According to conventional wisdom, men care more about sex than women do. But is that really true?
A new survey seems to suggest so. Researchers found that men are 250% more likely to associate intimacy with happiness. The survey asked men and women to describe what happiness looked like to them, but only by choosing 5 words from a list of 15 pre-chosen words, with sex being one of the possible options.
Men overwhelmingly put sex on their list in comparison to women. It’s easy to assume that this must mean that men care about sex more than women do, but I think it might be more complicated than that.
After all, my decades of experience working as a sex and relationship therapist has proven to me that women do indeed care about sexual pleasure and sexual fulfillment, and that they are just as passionate and desirous as men in the bedroom. However, the word ‘sex’ in the survey might not have resonated with women in the survey the way it did for men.
Why? Because the word sex is a loaded word for women. It can bring to mind feelings of shame, discomfort, body image issues, as well as feelings of scarcity. The fact is that many women don’t orgasm from intercourse alone, especially when it comes to casual sex or friends with benefits. So the word ‘sex’ may have brought to mind a hookup culture or male-driven sexual activities, which understandably wouldn’t appeal as much to women.”
Hence, I suspect the survey might have had different results if words outside of ‘sex’ had been included.
If words like connection, romance, desired, cherished, affection, orgasmic, fulfilling, intimacy, passion or similar had been included, I think many women would have chosen those words. These words are more indicative of the desires women have in the bedroom and the many nuanced ways they process their sexuality. The word ‘sex’ in and of itself may not spark women the way it does men, but that doesn’t mean intimacy itself doesn’t spark those same feelings of fulfillment and happiness.
So, I would argue that we shouldn’t assume men care about sex 250% more than women do. The women I have worked with for the last 30 years deeply care about their intimacy and are desperately seeking for ways to improve their sexual pleasure, often with very little assistance from the medical community who have put millions into improving male sexual pleasure but very little into improving female sexual pleasure.
While it is true that men and women process sexual desires differently and have different needs and goals in the bedroom (you can read more about that here), ultimately, the need for sexual connection and intimacy is one that both men and women alike share.
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