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6 Gender-Essentialist Myths About Dating and The Bedroom Debunked
University of Michigan psychologist Terri Conley and colleagues went through psychology studies to see which gender myths about sex could really be proven by research and found many of the myths aren't true. I first saw a good summary of this on Feministing and then read the link it's based on at Live Science. Here's my summary of the two links:
1. Men want "sexy", women want "status"
This stereotype only holds up on paper when college students are abstractly asked about their "ideal mate". When researchers looked at how men and women rated real people in actual speed-dating situations the gender differences "evaporated". "There was no difference in the way they rated their romantic interest based on those people's attractiveness and earnings."
2. Men want may sex partners, women want far fewer
Researchers found that a small number of very sexually charged individuals were skewing the average. Turns out the typical number of partners wanted by BOTH men and women was "one". That's right. The typical man and woman said they wanted one partner.
Also, remember those studies where they asked men and women how many partners they had and men answered with much higher numbers than women? Turns out a lot of men over-estimated their numbers and women under-estimated theirs (probably because of social pressures.) In studies where men and women were" tricked" into thinking they were attached to a lie-detector, men and women reported the same number of partners.
3. Men think about sex more than women do
They do slightly, but it's only 18 times a day over women's 10 times a day. The cliché that men think about sex every 7 seconds is not true. Also, men think about other needs like food and sleep more than women too.
4. Women have far fewer orgasms than men do
Studies suggest this is true, especially in one-night stands, where women had one-third of the orgasms men had. However, in committed-relationships, "women had orgasms 79 percent as often as men". "The fact that the gap can shrink so much based on relationship type suggests that having a partner who cares about a woman's sexual satisfaction is more important than biology."
(This is why I hate the often repeated myth that women don't like sex. It's more like women don't like sex where their needs aren't met. Seems to me that men who repeat this myth are basically telling others that they don't take their partners needs seriously and therefore probably aren't going to be very satisfying in bed. At least they warn you. )
5. Men like casual sex more than women do
There was a 1989 study where "a trained young man or woman propositioned college students." 70 percent of the men said yes to the woman but no women said yes to the man. While the study could mean that women aren't interest in casual sex, it didn't take into consideration cultural factors. (This isn't in the article but the study took place at a Florida college post-Ted Bundy, the good looking man in Florida who raped and murdered young women, and none of the researchers seemed to realize that this could influence the results for the women.)
In another study, when women were asked if they'd be interested in a one-night stand with someone famous (like Johnny Depp) and men were asked about an equivalent celebrity, the gender difference "evaporated." According to the researchers, women may reject most one-night stands because they don't think the man will be good in bed. It also seems like safety concerns and concerns about being "slut-shamed" about casual sex are greater for women.
6. Women are pickier than men
In a 2009 study researchers found that "people are choosier when they're approached by a potential partner, and less choosy when they're doing the approaching". In our society, men are typically encouraged to do the approaching and women the receiving. If women were to do more of the approaching, we would probably start seeing more "picky" men too.