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Take part in sex research

January 22nd, 2014

Dr Petra

One of the main questions I’m asked is ‘how can I be in a sex study?’and I’ve blogged about it on several occasions (with most of those discussions linked to here).

There are numerous studies into sex and relationships currently running worldwide across a variety of academic disciplines, within health and outside within communities and run by people with an interest in our sexual lives. Regardless of where they take place or who runs them the quality and content of research can and does vary and some studies most certainly are more carefully thought out and run than others. Where studies are well run, most participants say they enjoy taking part and find the process entertaining, informative or helpful.

To ensure research is representative the more diverse a range of people who fit the study criteria who take part the better. So if you feel you could help out it’s always worth asking if you can contribute. If you’re uncertain about what might happen in a study there are links that explain this in the link above.

Not everyone does want to be in a sex or relationship study, but those who are keen may struggle to find research they can take part in. That may be because studies are usually looking for specific participants to fulfil a particular role. Or because people aren’t sure where to look. Or that studies are not promoted in an accessible way.

The problem of finding out what studies are out there has been tackled by Social Psychologist and sex researcher Dr Justin Lehmiller who has created a list of available sex and relationships projects who are seeking participants. The Kinsey Institute also highlights when it wants participants for research. If you are someone who’d like to help out with research keep checking those pages and see if there’s something you could assist with. Alternatively if you’re running any form of research on sex/relationships let Dr Lehmiller or the Kinsey Institute know and see if they can add your study to their list.

You may also find calls for research shared via social media, through charities and health/social care settings. In the UK the Sexual Health Research Network both share calls for research but also connect researchers together. Critical Sexology doesn’t recruit for research but does aim to bring together all those with an interest in learning more about our intimate lives. And the recently published Enduring Love? project will continue to look at people’s relationships long term.

I hope these prove useful to you. Extending these calls to the global south and pushing all of us to undertake research carefully, critically and ethically is something I hope these more accessible calls for participants will enable.

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