Tenderness, kissing more important to men than women, study finds
TUESDAY, July 5 (HealthDay News) — Cuddling and caressing help boost satisfaction in long-term relationships, according to a new study of middle-aged and older couples.
The study also found that tenderness is more important to men than to women, that men are more likely to report being happy in their relationship, and that women are more likely to be satisfied with their sexual relationship, said the researchers from the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University.
The study included more than 1,000 couples from the United States, Brazil, Germany, Japan and Spain who had been together for an average of 25 years. The participants were 40- to 70-year-old men and their female partners.
Men were more likely to be happy in a relationship if they were in good health and if it was important to them that their partner experienced orgasm during sex. Frequent cuddling and kissing also predicted relationship happiness for men, but not for women.
Both women and men were happier the longer they had been together and if they had higher levels of sexual functioning, the investigators found.
Japanese men and women were significantly happier with their relationships than Americans, who were happier than Brazilians and Spaniards, according to Kinsey Institute director Julia Heiman and colleagues.
Sexual satisfaction for both women and men was associated with frequent kissing and cuddling, sexual caressing by a partner, high sexual functioning, and frequent sex. For men, having had more sex partners in their lifetime was a predictor of less sexual satisfaction, the report indicated…..
ScienceDaily (Mar. 24, 2011) — After reviewing existing research regarding the common practices of health care providers who see adolescent patients across the country, Rebecca Allen, MD, MPH, a clinician and researcher at Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, and her colleague, Michelle Forcier, MD, MPH, an adolescent medicine specialist at Hasbro Children’s Hospital, asserted that the nation needs to offer more confidential care for teenagers who are sexually active.
This includes access to effective contraception, noted the doctors in the paper “Adolescent Sexuality and the Use of Contraception,” which was published in a recent issue of the professional journal SRM: Sexuality, Reproduction and Menopause.***
“With almost half of teens in high school being sexually active, effective contraception screening and counseling is a critical component of adolescent health visits,” explained Dr. Allen, who is affiliated with Women & Infants’ Contraceptive Consult Clinic and is an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.
“Given the high rate of unintended adolescent pregnancies in the United States, effective adolescent contraception continues to be an elusive goal.”
Forty-six percent of American teens aged 15 to 19 have had sex at least once, and 20% have had sex by the age of 15. Although 83% of females and 91% of males report using contraception, approximately 750,000 teens aged 15 to 19 become pregnant each year. This rate is 2 to 4 times higher than the birth rates among adolescents in such developed countries as Great Britain, Sweden and France where more adolescents use contraception.
“Counseling adolescents about using contraception and ensuring access to contraception to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases is critical,” Dr. Allen said.
The article includes tips for promoting contraceptive success in adolescents, including the use of the “Quick Start” method, which allows females to start hormonal contraceptives the same day as the doctor’s visit regardless of the day of their menstrual cycle. Dr. Allen also stated that because adolescents might have more difficulty taking daily pills consistently, providers should discuss weekly or monthly methods, IUDs and implants…….
- Officials Consider Requiring Insurers to Offer Free Contraceptives (nytimes.com)
- U.S. teen birth rate still far higher than Western Europe (thenewstribune.com)
- Occasional physical, sexual activity associated with short-term increased risk of heart attack (eurekalert.org)
Delaying Sex Might Strengthen Marriage
Study finds waiting on intimacy linked to better communication, stability
WEDNESDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) — Having sex early in a relationship may lead to less satisfying marriages because couples can fail to develop important skills to communicate well and resolve conflicts, new research suggests.
The study, done at Brigham Young University in Utah, found that married couples who had delayed sex while they were dating were more likely to communicate, enjoy sex and see their marriage as stable than those who had sex early on. They also were generally more satisfied with their marriage….
“The take-home message is that sex is a powerful experience,” said Busby. “It really bonds us to one another and so it may be important before we go down that road to take the time to see if you can talk to this other person — see if you have similar personalities and similar directions in life — to see whether or not this is a relationship that can last.”
About 85 percent of Americans report having had premarital sex, according to research cited in the study. Also according to the research, there is a widespread belief that it is important for dating couples to see if they have “sexual chemistry,” because it is key to a good marriage….
he longer sex was delayed, the more participants in the study reported better quality of sex, communication, relationship satisfaction and perceived relationship stability. Waiting until marriage to have sex had the strongest correlations with positive outcomes.
The study was controlled to eliminate the influence of factors that could impact the timing of sexual intimacy, such as religion, education, relationship length and the number of previous sexual partners.
The study authors cited “relationship inertia,” a theory from earlier research, as a reason poorly matched couples stay together. As time goes on, partners feel “constrained” by the complexities of the situation when they may have more wisely parted company, the research noted.
