Men: Climax More Likely in Relationship Sex

Indiana University’s recent sex survey found that men were more likely to climax if they were in a relationship. But women had more difficulty with arousal when they were in one.

Surprising! What’s up?

Today we’ll explore men. (A past post explored women.)

On the one hand, men say they’d like a lot of partners. According to The Male Brain, men report wanting 14 partners, lifetime, while women say they want only one or two. In my women’s studies classes many men felt that their friends would like to have sex with as many women as possible. Researchers at the University of Texas found that men were far less picky than women, and were more likely to have sex simply because the opportunity presented itself. An awful lot of porn (men’s fantasies on screen) revolves around sex with lots of random women, too.

So the Indiana University study doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. You’d expect that men would be more sexually satisfied with a lot of casual partners.

But that’s not what the data showed. Researchers asked men and women about the last time they had sex: Were you with a relationship partner or not? What activities did you engage in? Did you have an orgasm? How much did you enjoy the sexual experience?

When controlling for age and health, men aged 18 to 59 were more likely to enjoy sex and achieve orgasm when they were in a relationship than when they were with a new partner. They indicated greater arousal, greater pleasure, less pain, fewer problems with erectile dysfunction, and greater chance of orgasm.

So what’s up?

Imagination versus reality: Fantasy may seek novelty and variety, but men feel more comfortable and relaxed with their partners, who show patience and give reassurance if there are problems, leaving men with less performance anxiety. Partners who have been together a while may have honed their techniques, too.

Sure, men can feel relaxed with dream partners. Reality can be different.

Something deeper may be at play, too. Women often say sex is best in a context of love and connection. Men don’t talk about this as much, but sex can take on a deepness and richness in relationship that casual sex can’t match, whether you are male or female.

Popular culture sees women as out to trap men, becoming the old “ball and chain” when they succeed. But men need companionship. They rarely leave their partners unless they’ve got someone else lined up. After a death or divorce men are much quicker than women to remarry, forgoing an unfettered sex life. Partly because women care for men, support them, and create emotional closeness.

But relationship may also bring men better sex.

Georgia Platts

Popular Posts on BroadBlogs
Surprises in Indiana University Sex Survey
Women: Climax Less Likely in Relationship Sex
Orgasm: It’s All in the Mind
Sex Lessons from Mom and Dad

About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social 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. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on January 4, 2011, in gender, men, psychology, relationships, sex and sexuality, women and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I feel I am missing a point here. I thought that men climaxed every time they had sex, whatever type of relationship they were in.

    • They don’t.

      People tend to think that others are the same as them. So maybe you do and assume thats true for every guy. And, a lot of guys also brag, exaggerate a lot when talkng to their friends.

      Some guys even fake orgasms (helps to use a condom) — I’ll have to write on that sometime. And some guys have a hard time climaxing with real, live women because they’ve OD’d on porn. See this: Porn Can Cause E.D.?

      There are a number of reasons why men don’t come every time, and why theyre more likely to come in partnered sex, actually.

      Social research, where anonymity keeps lying to a minimum, helps us to see that what we experience and hear from others is not necessarily true, or true for everyone.

  2. Given all the cultural stereotypes about men and their lack of interest in emotional connection, I was absolutely floored when I started dating and finding out that a lot of men are more emotionally clingy than I am! Since society seems to dictate that sex is one of the only ways that a man can comfortably express feelings, it’s no wonder that men are so interested in having sexual partners. If it were just about having sexual feelings and relief alone, they probably would’ve invented some device that would be comparable to a female in terms of looks and feel that could replace the feeling of a women. Obviously, there’s the sexual pleasure itself that is attractive, but many men do seem to feel very lonely when it comes to emotions, and I often feel sorry for them when it becomes obvious that they only feel comfortable opening up to whichever female they’re with for the moment.

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