The 11 weirdest and most important things we learned about sex in 2016
Ah, the merciful end of 2016; a time to look back at the year past and consider just what we've learned ...
... about fucking.
Yes, fucking. The only thing that matters aside from the revival of Squagels, the square bagel.
This was a big year for sex research, but while some studies yielded unremarkable results (like this one that told us for the 37,000th time that birth control affects libido), others lead to more important, revelatory conclusions that succeeded in dropping a few jaws and raising a few eyebrows around the office — a hard thing to do around these parts.
So? Well, we thought you should know about them.
Here are some of the more noteworthy ways science pushed sex forward this year.
1. Couples who listen to music together have better sex
According to a survey of over 30,000 global participants by headphone maker Sonos, couples who bond over music and blast their favorite songs out loud together have much more satisfying sex lives.
Specifically, couples who listen to music out loud together fuck twice as often as couples who don't — music lovers who share a passion for the same tunes do the deed 3.2 times per week, as compared to an average 1.6 times per week for couples who differ on whether or not Dave Matthews is the worst band of all time ... which it is. This correlation between shared music taste and sex actually makes a lot of sense — fans of music also spend a whopping 161 percent more time in the bedroom.
Thirty percent of people also responded that they thought music made sex better, and 78 percent said they know a particular song that puts their partner in the mood. Even more interestingly, 65 percent of participants said that someone becomes more attractive to them if they share a similar taste in music and play a song they love.
Disclaimer: Results do not apply to "Fly Away" by Lenny Kravitz.
2. Kinky sex makes you more zen
The study title pretty much says it: "Consensual BDSM Facilitates Role-Specific Altered States of Consciousness: A Preliminary Study."
Translation? A whipping of the naughty boy each day keeps the doctor away.
To come to that conclusion, researchers randomly assigned 14 willing participants to either top (dominate) or bottom (submit) in a sexual encounter, and found that both positions resulted in an increase of something psychologists call "flow" or "the zone." Often associated with the mental state attained during meditation, flow refers to an elevated state of consciousness in which a person is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of what they're doing. In turn, that state is associated with stress reduction and increased libido.
This is actually an effect one of our writers experienced directly when she and her vanilla boyfriend attended a kinky sex party in L.A. ... read it and seep.
3. Eating pussy is great for your health ... but exactly how much pussy do you need?
You've heard of probiotics, right? They're in yogurt, kombucha and basically every other health-conscious product. They're a vital part of your diet, and they're known to increase your gut health, boost your mood, combat Alzheimer's and cure allergies. Great, right?
Extra great, considering they're also in your pussy.
As it turns out vaginas are packed with good bacteria — particularly of the same Lactobacillus variety that already live in your gut — so doesn't it stand to reason that if you ate more pussy, you'd also be consuming more health-boosting good bacteria?
Researchers think so. And one has determined just how much rug you'd have to munch in order to reap the positive benefits of pussy probiotics. According to Dr. Helena Mendes-Soares of the Mayo Clinic, there are about 100,000 to 100 million Lactobacilli per gram of vaginal fluid. That means that during a typical cunnilingus session, one would have to swallow between ten and 10,000 grams (10 kg) of vaginal fluid to consume a clinically viable amount of probiotics.
Uh, call us optimists, but that seems doable. Of course, the more pussy you eat, the more benefit you get so ... hope you're hungry.
4. Being horny makes you a stupid idiot
You know how they say the heart wants what it wants?
Well so do your dick and your pulsating uteri. And when they're in need of something, they're going to get it ... regardless of how stupid of a decision that is.
One study that came out earlier this year attempted to explain this fun facet of humanity, finding that being horny causes people to have "lower inhibitions" and "impaired decision-making." It also causes them to take greater risks such as betting too much money while gambling, having unsafe sex or cheating.
... YOU DON'T SAY. Well, while these results are hardly revelatory, they are a reminder that you're not cool at all, in any way, and that you're pathetically enslaved by your own penis or vagina. Nice.
5. You should definitely be wearing socks during sex
In humanity's never-ending quest for the push-button orgasm, a single, cozy solution has emerged: socks.
Researchers at the University of Groningen found that 80 percent of couples were able to come from penis-in-vagina sex while wearing socks, while only about 50 percent managed to do with cold, un-snuggly feet.
