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 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 IU study doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. You’d expect that men would be more likely to climax having a variety 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.

What’s going on?

For one, consider 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 have honed their techniques, too.

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.

Originally posted on January 4, 2011 by

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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 2, 2012, in gender, men, relationships, sex and sexuality, women and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I believe emotional and physical differences between women and men are the basis of their sexual behavior. Men generally can be in sexual contact with many women because men do not have to be emotionally attached to be able to have sex. In contrast, for women there has to be some attraction either physically or emotionally. At the beginning of a relationship, Men’s goal is to have sex with this new partner. As they go deeper in to the relationship, men achieve some level of attachment and comfort with their partner, therefore, they experience more relaxing sexual relationship.

    But unlike men, at the beginning of a relationship, women are more satisfied with their partner, because their partner makes them feel special, and they passionately make love. But as their relationship moves forward, men stop putting any effort on making the women feel special and their sex life become limited to having sex with no passion. Therefore, women lose their interest in having sex with their partner.

    It has been a general belief that women are emotionally weaker than men. But the truth is that women are much stronger when it comes to emotional matters .That can be one of the reasons that men have to be in relationship all the time but women do not have to.

  2. Men are insecure, especially when it comes to sex, but they just do not show it in the same way that women do. When having sex with a new partner the man want to make the sex great, in doing so he will try many different things and work harder to make the sex more pleasurable. At the same time he does not know what she likes or what she has had before, so he is trying to learn as he goes before time runs out (if you know what I mean). All of what he is doing for his partner may be taking away from his own enjoyment so climaxing may not be as easy. With a new partner a man doesn’t always know they will respond to him or his actions so he may be hesitant to make certain moves or of “coming” too fast.

    When a man is in a relationship he should hopefully know what his partner likes and know how to satisfy her. Therefore making the sex more relaxing for him, and giving him confidence so he can perform better. Also considering his partner knows what he is capable of, he knows she will be more understanding if the sex does not go as hoped. For a woman, the more comfortable she feels with her partner, the more comfortable she feels in her own body and will enjoy sex more and in turn they will both have better communication during sex.

  3. I enjoyed reading this article because I feel it does put a spin on relationships. I have never thought about the difference for a man having sex in a long term relationship and a man having casual sex. I thought they enjoyed both equally but appreciated the stability both sexually and emotionally of having a girlfriend or partner.
    Men are sensitive and experience emotional connections during sex, however the actual expression of emotions they are experiencing comes out differently than in women, who in my experience get emotionally and psychologically connected to a man almost instantly after their relationship becomes sexual. Men are insecure and the more a girlfriend or wife can be supportive of his endeavors in and out of the bed the sooner he will feel comfortable communicating his interests and feelings about sex and what it means to him. Once that emotional connection with his partner is obtained I can see how both parties would be more in tune with eachother and understand how to please eachother, which would lead to a very happy sex life.

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