Study Says Having Sex Makes You More Productive at Work

If you want to be happier and more productive at work, the secret is to be more reproductive at home. At least, that’s what a new study out of Oregon State University concluded. Couples who have active sex lives do better in the office. It sounds great, but the study is arousing … some skepticism.

Keith Leavitt, an associate professor in OSU’s College of Business, looked at 159 married employees for two weeks and had them complete brief surveys every day. The people who engaged in a lil coitus reported feeling better the next morning, and those good vibes carried over through the workday, lasting up to 24 hours. Both male and female sex-havers reported feeling more engaged and satisfied with their work at equal rates, and this feeling was consistent even when factoring in marital satisfaction and sleep quality.

Leavitt attribute much of the good mood to the dopamine that’s released during intercourse.

“We make jokes about people having a ‘spring in their step,’ but it turns out this is actually a real thing and we should pay attention to it,” Leavitt said in a release. “Maintaining a healthy relationship that includes a healthy sex life will help employees stay happy and engaged in their work, which benefits the employees and the organizations they work for.”

Here’s probably where we should point out that two weeks isn’t a very long time for a study like this, and 159 people isn’t exactly a sweeping sample size. The study also suggests that sex and job satisfaction are a two-way street, making the conclusions a little more gray — and not in the 50 Shades way. The research found that people who brought their work home with them and were stressed at their job were less likely to have sex. In this reading, having sex is a symptom of a good job, not the cause of it.

There’s probably at least a kernel of truth to the idea that a good 69 leads to a better 9 to 5, so to speak. It’s just much more complicated than the study’s main takeaway makes it seem.

“This is a reminder that sex has social, emotional and physiological benefits, and it’s important to make it a priority. Just make time for it,” Leavitt said. He’s not wrong, but the study seems like it should be just that, a reminder, rather than final proof that nightly hookups will magically cure all your work woes.

Travel: The “Sex Cruise” For Nudists and Swingers Sets Sail in September

If you love cruises but have always hated that there’s not enough open sex stuff on board, we have some great news: The Desire Cruise—described as a couples-only, clothing-optional “high-end, sensual yet spicy experience” — is setting sail this September.

The cruise will begin in the Adriatic Sea and end in Venice, Italy. The “entertainment” on board includes activities and parties like “Sexual Scrabble,” “Sensual Superheroes,” “Naughty Nautical,” and “Golf pros and tennis hoes.”

There’s also something called the Signature Playroom. From the cruise’s website as:

You will feel the electrical currents pulsate through your body, as you mix & mingle with like-minded couples in a healthy, sophisticated, erotic playground for adventurers. We invite you to take your relationship to the next level, by living out your forbidden fantasies at sea, in our Signature Playroom.

And a private jacuzzi lounge:

Enter our private, clothing-optional spa deck, with bubbling salt water bath and powerful jets that massage you as you soak up the view in the company of other like-minded couples seeking to fulfill their fantasies. This private, intimate hotspot combines cool sophistication with steamy sensuality.

And, of course, a clothing-optional pool area:

Our clothing-optional pool area provides nothing but hot n´ steamy fun, as the leader in day life aboard “Venice Foreplay”. Desire Cruises continues its infamous reign with an amplified & progressive poolside experience that is all about making waves. So accessorize your sexy self with a carefree attitude, as our Dream Team brings the action to this holiday hotspot.

If you’re busy this fall, we have more good news: The Daily Star reports another sex boat/Desire Cruise is setting sail in April 2018.

Improve Date Night by Having Sex Before You Go Out

Sex is an important part of the evening known as “date night,” but it doesn’t have to happen at the end of the date. In fact, there are a bunch of benefits to getting down before you even head out the door.

Not only does it put you in a good mood for the rest of the evening, but as Megan Cahn explains on A Cup of Jo, you don’t have to worry about ruining sexy times by overindulging in other ways:

But sometimes, after too much wine and trying one too many dishes off the menu (why do we always order so many apps?), when we get home passing out is all we feel like doing. The other night, though, something came over us and we ended up in the bedroom before we even left the house for dinner. The next several hours were spent at our usual spot eating our usual things, but it felt different — a little lighter, a little more smiley.

