A new study shows that beauty standards affect whether or not accusers are believed.
- Sexual harassment is behavior characterized by the making of unwelcome and inappropriate sexual remarks or physical advances.
- Results of a 2018 survey showed that 81% of women (and 43% of men) had experienced some form of sexual harassment in their lifetime.
- According to a new study published by the American Psychological Association, women who do not fit female stereotypes for beauty are less likely to be seen as victims of sexual harassment, and if they claim they were harassed, they are less likely to be believed.
The study conducted a series of 11 multi-method experiments, involving over 4,000 participants.
Credit: Andrey Popov / Adobe Stock<p><a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-01/apa-shc011221.php" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">According to a new study</a> published by the American Psychological Association, women who do not fit female stereotypes for beauty are less likely to be seen as victims of sexual harassment, and if they claim they were harassed, they are less likely to be believed.</p><p>"Sexual harassment is pervasive and causes significant harm, yet far too many women cannot access fairness, justice, and legal protection, leaving them susceptible to further victimization and harm within the legal system," study co-author Cheryl Kaiser, Ph.D., of the University of Washington <a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-01/apa-shc011221.php" target="_blank">said in a statement</a>. </p><p>According to Kaiser, sexual harassment claims were deemed less credible (and the harassment was perceived as less psychologically harmful) when it targeted a victim who was less attractive and/or did not act according to the stereotype of a typical woman. </p><p>The study conducted a series of 11 multi-method experiments, involving over 4,000 participants. It was designed to investigate the effects a victim's fit to the concept of a typical woman had on participants' view of sexual harassment (and the consequences of that mental association). In five experiments, participants read scenarios in which women either did or did not experience sexual harassment. Participants assessed the extent to which these women fit the idealized image of women, either by drawing what they thought the woman might look like or selecting from a series of photos. Across all experiments, participants perceived the targets of sexual harassment as more stereotypical than those who did not experience harassment.</p><p>In the next four experiments, participants were shown ambiguous sexual harassment scenarios which were then paired with descriptions or photos of women who were either stereotypical or not. The participants then rated the likelihood that the incident constituted sexual harassment. According to authors of the study, participants were less likely to label these ambiguous scenarios as sexual harassment when the targets were non-stereotypical women (compared with stereotypical women), despite the fact that, in some cases, the incident was the exact same.</p><p><strong>The final two experiments in this study found that sexual harassment claims were often viewed as less credible when the victim adhered less to the typical female stereotype.<br><br></strong>Even when a stereotypical woman and non-stereotypical woman submitted the same claim, it was deemed as less credible if the woman was perceived as less feminine. Additionally, the participants found the harassment to be deemed as less psychologically harmful when experienced by a non-stereotypical female.</p><p>"Our findings demonstrate that non-stereotypical women who are sexually harassed may be vulnerable to unjust and discriminatory treatment when they seek legal recourse," co-author Bryn Bandt-Law, a doctoral student at the University of Washington, explained in an interview. "If women's nonconformity to feminine stereotypes biases perceptions of their credibility and harm caused by harassment, as our results suggest, it could prevent non-stereotypical women who are sexually harassed from receiving the civil rights protections afforded to them by law."</p><p><strong>**If you or someone you know has experienced sexual harassment or assault, contact the <a href="https://www.rainn.org/about-national-sexual-assault-telephone-hotline" target="_blank">National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline</a> at 800-656-4673. You are not alone.**</strong></p>
This small-scale study may have uncovered a new link between the peripheral nerve system and autism.
- Autism refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and nonverbal communication. According to the CDC, autism impacts an estimated 1 in 54 children in the United States.
- An October 2020 study suggests that the peripheral nervous system may play a role in autism.
- The parameters of the study may not show the entire picture —more research is needed in this area.
