Study Finds That Women Are More Interested In Sex Than Their Male Partners Think

Photographed by Natalia Mantini.
A new study shows that women are more interested in sex than their male partners think they are. According to the Wall Street Journal, psychologists at the University of Toronto and the University of Western Ontario found that men in committed relationships under-perceive their wife or girlfriend's sexual desire. Psychologists did three studies using 229 long-term couples, most of whom were heterosexual, ranging from 18 to 68 years old, who said they had been together an average of six years and had sex once or twice a week. In one study, the psychologists had 44 couples keep a diary for three weeks that had them reporting their level of sexual desire per day and writing down the perception of their partner's level of desire and relationship satisfaction. The second study had 84 couples come into the laboratory to talk about their own desire, while also talking about their partner's perceived desire and happiness in the relationship. The third study had 101 couples keep a diary to report on the same three issues as in study two, while also writing down how "motivated they were each day to avoid sexual rejection." The psychologists found that all three studies showed the same results: Men underestimated their female partner's desire. The studies also found that more often than not, men tended to misinterpret their female partner's needs. On days when men thought their female partner was less sexually interested, the women reported feeling more satisfied and committed in their relationships. Women, on the other hand, were more likely to accurately identify whether or not their partner was interested in sex. The psychologists believe that men under-perceive their female partner's desires as a way to combat sexual rejection. If his partner says no, he will feel bad or resentful, so it's easier to assume she's just not interested. Surprisingly, this isn't necessarily a bad thing. This perception makes men try harder to entice their partner, which is why the psychologists believe women reported feeling satisfied and comfortable in their relationships. “It is better for the relationship for him to under-perceive," Amy Muise, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto, said, "because it avoids complacency.” But as a woman, how do you start having the amount of sex you want? Sex and marriage therapist Sari Cooper told the WSJ that women need to feel confident initiating sex with their partner, which begins with them feeling more comfortable with their desires. Also, Cooper says to ditch subtly and say it straight. “I will see women in my office who will tell their husband: ‘Remember when I was joking about that sex scene in that movie we saw? Well, I was trying to come onto you,’” Cooper said. “He may need something more overt.”

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