Throughout the year, we’ve learned several new things about our love lives and sex in general. There are a few obvious things that we’ve learned such as men being 10 times more generous and willing to spend around attractive women.
However, we’ve also realized a few not-so-obvious things such as the fact that there’s a hormone that men can spray up their nose to help them stay away from other women and prevent them from cheating on their significant other.
Here are the 12 things we’ve learned about love and sex in 2012:
1. Reading Cosmo could make women more sexually aggressive.
This year, researchers found that women who read sex-related articles in magazines like Cosmopolitan were more accepting of premarital sex and more supportive of women in general assertively seeking out sexual gratification. This effect was more pronounced in white readers — maybe because women of color are underrepresented in women's magazines.
2. Men don't really fall asleep first after sex.
Despite the stereotype, a study this year found that men are no more likely than women to fall asleep after sex. But having a partner fall asleep first may increase the wakeful person's desire for cuddling and bonding — nobody likes to be the one left awake while the other person snores.
3. Men are more generous around attractive women.
Researchers had men play a computer game in which they could donate money, and the guys gave significantly more when observed by an attractive woman. The study author explained, "Good deeds among men increase when presented with an opportunity to copulate."
4. Sex is just as safe as golf.
That's the good news: For people with heart conditions, having sex is no riskier than a round of golf. The bad news: For anybody who's been buying into the idea of sex as exercise, the average intercourse is no more strenuous than golf, either.
5. Advertising is getting sexier.
A study this year found that 27% of magazine ads in 2003 featured sex in some way, up from 15% in 1983. The most sex-saturated product categories: alcohol, entertainment, and beauty.
6. Open relationships are safer than cheating.
People who have sex outside their relationship with their partner's consent are more likely to use protection and less likely to have sex drunk or high than people who are just cheating behind their partner's back, according to a recent study. Looks like"monogamish" may be safer than fake-monogamous.
7. Friends with benefits are also friends with condoms.
Researchers recently found that friends with benefits were more likely to use condoms than people in romantic relationships (this may be in part because some people in monogamous relationships stop using condoms). However, the study also found that friends with benefits were less sexually satisfied and less likely to communicate about sex than people in relationships.
8. Teens with smartphones have more sex.
They're more likely to be sexually active than less technologically enabled teenagers, according to a study. Teens with smartphones are also more likely than others to have sex with someone they met online.
9. TV ruins relationships.
Specifically, believing that TV paints an accurate picture of love can make married people less committed and more interested in other partners. Because watching a hot wife get exasperated with her useless, schlubby husband is really compelling, apparently.
10. Premarital "cold feet" is serious business.
People who have doubts before they get married spend less time together and are less satisfied post-marriage than people who are more confident, a recent study found. Which doesn't mean doubters' relationships are doomed — but they should probably address their concerns before they get married. Said the study author, "It is tempting to push those concerns down and just go with the flow, but couples need to remember, the doubts you are having are there for a reason and dealing with them will be beneficial."
11. A nasal spray could make men faithful.
If it contains oxytocin, that is. Researchers found that spraying the hormone up partnered men's noses made them stay away from women they found attractive (who weren't their girlfriends). Cue jokes about an oxytocin perfume...oh, wait, itexists.
12. Getting mad could be good for your marriage (especially if you're married to a jerk).
Recent research shows forgiveness could have its limits. Agreeable people (those who are considerate and care a lot about pleasing others) are less likely to do things that make their partner mad if that partner is forgiving. But disagreeable people are more likely to screw up if you keep forgiving them. So if you're with kind of a jerk (or just someone who doesn't care much what other people think), getting mad could motivate that person to change.
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