The nerves that sense touch and pain may play a role in autism, new research suggests<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a41b00d7960f360bf4674a021f7480fd"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/QdhwsK7E6cc?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>An October 2020 study suggests that the peripheral nervous system (the nerves that control our sense of touch, pain, and other sensations), may play a role in autism.</p><p>Study author Sung-Tsang Hsieh, M.D., Ph.D., of National Taiwan University Hospital in Taipei and a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, <a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/10/201014160516.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">explains to Science Daily</a>: <em></em>"More than 70% of people with autism have differences in their sensory perception. For some people, even a light touch can feel unbearable while others may not even notice a cut on their foot. If larger studies can confirm these results, it is possible that further insight into the peripheral nervous system could help us understand how this disorder develops and potentially light the way for treating these distressing sensory symptoms that most people with autism experience."</p><p>The study involved 32 men with autism (with an average age of 27). They were compared to 27 men and women (with an average age of 33) who did not have autism or any diseases that would impact their peripheral nerves. </p><p>The people with autism completed questionnaires on their sensory symptoms. All of the participants then had tests of their sensory nerves, including skin biopsies to look for damage to the small fibers of their nerves. Then, another test was administered, where heat pulses were applied to the skin so researchers could look at the electrical signals produced by the nerves to see how they responded to the heat.</p><p><strong>53 percent of people with autism had reduced nerve fiber density. </strong></p><p>The results of the skin biopsy tests showed 53 percent of people with autism had reduced nerve fiber density, while all of the people in the control group (participants without autism) had levels in the normal range. </p><p>"This indicates that the nerves have degenerated, similar to what happens for people with the condition of peripheral neuropathy, where the threshold for feeling heat and other sensations is higher than for other people," said Hsieh.</p><p><strong>The response to touch differed among people with autism according to whether or not they had nerve fiber damage. </strong></p><p>According to the results, people who had undamaged nerves were more likely to say they disliked being touched and were uncomfortable with some textures, while people with nerve fiber damage were more likely to say that they preferred going barefoot and could be unaware that they had gotten scratched or bruised. </p><p>"This indicates that the nerves have degenerated, similar to what happens for people with the condition of peripheral neuropathy, where the threshold for feeling heat and other sensations is higher than for other people," Hsieh <a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/10/201014160516.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">explained in his interview</a>. </p><p>The parameters of the study may not show the entire picture—more research is needed in this area. </p>
No, being interested in BDSM does not mean you had a traumatic childhood.
- BDSM is a kind of sexual expression and/or practice that refers to three main subcategories: Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/submission, and Sadism/Masochism.
- It has been widely speculated that many BDSM practitioners or people who enjoy the BDSM lifestyle are drawn to it because of sexual trauma they experienced in the past.
- This 2020 study claims that BDSM practitioners deserve perception as normal sexual practice free from stigmatization rather than deviant behavior.
No, being interested in BDSM doesn’t mean you had a traumatic childhood<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="20118e9474ed94bd8e4d50bc166b1bee"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZfSyq8gRsyM?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>While many may assume being interested in BDSM may mean you've experienced unhealthy or violent relationships/situations in your formative years, this study explains why that myth should be put to rest.</p><p>BDSM practitioners across the study scored higher levels of physical abuse in adulthood. However, no significant differences emerged for other traumatic experiences (including childhood physical abuse or unwanted sexual trauma).<br></p><p>There have been many accounts (<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYG0pajxLuY" target="_blank">such as this</a>) from BDSM practitioners that have claimed there is a certain "healing process" involved in finding a trustworthy BDSM relationship after escaping from a toxic relationship. This could account for why people who have experienced physically abusive relationships as adults then turn to the BDSM community and BDSM-related sexual interests. </p><p>When it came to the Relationship Questionnaire, people who engaged in the BDSM lifestyle more often scored in the "secure" attachment style than people who were not BDSM practitioners. While many BDSM practitioners had secure attachment styles, there was also a significant spike in anxious-preoccupied attachment styles when it came to people who practiced BDSM. In particular, the "secure" attachment style was associated with BDSM practitioners who identified as "Dominant" and the "anxious-preoccupied" attachment style was associated with people who identified as "submissive."</p><p><strong>There are no findings to support the hypothesis of BDSM being a coping mechanism for early life dynamics or trauma.</strong> </p><p>This authors of the study claim that BDSM practitioners deserve perception as normal sexual practice free from stigmatization rather than deviant behavior—and the final results of the study support this idea. </p>
Are people involved in BDSM practices more aware of their attachment styles?<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTIwMDc2OS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2OTYwMjA1OX0.2cQbq1Nka_9dWd6GvzyoWjc68JU3Oor-1d6PKnUWBmY/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C292%2C0%2C292&height=700" id="c0877" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="6eb72a2ee78fb73264254d33e4411364" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="man and woman holding paper heart" data-width="1245" data-height="700" />
Could people who engage in BDSM be more mindful in their relationships?