Obviously, this tip is meant for those in fairly stable relationships, and not meant to apply to dates of the Tinder persuasion. Having sex before drinks would be dumb in that case, as sometimes the alcohol is the only good part of a Tinder date.

To Your Brain, Religion Is Similar To Sex And Drugs

Religion may ponder questions about meaning of existence that lie beyond science’s purview, but that doesn’t mean science can’t tackle how religion works. Now a new study suggests some intriguing possibilities about how religious and spiritual experiences trigger the reward and attention centers of the brain.

Past studies on the neuroscience of religion had been all over the map, with researchers unable to agree on a seemingly simple a question like which region of the brain is involved in a spiritual experience. That uncertainty, along with the fact that such experiences are complex and vary wildly among individuals, led some researchers to think that every brain might process religion differently. But now researchers at the University of Utah have found that intense religious experiences consistently activate the reward circuits in the brain.That’s the same part of the brain that activates during more licentious experiences like drinking, having sex, or taking drugs.

“There’s one major reward pathway in the brain,” researcher Jeffrey Anderson told Vocativ. “Whether you’re talking about gambling or love or sex, it’s the same basic circuits that process that pleasure.”

The researchers reached this conclusion by putting 19 devout Mormons in an MRI. For an hour each, they watched religion-themed videos, read from the Book of Mormon, and listened to quotations from Mormon and other religious leaders. As clinical and artificial an environment as an MRI might be, the participants consistently reported that they were “feeling the Spirit” — the Mormon term for sensing a close connection with God — and many cried or otherwise felt extreme emotions over the course of their scans.

This new research fits in with other recent studies that indicate the reward circuits of the prefrontal cortex may be crucial to religious experiences across many cultural groups. One study found Parkinson’s patients who had suffered damaged to this part of the brain reported reduced levels of religiosity.

“To a believer, I would imagine that our results might not be too surprising,” said Anderson. “These are rewarding experiences. Of course they’re going to associate brain regions associated with reward and increased attention and morality.”

But is this just a one-way phenomenon, or could the rewarding nature of religion shape how people respond to it in the first place? If religious experiences do activate the brain’s reward pathways, it’s possible that some people respond to religion as a whole because of those good feelings they know are coming.

“If religious and spiritual experiences ultimately trigger reward responses, that brings up the question of conditioning,” said Anderson. That could make them more receptive to the drier, doctrinal parts of religion, even those beliefs that they might reject in a less neurally rewarding context. “Is it possible that any religious ideal, if you’re where there’s music and social rewards and reinforcement, and those get paired with doctrinal concepts, then virtually any religious idea could become rewarding?”

That idea requires further study, and it’s still an open question whether the neural activity of 19 devout Mormons are truly representative of how spiritual experiences affect the brains across the world’s cultures and religions. It’s also possible atheists and agnostics might experience similar reward activation when spending time in nature or contemplating the universe.

But Anderson suspects religious experiences might indeed be similar, irrespective of the particular faith.

“Even if the messages or gods are very different, are we feeling it in the same way, in the same parts of the brain?” he said. If that is indeed the case, Anderson hopes this research might help people understand how their beliefs are far more alike than they are different.

Bill That Would Make Revenge Porn Federal Crime To Be Introduced

Revenge porn, that internet scourge that has seen a recent onslaught of legislation and prosecutions, is about to meet its biggest challenge yet. On Thursday, Rep. Jackie Speier will announce a much-anticipated and long-delayed federal bill to outlaw nonconsensual pornography in the United States. This landmark legislation would make the distribution of such images a crime punishable by a fine or up to five years in prison.

The bill, which addresses the sharing of nude or sexually explicit images of an identifiable person with “reckless disregard for the person’s lack of consent to the distribution,” is being celebrated by victims of revenge porn. But several privacy experts and civil liberties activists who reviewed the text at Vocativ’s request say it is too broadly written and could violate the First Amendment. They warn that it could inappropriately apply to images of everything from babies at bath time to breastfeeding moms. It could also restrict imagery in mainstream news publications and X-rated Tumblrs alike, they argue.

