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Men’s Sex Thoughts: Not Every 7 Seconds

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How often do men really think about sex?

Men think about sex, but not nearly as often as most people believe, a new study finds. Why not? Because they spend much time thinking about food and sleep, too.

The study, published in the January 2012 issue of the Journal of Sex Research, could debunk the stereotype that men are constantly thinking about sex. An often repeated statistic is that men think about sex once every seven seconds. Researchers from Ohio State University took a novel approach to logging how many times their study subjects, 283 male and female college students age 18 to 25, thought about sex — they gave them golf tally counters and asked them to click it whenever a thought related to sex entered their head.

To conceal the study’s emphasis on sex, some participants were asked to log how many times per day they thought about food and sleep. Those results turned out to be revealing as well.

On average men thought about sex 18.6 times a day, and for women the average was 9.9 times a day. In comparison, men thought about food almost 18 times a day, and women almost 15 times a day. When it came to sleep, men thought about that almost 11 times a day, and women thought about it about eight and a half times a day.

The range of the number of thoughts per day about sex varied widely for both genders. For men it was between one and 388, and for women, one and 140. Those who thought about sex the most tended to be people who were comfortable with their sexuality. “Frequency of thinking about sex is related to variables beyond one’s biological sex, ” according to the author.

Fisher, T. D., Moore, Z. T., & Pittenger, M. (2012). Sex on the Brain?: An examination of frequency of sexual cognitions as a function of gender, erotophilia, and social desirability. The Journal of Sex Research : 10.1080/00224499.2011.565429

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