There is a stereotype that men think about sex constantly and women rarely (think about it). That is true?
A new study conducted by Terri Fisher and his colleagues, a psychologist at The Ohio State University, US reports that there’s nothing special about sexual thoughts in men. Men ponder sleep and food as much as they do sex.
Unlike other studies that have asked people to think back across their day or week and try to remember how many sex thoughts they had, Fisher’s team asked 163 college women and 120 college men to carry around small golf-stroke tally counters. To avoid bias about sexual thoughts, the students were told they’d be asked about health-related thoughts. Next, 60 percent of the students were told to click the counter whenever they thought about sex. The rest was instructed to tally their thoughts on food and sleep.
As a result, there was a broad range in the number of sex thoughts. A male participant recorded 388 thoughts in a day. Factoring in the participant’s sleep time, his 388 thoughts broke down to having a sexual thought every 158 seconds.
Moreover, males thought more about any of the health-related thoughts compared to females, not just thoughts about sex. On average, the number of sexual thoughts in men occurs slightly more than once each waking hour and that in women is about half. But men think about food and sleep as much as about sex.
The study also indicates that female participants cared more about what others thought about them were less likely to report food and sex-based thoughts. The finding suggests that social desirability concerns affect on women, but not men in what they were thinking or what they would admit to thinking.
However, the study was limited to college students and the participants tend not to have isolated thoughts. The data also doesn’t show whether an individual thought is a one-second passing notion or a full-on 10-minute sexual fantasy. Fisher hopes to get to the truth of the sex difference stories that get passed around in popular culture in further studies.