Friday, 2 December 2011

New Study Says Men Are Not Sex Crazed After All

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Academic Journal
Main Category: Psychology / Psychiatry
Also Included In: Sexual Health / STDs;  Men's health
Article Date: 01 Dec 2011 - 9:00 PST

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Everyone knows the old urban legend that men think about sex every minute of the day, but now that appears to have been debunked. Men are not so sex crazed after all, say researchers from Ohio State University.

Their research appears to discredit the persistent stereotype that men think about sex every seven seconds, which would amount to more than 8,000 thoughts about sex in 16 waking hours. In fact, over the course of their study, the median number of young men's thoughts about sex stood at under 19 times per day. Young women in the study reported a median of nearly 10 thoughts about sex per day.

Their study, which is scheduled for publication in the January 2012 issue of the Journal of Sex Research compares163 female and 120 male college students between the ages of 18 and 25 who were enrolled in a psychology research participation program. Of those, 59 were randomly assigned to track thoughts about food, 61 about sleep and 163 about sex. Most students were white and self-identified as heterosexual. The college-student sample made it comparable to previous research and involved an age group at which gender differences in sexuality are likely at their peak.

The men also tended to think about food and sleep more. Around 18 times per day for food and 11 times per day for sleep, compared to women's average number of thoughts about eating and sleep, at nearly 15 times and about 8 1/2 times, respectively.

The scientists had the college-student participants carry a golf tally counter to track their thoughts about either eating, sleep or sex every day for a week. Each student was assigned to just one type of thought to record. Before receiving the tally counter, they had completed a number of questionnaires and were asked to estimate how often they had daily thoughts about eating, sleeping and sex.

Overall, a participant's comfort with sexuality was the best predictor for which person would have the most frequent daily thoughts about sex.


daydream
Men think about sex 19 times a day, not thousands of times


Terri Fisher, professor of psychology at Ohio State University's Mansfield campus and lead author of the study explains :

"If you had to know one thing about a person to best predict how often they would be thinking about sex, you'd be better off knowing their emotional orientation toward sexuality, as opposed to knowing whether they were male or female ... Frequency of thinking about sex is related to variables beyond one's biological sex."


She continues :

"It's amazing the way people will spout off these fake statistics that men think about sex nearly constantly and so much more often than women do ... When a man hears a statement like that, he might think there's something wrong with him because he's not spending that much time thinking about sexuality, and when women hear about this, if they spend significant time thinking about sex they might think there's something wrong with them."


Fisher feels that it's important to correct this stereotype that has been built up about men. She says that by looking at the broader picture, we begin to build a clearer picture about the differences between men and women day to day.

Although the primary purpose of the study was to analyze how much people think about sex during the day, and this was masked by asking other questions about food and sleep, in fact, those other questions have provide a more balanced picture.

Fisher said:

"Since we looked at those other types of need-related thoughts, we found that it appears that there's not just a sex difference with regard to thoughts about sex, but also with regard to thoughts about sleep and food ... That's very significant.

This suggests males might be having more of these thoughts than women are or they have an easier time identifying the thoughts. It's difficult to know, but what is clear is it's not uniquely sex that they're spending more time thinking about, but other issues related to their biological needs, as well."


When all the statistics were tallied, it appears than men don't think about sex any more than they think about food or sleep compared to women. Male participants recorded between one and 388 daily thoughts about sex, compared to the range of female thoughts about sex of between one and 140 times per day.

Fisher clarifies :

"For women, that's a broader range than many people would have expected. And there were no women who reported zero thoughts per day. So women are also thinking about sexuality ...

People who always give socially desirable responses to questions are perhaps holding back and trying to manage the impression they make on others," Fisher explained. In this case, we're seeing that women who are more concerned with the impression they're making tend to report fewer sexual thoughts, and that's because thinking about sexuality is not consistent with typical expectations for women."


Overall, it appears that the erotophilia score on the questionnaire asked to the students before they began the study appears to be the key. Those that are more comfortable with sex, regardless of gender, are more likely to think about sex more during the day.

Fisher conducted the research with undergraduate Ohio State-Mansfield students Zachary Moore and Mary-Jo Pittenger. Both have since graduated. Fisher concludes :

"There's really no good reason that our society should have believed that men are thinking so much more about sex than women. Even the research that had been done previously doesn't support the stereotype that men are thinking about sex every seven seconds."


Written by Rupert Shepherd
Copyright: Medical News Today
Not to be reproduced without permission of Medical News Today

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