May 31st, 2012
08:00 AM ET
Facebook recently made headlines twice - first, when the company went public and again, when founder Mark Zuckerberg tied the knot. Although Facebook’s IPO was disappointing to those who had high expectations, we can hope at least that Zuckerberg’s marriage will soar, even if his stock did not.
One way the Zuckerbergs - and all couples - can help maintain a healthy connection with each other is to be cautious about the way they use Facebook and all social media, for that matter. As I’ve written before in this column, social networking tools can bring people together, but they can also pull couples apart. Think about it: You and your partner might be sitting next to each other on the couch or in bed, tapping away on your individual laptops, smart phones, or iPads, lost in a virtual world where flirting with a stranger, friend, or old flame is just a click away. In other words, you’re turning on social media—and maybe turning on to someone else, too—even as you tune each other out. From laptops, to smart phones, to tablets, today’s gadgets allow us to remain connected 24/7—yet that doesn’t necessarily mean that we are connected to our partner
March 8th, 2012
11:40 AM ET
All you have to do is watch nearly any depiction of female orgasm on screen to get an idea of how a woman is “supposed” to react during sex.
From "When Harry Met Sally" to "Sex and the City" to your basic porn film, women in the throes of passion aren’t just shouting their ecstasy from the rooftops - they’re moaning with pleasure. Loudly.
But is this just cinematic license, or is there really something to noisy sex?
Experts wondered the same thing. Last year, Gayle Brewer of the University of Central Lancashire and Colin Hendrie of the University of Leeds published their research on the topic - technically known as “copulatory vocalization” - in the Archives of Sexual Behavior. In the study, they asked 71 sexually active heterosexual women between ages 18 and 48 for more details about vocalization during sex.
February 2nd, 2012
07:16 AM ET
On the CBS sitcom “Mike & Molly,” the title characters meet at an Overeaters Anonymous support group and embark on a romantic relationship.
It’s an uncommon look at intimacy between plus-sized partners, played mainly for laughs. But with obesity rates skyrocketing in this country, sex when one or both partners is heavy is becoming a very real issue.
Nearly 34% of American adults are obese, according to the CDC, and many more are overweight. It’s not surprising that people who are carrying extra pounds may find themselves grappling with the effects on their sex lives.
January 26th, 2012
07:21 AM ET
If online dating hasn’t led you to your perfect match, perhaps the issue isn’t that you’re too choosy, but rather that there’s too much choice.
There’s no doubt that dating in the 21st century offers a lot of opportunities. Think about your parents’ generation: They grew up with no Internet, they likely stayed in the same town for most of their lives, and they automatically had more in common with the people in that town as a result. Today, women and men are increasingly marrying someone outside of their religion, their ethnicity and their geographic area.
Never in history have we had so many potential partners to choose from - and never have we had so much difficulty choosing. In fact, several recent studies suggest that this explosion of options has made men and women feel more confused and uncertain about finding a partner than ever before.
January 19th, 2012
07:15 AM ET
“If I hadn’t gotten divorced, I never would have had the top five sexual experiences of my life,” gushed Tom, a friend of a friend at a recent holiday party.
What a turnaround! In 2010, at the same party, Tom* had been in the midst of splitting up with his wife of 12 years and I was offering him the names of marriage counselors. Now he was bankrupt and only saw his kids every other week, but he was exuberant about the change to his sex life.
“I’d given up on sex and fooled myself into thinking that I wasn’t even a particularly sexual person,” he explained. “I didn’t want to be the sort of guy who cheated, so I resigned myself to lackluster sex every other week... if I was lucky. We were so young and inexperienced when we got married. Now, for the first time in my life, I feel like I’m approaching sex as a confident adult.”
Does sex get better after divorce? Unfortunately, there haven’t been any formal studies that explore levels of post-divorce sexual satisfaction, but intrigued by Tom’s exuberance, I spoke with a handful of recently divorced friends, colleagues, and former patients. To my surprise, I found that many echo Tom’s enthusiasm.
