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>
Technology is an important tool, but it will take an ecosystem of educators, students, and caregivers to make the most of it.
- The old adage that it "takes a village" has proven true for education in the time of coronavirus. What constitutes a "school" and who is considered an "educator" has changed out of necessity, but important opportunities for the future have come from these unexpected circumstances as communities have and continue to adapt.
- "The greatest human superpower is empathy," says Kaya Henderson, "the ability to deeply connect with other people and to see yourself in them and to see them in you." She argues that "a part of the reason why we are so divided in this world today is because we see people as 'other' and we don't see them as extensions of ourselves."
- While technology has become a big part of the education landscape, community is still the keystone. "I want technology to amplify and to scale excellence," Henderson says. "To amplify knowledge and to scale excellence all at the same time while paying deep attention to the human connections that are integral to education."
Is indulging in erotic content good or bad for your sex life?
- Erotica is defined as any type of art that is meant to cause sexual ideation or arousal. The main difference between erotica and pornography is that the former is seen as "art that has a sexual aspect."
- While there are many different misconceptions about the consumption of erotic or pornographic content, many studies on this topic prove it may not be as harmful as you think.
- Erotic literature can allow you to become more comfortable in your sexuality, communicate easier with your partner and may even impact your ability to orgasm.
Common misconceptions about written erotica<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzc5MjU4Ny9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNTk4OTA3MH0.UUHj7oImKfaRvteKGi0VdJKJmQyccFbKEGoPuM26eTE/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C103%2C0%2C1&height=700" id="1f256" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="72ddf915c4d9e920a0e27b4e7202cc16" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Concept of confused woman" />
There are many myths and misconceptions about erotic content...what are the facts?
Photo by Dean Drobot on Shutterstock<p><strong>MYTH: Women like erotica more than men.</strong></p><p>While it's a generalization that women prefer erotica and men prefer visual porn, this is not always the case. <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00224499.2015.1131227" target="_blank">This 2016 study</a> examined the effects on both men and women who read BDSM themed erotica. The findings of this study proved that there was no difference in the extent to which the erotic stories aroused men and women. </p><p><strong>MYTH: Erotica (and pornography in general) are toxic to relationships. </strong></p><p>This is a widely spread myth about all things pornography. Some people are wary of erotic content because they assume it will hurt the intimacy and sexual desire felt in their relationship. However, according to <a href="https://www.regain.us/advice/intimacy/reading-erotic-literature-online-might-help-get-couples-in-the-mood/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Regain</a>, a popular couples counseling service, reading erotic literature can help get couples into the mood. </p><p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6155976/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">This 2018 study</a> suggests whether porn hurts your relationship depends on how your partner feels about you consuming pornographic/erotic content. </p><p>"For men who are more accepting of pornography, more pornography use is associated with more relationship satisfaction; however, for men who are less accepting of pornography, more pornography use is associated with less relationship satisfaction."</p><p><strong>MYTH: Erotica is vulgar and crude. </strong></p><p>There is a large stereotype about erotic content being vulgar and crude, however, this is not always the case. There are many different kinds of written erotica available - the stories can range from romantic and subtle to aggressive and outrageous. Not all erotica is created to stun and surprise - some erotica is created to help the reader explore parts of their sexuality they've never experienced before. </p><p><strong>MYTH: Enjoying erotica is bad. </strong></p><p>There are some studies that prove this to be quite false. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK67373/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">This 1998 study</a> examined the effects of bibliotherapy (reading therapy) on patients with orgasm disorders (sexual dysfunctions), and found that "the available evidence warrants the recommended use of self-help books for sexual dysfunction, but only after proper assessment."</p><p>While erotica may not quality as "self-help" to some, for others, reading and exploring sexuality through the written word is in fact a form of self-help. </p>
How reading erotic literature can improve your sex life<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzc5MjY1My9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NzQ1MjMwOH0.OfgPRry6Xk6qLJU6QFzuwY7Q2JaXx-goY4_N9xx7B6E/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C4%2C0%2C100&height=700" id="95419" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="6a7fb0be3ebf9473b8c2dcdbcc2552ef" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="man and woman in bed reading erotica book together" />
Reading erotica can be relaxing and boost your confidence, allowing you to communicate better with your partner about your sexual needs.
