Men are often perceived as being obsessed with sex, or at least having a one track mind. Truthfully, that isn’t the case. In this article I'll discuss 3 common beliefs about men and sex. There certainly are a lot more misperceptions associated with men and sex, but we'll start with these biggies. First, do men want sex all the time?
If we believe what we're told in the media, all guys ever want is sex. Most sitcoms have a prominent, or at a minimum an underlying, theme about men and their never ending pursuit of sex. Obviously, this is an overgeneralization, it’s just not true that men want sex all the time, but it can be true that men want sex more than women. Even this, however, can be very dependent on the circumstance and despite being a biological drive isn’t an inherent “need.”
How Often Men And Women Want Sex
This difference between men and women in their level of desire for sex causes a common complaint I hear in couples counseling, which is men wishing they had sex more often. As the image below implies, offer a guy sex and he'll take it – anytime, anywhere, and with anyone. The following social media post is intended to be comical, but it does play on the common belief about the typical man having an unquenchable desire for sex.
The truth is that the sex drive between men and women can definitely vary some, but it’s often situation specific. Women are typically more connected to and aroused by the emotional aspects of sex, whereas men tend to be able to separate the physical from the emotional more easily. It’s not necessarily that the interest or drive is lower in a woman, although hormones and other changes can influence that, but that a woman’s desire is greatly influenced by the emotional and intimate connection she may or may not have with her partner.
Don’t misunderstand -- most men also have the need for an emotional connection when it comes to being intimate as well. In fact, many men will chose to abstain rather than having meaningless or unemotional sex. And many of the men that come into counseling complaining that there isn’t enough sex in their relationship are also looking for that connection with their partners – they just don’t know how to achieve it. In these cases it’s often the poor communication about sexual needs and wants that’s compounding and even creating bigger problems overall.
Men And The Frequency Of Thinking About Sex
So if it’s not true that men want sex all the time, is it true that men think about sex every 7 seconds? No, this is absolutely a myth. It’s not possible for anyone to obsess on anything that frequently and still be able to be functional at anything else. Yet some men do think about sex a lot. Here are some of the factors that can affect how much:
- Age - Men who are younger typically think about sex more then older men.
- Interests and Hobbies - A couple of years ago I counseled a guy with a boat who took it out on the river a couple of times a week. With this hobby he was seeing women in bikinis regularly. I'm working with a 69-year-old man right now who goes to a fitness class several times a week where the women are dressed in tight and low cut clothing. While both of these situations are normal, they do provide sexual stimulus that have caused these guys to think about sex more than they normally would, and contributed to these men wanting sex not all the time, but certainly more.
- Media Exposure - Movies, television shows, commercials, websites with sexually stimulating content, even video games, all of these can fuel thoughts about sex. The annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue is a perfect example of something that is considered normal, but increases a man's focus on sex.
- Porn - The desire to watch porn not only comes from thinking about sex, but porn viewing makes men think about sex even more. One of the misperceptions about porn is that it's a good outlet for men's high sex drive, when actually it makes their sex drive even higher.
For men, the more exposure to sexual stimuli just leads to more thoughts about sex. It's just a fact that whatever we feed our brain is what it will want more. For guys who want sex all the time this is one of the most common reasons why.
It’s A Myth Men Only Want Sex
Is sex the only thing men want? Of course not, men also want love, connection, meaningful relationships, recognition, success, happiness and any number of other things, but for most men sex is a very strong drive.
What does it mean when a man isn’t interested in sex? Lack of interest in sex can come from a wide range of things, and a lot of the time it has nothing to do with no longer liking sex or not being attracted to a partner. Here are a few causes of loss of interest in sex for men:
- Prescription medication
- Alcohol or recreational drug abuse
- Erectile dysfunction
- Relationship discontent
- Midlife crisis
- Any kind of activity that has become obsessive (like gaming)
Hopefully this article helps to answer the question, do men want sex all the time? Sex is a strong physical drive for men, but unknowingly a lot of men feed it and make the drive even stronger than it normally would be because of lifestyle choices they make. If you want to see what your normal sex drive really is like, then remove as much of the sexual stimuli in your life as possible for 8 weeks and your brain will begin to return to its normal sex drive level.
Do you have other questions about men and sex? If so, leave them in a comment below.
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Editor's Note: This post was originally published July 14, 2015. It has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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