56 Things You Didn't Know About Sex, Love, and Relationships

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Ah, Valentine's Day. Some people hate it, others love it, but the truth of the matter is we're all thinking about it (If only because heart-shaped chocolates are taking over drug stores nationwide.). Whether you're attached, flying solo, or somewhere in between, there's bound to be something on your heart's mind. From how sex can improve your health to the ultimate guide to contraception and the science of a broken heart (ugh, sorry...), check out these resources just in time for Cupid's favorite holiday.

Relationships and Love

1. 30 Cheap and Awesome Date Ideas Under $30 From stargazing, to kayaking, to coffee shop hops, check out this creative list of ways to reconnect with your sweetie without stressing out your wallet.

2. How I Stay Single and Sane While All My Friends Are In Relationships There have been laughable dates, periodic tears, and lots of people who feel sorry for her. Here’s how one Greatist writer learned to cope with being single when (almost) everyone else her age had already paired off.

3. How to Set Healthy Boundaries in Every Relationship Guest Writer Jennifer Kass outlines how to know if you're not setting healthy boundaries in a relationship, plus three crucial steps for becoming your own best advocate.

4. Table For One: A Single Girl’s Reflections on Valentine’s Day I wanted Josh, but I didn’t want a relationship. Now I’m single and that’s totally fine. Right?

5. How to Find Love in 4 Minutes: The Science of Speed Dating What else can ruin a first date besides bad breath? It turns out, a lot. Researchers analyzed speed-dating interviews and found several factors that predict a lack of connection.

6. The Surprising Health Effects of Love It's not just about roses and candlelit dinners. Romance can have a positive (and negative) impact on our health and wellbeing.

7. Sex with an Ex: Are Post-Relationship Hookups a New Normal? On again, off again, then back on — turns out those tumultuous relationships are pretty common among young adults. But what do they mean for personal development, and is “ex sex” the new normal?

8. Why Monogamy Might Be Good for Your Health Turns out monogamy is actually uncommon in most human cultures around the world. So what are the benefits of bonding with just one babe?

9. Is My Partner Bad for My Health? Our romantic partners may not share every interest with us, and that's okay. But when do quibbles over exercise and eating habits become reasons to call it quits?

10. The Science of a Broken Heart Whether it’s the result of a breakup or the death of a loved one, heartbreak can be an overwhelming experience. Fortunately, there are lots of tips for coping with the pain.

11. Does Love at First Sight Really Exist? It happened to Cinderella and Prince Charming, so it can happen to us too, right? Find out if love at first sight is just for fairy tales.

12. 20 Bad Habits That Could Hurt Your Relationship Want to lose the love of your life? Didn’t think so. Avoid these bad habits that could harm a happy relationship.

13. The Dirt On Dating: My Open Relationship Do committed relationships require being monogamous? One Greatist staffer opens her mind to open relationships.

14. 15 Active Winter Date Ideas Dinner and a movie is soooo last summer. Check out this list of active winter dates that will keep the heart (and the romance) pumping.

15. Will Living Together Ruin My Relationship? Get close and cozy or give each other some space? Living together can change a relationship for the good and bad.

16. Wedding Season for All: Same-Sex Marriage Could Reduce Stress Marriage goes way beyond the tax benefits. Studies have shown that heterosexual married couples are generally less stressed — and a new study shows the same goes for homosexual couples, too.

17. Become a Workout Power Couple Hit the gym as a couple to help strengthen bonds (and biceps!).

18. Modern Intimacy: Love's Amazing, Love Hurts In the first of a series of columns on modern relationships, psychiatrist Dr. Mark Banschick explains why intimacy is so appealing — and so difficult.

19. Modern Intimacy: Explaining Commitment Phobia In the second of a series of columns on relationships, psychiatrist Dr. Mark Banschick explains the fear of commitment and provides tips for building mutually fulfilling relationships.

20. Modern Intimacy: Coping with Neediness In the third of a series of columns on modern intimacy, psychiatrist Dr. Mark Banschick explores why we can feel so needy in intimate relationships, and offers several tips for addressing neediness in a healthy, productive way.

21. 19 Smart Ways to Fix a Stale Relationship For people in long-term relationships, “less passionate” phases are bound to happen. They also suck. But never fear — we’ve got the scoop on how to break out of a relationship rut.

22. Why We're Attracted to Assholes The dream-date has gorgeous hair, beautiful eyes, and a breathtaking smile. But that same catch soon turns out to be selfish, unreliable, and unstable. Sound familiar? Read on to find out why men and women keep falling for jerks.

23. I Virtually Do: How Social Media Is Changing Marriage If you like it then you shoulda’ put a ring on it. Or not? Find out how the Internet is changing the way we plan that walk down the aisle.

24. Health and Fitness in Relationships: Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen? Former staff writer Kelly Fitzpatrick takes a personal look into the world of health and fitness within relationships. This time around, she talks to bloggers Alice and Martin about cooking as a couple.

25. Health and Fitness in Relationships: Workout Power Couple Former staff writer Kelly Fitzpatrick talks to trainer Andrew Kalley and gym-wear designer Kelly Dooley about making it work as a fitness-minded couple.

26. Health and Fitness in Relationships: Eating Within the Rules Former staff writer Kelly Fitzpatrick talks to Marnina Cowan and Seth Coburn, food bloggers with some big dietary restrictions.

Sex, Sex, and More Sex

27. No One’s Satisfied with Their Sex Lives. Here’s Why 2013 research suggests most people fib when talking about how many sexual partners they’ve had — men round up, women round down. Why aren’t we more open about our sex lives?

