Educators Profile: Zhana Vrangalova, PhD

Zhana Vrangalova, PhD, is a NYC-based sex researcher who studies casual sex, nonmonogamy, and sexual orientation. She holds a PhD in developmental psychology from Cornell University, and currently teaches human sexuality-related courses as an adjunct professor at New York University. Her scholarly work has been published in a number of academic journals, and she is also passionate about bringing accurate scientific information to the general audience.  In working to disseminate sexual science to broader audiences, she also writes about sexuality for popular media (for e.g., PlayboyAlternetNY Daily NewsTeen VoguePsychology Today), tweets daily about new sex research, runs the Casual Sex Project (a place for people to share their true hookup stories), and does a weekly sex education show using the live video streaming platforms Periscope and Facebook Live. She is currently working on a book about the science of healthy hookups.

Class Descriptions

Zhana Solo Classes (Free 60-minute lectures)


Play Parties: New Research on Who Attends and What Happens

Anecdotal evidence aside, very little is known about the people who attend play parties and what happens at these events. Last year, Dr. Zhana Vrangalova (NYU) and Dr. Brooke Wells (Widener University) decided to change that. Between April and December 2015, they collected online survey data from over 1,300 U.S. residents who had attended at least one play party (defined as a gathering of 6 or more where people openly engaged in sexual or kinky activities) in the past year. In this presentation, Dr. Zhana will share their findings on the demographic characteristics, psychological and relationship well-being, and sexual health of people who go to play parties as well as the sexual behaviors, condom use, substance use, and sexual consent experiences that occur at play parties.


Playing It Safer: Navigating Sexual Health when Having Multiple Partners

Most people think that monogamy is a safer option than nonmonogamy when it comes to protecting their sexual health. While that would be true in theory, it’s not necessarily true in practice. Research finds that people in consensually nonmonogamous relationships have similar rates of STIs as those in monogamous relationships - because not all supposedly monogamous people are faithful to their partners, and when they are, they are less likely to follow safer sex protocols. Indeed, people who are at at high risk for sexual and reproductive health outcomes due to their sexual behaviors (porn stars, sex workers, people in certain types of CNM relationships), often are particularly vigilant about and develop strict safer sex protocols to minimize these risks. But what exactly should be your safer sex protocol?


Sexual Fluidity: Heteroflexible, Bicurious, and Mostly Straight

The largest nonheterosexual group out is not gays, lesbians, or bisexuals. It’s the “mostly straights” – those with a slight degree of same-sex interests who are not exclusively straight, but not same-sex oriented ‘enough’ to consider themselves or to be considered by others as bisexual. Who are they and how do they differ from both exclusive heterosexuals and more substantial bisexuals in their sexual orientation profile, personality characteristics, life experiences, attitudes toward sexuality, and health outcomes and behaviors? In this class, we will summarize the research on people who identify as mostly straight, bicurious, or heteroflexible and discuss ways in which this new knowledge influences how we talk and think about sexual orientation in research, theory, practice, and our daily lives.


10 Dos and Don’ts for Healthy Hookups

From a Tinder swipe to a drunken hookup, there has never been a time in recent history when casual sex was more prevalent, accepted, and easily available. It is, therefore, imperative to arm ourselves with the right information and skills, backed by #LegitSexScience, to make smarter decisions about casual sex. Everyone deserves a healthy and authentic sex life where they feel empowered and self-expressed. In this course, Dr. Zhana uses empirical research of casual sex as well as the science of sex itself to teach people about healthier casual hookup practices and learn the scientific evidence that says casual sex might be good for you. Come learn how to find authenticity in casual hookups, choose your safer sex protocol, negotiate consent, design sustainable long-term relationships with casual sex, manage social stigma, and most importantly, give and receive pleasure!


Combined Free Lecture with Zhana and Kenneth (1 hr)