Rarely are researchers’ findings so satisfying. Women may want more sex than their husbands or partners think.
New research by psychologists at the University of Toronto and the University of Western Ontario, published earlier this month in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, found that men in long-term relationships often underestimate how often their wives or girlfriends want to be intimate.
The research consists of three studies, following a total of 229 long-term couples, most of whom are heterosexual. (The sample of homosexual couples was too small to be statistically significant, the researchers say.) Participants ranged in age from 18 to 68 years old; the couples had been together six years on average, and they reported they had sex an average of one to two times a week.
In study one, 44 couples kept a diary for three weeks: Partners reported on their own level of sexual desire each day, as well as their perception of their partner’s level of desire and their level of relationship satisfaction. In study two, 84 couples came into the laboratory once and reported on the general levels of their desire, their perception of their partner’s desire and their happiness in the relationship. And in study three, 101 couples kept a diary for three weeks, reporting on the same three issues. They were also asked to report how motivated they were each day to avoid sexual rejection.
According to ‘The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States,’ a 1994 University of Chicago study considered the most comprehensive in the field:
- Almost 80% of married couples have sex a few times a month or more.
- Thirty-two percent of married couples report having sex two to three times a week.
- Forty-seven percent of married couples report having sex a few times a month.
- Less than 10% of married people say their last sexual event lasted an hour or more.