28. 20-Somethings Suck at Safe Sex, But We Can Fix That We may have our pick-up lines down pat, but how much do we know about keeping things safe in the bedroom? Twenty-somethings can be pretty clueless when it comes to safe sex, and that can have serious consequences for their health.

29. How to Have Sex Without Screwing the Environment Doing your freak thang never looked so green! Sex isn't always sustainable (surprise!), but easy changes can have Mother Nature feeling good in no time. Read on for tips to make your sex life more eco-friendly.

30. Porn Doesn’t Have to Make You Sexist, But It Totally Could Research suggests watching porn can make viewers more prone to sexist attitudes and behaviors. But don't set up porn-blocking filters just yet — turns out the subject is way more complicated than you might think.

31. Get Your Buzz On: The Weird and Unexpected History of the Vibrator From its Victorian origins as a doctor’s tool to contemporary versions that sync to music, the history of the vibrator is fascinating, hysterical, and downright strange. We delve into the vibrator’s origins and explore how it’s perceived and used today.

32. Casual Hookups: Fewer Orgasms and More Regrets. Is Evolution to Blame? When it comes to casual sex, recent studies have shown women are more likely to regret having it and less likely to have an orgasm during it. Are researchers’ conclusions about their findings missing the mark?

33. How Sex Can Improve Our Health, Besides It Being Sex Getting lucky tonight? You may be in for more than you bargained for — in a good way! Read on to learn about the unexpected health benefits of sex.

34. How Much Sex Is Too Much Sex? While gettin’ it on is a budget-friendly activity that’s both good for your health and your fitness, we explore whether it's possible to have too much of a good thing.

35. The Ultimate Guide to Safer Sex [Infographic] A roll in the hay can be a good time, but there’s more to sexual health than just getting it on. Here’s what you need to know about safer sex.

36. How Does Sex Reduce Stress? Let’s get it on — turns out there are scientific reasons why sex can reduce stress.

37. Have Sexy Dreams By Sleeping On Your Stomach So you want to have a more exciting nightlife? Sleep on your stomach. One study suggests those who pass out prone have more erotic dreams.

38. WIFI May Kill Sperm, Study Suggests Tech nerds, take note: According to one study, the radiation from wireless Internet may kill sperm cells.

39. How Much Do We Really Think About Sex? Let’s not just talk about it. Almost everyone thinks about sex, but is it possible to know how often anyone’s mind wanders under the covers?

40. The Ultimate Guide to Contraception [Infographic] Contraception is key for a healthy sex life. Here’s everything partners need to know to make time between the sheets as safe (and baby-free) as possible.

41. 11 Surprising Condom Facts for World AIDS Day It's time to brush up on sexual health. Find out how condoms are made and learn 11 condom facts you might not have known.

Burning Questions

42. Do “Friends with Benefits” Really Benefit Us? Anyone who’s gone to college — or, heck, anyone — is probably familiar with the concept of “friends with benefits.” But what does science have to say about these relationships? And what “benefit” (besides the obvious one) do they really bring to our lives? Turns out definitions of “friendship” and “love” may be more complicated than we once thought.

43. Superfood or Super Gross? The Truth About Semen Finally, the answer to the “Our Body, Ourselves” question nobody was ever brave enough to ask.

44. Do We Have "Sexual Peaks?" Good news, everyone: Sexual performance and pleasure don't necessarily slide toward the dumpster as we reach our mid-twenties. Turns out sexual peaks depend on much more than age.

45. Masturbation’s Not-So-Dirty Secret? It’s Good for Our Health Masturbation doesn’t just feel good — it’s also good for our physical and mental health. So let’s talk about it.

46. Do Birth Control Pills Control Who We’re Attracted To? A 2013 study looked at how The Pill affects women’s preferences in men. Check out the information behind the Jedi mind tricks. 

47. Men, Not Women, More Likely to Take Risks for Love? Reckless driving, unprotected sex — no problem if it’s in the name of love. Research suggests men are more likely to engage in risky behaviors when they’re thinking about romance. But the same finding doesn’t apply to women.

48. Can a New Nasal Spray Really Help Women Orgasm? For some women, reaching orgasm may be as difficult as reaching Nirvana. Now, there’s a new nasal spray called Tefina that claims to help women attain their sexual needs.

49. Do Aphrodisiacs Really Work? Looking for a little extra love? We’ve dug deep to find out if aphrodisiacs really do the trick behind closed doors.

50. Sex and Sports: Refrain Before the Big Game? Many coaches say athletes should skip sex before the big game. But will doing the deed really hinder performance on the playing field?

51. Is Internet Porn Killing Your Sex Drive? Just checking email? Almost half of Internet users say they look at porn online, and the habit may be taking a negative toll on their personal lives.

52. Can Straight Men and Women Be "Just Friends?" Can heterosexual men and women be friends, or do they only bond for the hope of some sweet, sweet lovin’ down the road? We investigate the science behind male-female friendships.

53. Is It OK to Have a Fetish? Sneezes, feet, and armpit hair: Some people take it to the extreme in the bedroom. Is there anything wrong with having a fetish?

54. Should Men Get the HPV Vaccine? HPV is the most common STI around, and ladies aren't the only ones at risk. We explore the controversy over use of the HPV vaccine for guys.

55. Is Dating Dead? Is This the Right Question to Ask? Is dating dead? Are modern technologies killing it? One Greatist staffer weighs in.

56. Why We Kiss Locking lips is something we’re all pretty familiar with, but where does that urge to plant a big wet one on someone come from? Turns out it’s not just about having fun. There’s some biology to thank, too!

What topics on sex, love, and more are you dying to read? Let us know in the comments below or tweet directly at @greatist. 

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