5 things people have totally wrong about women and sex
Men think about sex every six seconds. Women feign headaches to avoid it. Clichéd but true, right? Think again. New studies have found that so many of the stereotypes regarding women and sex are completely untrue.
‘There’s no denying that women have lower testosterone levels than men,’ Dr Dawn Harper tells us. ‘And we know testosterone is a key influence on sex drive. But that doesn’t mean women are any less likely to want or enjoy sex than men.’ The millions of women who bought Fifty Shades of Grey would probably agree.
Women have no libido
‘If anything women’s libido actually seems to climb in their middle years,’ says chartered psychologist Simon Parritt. Unfortunately for us, that’s when men’s libido seems to drop. ‘For men, lifestyle factors such as stress, alcohol and weight gain take their toll in middle age, which can reduce their desire for sex,’ says Parritt. Could that be why global sales of vibrators have now reached £5.5 billion a year?
Women are passive in the bedroom
One man has written a book that totally blows every myth surrounding female sexual desire out of the window. Daniel Bergner’s What Do Women Want? describes studies by Kim Wallen at Emory University primate observatory that show female rhesus monkeys to be ‘the aggressors, the rulers, the initiators of sex’. Bergner says Wallen’s studies have been largely ignored because they go against the accepted idea of women being the passive ones in the bedroom.
Men have a higher sex drive than women
‘I think women are probably better at tolerating a lack of sex than men,’ suggests Parritt. ‘Because they can get intimacy elsewhere, such as hugging friends and close contact with their children. For many men, however, sex is often their only source of intimacy, so they’re perhaps more likely to complain about a lack of it.’
That’s not to say that women don’t suffer from periods of low sex drive. ‘Women are far more susceptible to hormonal changes, both monthly and throughout their life,’ explains Dr Harper. ‘And this impacts upon libido.’
Sex has to be spontaneous
Not only do we need to talk about sex more, we also need to plan it. ‘There’s this idea that sex should be spontaneous and instinctive,’ says Andrew G Marshall, author of I Love You But You Always Put Me Last. ‘But when you live together and both have jobs and kids, nothing is. You have to schedule it or it won’t happen.’
No it’s not sexy, but you wouldn’t go to the gym if you left it to spontaneity and think how good you feel after that. ‘Couples also get trapped in an ‘all-or-nothing hole’’, adds Marshall. ‘It’s either full-on penetrative sex or lying back-to-back in bed. The key is to spend time in the middle zone, cuddling, kissing, massaging, reconnecting physically.’
Women don’t get turned on easily
Bergner describes a study by the psychologist Meredith Chivers in which men and women were hooked up to genital sensors and shown clips of erotic films including a couple having sex, lesbian sex, gay sex, and two bonobo apes copulating.
Interestingly, while the sensors showed men to be aroused only by certain clips, the women were turned on by all of them. We might not think about sex as often as men do (supposedly women think about sex 10 times a day, and men 20), but whatever way you look at it, we’re definitely up for it.