=700" id="f5748" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="33aa9ece89b1a3af296d5e68fb23e072" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="woman running on pavement in city" />
Creating a healthy lifestyle (healthy eating and exercise habits) can help boost libido in both men and women.
Photo by lzf on Shutterstock<p>The sexual desires of women naturally fluctuate over the years for various reasons (pregnancy, menopause, illness, life events), and navigating the lows can be incredibly difficult.</p><p><strong>If a female is experiencing low libido, there are several things that could be causing it, such as: </strong></p><ul><li>Physical problems, including medical diseases, medications, where you are in your menstruation cycle, hormone changes, etc. can all be causes of low sex drive in women. </li><li>Many women experience severe changes in their hormones and sex drive during and even years after pregnancy or breast-feeding. </li><li>Lifestyle habits including alcohol or drug consumption or smoking can also dull your sex drive. </li><li>Fatigue or exhaustion are commonly reported problems that impact sex drive among women. </li></ul><p><strong>Communicate with your partner about what you're experiencing. </strong></p><p>According to <a href="http://www.healthywomen.org/sites/default/files/FSD_infographic_mech.pdf" target="_blank">a survey from the National Women's Health Resource Center</a>, 59 percent of women report that low sex drive has had a negative impact on their relationship, with up to 66 percent of women reporting the low sexual desire impacted communication in their relationship. </p><p>Struggling with low sex drive and being unable to find an immediate fix can feel embarrassing and bring up a lot of insecurities - but talking openly about it with your partner can allow you to both understand what's happening and work together to solve the problem. </p><p><strong>What you're eating could also impact your libido. </strong></p><p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27784600" target="_blank">According to a 2015 review study</a>, adding things like maca, tribulus, gingko, and ginseng to your food could help improve sexual function. Additionally, maintaining a healthy (low sugar/high lean protein) diet <a href="https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323918#natural-ways-to-boost-libido" target="_blank">can boost your sex drive</a> by promoting proper circulation and heart health. </p><p><strong>Could a good night's sleep help? </strong></p><p><a href="https://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/111751/jsm12858.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y" target="_blank">According to a small-scale study</a>, many women explained that a good night's sleep helped increase their sexual desire and arousal the next day. Women who reported longer sleeping times also reported better arousal levels the next day compared to those with shorter sleeping times. </p>