“You get on this escalator and begin sliding into a relationship, rather than deciding in a thoughtful way to become more involved,” said Busby. “People say, ‘I’ve invested four or five years in this relationship’ or ‘We bought a house together,’” he added, noting that “the relationship becomes too complicated to leave.”
Busby cautioned against concluding that premarital sex necessarily leads to a bad marriage, however.
“Just because someone has sex early in a relationship doesn’t mean the marriage is doomed,” he said. “We’re not saying that.”
Busby also said the study group was more white and educated than a random sample of Americans would be, so more research is needed to draw stronger conclusions.
But the study, published in the December issue of the Journal of Family Psychology, suggests that an early focus on sex may lead to “more brittle marriages.”
“You can have great sex with someone you have an incompatible personality with,” Busby pointed out. “Sex is important, but it is not the only important thing in marriage.”
The study drew praise from another expert on interpersonal relationships.
“The impulse to assess sexual chemistry early in a romantic relationship, if not before, is a popular one,” said Mark Regnerus, author of the bookPremarital Sex in America, due out in 2011. “It just doesn’t work as well as advertised.”
A sexual relationship between two people “is best learned, rather than simply graded,” said Regnerus, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Texas, Austin.
“A good marriage — including the sex — is something that’s built. It doesn’t come prefabricated,” he said.
And spouses with lots of sexual memories of other partners may find the bar for satisfaction high, said Regnerus. In contrast, people with fewer sexual memories may not expect as much.
“They are as good at sex as they believe themselves to be,” he said.
MONDAY, Oct. 4 (HealthDay News) — Americans are engaging in a wide range of sexual activities, including oral sex, anal sex, and partnered masturbation in addition to vaginal sex, according to the largest and latest survey of sexual behavior and sexual health in the United States.
The survey also found that adolescents are much more responsible than they’re made out to be, with some 70 percent to 80 percent reporting condom use during their last sexual encounter.
“We found an enormous diversity in the sexual repertoires of U.S. adults. They rarely engage in just one sex act when they have sex,” Debra Herbenick, a research scientist and lecturer in the department of applied health science at Indiana University in Bloomington, said at a press briefing held Thursday. “Vaginal intercourse is still the most common sexual act but many sexual events do not involve intercourse. What it means to have sex can vary greatly from one person to the next.” [Full text of the article is at Special Issue: Findings from the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior (NSSHB), Center for Sexual Health Promotion, Indiana University Check your local public or academic library for availability]
While 41 sexual acts were noted in the survey, Americans probably engage in more than those given that some behaviors — such as kissing — were not included in the questionnaire, Herbenick said.
Among the main findings:
- Men and women usually engage in more than one sex act during a single sexual encounter.
- While 85 percent of men perceived that their partner had had an orgasm the last time they had sex, only 64 percent of women said they actually had climaxed. While men were more likely to orgasm with vaginal intercourse, women generally needed a wider variety of activities.
“We can’t help but notice the gender gap between male and female orgasms, men being a little bit clueless about their partner having an orgasm or maybe they’re getting bad information,” said Pepper Schwartz, a professor of sociology at the University of Washington in Seattle and a member of the Trojan Sexual Health Advisory Council.
- Condoms are used for one of every four acts of vaginal intercourse by married couples (one in three for single people) and they are used more frequently by black and Hispanic Americans. The lowest rates of condom use are among adults aged 40 and over.
- Adults and teens reported equally pleasurable sexual experiences whether the male was wearing a condom or not. “Today’s condoms are not those that [older] Americans grew up with,” said Michael Reece, associate professor of applied health science at Indiana University. “We need to update educational efforts.”
- Contrary to popular belief, the majority of teens are not engaging in sex with another person. For example, 40 percent of males aged 17 reported vaginal intercourse in the past year and only 27 percent had had sex over the last three months.
- Roughly similar rates of men and women (8 percent and 7 percent, respectively) identified themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual.
- The survey also addressed the “friends with benefits” phenomenon, finding that 13 percent of men and 11 percent of women aged 18 to 59 reported having had sex with a friend at their most recent encounter.
- Some 30 percent of women reported chronic, ongoing pain associated with sex, much higher than previous estimates, Herbenick said.
Herbenick said the information from the survey can enhance Americans’ sexual health. “Health care will best be served if we attend to the wide range of ways people have sex,” she said.
Janice Flahiff’s thoughts…The reports do not seem to address related issues as consent, role of sex in relationships, unhealthy sex issues as disease and mental conditions, importance of communication in sexual relationships, etc. The articles do not appear to have a holistic approach to sex, but does include aspects that are worth noting for further research and for application to sexual health in personal and public health areas.
Sexual health is a state of physical, emotional, mental and social wellbeing in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. (WHO working definition, 2002)
The CDC has a Web site devoted to sexual health information and issues