Are men LESS into sex than they realize? New study finds they exaggerate how often they think about it (and how much sex they actually have)
There’s this myth among Christians (particularly males), and among some Non Christians that only men enjoy sex, want sex, and that only males are “visually oriented.” As I’ve blogged about before, this is all nonsense. A lot of women want sex, enjoy sex, have sexual desire and are just as “visually oriented” as men are.
- Research finds women tend to be more interested in sex than men
- Men exaggerate their sexual interest to live up to gender stereotypes
- People in a good mood tend to overstate how often they have sex
By RYAN GORMAN and VICTORIA WOOLLASTON
There has long been that urban myth that men think about sex every seven seconds, but new research suggests they are less interested in it than previously thought.
Research by Duke University in the U.S. has found that people over-estimate how much time they spend thinking about sex, as well as how often they have it.
One theory as to why this may be is because those questioned were applying gender stereotypes, such as men being more interested in sex and masturbating more, when recalling their own memories.
The researchers recruited 101 men and 101 women to fill out online surveys about their sexual health, including interest in sex, level of activity, discomfort or dysfunction, and satisfaction.
More than half of the participants were being treated for chronic conditions such as cancer, hypertension, arthritis, depression or diabetes. The rest of the participants were not in treatment for any particular condition.
Each of the 202 participants completed daily online assessments of their ‘sexual function’ – how much they thought about sex during that day – for 30 consecutive days. They were told to rate this sexual function out of five.
At the end of the month, the participants were also asked to complete a single online questionnaire that asked about their sexual function for the past 30 days.
When the researchers compared answers from the daily questionnaires with the final questionnaire they discovered that people were able to recall their sexual function and activity with adequate levels of accuracy at the end of the month.
However, accuracy varied based on what topic was being reported, as well as the person’s gender and mood.
… Both men and women overestimated their interest in sexual activity at the one-month mark compared with daily reports, but men overestimated more than women.
The researchers suggested that the reason men overestimated interest more than women may be due to a mental shortcut people might use to recall experiences in the past.
Specifically, people may ‘fill in the gaps’ in their memory by using gender stereotypes to project what their experiences should have been.
For example, the researchers concluded that a man might assume that given his gender, he should be consistently interested in sex and therefore might over report his interest even more than women do.
‘This study arose from a need to understand how best to measure the effects of disease on people’s sexual health,’ said study author Kevin P. Weinfurt, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke Medicine and member of the Duke Clinical Research Institute.
We know these effects can make patients’ lives difficult and can disrupt their relationships.
‘Researchers should be aware that mood can affect the accuracy of people’s reports of sexual function.
To help interpret clinical studies of sexual health, researchers might consider measuring mood alongside the sexual outcomes.’
The findings were published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.
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