Men think about sex every 7 seconds and other fairy tales.

Sunday’s NY Times article “When Thoughts Turn to Sex, or Not”, reported on the results of an Ohio State University study which debunked the myth that men think about sex every 7 seconds.

All my life (both personal and professional), I have heard that statistic bandied about… men think about sex every 7 seconds. To be honest, it always rang a bit hollow to me. Really? Every 7 seconds? How on earth do they get anything else done? I must say I am really not all that crazy about the idea of, let’s say, my cardiac surgeon thinking erotic thoughts 1542 times during a 3 hour surgery — are you?? Also, I always wondered what men they were talking about. 15 year old HS students? 35 year old investment bankers? 75 year old retirees? Really? All of them? They are all thinking about sex 8228 times a day (that’s based on a day with a generous 8 hour sleep budget)? Even for someone like me who works in the sex field and thus thinks about sex a lot, that strains the limits of credibility.

So I think it was extremely clever of the researchers at Ohio State to give 283 men and women on campus hand clickers and have them click off every time they

  • thought about food,
  • thought about sleep, and
  • thought about sex.

So, how often did men actually think about sex in one day? Well, anywhere from 1-388 times. And women? 1-140 times a day. Obviously, with ranges like this, it’s awfully hard to come up with the average. The median, however, was 19 for the guys and 10 for the women. Now those are numbers I can live with.

So let’s take away a few lessons from this study:

  1. Men (even college co-eds) aren’t thinking about sex all day long.
  2. Women think about sex too — perhaps more than we initially thought. And the most important lesson of all…
  3. People are individuals, each with their own appetites, need for sleep and sex drives. Let’s focus more on the individual and a little less on the aggregate and we’ll have a happier, sexier society!

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