8 Things We Learned About Sex in 2014, from Lesbian Porn Preferences to the HPV Vaccine

While the human race has been getting it on for millennia, there are still so many fascinating facets of sexuality that have yet to be uncovered. This year, thanks to the marvels of science and PornHub, we learned a lot about sex — particularly female sexuality, which is being treated slightly less like a sordid unmentionable and more like a normal, healthy fact of life for about half the population.

Knowledge is power, but I'm usually a little skeptical when it comes to new findings about sex. Too often, sexuality studies are exaggerated or manipulated for the titillation of the general population (or just used as clickbait), so you have these crazy half-true theories floating around that are ripped from the headlines and not the guts of the research where the real analysis takes place. Most people don't read these entire studies in question, so it's useful to remember that caveat when you start racking up your male friends so you and your partner will suddenly hit the sheets more, or decide to have way more casual sex than you're comfortable with because someone with a PhD says it's good for your brain chemistry.

On the other hand, there's nothing quite as fun as new sex facts, since they can serve to break down stereotypes and lead to further enlightenment on the ins and outs of human sexuality. So here's what 2014 had to teach us about sex:

1. Women prefer lesbian porn

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PornHub and Buzzfeed teamed up to analyze porn searches by gender to find out what kind of porn women watch, and the results were pretty sapphic. Their stats showed that the top search category for women is "lesbian" and that women are way more likely to search for "pussy licking," and "girl on girl" than men are. Given how much straight porn tends to focus on the pleasure of the man, it makes sense that women would prefer a spotlight on female pleasure regardless of their preferences in real life. Plus, I like think that it proves how female sexuality tends to be more flexible overall.

2. Women with more male friends have more sex

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Apparently, "sperm competition" is a thing, and if you have a lot of guy friends, your significant other will want to do it on the regs. According to a paper published in the Journal of Comparative Psychology, this means that when other males are around, men are evolutionarily driven to lay claim to their mate's vagina as often as possible to reduce the possibility that she might become pregnant with another man's offspring. Today, we might just call this jealousy, and it's a lot more complicated. Interesting factoid, though.

3. Casual sex can reduce anxiety and depression and improve self-esteem

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That's right, casual sex is good for you! OK, the fine print in this study is that, depending on your personality and how you feel about casual sex, it can be good for you. So if you associate positive feelings with no-strings-attached hookups, you'll get more bang for your buck, so to speak. If you're not so hot on this kind of thing, it definitely won't improve your mental health, so act accordingly.

4. Women with wider hips have more sexual partners

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While finding jeans without that dreaded gap in the back might be a struggle, if you've got wide hips, chances are you won't be wearing those jeans for long anyways. A study from Leeds University discovered that women who had more one night stands and more sexual partners had hips at least 0.8 inches wider than those who had had fewer ones. While this information is interesting, it doesn't take away the agency from smaller-hipped ladies who want to get some. In the end, it's all about personal choice, right?

5. The HPV vaccine doesn't drive girls to have more sex

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This one seems like a no brainer, but any study that proves a very useful STI vaccine doesn't make you into a sex maniac is always a good thing. Thanks to the moral panic that the HPV vaccine set off, scientists decided to look into how a shot could change a girl's perception about safe sex. Shockingly (or, not-so-shockingly), it didn't.

6. Male and female college students are equally likely to cheat

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Excellent news for the cheating double standard: both men and women in college are equally likely to cheat on a partner. This information comes to us courtesy of a massive sexuality study of college students in the UK. It also found that 51 percent of women and 61 percent of men had unprotected sex, so when you add cheating to the mix you've got a lot of possibility for trouble. Yikes.

7. Sex doesn't burn as many calories as cardio

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I'm not sure who wouldn't rather hit the sheets than hit the gym, but it turns out you kinda need to do both to stay healthy. There used to be some glorious misinformation out there that said you could burn just as many calories by getting it on as you could from a spin class, unfortunately, that is just not true. Men burn an average of 101 calories during sex while women burn about 69 (ha).

8. Women with more money have better sex

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Bummer for the broke girls out there: according to a Spanish study, wealthy women have better sex. What "better" sex really means though, is up for debate. Maybe it's just better because it's atop a pillowy pile of cash? But seriously, "People with higher socioeconomic status also tend to be more aware of their needs and have more freedom to develop their sexuality," said the researchers. Which does actually make sense.

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