Episode 25: An Inside Look at a Sex Research Conference

March 11, 2021 by Justin Lehmiller

Sex and Psychology Podcast

Episode 25: An Inside Look at a Sex Research Conference


What actually goes on at a sex research conference? A lot of people seem to have the impression that it’s just a non-stop sex party. I hate to disappoint, but that’s not the case! I’m going lift the curtain and tell you what really goes on when a group of sex researchers get together.

For this episode of the Sex and Psychology Podcast, I sat down with Dr. Shayna Skakoon-Sparling. Shayna is a postdoctoral fellow at Ryerson University who studies sexual health decision-making and sexual negotiation. Shayna and I have been going to sex research conferences together for years and, in this episode, we give you a behind the scenes look at what these events are really like. We also discuss Shayna’s research on how sexual arousal affects the kinds of decisions that people make, sexually and otherwise.

Topics we cover include:

  • What is a meeting of sex researchers really like?
  • How are the sex lives of sex researchers similar to or different from the general population?
  • What kinds of things will you hear about at a sex research conference that you won’t hear anywhere else?
  • What are some of the most fascinating things we’ve learned by going to these conferences, and how have these meetings impacted our careers?
  • How does sexual arousal affect sexual decision making? Also, how does arousal affect non-sexual decisions, including the moves that people make in a card game?
  • How do you stimulate sexual arousal in a research lab anyway?
  • How does a partner’s level of physical attractiveness affect people’s willingness to use (or not use) condoms?

To learn more about Shayna and her work, visit her website and follow her on Twitter @shaynagram


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Credits: LEGIT Audio (Podcast editing) and Shutterstock/Florian (Music). Image created with Canva; photos used with permission of guest.

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Dr. Justin Lehmiller

Founder & Owner of Sex and Psychology

Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He runs the Sex and Psychology blog and podcast and is author of the popular book Tell Me What You Want. Dr. Lehmiller is an award-winning educator, and a prolific researcher who has published more than 50 academic works.

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