Fixing Sex: When Your Baby is Neither a "Boy" Nor a "Girl"

The birth of Tamara Dawson's first child should have been a moment of sheer delight. Instead, she describes the shocking and unusual situation that followed: "The doctors and nurses came back and said, 'We don't know if you had a boy or a girl.' We were stunned. How could you not know?"

Where Does Anti-Gay Prejudice Come From?

Different types of essentialist thinking underlie people's views about homosexuality.

Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women?

America has a long way to go in terms of gender equality, but the overarching law of the land is that nobody ought to be discriminated against because of their sex - or their culture. But what happens when those two things collide?

Why Gender Doesn't Matter

Most of us grow up believing in a variety of gender differences, but scientific data shows very little support for most of them. Belief in such differences perpetuates stereotypes and harms both men and women. 

George Carlin's Last Interview

Ten days ago, on a rainy Friday evening, I had the extraordinary privilege of talking to George Carlin. As far as I know it was the last in-depth interview he gave before he passed away yesterday at age 71.

Friends Mostly Near, Not Far

A single working mother's most crucial artillery: a tight network of friends--especially when they're close at hand.

Snapshot of Fatherhood

Father's day came and went and although no men reside permanently in my home anymore, I had a front row seat on the spectacle of modern fatherhood right in my own dining room.

Explaining the Math Gender Gap

For those who might think that women's brains aren't wired for math, new research that's been published in Science magazine might help change your mind.

Real Men do Yoga

I used to know a graduate student who was perpetually stressed out. He was so anxious that he had insomnia on a nightly basis. When I suggested that perhaps he try a yoga class, his reaction was almost violent.

Eat Like a Man and Die of a Heart Attack?

It doesn't take a sociologist to point out that single men who live alone tend to eat more poorly than single women. Stereotypes and beliefs about "real men" are often at odds with conventional wisdom about health.

Imperfect Love

I've learned a lot about love by losing it. Most recently, my mother died, midway into her ninety-eighth year. She died with all her marbles and a sharper memory than most 40-year-olds.

Fantasy Weddings Can Hurt More Than Your Wallet

Brides-to-be are told they are allowed to be a princess for day. Besides making a dent in the bridal pocketbook, does wanting to be a princess undermine women's power?

Does Listening to Eminem Make People Sexist?

For decades now people have been debating whether listening to rap music causes people to have more negative (and sometimes violent) attitudes towards women.

Why Hillary Can't Win

Regardless of Hillary's political fate, she'll never be able to win the challenge of being perceived as both a good candidate and a likable person.

Gender Outlaws: Switching from a man to a woman (or vice versa)

Transsexuals and transgendered people can often tell us a great deal about our society because they've experienced what most of us never will: being perceived as a man or a woman in the same lifetime.

Death by Hovering

That's not how the coroner's report will list it. But the murder of a student at Indiana University-Purdue, the first act of violence in the 40-year history of the Fort Wayne campus, may well be the first documented case of death from helicopter parenting.

Gender Makes the World Go Round

Have you ever had the experience of walking down the street with friends and spotting somebody who doesn't quite look like a man or a woman?

Sports Check

Sports injuries among children have increased eight-fold in the past decade.

Welcome to a Nation of Wimps

Parents, like lovers, must always negotiate a fine line between nurturing and controlling. But in the past decade, they've stepped way over the line into controlling.

Being and Nothingness

There are two kinds of vacations: the kind where you’re trying to actually do something—explore a foreign country, see the sights, climb the mountain, learn to scuba dive/ski/blow glass, and the kind where you do nothing at all—you lie out on a beach, read the paper by the pool, or simply slowly decompose in front of the TV. In the movie Office Space, when asked what he would do if he had a million dollars, the antihero replies, “Nothing. I would relax, I would sit on my ass all day… I would do nothing.”

No Single Solution?

Quality childcare-it's what every parents wants for a child and it's in such short supply, especially in the nation's major cities.

Is a $5000 Prostitute Worth the Price?

Last week I wrote about how the placebo effect can have a potent effect on medical symptoms. The reason: the power of expectations. We expect to get better and so we do. Here’s a related thought experiment. Suppose I’m a sommelier and someone orders a $20 bottle of wine and I serve it to them. Then another customer orders a $100 bottle of wine. Is it unethical for me to serve them the $20 bottle and tell them it’s the $100 bottle? What if they can’t tell the difference?

Self-Deprecation Is a People Skill

When someone finds out I work for Psychology Today, they always react the same way. “Oh really?” they say. “Are you a psychologist?” This response is so reliable that my colleague Carlin Flora warned me about it my first day on the job. 

The Wimps Checklist

Like lovers, parents must always negotiate a fine line between nurturing and controlling. But many parents these days step way over the line into controlling, engineering their children’s lives from an early age.

Even Better than the Real Thing

In response to Dan Ariely's fascinating post about how patients derive more benefit from expensive drugs than they do from cheaper ones, a reader asked: The question of expense raises doubts about how this plays out in a nationalized health care system like the one in Spain, where I live. Here, patients would be unaware of the costs of their medications and procedures, as they're all covered. Given that a significant percentage of the positive results patients experience are due to the placebo effect, one wonders whether it wouldn't be better in some cases to make patients pay something -- even a token fee -- for some treatments where this effect is more likely.

Chop Suey, American Comfort Food

I spent the weekend reading my friend Jenny Lee's new book, The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food. It's a wonderful account of her journey across 42 states and 23 countries around the world as she uncovers secrets about Chinese food.

Apologia for an Obsession with Serial Killers

Twisted sexual fantasies, gruesome crimes scenes, evil incarnate...there are few interests more seemingly prurient than a healthy person's obsession with serial killers. Yet these violent tableaux are the least of it.