Women Want Good Sex, Men Want Cuddling

What makes happy long-term relationships?

Everyone’s happier when touching, kissing, hugging, and sex fill our lives. Surprisingly, hugging and kissing are more important to men’s happiness. Men who snuggled were three times happier than non-snuggling husbands. So much for the stereotype that men don’t cuddle.

Psychologist, Aline Zoldbrod, talks of the importance of touch.

Touch from a person you love and trust is a major emotional resource and a way that people can regulate their emotions when they are upset. Couples who use touch to comfort, to compliment, and yes, to seduce and arouse, are bound to be happier.

Surprisingly, cuddling has less impact on women’s contentment, perhaps because culturally, women have a greater range of emotional outlets than men.

Instead, sexual satisfaction had a bigger impact on women’s happiness, and typically, the sex got better the longer a couple stayed together. Yet, as TIME put it, “a man’s happiness rose 17% with each additional point he rated the importance of his partner’s orgasm.” Caring husband, happy wife? Happy wife, happy husband?

Why would sex so often get better for women over time? Women often talk of the importance of love and connection to sexual enjoyment. With time, the couple can become deeply bonded. But they can also become more skilled. Safety and relaxation are important to a woman’s orgasm and long-term relationships can enhance both. Finally, over time the messages of a sex-negative culture for women can slip away in the security of marriage, where all agree that sex is virtuous.

Co-author and clinical sexologist, Michael Sand, said the study is important in showing that long-term relationships can be filled with “healthy, vibrant sexuality.”

In another reversal of stereotype, men were happier, overall, in their relationships
than women. Maybe it’s not so surprising. In modern marriages, men still have more
power and more say. Women are more likely to nurture and care for their spouses.

But both men and women felt greater relationship satisfaction the longer they stayed together. Are happier couples simply more likely to stay together? Or do the deep bonds that form over long-term relationships create the contentment? Perhaps it’s a bit of both.

Interesting, all. And hopeful.

These findings are based on a survey from the Kinsey Institute of 1,009 heterosexual couples from five countries who were middle-aged or older, and in long-term relationships.

Related Posts on BroadBlogs
Orgasm: It’s All in the Mind
Lose Virginity, Lose Self-Esteem?
“Cock” vs “Down There”

About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych, women's psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State University. And I have blogged for Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos.

Posted on July 15, 2011, in feminism, gender, men, psychology, relationships, sex, sexism, women and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I believe us women want both, the sex and the cuddling. I just feel that most men want what’s fast and easy. Especially nowadays. Yeah they’ll cuddle but only for so long then they’re looking for what’s next. Although it’s different when you’re in a relationship. The guys tend to want to do all the cuddling while as women get side tracked on what needs to be done around the house or we just feel like we’re being lazy lol. It’s more about getting to business. Men are more into the whole foreplay I think.

  2. ” In modern marriages, men still have more power and more say. Women are more likely to nurture and care for their spouses.”

    Men have more power in marriage? LOL! Most of the married men I know are led around on a leash by their wives. That whole “man in charge” thing is a facade men put up to “look cool” in front of their guy friends. Who plans the vacations? Usually the wife. Who makes 80% of the spending decisions? Again, the wife. Who controls the sex? Again, the wife. What do men control in your opinion? In my experience I’m still trying to figure that one out.

    • That’s why there’s social research. Because people tend to think that everyone is the same as them and their friends. And you tend to have friends are like yourself, anyway.

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