Photo by Tiko on Adobe Stock<p>While many people insist engaging in BDSM practices means you've had significant traumatic experienced that led you to do so, there are some experts that argue BDSM practitioners are actually more in tune with their own psychopathology than people who do not engage in BDSM activities.</p><p>BDSM involves a diverse range of practices which can involve role-playing games in which one person assumes a dominant role and the other assumes a submissive role. These activities are often intense and can involve activities such as physical restraint, power plays, humiliation, and sometimes (but not always) pain. </p><p><a href="https://www.nhs.uk/news/mental-health/fans-of-bondage-and-sm-report-better-mental-health/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">According to a study</a> published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, people involved in BDSM may actually be more mentally healthy. The study suggests people who engage in BDSM activities often show more extroverted qualities and tend to be more open to experiences and more conscientious. They also tend to be less neurotic and less sensitive to rejection. The study also showed BDSM practitioners had a more secure attachment style, which is supported in the more recent study listed above. </p><p>Additionally, <a href="https://www.bustle.com/articles/186777-bdsm-may-be-the-most-mindful-type-of-sex-study-finds" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">it's been hypothesized</a> that people involved in BDSM are more mindful during sex than those who do not engage in BDSM practices. </p>
Monogamy is often considered a key component of traditional marriages, but it's only half the story.
- Depending on who you ask, monogamy is either essential to a successful marriage or it is unrealistic and sets couples up for failure.
- In this video, biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, psychologist Chris Ryan, former Ashley Madison CEO Noel Biderman, and psychotherapist Esther Perel discuss the science and culture of monogamy, the role it plays in making or breaking relationships, and whether or not humans evolved to have one partner at a time.
- "The bottom line is, for millions of years, there were some reproductive payoffs not only to forming a pair bond but also to adultery," says Fisher, "leaving each one of us with a tremendous drive to fall in love and pair up, but also some susceptibility to cheating on the side."
Is your masturbation routine benefitting your sex life? Here's how to tell...
- As many as 40% of women experience difficulty reaching orgasm during heterosexual partnered sex. A 2019 study explores the potential links between female masturbation habits and partnered sex satisfaction.
- The frequency in which women masturbated did not correlate to their orgasm experiences with their partner. However, researchers did note that the greater the overlap between masturbation activities and partnered sex, the more women were to overcome orgasm difficulties.
- In general, women who were more satisfied with their relationship had lower orgasmic difficulty.
Over 2,000 women were polled to determine how masturbation impacting their partnered sex life.