“We understand the very real privacy interests that are motivating this bill,” said Emma Llansó of The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT). “Unfortunately, it is broad and lacking in some of the key protections that would be necessary to ensure that a law like this wouldn’t have an unintended effect of chilling constitutionally protected speech.”

The past several years have seen a wave of legislation targeting revenge porn, a term that typically refers to cases of spurned lovers sharing private images, but is sometimes applied more broadly to any kind of explicit imagery shared without permission. Thirty-four states have enacted such laws, which leaves roughly a third without any laws specifically targeting nonconsensual pornography, and revenge porn activists say a federal law is desperately needed to close that gap. Meanwhile, groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have warned that such legislation, if too broadly written, could having a chilling effect on free speech.

The bill has encountered delays, in part because of attempts to address those concerns. Mary Anne Franks, a professor at the University of Miami School of Law who helped draft the bill, says many meetings were held with constitutional scholars, civil liberties groups, and privacy experts, most of whom she says were left without “serious reservations” about the text. That’s because the bill limits its scope by providing several exceptions—for example, visuals of public nudity or sexual behavior and images that are in “the bona fide public interest.” (In the latter case, it might mean that a hacked celebrity sex tape is outlawed, unless it is relevant to political interests—say, the president appears in it.)

It also addresses Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act, which is often considered one of the most important protectors of freedom of expression online and shields websites from legal responsibility for user-generated content (status updates on Facebook, for example). The bill states that it would not apply to a “provider of an interactive computer service” unless it “intentionally promotes or solicits content that it knows to be in violation” of the legislation. In other words, a site like Twitter wouldn’t be responsible for Joe Schmo’s revenge porn tweet unless CEO Jack Dorsey in some way solicited it.

Eugene Volokh, a professor at UCLA School of Law, told Vocativ in an email that he is “not a fan of most privacy-based speech restrictions,” but said “this law seems quite narrow, and pretty clearly defined.” Similarly, Neil Richards, a First Amendment scholar and law professor at Washington University, underscored the importance of revenge porn laws being narrow enough so they aren’t “used as tools of censorship that threaten our commitment to free expression, including sexually-explicit expression,” but said, “I think on balance, this is a very well-drafted law.”

However, spokespeople from three of the activist organizations with whom the bill’s drafters consulted, including the CDT, the ACLU, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), argue that it is still overly broad. “It attempts to balance First Amendment rights and privacy rights, and I think it doesn’t quite get there,” said Michael W. Macleod-Ball, First Amendment counsel at the ACLU.

For one, he says, the bill would need to include a requirement of malice in order to pass muster—meaning, prosecutors would have to prove that the person sharing the imagery intended harm to the depicted person. “There is no intent standard,” he said. “People who have innocent photos or depictions, it still subjects them to criminalization of their protected free speech activities.”

He gives the examples of parents sharing naked baby photos with family members or the publication of important historical images featuring nudity. While the bill does exclude images that are in the public interest, which might apply in the latter case, he says it is too vaguely defined. “As long as you have this uncertainty with the exceptions, you run the risk of an overzealous prosecutor using this to make a point against a reporter or someone else who circulates these images,” he argued.

The bill’s supporters argue that a malice standard would be too limiting, though. “The practical effect of this would be to let the vast majority of offenders off the hook–especially those motivated by greed or voyeurism instead of harassment,” said Franks in an email. “To do what the ACLU demands would be, first, to treat intimate privacy as somehow less deserving of protection than financial, medical, or even geolocation privacy, and second, to allow a vast range of offenders–including revenge porn site owners profiting from the sexual humiliation of strangers and rapists broadcasting their assaults for entertainment—to act with impunity.”

