Despite the myth that men think about sex every seven seconds, new research suggests that they are much less consumed by sex than previously thought. Researchers from Duke University in the US found both men and women overestimate how much time they ruminate about sex, as well as how often they have it - but men tend to this more, presumably in an attempt to live up to gender stereotypes.
The study involved 202 men and women who completed surveys on sexual health topics, such as interest in sex, level of activity, discomfort or dysfunction, and satisfaction. Some of the study participants assessed their sexual thoughts and activity on a daily basis for a consecutive 30 days, using a rating system of one to five. Afterward, they completed a single online questionnaire reviewing their sexual activity for the past 30 days.
During the final survey, subjects rated their sexual interest as they recalled it as 0.7 higher than their daily reports, with men inflating this a bit more than women. Researchers chalk up the disparity to the effect of gender stereotypes on memory recall. The findings also showed that both men and women in a good mood tended to over-report how much sex they'd been having, and rated it as better than it actually was. Reversely, those in bad moods tended to downplay their sexual frequency and satisfaction.
The new study was published online in Journal of Sexual Medicine.A separate study published in the journal Sex Roles in May also finds that when talking about sex, both men and women bend the truth to meet conventional gender norms. For instance, when hooked up to a lie detector, men reported fewer sexual partners, while women reported more.