Why? Well, not only do socks keep you warm enough to feel relaxed and comfortable during sex, but they also help the blood vessels in your feet dilate which improves blood flow. And better circulation leads to easier orgasms.
Easy. Done. Moving on.
6. You're into bondage because of your cat
A new study by the Journal of Evolutionary Psychology has just reported the highly suspect finding that owning a cat could increase your interest in sadomasochistic sex.
The reason? A common brain parasite from cats called Toxoplasma gondii. Infection with this parasite, which is called toxoplasmosis, has been linked to sexual arousal by fear, violence and danger in humans. Around 30 percent of the world's population is estimated to be infected with T.gondii, and the most common way they get it is by inadvertently touching cat shit. Great.
The study, which tested the blood of 36,564 people in Slovakia and the Czech Republic for the parasite, found that “infected subjects are more often aroused by their own fear, danger, and sexual submission.” They were also more into bondage, violence and rape than uninfected individuals.
No news yet as to whether or not this is a revenge tactic associated with the time you flirted with your own mortality by giving Fluffy a bath ... our sources say yes.
7. Millennials today are more open to polyamory
A poll from YouGov has revealed that nearly 20 percent of millennials have engaged in sexual activity with someone outside their relationship, with the knowledge and consent of their partner.
However, monogamy is still king for our generation — most young Americans (56 percent) outright reject anything other than strict monogamy, and 68 percent say they'd never be okay with their partner being with someone else. Still, though, we're more open to non-monogamy than previous generations. Twenty six percent of millennials said they'd be okay with their partner straying in certain situations, compared with 17 percent of people your parent's age and 11 percent of grandparent-types over the age of 65.
Interestingly though, the rates of cheating across all age groups are relatively the same. Twenty one percent of both millennials and those over 65 have cheated without the knowledge of their partner, compared with 17 percent of those aged 30-44 and 19 percent of 45-64 year-olds.
We guess the difference is just that our generation is more interested in sanctioned non-monogamy ... because it's not cheating when it's openly discussed and consensual. Great.
8. Pretty much everyone's bisexual now
Well, not everyone ... but, the rates of bisexuality across all age groups have doubled since 1990, according to a new survey by researchers at researchers at Florida Atlantic University, San Diego State University, and Widener University.
Since the early '90s, male bisexuality has increased from 4.5 percent to 8.2 percent, and female bisexuality rose even more, from 3.6 percent to 8.7 percent. Overall, the percentage of American adults who have sex with both men and women more than doubled from 3.1 percent to 7 percent.
9. Shining bright lights on men makes them better at sex
Low libido affects 20 percent of American men; men who often feel emasculated, helpless and depressed by their inability to perform.
Well, guess what? All you have to do to make these men horny again is shine a bright-ass light at them.
New research from the University of Siena shows that men with a lack of interest in sex could benefit from the simple and effective solution of light box therapy.
For the uninitiated, that involves no more blood sweat and tears than a man sticking his face near a specialized light that mimics the full-spectrum wavelengths of sunlight. Typically, this method is used to treat seasonal depression, but researchers are now interested in how it could bring your boyfriend's boner back from the dead.
10. Chubby, older fathers are the most attractive people to women
What do women want? Vaguely fat, older dads, apparently.
According to Richard Bribiescas, professor of anthropology and deputy provost at Yale University, pudgy father figures live longer and are better at passing their genes on to their younger, hotter partners ... something women are able to unconsciously sense and interpret as spicy-hot attraction. In fact, becoming a little fluffy in old age actually strengthens men's immune systems, and there is pretty solid evidence that men of this mien are less likely to suffer from heart attacks and prostate cancer.
A 2008 study even found that fit men with high metabolisms were around twice as likely to die in a given year than dad bod types whose rippling rolls of hairy flesh tend to burn more fat at rest.
No wonder one of our writers religiously jacks it to Bill Murray.
11. Reality-altering new study reveals who is most likely to have sex with a robot ... and it's exactly who you think
Speaking of ... who do you think is the most likely group of people to bone bots? Do you think it's lonely heterosexual men ages 18-67?
Wow. Look at the brain on you.
Speaking at the Love and Sex with Robots conference in London, study researcher Jessica M. Szczuka from the University of Duisburg-Essen confirmed that same demographic was the most likely to have sex with an animatron. According to her researhc, 40.3 percent of them would make passionate, one sided love to a robotic lady.