Credit: Drobot Dean on Adobe Stock<p>Over 2,000 women living within the United States and Hungary completed an online survey about activities and reasons for orgasmic difficulty during masturbation, as well as activities and reasons for orgasmic difficulties during partnered sex.</p><p>The average number of times these women masturbated was once every two weeks, and the average number of times per week they reported having sex with their partner was twice. The majority of women reported using clitoral stimulation during masturbation while significantly fewer women (about half) reported using clitoral stimulation during partnered sex. </p><p>Nearly all women who reported using clitoral stimulation during masturbation also included it during partnered sex. </p><p><strong>Favorite positions translated from partnered sex to masturbation for the majority of women.<br><br></strong>53 percent of women who used a particular body position (and 48 percent who engaged in anal stimulation during masturbation) also regularly used the respective activities during partnered sex. Additionally, 38 percent of women who engaged in sexual fantasy (and 36 percent of women who used sex toys such as vibrators) during masturbation included such activities when having sex with their partner.</p><p><strong>Masturbation frequency was not related to orgasm experiences with partners.<br><br></strong>The frequency in which women masturbated did not correlate to their orgasm experiences with their partner. However, researchers did note that the greater the overlap between masturbation activities and partnered sex, the more likely women were to overcome orgasm difficulties. Additionally, women with lower alignment between their masturbatory activities and partnered sex activities were more likely to report preferring masturbation to sex with their partner.</p><p>"In and of itself, women who masturbate experience no particular advantage or disadvantage insofar as reaching orgasm during partnered sex. However, women who show greater similarity between the behaviors/techniques they use for stimulation during masturbation and the type of stimulation that occurs during partnered sex report lower orgasmic difficulty than women who report disparate stimulation techniques during these types of activities," <a href="https://www.psypost.org/2020/10/new-study-shows-how-female-masturbation-impacts-partnered-sex-58151" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Rowland told PsyPost</a>.</p><p><strong>Does relationship satisfaction lead to better sex?<br><br></strong>Another interesting takeaway from this particular study is that relationship satisfaction is a key variable in understanding just how satisfied women were in both their partnered and solo sex activities. In general, women who are more satisfied with their relationship with their partner had lower orgasmic difficulty.</p><p>"This relationship is likely bi-directional," Rowland explained. "Women who have greater sexual satisfaction during partnered sex enjoy the intimacy with their partner, thus enhancing their relationship. At the same time, women who have a better relationship with their partner are likely better at communicating their sexual needs to them, thus increasing their potential for arousal and orgasm." </p>
How to communicate with your partner about masturbation and sexual desires<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDc2NjA1MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2MzM2ODE3NX0.dU8ehnrlPiDQgTzt8rLPxkAwbF1T23_eosUenosKJ7U/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=37%2C0%2C37%2C0&height=700" id="eafbd" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2e0d7981116ef520ca9e45da5c3d801e" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="couple under sheets in bed" data-width="1245" data-height="700" />
How do you talk to your partner about your sexual needs and desires?
Credit: Sasin Tipchai on Pixabay<p>Talking to your partner about sex is key to having better sex. Kate McCombs, a sex and relationships educator, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-sex-partner-communication" target="_blank">spoke with HealthLine</a> about this very topic: "When you avoid those vital conversations, you might avoid some awkwardness, but you're also settling for suboptimal sex."</p><p><strong>These conversations don't just center around desire and pleasure. <br><br></strong>Talking about sex, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-sex-partner-communication#frequencytalk" target="_blank">according to Healthline</a>, should include things such as sexual health, how frequently you'd like to be having sex, the things you would like to explore with your partner, and how to deal with times when you and your partner want and need <a href="https://bigthink.com/sex-relationships/sexual-rejection-2645740543" target="_blank">different things</a> during sex. </p><p><strong>Reading erotica (or talking about an erotic story you've read) can help. <br><br></strong>According to the World Literacy Foundation, reading has been found to decrease blood pressure, lower your heart rate, and reduce stress. In fact, as little as six minutes of reading can slow your heart rate and improve your overall health. Reading erotica can not only help get you in the mood, but <a href="https://bigthink.com/sex-relationships/benefits-of-reading-erotica" target="_blank">research suggests</a> it can also help you discover more about your sexuality and communicate your needs with your partner. </p><p><strong>Start with simple questions to get to know your partner more intimately.<br><br></strong> Megwyn White, Director of Education for Satisfyer (a leading sexual wellness brand based in Germany), <a href="https://bigthink.com/sex-relationships/healthy-sex-life-couples?rebelltitem=3#rebelltitem3" target="_self">explained in this previous article</a> how to ask your partner non-confrontational and fun questions that can help bring you closer together and provide a good base for communicating about sexual desires. <br></p>This can include questions such as:<br><br><ul><li>"Are there things I'm not doing [during sex] that you wish I would?"</li><li>"What is your favorite sexy memory of us?"</li><li>"Is there any moment of our sex life in the past that you'd like to recreate?" </li></ul><div>Asking your partner these kinds of questions is a good starting point for communication about sex, consent, and desires. </div>