So, how often do people really think about sex? Are men sex-crazed compared to women? Does age have anything to do with time spent indulging in flights of erotic fantasy?
The answer depends on whom you ask. Dedicated researchers with inquiring minds want to know and are willing to spend money (preferably, someone else’s) to get to the bottom of this timeless mystery. They don’t always come up with the same results.
Before we go any further, it’s important to understand that sex is a biological need. We are born with the instinct to create replacement people (babies) so our race doesn’t go extinct and vanish from the face of the Earth. Some brainy folks figured out that it takes an average birth rate of 2.1 kids to keep a population at a steady level.
The problem is that society teaches us that sexual thoughts are inappropriate most of the time – certainly while in public places, including the office. Yet, no matter how hard we try, it’s basically impossible not to think about Doing the Deed on occasion.
So, the question is, how many of those straying-thought occasions occur throughout a typical day?
One survey performed in 2019 by OnePoll and Pure Romance provided these insights into how much sex preoccupies us:
- Americans think about sex eight times a day and speak about it in some way five times a day.
- 65 percent of Americans surveyed felt comfortable sharing their sex lives with others.
- The average American talks to four different people about their own sexual adventure.
Eight times daily is far less than the much-ballyhooed statistic that men think about sex every 7 seconds. This works out to more than 8,000 times a day. At that rate, how could they get anything done?
Back in 2011, thanks to an undergraduate research grant from Ohio State U at Mansfield (see what I meant about spending other people’s money to study this subject?), Terri Fisher, PhD, a psychology professor at Ohio State University at Mansfield had reached much the same conclusion after asking studied 283 college students to click a golf tally counter each time they thought about sex, food, and sleep for one week:
“The absolute number of sexual thoughts is dramatically less than the urban legend that men think about sex every seven seconds.”
Dr. Fisher and found that young men did think about sex more than their female counterparts but concluded that this was because men think more often about all basic needs, including food and sleep.
The actual numbers are very interesting:
“Men had as many as 388 sexual thoughts per day, although the typical man had 19 a day. The typical woman had 10, although at least one woman had 140 per day.”
The report from Fisher’s research team was titled “Sex on the Brain?: An Examination of Frequency of Sexual Cognitions as a Function of Gender, Erotophilia, and Social Desirability,” and used the term “need-based cognitions” (cognition means thinking) to include thoughts about sex, food, and sleep, and other basic needs.
These results downplayed the gender gap when talking about thinking sexy thoughts, and found that “although there may be a sex difference in sexual cognitions, it is smaller than is generally thought.”
At an average rate of nine times a day, men cast their thoughts toward sex only slightly more often than women who average seven minutes daily thinking about sex.
Dr. Fisher also found out that people who aren’t shy about the subject admitted to having more sexy thoughts:
“The more comfortable they were with their sexuality, the more likely they were to have sexual thoughts and record them.”
Being comfortable with their own sexuality was a stronger driver than gender.
The bottom line here is that some of us don’t spend much time thinking about sex while others have 100 erotic thoughts – or more – every day.