Who wanted sex sooner the last time you were dating someone: you or the guy in question? Who pressured the other to do something a little more sexually adventurous than the reluctant person felt comfortable with: you or him? Or, the last time you hooked up with someone, who coaxed the other person into leaving the party where you met so some clothes could come off: you or him?
If you asked a group of your girlfriends — and their sisters — questions like these, what do you think their answers would be?
I ask because I think the average young woman feels a lot of cultural pressure to have sex like a man — and tries to make her own appetite for sexual adventure live up to the expectations that her partner has for her, or that she may have developed for herself after watching one too many episodes of Desperate Housewives.
But, as it turns out (surprise, surprise) ... studies indicate that men want sex more than women do, as sociologist Mark Regnerus notes in a new article for Slate. He writes that social psychologists Roy Baumeister and Kathleen Vohs and others "have repeatedly shown, on average, men want sex more than women do. Call it sexist, call it whatever you want — the evidence shows it's true."
He goes on to discuss perhaps the most stark study to examine the question of who wants sex more, in which attractive young researchers approached opposite-sex strangers and proposed casual sex. 75 percent of the men said yes. But not one woman was interested.
(Still, you could be thinking, "Well, that doesn't mean women are less sexually adventurous… it could just mean they're just more risk-averse in general." Maybe ... but there's plenty of other research that would similarly indicate women are generally a little more hesitant about casual sex: An April report from James Madison University found women are more likely than men to prefer dating to hooking up, and are more likely to want to be in a relationship. A 2008 study out of England's Durham University found that most men enjoyed one-night stands, reporting improved self-confidence and a greater sense of well-being afterward. Roughly half the women, however, had negative feelings after their one-night stands.)
To borrow from Regnerus again: "Research like this consistently demonstrates that men have a greater and far less discriminating appetite for it… Sex in consensual relationships therefore commences only when women decide it does."
I mention this stuff for two reasons:
- I want women to feel like it's okay if they don't want to rush into sex with a new partner quickly. If you're not a complete sexual tyro a la Samantha Jones, that's okay!
- I wish women felt more power to do whatever they want sexually — including waiting to have sex until they feel ready. As it is, I think we don't feel like we have a choice, as much as we feel like it's necessary to have sex fast.
What do you guys think?