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8 ways men and women differ on sex drive

WebMD Feature
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

It's too simple to suggest that men are sex mad and women can take it or leave it. Libido is individual. Yes, there are plenty of women with a high sex drive and many men with a low libido. But in general do men want sex more than women? Apparently so.

Plenty of research suggests that men have a higher desire for sex and a more straightforward attitude to sex. Women's libido seems a bit more complicated.

So what are the differences?

1. Sex plays a more significant role for men

Studies seem to suggest that sex plays a bigger part of a man's life than a woman's.

In 2001 researchers led by psychologist Roy Baumeister analysed 150 articles and studies on sexual behaviour and found that men want more sex than women do, they think about sex more often, they have more sexual fantasies and they masturbate more often than women do. The study concluded without doubt that men have a stronger sex drive than women.

"I like to think that sexual desire is a little like height or physical strength, most men are taller and stronger than women, but there are some exceptions," says Professor Frederick Toates, author of 'How Sexual Desire Works: The Enigmatic Urge'.

"Many men identify themselves as the sexual male, whereas it's not as emphatic in women," says sex and relationship psychotherapist Mary Clegg. "I think we give unconscious clues in society about the role of men as breadwinner and patriarch whereas women take a softer role. These roles are present in the sexual script too - it's been like that for generations."

2. Men think about sex more

When you catch a man lost in thought he may well have sex on his mind. It's a cliché, but it is also true that in most cases men do think about sex more often than women. There's a lot of research which backs this up. Whether or not it's every 7 seconds, as urban myth would have us believe is hard to say. One study in the Journal of Sexual Research suggested that sex is on young men's minds almost 19 times a day, but young women think about sex around half as much, almost 10 times a day.

3. Different orgasm experiences

Men and women have different bodies and how they experience desire is different. For a man it's pretty obvious when they get turned on they get an erection, and the end result is usually ejaculation. It isn't as obvious to know when a woman is turned on and when, or if, she orgasms.

It's a big IF as orgasm isn't always a given when a couple has sex.

A 2015 survey for a women's magazine suggested 57% of women experience an orgasm when having sex with their partner most or every time. The 2,000 or so women surveyed said that their male partners had an orgasm 95% of the time.

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