Three Problems with Sexual Purity

The purity movement puts unequal burdens of women, focuses on bodily states rather than character and contributes to undeserved feelings of shame.

What's So Great About Sexual Integrity?

Sexual misbehavior is not always a sign of lust. Misbehavior might stem from unsuccessful struggle to do the right thing. Sexual integrity is more joyful than either lust or sexual struggle, but only after it becomes second nature.

Required College Reading: Pornography?

Is it legitimate to require a college student to view pornography for class? That depends on distinguishing pornography research from the consumption and production of pornography.

Two Benefits of Erotic Admiration

Erotic admiration isn’t after a turn-on or a tease. It’s not about “I want him (or her);” it’s about “I’m glad he (or she) exists.” Being on the receiving end of erotic admiration boosts poise and attractiveness.

Good Reads on Sex

If you want to learn about your sexuality by reading literature, the poems of Sharon Olds are a better bet than Fifty Shades of Gray.

Bad Arguments in Defense of Pornography

Some question the credentials of women who comment on the effect of pornography of male sexual performance. These critics imply that the female partners or wives of those who consume pornography are irrationally jealous or overly possessive. Women just don’t “get” what it is like to be male. But it’s a fallacy to play the “gender card.”

Pornography Splits Men's Consciousness

Good sex involves being fully present during sex. But the effect of pornography on what is in the head of male consumers is a “split consciousness.” So, a man who allows his sexual consciousness to be shaped by pornography may be shortchanging himself and his sexual partner.

Should We All Ask and Tell?

Consent is always important between sexual partners. Asking and giving explicit consent to each level of intimacy is awkward. But it is a reliable, if unsexy, way for those who engage in casual sex to distinguish nonconsensual sex from regrettable sex.

Who's Judmental? Five Key Symptoms

Getting a kick out of making negative moral assessments of other people is unhealthy. Being judgmental distorts our perception of other people, of ourselves and of what matters most. But when people say, “You are so judgmental,” they are often exhibiting this defect themselves.

When Fantasy Becomes Fatal

“I can’t live without you” is always a dangerous fantasy. The mundane danger is making yourself or someone else miserable for falling short of an impossible fantasy ideal. But sometimes the danger of fantasy is life-threatening. Sometimes when someone says “I can’t live without you” he really means “I won’t let you live without me.”

Lovers' Dreams: Are They Always Illusions?

Romantic love involves seeing the person that you love as embodying your personal ideals of manhood or womanhood. In romance, idealization is part of the deal. Romance often, but not always, involves a fantasy of a perfect love. Idealization is different from fantasy.

One Seducer's Awakening

Seducers are sexual narcissists whose worlds revolve around their own desires. The damage they inflict on others is invisible to them. Yet sometimes seducers can be jarred into true self-knowledge—even into compassion.
Don't Be Seduced! Six Crucial Warning Signs

Don't Be Seduced! Six Crucial Warning Signs

Flirtation issues an invitation and leaves its acceptance up to the other person. Seduction sets out to get a “yes” whether or not sex compromises the autonomy of the seduced.

Flirtation, Ambiguity and Suspense

Innocent flirtation can be energizing, both for the one doing the flirting and the person on the receiving end. Flirtation’s inherent ambiguity has its pluses, not least of which is “sizzle.” But ambiguity can also fuel miscommunication, self-deception and manipulation.
Inviting Sexual Interest: Seeking Pleasure or Exerting Power?

Inviting Sexual Interest: Seeking Pleasure or Exerting Power?

Is titillation about pleasure or about power? It may not surprise you to hear that it is mainly about power. But the real answer to "Whose power?" may be more convoluted than you'd expect.
How Ethics Can Help You Have a Better Sex Life

How Ethics Can Help You Have a Better Sex Life

Aiming at lifelong marriage can seem like a dangerously unrealistic ideal. But used wisely, ideals can serve as compass points in charting the course of our lives.

Rape Redefined for the 21st Century

Rape is wrong. Uncontroversial. But what is rape? The U.S. Department of Justice has finally made a giant step toward catching up with the 21st century complexities of this issue.

Embodied Memory

Bodies remember. High-quality, committed sex is lovemaking that explores not just one another’s bodies at particular times, but one another’s embodied selves as they reach from remembered times to anticipated times.

Don't Look for Insight in Casual Sex

In casual sexual encounters the parties know too little about one another to avoid shallowness and exploitation. Clarity about your own and your partner’s imaginative meanings should be a prelude to sexual encounters.

Looking for joy in sex?

The joy of sex, sexual disappointment, sexual drama – all of these reverberate through our lives differently depending on our sexual focus. Two lenses through which sex is seen are the Plain Sex lens and the Romantic lens.

Sexual Blind Spots

How do women decide who is a deadbeat? Can they recognize a player when they see one?

20/20 Sexual Vision

"Horsing around" or assault? It is not just a matter of opinion.