12 Shocking Sex Facts

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William Masters and Virginia Johnson became famous for the groundbreaking sex research they conducted at Washington University in St. Louis in the 1950s and 1960s—so famous, in fact, that Showtime decided to turn their story into a new drama series, Masters of Sex. Masters and Johnson’s discoveries changed the way we think about sex and about women’s sexuality in particular. Their studies showed that women were capable of multiple orgasms, among other things. These were revolutionary ideas the time, but new research about women and sex has revealed some facts that would shock even Masters and Johnson. Here’s the latest on sex research from Dr. Eden Fromberg of SoHo OBGYN and Naomi Wolf’s most recent book, Vagina: A New Biography.

1. Cycles of light affect our fertility
Women used to menstruate during the new moon (when it’s dark at night) and ovulate during a full moon (when it’s light). Now, in a world full of artificial lighting and bright screens, women are not as in tune with the connection between their biology and nature. Some have tried “lunaception,” altering the lights in their bedrooms based on the moon lighting to change their ovulation.

2. Women can get pregnant five to eight days after having sex
Studies have shown that some sperm can live in the cervical mucus crypt before the egg is actually fertilized for anywhere from five to eight days after sex.