The sex drive refers to the strength of sexual motivation among men and women. According to many research and studies, men have been shown to have more frequent and more intense sexual desires than women. Men have shown spontaneous thoughts about sex, frequency and variety of sexual fantasies, desired frequency of intercourse, desired number of partners, masturbation, liking for various sexual practices, willingness to forego sex and other measures.
According to a recent research there is truth to these common perceptions. Men do seem to have stronger sex drives and their focus is mainly on the task at hand. Women, on the other hand, tend to have much more complex sexual needs – taking into account emotional connection, and social and cultural influences.
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 harder 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.
“Sexual desire in women is extremely sensitive to environment and context,” says Edward O. Laumann, PhD. He is 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’s what researchers have to say about men’s and women’s sex drives.
Thought tendencies: Men think about sex more than women. Laumann says that most men who are under 60 years old think about sex at least once daily. Women tend to think about sex less with only one-fourth saying that they thought about sex at least once a day.
Men want sex more: Roy Baumeister, a social psychologist at Florida State University, says, “Men want sex more often than women at the start of a relationship, in the middle of it, and after many years of it,” after reviewing several surveys of men and women. This behaviour is apparent even in gay men, who seem to have sex more often than lesbians. Men are also tend to want more sex partners through their life and are more inclined toward casual sex.
Men get turned on more easily: Studies suggest that men have a clearer idea of what gets them aroused and what they want from their partners while women tend to be more open in their preferences due to their less focused sex drives. In one study by Northwestern University researcher Meredith Chivers, erotic films were shown to gay and straight men and women, who were then asked about their level of sexual arousal. Their sexual arousal levels were also measured through devices attached to their genitals.
Results showed that straight men were more turned on by male-female sex and female-female sex. Gay men were turned on by male-male sex. However, genitally, the results for straight women showed the same reaction to male-female, male-male and female-female sex. Even though they said they were more turned on by male-female sex.
“Men are very rigid and specific about who they become aroused by, who they want to have sex with, who they fall in love with,” says J. Michael Bailey, a Northwestern University sex researcher and co-author with Chivers on the study.
Bailey adds, “Women probably have the capacity to become sexually interested in and fall in love with their own sex more than men do,” Bailey says. “They won’t necessarily do it, but they have the capacity.”
Environment matters: Baumeister found studies showing several instances where women’s sexual attitudes, practices and desires tend to be more affected by their environment than that of men. For example, women who attend church often are less likely to have liberal attitudes about sex. Men, on the other hand, seemed to show little association between church attendance and sex outlook.
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