Are Men More Likely to Separate Love & Sex?
Men separate love and sex more than women, right?
Men do seem to be more interested in having sex without love. They are more likely to say “yes” when offered casual sex and they are more likely to suggest having sex partners outside of a relationship, perhaps threesomes, open marriage, or “swinging.”
In the last few months there’s been talk on the blogosphere about open marriage thanks to Newt Gingrich, as well as Dan Savage’s New York Times piece advocating open relationships. Some say it’s easier for gay men (like Savage) to make this particular fantasy a reality since men can more easily separate out sex and love.
Social psychologists Roy Baumeister and Brad Bushman say men are indeed more likely to separate out love and sex in that way. But it turns out that women are perfectly adept at separating the two, as well. Women just tend to do it in an entirely different way. They are more likely to enjoy love without sex. In fact, a couple of men who read my blog have complained about this very issue, insisting porn helps them cope with sexless marriages.
One national survey asked people whether they agreed with the statement “love and sex are two different things” and women were more likely to agree with this than men.
So it seems that men are more likely to accept sex without love whereas women are more likely to accept love without sex. Who knows how much the difference is based in biology versus culture (the latter certainly has some effect).
But most often both genders think love combined with sex is best.