January 12th, 2012
07:46 AM ET
When you hear the words 'heart' and 'sex life' in the same sentence, odds are the speaker is probably talking about love. But your heart - or, more accurately, your cardiovascular system - actually has a lot to do with your ability to perform in the bedroom.
This concept was brought home to me recently when I caught up with my colleague, Dr. Madeleine Castellanos, author of a recent book dealing with male sexual issues. She reminded me that there’s no way we can talk about sexual issues like erectile dysfunction (ED) or other arousal disorders without talking about cardiovascular health.
"When you break it all down, everything in the body, including sex, is dependent on good blood flow," says Castellanos. "Our body's way of nourishing itself and keeping itself vibrant and alive is by carrying oxygen, hormones, and nutrients via the bloodstream to all tissues and cells. The more activity that a certain part of our body engages in, the more blood flow is directed to that area."
January 5th, 2012
07:25 AM ET
Nearly every week I receive an email from at least one woman asking me what she needs to do to have an orgasm during intercourse, or worrying that something may be wrong with her because she can’t. Yet I rarely, if ever, receive the same question from men.
The simple fact is that the male orgasm typically comes easily during sex and female orgasms do not. The late Dr. Alfred C. Kinsey, famous for interviewing thousands about their sex lives, declared that 75% of men ejaculate within two minutes of penetration in over half of their sexual encounters.
It should come as no surprise, then, that researchers from the University of Chicago have declared that men reach orgasm during intercourse far more consistently than do women, and that three-fourths of men, but less than a third of women, always have orgasms.
December 22nd, 2011
12:17 PM ET
This is a repost of Ian Kerner's column. Kerner will be back with new posts in January.
From Don Juan to David Letterman, infidelity has been around as long as civilization has existed, and the Internet is still but a tiny blip in the long jaded history of adultery. But the Internet is also arguably the biggest threat to relationships that has come along since the birth of marriage, and it’s here to stay.
New threats demand new rules, and the next time your partner goes online, maybe you should be worrying about if he or she is also out of line.
These days, cheating and engaging in other secretive behaviors that could lead to infidelity have become easier than setting up a Wii.
Technology isn’t just enabling secretive behavior, it’s accelerating it at record pace: Flirtatious friendships, emotional affairs, the return of the ex, sexting, online porn and cyber-sex—with each new advance in technology comes a new way to deceive, and more and more of us are increasingly leading “digital double-lives.”
December 15th, 2011
07:32 AM ET
Gentlemen, lest you were alarmed you might be abnormal for not thinking about sex once every 7 seconds (more than 8,000 times a day), a new study in the Journal of Sex Research arrives to reassure you.
Men, on average, think about sex far less than that much-hyped interval. (Where that 7-second stat originated is anybody’s guess - it’s been bandied about for decades and was probably a misquote of the original Alfred Kinsey study on male sexual behavior published in 1948.)
That’s why we’re fortunate to have Dr. Terri Fisher and her colleagues at Ohio State University, who recently tracked a group of undergraduates (163 females and 120 males between the ages of 18 and 25) as they used a golf-counter to tally their daily thoughts about eating, sleep or sex over the course of a week.
December 8th, 2011
07:27 AM ET
Ladies, how many of you have ever faked it? If so, why? Did you fake it because your orgasm just wasn’t going to happen? Or did you do it because his orgasm happened all too quickly? In that case, perhaps you faked your own orgasm to spare his feelings, or maybe to avoid having to talk about it.
But have you ever faked it because you thought that doing so might prevent him from cheating? A new study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior found that 54% of women admitted to faking an orgasm, and that women who thought their partners might cheat were more likely to be the ones doing the faking.
While the idea of faking orgasm to keep a partner faithful is a novel one, one has to wonder about its potential effectiveness. I personally don’t know of any research to suggest that men are more likely to stay in a relationship with a partner who has orgasms, or that men are more likely to cheat if their partners do not have orgasms.
About this blog
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.