Sex Research: It Doesn’t Fit Me, It Must Be Wrong

A couple of people who joined the discussion on how women and men “do sex” questioned research findings I had cited because the data didn’t fit their experience.

 There is reason for concern. Often, people want to look good, normal and acceptable, even when they are anonymous.

 Prudish people are more likely to throw sex surveys in the trash. People who have more interest in sex are more likely to fill them out.

 Men exaggerate the number of partners they’ve had, while women under estimate theirs.

 Some people who are gay or lesbian may be in denial, or they may fear someone finding out, so their numbers may be underestimated.

 Trying to look normal, most people say they have sex with their spouse once a week, since that’s the number they always hear.

 At the same time, the data is based on a larger swath of the population than most of us interact with.

 Most of us are friends with people who are like us, and who share our views. That’s why they are friends. And our group may not be typical.

 One person who felt the studies didn’t fit his experience is in an open marriage, which constitutes less than 1% of the population. That’s not your typical group. Another is a feminist, also not typical of the population. A group of Southern Baptists would probably see things differently from these two.

 Keep in mind that research reflects averages. You and your friends may not be typical.

 We also tend to project our own views onto others. If we love sex, we don’t get that others don’t. If we think sex is dull, we have a hard time believing that others love it.

From the comments I’ve posted, it is clear that there is no one way that men or women behave. There is no one attitude.

But there are some strong social patterns:

  • Surveys say men want, on average, 14 partners over a lifetime, while women say they want 1 or 2
  • Women report enjoying sex less than men
  • While prostitution finds plenty of male customers, female customers are in short supply. Gigolos are practically a myth
  • Playgirl is perennially bankrupt, yet the male porn audience is huge
  • Hooking up: College women get bored quickly and exit the scene, but college men want to continue casual sex even after leaving college
  • Men are usually more enthusiastic about open marriage or swinging, and more often initiate the idea
  • Male fantasies are more x-rated; female fantasies revolve more around romance

Is this conversation dated?

One woman commented:

  • I came out of the feminist 70’s and this conversation seems a little dated.  Really, we can do whatever we want to do and who cares? 

Yet this issue still comes up with my 18, 19, and 20-something students. They still feel the conversation is relevant.

Another woman’s perspective:

  • While we are free to do what we want, what good is the freedom when you feel used and discarded?

Or slut-shamed?

One Response

  1. It seems the more things change – the more they stay the same. Women haven’t changed so to those of us in our later years the conversation sounds old – what excites me is tht our young gals are still talking about it and find it relevant.
    I had thought that they were brainwashed into believing they had to screw their brains out likre men to be equal.
    Thank goodness they have figured out they are not sex toys and to really be equal – they are allowed to say FU- and no thanks pal- I have better things to do than entertain you and your insatiiable need to be sexually satisfied.
    Now if we can convince Gals there is more to life than laying down for every Joe that says he loves them in the first place – maybe the few they do decide to lay with might be more pleasurable.
    This free love has given men a license to use women not make love to them tenderly.
    It not only brainwashed the female it convince the young men that gals could get off and be satisfied just as easily.
    It harmed both sexes- it denied them both the beauty of making love and instead made the female a receptacle and the male a jack rabbit with a soft place to land.
    What a shame- to make it less a taboo and less enjoyable for women! As usuall its a man’s world until we learn that we need to get in and stay in control of our bodies! hat is the body control we should be fighting for!

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