Macleod-Ball also argues that the bill would need to address the expectation of privacy, which is relevant beyond whether or not a photo is taken in public. He gives the example of a man who sends a photo of his penis to a woman online with the intent to harass her. What if she then spreads that image to, as he puts it, “share her outrage”?” This is a very real phenomenon: Take the woman whowent viral this summer by sharing an unsolicited dick pic an internet stranger sent to her, or the artist who turned unwanted penis shots into an art exhibit. Macleod-Ball says such a woman could be subject to prosecution under this bill, unless, perhaps, it required an expectation of privacy and the sharing of an unsolicited penis photo was deemed to not have the expectation of privacy.

Llansó, of The Center for Democracy & Technology, takes issue with the fact that the bill goes beyond targeting the original uploader of an image. “The way the bill is structured, it appears to apply not only to a person who initially uploads a photo and knows they have no consent to distribute, but also to anyone who reposts or retweets or reblogs or otherwise shares that image with, as the bill says, reckless disregard,” she said. “The idea that people generally using the web will be able to anticipate the mindset of a person depicted in an image is just difficult if not impossible to achieve.”

She added, “There are many explicit images available online and I think it’s fair to say it’s a difficult call which one of those were initially consensually posted online.”

In this sense, the bill could apply to someone who reposts an unsourced erotic photograph on their X-rated Tumblr. Is it reckless disregard to post it without verifying the consent of the person depicted in it, or is it only reckless if that Tumblr blogger knows that the person did not consent? Llansó says it would be up to the court to decide. She also notes that while the bill requires the person in the image be identifiable, either in the visual itself or in accompanying text, it leaves room for interpretation as to whether that means that they are identifiable just to family and friends, or to total strangers as well.

Lee Tien, a senior staff attorney at EFF, agrees that the bill “raises some serious constitutional concerns” and points out that reckless disregard for consent could be construed in some surprising ways. “I might have an image of a nude woman from a book and then post it to some blog,” he said. “That might violate this law if the woman didn’t consent to my posting it online.”

Macleod-Ball said it’s possible, though, to draft a constitutional federal revenge porn bill. “There are legitimate privacy interests that need to be protected, but there are also legitimate free speech interests that need to be protected,” he said. “Figuring out how to balance those and still deal with this very important problem is the challenge.”

The revenge porn victims supporting the law see things differently. In 2010, Annmarie Chiarini’s ex-boyfriend posted naked images of her to the internet and she was told by police that nothing could be done. Chiarini reached such a point of desperation that she attempted suicide, but she survived and went on to work with the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative to counsel more than 2,000 revenge porn victims. “With every case, I heard the same helplessness I felt when I was victimized—there are no laws to protect victims,” she said. “This bill will provide victims with the protection they deserve.”

Her ex was never punished or even approached by law enforcement, and she long ago let go of the possibility. But when asked whether she thinks he would have shared those images if a federal law has been in place, she is firm. “Absolutely not.”

Bisexuality Among U.S. Adults Has Doubled Since 1990

A new study detailing the sexual behavior of American adults from 1973 through 2014 shows that a significantly higher proportion of the population has been engaging in bisexual sex acts since the 1990s. To be precise, the number of adults who have had sex with at least one same-sex partner doubled between 1990 and 2014.

Published Wednesday in the journal The Archives of Sexual Behavior, the study said the number of women who have had sex with at least one same-sex partner after the age of 18 jumped from 3.6 percent to 8.7 percent during this time period; for men, these numbers grew from 4.5 percent to 8.2 percent. Women started off a bit less bi, but have since surpassed the menfolk in bi behavior.

Overall, the study found that bisexual behavior more than doubled between 1990 and 2014. In the early ’90s, only 3.1 percent of adults reported having had at least one same-sex partner as an adult, but that grew to 7.7 percent by 2014. While bisexual behavior saw a considerable jump, the study said there wasn’t a similar increase among people having only same-sex sex.

The study, which was a collaboration between researchers with Florida Atlantic University, San Diego State University, and Widener University, noted that acceptance of LGBTQ people has become more widespread in recent years. In 1973, only 11 percent of people in the U.S. felt there was nothing wrong with homosexuality, while in 2014, that grew to 49 percent.

