Some scientific studies have the tendency to be, well, a little dry. (We should know—we read thousands of them every year!) But when it comes to sex research, there’s rarely a dull moment. So we combed through our arsenal of bizarre data and useful tips to bring you the best sex and relationship nuggets of 2012. Read up and get your sexy on.
1. Lube is your secret weapon.
Men who add extra lubrication to their condoms during intercourse tend to last longer in the sack, according to a study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine. Why it ups your stamina isn’t 100 percent clear, but study author Debby Herbenick, Ph.D., the Men’s Health Sex Professor, tells MensHealth.com that women have also reported sex to be more pleasurable and satisfying when they use lubricant during sex. The main takeaway: The wetter the better.
Read the full story: The Simple Way to Last Longer in Bed
2. Her sex drive is on the rise.
Great news for married men everywhere: Women’s sexual satisfaction increases with age, says a study in The Journal of Sexual Medicine. Researchers asked more than 800 women over 40 years old about their recent sexual activity, desire, and satisfaction in the bedroom. The results: Not only were the women more satisfied with their sex lives, but nearly 70 percent were consistently reaching orgasm. The researchers suggest women tend to become more comfortable with their bodies and open about their sexual desires as time passes.
Read the full story: Ignite Your Sex Drive
3. Foreplay isn’t just for women.
Men who don’t frequently engage in sexual touching with their partner have more than twice the odds of experiencing erectile problems, according to a new study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior. Researchers surveyed 1,352 people about how much touching they did—i.e. kissing, hugging, and caressing—and whether or not they’ve had any issues reaching climax, maintaining an erection, or becoming aroused. Turns out, both women and men experienced issues when there was a lack of hands-on fun. The connection: Foreplay is equally critical for guys because it facilitates arousal, study author Adena Galinsky, Ph.D., a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Chicago, tells MensHealth.com.
Read the full story: The Crucial Bedroom Move You’re Forgetting
4. Walnuts strengthen your swimmers.
Eating just 75 grams of walnuts a day—roughly a handful—can improve the quality of your semen, according to a report in the journal Biology of Reproduction. Researchers monitored 117 healthy men, asking half to incorporate 75 grams of walnuts into their diets. After 3 months, the guys who ate walnuts saw an improvement in the shape of their sperm, as well as the movement and vitality of their swimmers. Researchers credit the alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)—a natural plant source of omega-3—in walnuts for the extra boost.
Read the full story: The Food That Strengthens Your Sperm
5. Her sex toys aren’t your replacement.
Afraid her sex toys will steal your thunder? Don’t be. Most women say using a vibrator doesn’t make them depend on it for pleasure, according to new research from Indiana University. About three-quarters of women also say that vibrators make partnered sex more exciting and can help them climax more easily. “Don’t just spring a vibrator on her though,” says Herbenick. Ask which toys she’s open to, and you’ll seem sexy and thoughtful.
6. She’s cool with one-night stands (if it’s good).
Say goodbye to the walk of shame. Women are less likely to regret random hookups if the sex was satisfying, according to a new Canadian study. Researchers interviewed women about uncommitted sexual encounters and found that bad sex was associated with disappointment, embarrassment, and guilt. Good sex, on the other hand, rarely led to regret. “Orgasmic sex causes the release of oxytocin, which promotes bonding,” study author Maryanne Fisher, Ph.D, tells Men’s Health. This could lead her to believe it’s the start of a relationship. Using a condom may also reduce her regret, says Fisher. (And yours, naturally.)
7. Your sleeping style can bring you X-rated dreams.
Want hotter dreams? A study published in the journal Dreaming suggests that it may be as easy as switching up your sleeping style. Researchers surveyed 670 people about their sleeping posture, personality, and typical dream experiences and found that people who sleep face down on their stomach with their arms stretched above their head tend to have more sexual dreams. What gives? The researchers are still trying to find reason behind this kinky link, but they assume it could be due to constricted breathing and stimulation as your junk is pressed against the bed sheets.
Read the full story: Sleep Like THIS—Dream About Sex
8. Your buddies are killing your erection.
If your girlfriend is forming friendships with your bros, it may be ruining your sex life. Cornell researchers asked more than 3,000 men to ballpark how much their significant others talked with their buddies, and almost a quarter reported that their partners chatted with their friends more than they did. The results: Those men were 92 percent more likely to report trouble getting an erection than the guys who spent more time with their buds. The connection: When your partner talks to your friends more than you do, it can be a threat to masculinity, sense of control, and lead to resentment because you can end up feeling isolated by both parties. And all of these elements affect your sex drive, lead researcher Benjamin Cornwell, a professor at Cornell University, tells MensHealth.com.
Read the full story: The Surprising Thing That Kills Your Sex Drive
9. She’s thinking about you—like that.
A woman’s sexual fantasies tend to be recurring and are often triggered by someone she knows, according to a study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior. One popular theme: “Most women reported fantasies in which their partner was so turned on he had to have sex with her on the spot,” study author Samantha Dawson, Ph.D., tells MensHealth.com. Other prominent themes were foreplay, bondage, and chivalry. Curious what your girlfriend imagines doing with you? Ask her to write down her fantasies as they occur. Doing this may make her more aware of her desires—and can help you fulfill them, says Dawson.
10. Facebook could be ruining your love life.
Staying connected to an ex on Facebook can halt your recovery from the breakup and stunt your personal growth, according to a new study in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. Not having enough self-control—plus a persistent need to seek out information on Facebook—leaves you permanently bitter from the breakup, lead study author Tara C. Marshall, Ph.D., a psychologist at Brunel University in England, tells MensHealth.com.
Read the full story: The #1 Person You Need to Unfriend on Facebook
11. Exercise gets her off.
Core workouts can trigger orgasms in women, says a study published in the journal Sexual and Relationship Therapy. You read that right: In a study at Indiana University, over half of 530 women surveyed copped to experiencing an exercise-induced orgasm or exercise-induced sexual pleasure during a workout. What’s more, the majority of the women admitted they weren’t even daydreaming about sex while working up a sweat, says Herbenick, lead author of the study. And although researchers can’t exactly explain the awesome phenomenon, they do know that many of these orgasms took place when women’s abdominal muscles were being utilized.
Read the full story: The Coregasm Workout
12. The G-spot is real. (Er, maybe?)
Earlier this year, groundbreaking research was published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine revealing the first physical evidence that the G-spot does, in fact, exist. Study author Adam Ostrzenski, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of gynecology at Florida International University, performed a vaginal wall dissection on a fresh cadaver and discovered a cluster of erectile tissue deep in the front vaginal wall. According to Ostrzenski, the G-spot is actually much lower in the vagina than previously believed—about half an inch from the urethral opening. But keep in mind: This is only one study on one (dead) woman. Future research will be needed to replicate the findings and confirm if the mass of erectile tissue is tied to pleasure at all. So while the rest of the research community untangles this new information, our standard advice still holds: listen to her, explore, and ask her what feels good.
Read the full story: BREAKING: Scientist Says He’s Found the G-Spot