Photo by Dmytro Zinkevych on Shutterstock<p><strong>Reading relaxes you. Relaxation makes sex easier and more enjoyable.</strong></p><p>Stress can impact your health in numerous ways, including lowering your sex drive. One of the best ways to relieve daily stress and overcome anxiety is to lose yourself in a good book. </p><p>According to the <a href="https://worldliteracyfoundation.org/reading-reduces-stress/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">World Literacy Foundation</a>, reading has been found to decrease blood pressure, lower your heart rate, and reduce stress. In fact, as little as 6 minutes of reading can slow down your heart rate and improve your overall health. </p><p>Reading erotica can rid society of stigmas around sexual satisfaction.</p><p>According to <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/life/how-reading-erotica-can-unlock-sex-drive/12127924" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">ABC Life</a>, reading erotica may just be a key to unlocking your sex drive. Kate Cuthbert, a program manager at Writers Victoria, explained that, "erotica reflects our sexuality in a positive way, unlike in mainstream society where a lot of it can be repressed."</p><p><strong>Erotic literature can help you discover your sexuality and feel more comfortable. </strong></p><p>Not only does it relieve stress and anxiety (which can often be barriers to an active and enjoyable sex life), but it can also help you navigate your own sexuality and express yourself in a healthier way. </p><p>"Romance novels are as much about a woman falling in love with herself—in addition to the adventures, true love, and fantastic sex," says romance novelist <a href="http://www.mayarodale.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Maya Rodale</a>.</p><p><strong>Much erotic literature highlights consent and safe sex. </strong></p><p>While there are some erotic stories that don't discuss things like birth control, safewords, and consent, these themes are becoming more and more popular among up-and-coming erotica authors. </p><p>Erotica can be a safe place to express sexuality and explore curiosities and it can also promote communication and conversations between partners around safe, healthy, vibrant sex that all parties involved are happy with.</p><p>--</p><p><a href="https://twitter.com/jaimeebell_" target="_blank">Jaimee Bell</a> is the author of "All the Dirty Little Things," a six-story erotica collection now available on <a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08F4JTQTZ?tag=bigthink00-20&linkCode=ogi&th=1&psc=1" target="_blank">Amazon</a>. <br></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.
There are pros and cons to owning a pet as a marginalized individual.
- Since 2018, an ongoing study at the VCU School of Social Work has been analyzing the way pets impact the lives of young LGBTQ individuals.
- From animal-assisted therapy practices to having therapy dogs in schools to reduce anxiety, there are many mental health benefits to animal-human interactions.
- While the majority of current research is being focused on people who are not discriminated against or marginalized by society, this specific study could bring more clarity to how pets positively and negatively impact the lives of young LGBTQ people.
Does human-animal interaction impact a person’s experience and well-being?<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzYwOTk3MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NzIwNTMzM30.Ds_HSw-0zhZF5YeR89_wjGHIxxFX5_mEwOaJXKXvSQ4/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C103%2C0%2C1&height=700" id="062fe" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="178f39b7a1684e0e36195bcd14d9cdef" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="two women standing in front of the golden gate bridge with their dog" />
From animal-assisted therapies to having dogs visit schools to bring down stress and anxiety levels, there have been many studies that look at the benefits of pet ownership.
Photo by Joshua Resnick on Shutterstock<p>Absolutely. Over the years, many studies have proven the benefits of human-animal interactions. From <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4248608/#:~:text=Studies%20on%20the%20use%20of%20animals%20on%20blood%20pressure.,pressure%20and%20greater%20physical%20activity." target="_blank">animal-assisted therapy practices</a> to having <a href="https://theconversation.com/therapy-dogs-can-help-reduce-student-stress-anxiety-and-improve-school-attendance-93073" target="_blank">therapy dogs in schools to reduce anxiety</a> - there are many mental health benefits to animal-human interactions.</p><p><strong>A similar study has been done on the impact of pets in the lives of older LGBT individuals. </strong></p><p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6027597/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">A different 2018 study</a> explored the role of pets in the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender adults over the age of 50. </p><p>This particular study addressed the following questions: </p><ol><li>How does living with a pet impact perceived social support and social network size? </li><li>How do LGBT older adults describe the meaning of pets in their lives? </li></ol><p>In this study, over 59 percent of participants reported that they have pets and described them in affectionate terms, often referring to them as family. Many individuals classified their pets as "supportive" either by offering companionship or keeping them active and socializing. Many participants explained that their pets help them cope with some form of physical or mental health condition. </p><p><strong>How is this study different?</strong></p><p>The goal of this particular study is to focus on the younger LGBTQ population and to examine how human-animal interactions might impact a person's experience and well-being when faced with victimization over their sexual orientation or identity. Not only that, but this study takes a look at both the positive and negative impacts of having a pet as an LGBTQ individual. </p><p>The vast majority of current research focuses on people who are not discriminated against or marginalized by society. According to the researchers, pets may lead marginalized people to "a path of financial stress and housing instability," which are issues the LGBTQ community already struggles with.</p><p>"Pets can better people's lives," Richards <a href="https://commonwealthtimes.org/2020/09/02/study-probes-relationship-between-lgbt-youth-pets/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">explains to Commonwealth Times</a>, "but it's also been interesting to see the ways in which pets can be stressors for people experiencing homelessness and financial insecurity."</p><p>Shelby McDonald, one of the lead associate professors on the study, has <a href="https://commonwealthtimes.org/2020/09/02/study-probes-relationship-between-lgbt-youth-pets/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">dedicated the last decade of her</a> life to researching the role of animals in the lives of children and has recently turned that focus toward LGBTQ youth. </p><p>As of September 2, the researchers have conducted 164 initial interviews. O'Ryan, one of the student researchers, explains: "We've collected a pretty diverse bunch, but the participants we interviewed have been largely white, cisgender, bisexual women. I wish we had the chance to interview more people of color and more people from diverse gender identities."</p><p>For more information on the study or a change to join as a participant, email firstname.lastname@example.org.</p>