Either the country is more LGBTQ than ever before, or we’re finally getting to a place where people are more comfortable talking about how they’ve always been LGBTQ. Either way, things are getting better (and definitely gayer).

Does More Sex Mean A Happier Relationship? FSU Study Says Yes…

The more often a couple has sex, the happier they are—they just might not know it. That’s according to a new study, published in the journal Psychological Science, which finds a positive link between more frequent boning and what researchers call positive “automatic” attitudes toward one’s partner, though not necessarily their self-reports of relationship satisfaction.

“We found that the frequency with which couples have sex has no influence on whether or not they report being happy with their relationship, but their sexual frequency does influence their more spontaneous, automatic, gut-level feelings about their partners,” said lead author Lindsey L. Hicks of Florida State University in a press release.

Despite all the cultural value placed on getting it on as often as possible, researchers have gotten mixed results when looking at the connection between relationship satisfaction and sexual frequency. Some studies have found a positive association, but others, including reliable longitudinal ones, have failed to find any significant link. The authors of this study suspected something might be amiss in the prior research. “We thought these inconsistencies may stem from the influence of deliberate reasoning and biased beliefs regarding the sometimes taboo topic of sex,” said Hicks.

So they designed a study that would go beyond that potential bias.

They surveyed 120 newlyweds about the quality of their relationships and asked them to estimate how often they have sex. Those same people also completed a computer exercise in which a photo of their partner popped up for 300 milliseconds before a word appeared on the screen. They were instructed to press a key indicating that the word was either positive or negative. The idea here being that their response time would reveal how much they associated their partners with the negative or positive word in question—again, on an automatic and potentially unconscious level.

So, say someone responded quickly to negative words that they were shown after getting a quick glimpse of their partner. According to the researchers, that would mean they had less positive feelings toward their relationship.

Just as in some past studies, the researchers found no connection between the frequency of sex and participants’ self-reports of relationship quality. But the computer exercise revealed a link between sexin’ and people’s automatic associations with their partners. Couples that had more sex were more likely to have positive associations with their partners.

A second longitudinal study following 112 newlyweds showed that the same connection held up over time. “Our findings suggest that we’re capturing different types of evaluations when we measure explicit and automatic evaluations of a partner or relationship,” said Hicks. “Deep down, some people feel unhappy with their partner but they don’t readily admit it to us, or perhaps even themselves.”

Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should have more sex and expect greater happiness in your relationship. That’s because it’s possible that participants with more positive automatic feelings toward their partners are just motivated to have more sex in the first place. But, well, it wouldn’t hurt to try.

Americans Spend More Time Watching Netflix Than Eating or Having Sex

Yeah, we’ll admit it — we spend a lot of time watching Netflix. It might not be the most productive thing in the world, but the second season of Peaky Blinders isn’t just going to watch itself. But, the sheer amount of minutes and hours we spend binge-watching is pretty mind-boggling.

According to a study by TDGr Research (and a helpful breakdown by Exstreamist), the average American Netflix user spends about 90 minutes a day streaming video on the service. The only things that Americans do more than watch Netflix, were sleeping, working, and all other leisure activities…combined.

Here are 5 absolutely vital daily activities that we spend less time on, than Netflix, based on national averages.

Eating

70 Minutes Per Day

Apparently, people would rather spend time streaming No Reservations to watch Anthony Bourdain eat than chow down themselves.

Commuting

33 Minutes Per Day

Since working is one of the few things we do more than streaming video from Netflix, we’re guessing that you spend most of your trip back and forth away from the screen thinking about what you’re going to watch once you’re finally home — unless you’re really hooked, and you’ve jumped ship to Amazon’s new offline option for your Wi-Fi-less fix on the subway.

Reading

49 Minutes Per Day

You know, reading IS important for your mental well-being — but to us troglodyte Americans, Netflix is importanter.

Personal/Child Care

25 Minutes Per Day

Since the only thing you’re going to be doing is watching Netflix anyway, who cares how you or your kid looks?

