Do men really have
stronger sex drives than
Well, yes, they do. Study
after study illustrates that
men’s sex drives are not
only stronger than
women’s, but much more
straightforward. The
sources of women’s libidos,
by contrast, are much more
difficult to pin down.
It’s common wisdom that
women place more value on
emotional connection as a
spark of sexual desire. But
women also appear to be
heavily influenced by social
and cultural factors as well.
Birds do it, bees do it, and
men do it any old time. But
women will only do it if the
candles are scented just
right — and their partner
has done the dishes first. A
“Sexual desire in women is
extremely sensitive to
environment and context,”
says Edward O. Laumann,
PhD, a professor of
sociology at the University
of Chicago and lead author
of a major survey of
sexual practices, The
Social Organization of
Sexuality: Sexual Practices
in the United States.
Here are seven patterns of
men’s and women’s sex
drives that researchers
have found. Bear in mind
that individuals may vary
from these norms.
13 Common Sex Drive
1. Men think more
about sex.
The majority of adult men
under 60 think about sex
at least once a day,
reports Laumann. Only
about one-quarter of
women report this level of
frequency. As men and
women age, each fantasize
less, but men still fantasize
about twice as often.
In a comprehensive survey
of studies comparing male
and female sex drives, Roy
Baumeister, a social
psychologist at Florida
State University, found that
men reported more
spontaneous sexual
arousal and had more
frequent and varied
2. Men seek sex more
“Men want sex more often
than women at the start of
a relationship, in the middle
of it, and after many years
of it,” Baumeister concludes
after reviewing several
surveys of men and women.
This isn’t just true of
heterosexuals, he reports:
gay men also have higher
frequency of sex than
lesbians at all stages of the
relationship. Men also say
they want more sex
partners in their lifetime,
and are more interested in
casual sex.
Men are more likely to seek
sex even when it is
frowned upon or even
About two-thirds say
they masturbate, even
though about half also
say they feel guilty about
it, Laumann says. By
contrast, about 40% of
women say they
masturbate, and the
frequency of
masturbation is smaller
among women.
Prostitution is still mostly
a phenomenon of men
seeking sex with women,
rather than the other
way around.
Nuns do a better job of
fulfilling their vows of
chastity than priests.
Baumeister cites a
survey of several
hundred clergy by Sheila
Murphy in which 62% of
priests admitted to
sexual activity,
compared to 49% of nuns.
The men reported more
partners on average
than the women.



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