Research

My research interest include sexual quality, solutions to sexual problems, women’s sexual health, sexual and relationship satisfaction, responsive sexual desire, desire discrepancy, maintaining satisfying sex in long-term relationships, and the effectiveness of integrating sexual pleasure into comprehensive sex education.

Current Research Projects

The Mixed Sex Couples Study

With funding from the American Institute of Bisexuality, I am currently in the data collection phase of this study examining mixed sex couples where one or both members of the couple identify as bisexual. There is so little research on bisexual identity, and even less in the context of the couple. This online study involves a baseline questionnaire, a 30-day daily electronic report, and a follow-up interview. There are incentives for couples who complete the study. If you think you might be interested in participating, find out more information on the study’s Facebook page or go straight to the study website here.

The Condom & Couples Study

We recently finished collecting data from young couples after asking them to get creative in finding ways to make condoms more pleasurable. We wanted to further understand how couples integrate pleasure into condom use. A top reason people engage in sex is for pleasure. If our condoms don’t integrate a pleasure-based approach, it is hard to expect people to use them. Participants were asked to engage in a couple-based entrance interview, asked to provide daily electronic reports for 7 days following the interview, and engage in an individual exit interview. The data are currently being analyzed and we will provide information when a summary of our findings and scientific articles are complete.

The You + Your Desire Study

We have been been developing an event-level measure for responsive sexual desire. Sexual desire isn’t always experienced as a beginning of the relationship butterflies response. Sometimes, arousal may come first, or desire may spark from a non-sexual need being met. Researchers and clinicians have long thought about the ways in which sexual desire is responsive in nature, but we do not currently have measurement tools that assess this. We have completed the first three phases of this five phase study. Scale development is a long process, but our findings are only as strong as our measurement, so we want to make sure we are focusing in on making this a methodologically and psychometrically sound measurement tool.

The Sexual Health & Relationships Study

We recently finished collecting data for a large study on sexual health and relationships where an oversampling of sexual minority populations was a priority. These data are currently being cleaned and analyzed. Priority papers from these data include the validation of scales to measure sexual desire in sexual minority populations, the link between attachment style, sexual desire, and sexual satisfaction in diverse samples, and a number of other papers on sexual and relationship constructs, particularly related to sexual minority populations.

The Penis Perceptions Study

We recently collected data from over 15,000 men and women about their perceptions, attitudes, expectations, likes, dislikes, when it comes to penises! The largest study of its kind, this study informed two additional phases of the Penis Perceptions Study aiming to further understand male sexual functioning and the impact it has on partners. One of the papers from this study, published in the International Journal of Impotence Research, can be found here.

The Couples Study

We are also currently working with The Couples Study data, a longitudinal and daily experience study of over 200 mixed-sex couples, to answer a number of questions regarding sexual desire, desire discrepancy, and satisfaction. There have been a couple of papers already published from this study. One on the object of one’s sexual desire published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine (found here) and another a psychometric comparison of sexual satisfaction scales, published in the Journal of Sex Research (found here).

Sexual Health Promotion Lab

Are you a current University of Kentucky graduate or undergraduate student interested in being a member of the Sexual Health Promotion Lab? Or perhaps you’re looking into graduate school and think the Sexual Health Promotion Lab might be a good fit for you?

Featured Recent Publications

Colleagues and I recently published a study on desire discrepancy that challenges the way we think of discrepancies in desire, “Sexual desire discrepancy as a feature, not a bug, of long-term relationships: Women’s self-reported strategies for modulating sexual desire” in Journal of Sexual Medicine in 2014.

Read the article »

With Dr. Herbenick, I published “The impact of current attraction to partner and changes in attraction to partner on women’s satisfaction in long-term relationships” in Archives of Sexual Behavior in 2013.

Read the article »

With colleagues, I recently published “A psychometric comparison of three scales and a single-item measure to assess sexual satisfaction” in The Journal of Sex Research in 2014.

Read the article »

With colleagues Milhausen and Maitland, we published “The impact of sexual compatibility on sexual and relationship satisfaction in a sample of young adult heterosexual couples” in Sexual and Relationship Therapy in 2013.

Read the article »

Good in Bed Surveys

Thus far, eight surveys have been conducted in collaboration with the experts of Good in Bed. Their reports are available below:

Relationship Boredom: This survey examined relationship boredom within the context of committed relationships and how relationship boredom is linked to sex within those relationships.

Sexual Adventurousness: This survey examined what types of behavior men and women engage in or is willing to engage in and the differences and similarities between women and men in these preferences and experiences.

Orgasm: This survey was conducted to understand, in a large quantitative sample, the impact that orgasm has on the relationship, what sexual behaviors are most likely to elicit orgasm, and what enhances or detracts from the experience of orgasm.

Sex, Relationships, and the Holidays: This survey aimed to understand how the schedule-turning and priority-shifting the holidays bring impact sex and relationships.

Date Night: This survey examined the impact (or lack thereof) that scheduling a date-night with a long-term partner has on the relationship, sex life, and closeness that is felt.

Attitudes Toward Monogamy: This survey examined attitudes toward monogamy in a large sample between 18 to 65.

Valentine’s Day Survey: This survey aimed to understand the motivation, expectations, and ideals around cupid’s holiday, Valentine’s Day for singles and couples alike.

What Would You Do Survey: This was a fun survey to find out what people were willing to do (or not do) when it came to sex and relationships.