“Adult Intimate Time”

2 Minutes Per Day 

There you have it: the American people have decided that Netflix is better than sex.

Science Discovers Women’s Perfect Penis Size

Finally, scientists are getting serious about the important research that actually matters: finding out what women really want when it comes to dong size.

A new study by researchers at the University of New Mexico and UCLA used a technique that may offer the most accurate idea yet of what women want to find in men’s pants.

The study, published in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS One, presented women with 3-D printed, blue plastic “penises” in 33 various sizes to allow them to choose their preferred size for both a long relationship and a one-night stand.

As The Daily Beast pointed out, previous studies have fallen short by asking women to name a size in inches without looking at anything, or to look at 2-D dicks in drawings or photographs. This study let women get their hands on those plastic wangs to truly figure it out.

OK, let’s get to the important part. The average size that the women wanted for a long term partner based on the schlongs they chose was 6.4 inches long and 5 inches around.

When it came to a long-term relationship, the ideal size was 6.3 inches long and 4.8 inches around.

Keep in mind, the average penis size is 5.16 inches and 4.5 inches around, so , odds are, you’re only slightly smaller than what most women want.

Feel better?

The Science Of Cheating: Why Ashley Madison Had So Many Customers

The Ashley Madison hack has revealed the millions of cheating spouses who engage in online trysts, which prompts the question—why do we cheat?

Science has a slew of answers. Husbands are more likely to cheat if they have deep, booming voices. Wives are more likely to fool around if they fake orgasms or have husbands with large penises (you can’t make this stuff up). And, of course, there’s an infidelity gene (because there’s always a gene).

Between 20 and 40 percent of heterosexual Americans cheat on their spouses at least once. Men cheat more often than women, and 60 percent of Americans admit to “mate poaching” or trying to seduce someone else who is already in a committed relationship (known to the rest of us as “home-wrecking”). Infidelity statistics actually haven’t changed much in the past century. Even in the 1920s, long before Ashley Madison made cheating convenient, 25 to 30 percent of the population found a way to engage in extramarital affairs.

Meanwhile, scientists have been trying to figure out why. One of the most thorough takes on the science behind our urge to cheat is a 57-page literature review by anthropologist Helen Fisher, which dives into the biological and sociological reasons for having an affair.

It’s A Balance Thing

Imbalance of power within the relationship is often to blame, Fisher writes. One 1976 study found that wives who typically win arguments with their husbands are more likely to cheat. Other studies have shown that men are more likely to cheat if they believe their wives are less desirable than they are. These all play into the notion that cheating is more likely to happen when a husband and wife do not see themselves as equal partners in the relationship.

Income, education and religion may also influence whether or not we cheat. One 2001 study found that higher-income families cheat more often, and surmised that poor families tend to understand the emotional (and financial) value of sticking together. When it comes to education, however, the data is less clear. Some studies suggest highly educated women are more likely to cheat on less educated men, but subsequent research has called those findings into question. As for religion, it appears that people who attend religious services are less likely to be unfaithful—but that trend only holds for African Americans and Hispanic Americans. Caucasians, it seems, are less inspired by religion, and cheat even after attending services.

How Do Cheaters Sleep At Night?

With other people, clearly, but how do they live with themselves? Science has an answer for that, too.

Studies have shown that cheaters are able to clear their consciences by convincing themselves that their minor (or major) indiscretions are not representative of who they truly are. For a paper published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, participants were asked to recall how they may have harmlessly flirted with other people while in a committed relationship. Then, scientists lied to several participants and told them that those minor flirtations were especially unethical when compared with the rest of the group. Those participants first told researchers that they felt bad, but later began to downplay their unfaithful behavior and stress that it did not represent them.

Because whether you cheat because you’re rich, highly educated, have a deep voice or fake orgasms, one thing seems abundantly clear—it’s never your fault, and there’s a perfectly good explanation. Just ask the millions of Ashley Madison users now scrambling for advice on how to face their spouses.