Who Wants To “Do It” More? 

doing-itWho wants sex more often, men or women? Couples in older or newer relationships?

It depends, some will say.

It always depends. But there are also strong patterns. 

When German college students were asked who wants sex more often, gender and length of relationship both made a difference.

In newer relationships — less than six months — 59% of men felt that they and their partners were both equally enthusiastic. But after six years only a quarter of the men still felt that way, with the men more eager. And their perceptions mirrored women’s.

Women’s declining sexual interest was matched by a greater desire for tenderness.

As I’ve discussed before, these numbers are likely due more to nurture than nature, a result of greater repression of women’s sexuality which represses desire.

Curiously, interest on all sides decreased faster when couples started having sex early on, say sociologists Mark Regnerus and Jeremy Uecker in their book, Premarital Sex in America.

Couples who began having sex closer to marriage, or after marrying, stayed interested longer. Unclear why. Here are a couple possible reasons:

Couples who are married, or about to be, are likely emotionally closer than average. Since most men and women prefer emotional connection — with women typically more adamant about this — maybe it’s not so surprising that interest stays higher in these relationships.

And for those who wait, sexuality might hold more mystery. Naomi Wolf points out that,

I am not advocating a return to the days of hiding female sexuality, but I am noting that the power and charge of sex are maintained when there is some sacredness to it, when it is not on tap all the time.

Perhaps she came to this conclusion after speaking to students at Northwestern University, where she asked, “Why have sex right away?” One guy explained, “Just to get it over with. You know it’s going to happen anyway, and it gets rid of the tension.”

But “isn’t the tension kind of fun” she asked? “Doesn’t [getting it over with] also get rid of the mystery?”

“Mystery?” He looked blankly. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. Sex has no mystery.”

Who knows? Food for thought.

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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 October 24, 2016, in relationships, sex and sexuality and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 32 Comments.

  1. I found this post very interesting. I don’t necessarily believe one gender wants to “do it” more than the other. I think both genders equally have the desire to have sex. However, in TV, movies, and other media forms portray men as being the ones to be out right about it. Women on the other hand are often shown repressing their desire in fear of being labeled a whore or looked at as someone that gets around. This is a clear example of women’s sexuality being repressed. It’s not right that women get called various names and slut shamed. I found it really strange that the young men talked about “just Getting it over with” and wasn’t interested in the mystery and getting to know the person. I also found it interning that couples that wait till marriage stay interested in having sex longer, which make since because they still have that mystery in their relationship.

    • On average women are less interested in having sex than men are. But that’s not a natural biological difference. It’s grounded in a society that punishes women’s sexuality much more than men’s. If we don’t get that, nothing will change.

      Take a look at the post below, which helps to explain why nearly half of American women have a major sexual dysfunction like low interest in sex, painful sex, difficulty climaxing:

      Repression: Not What You Think It Is

  2. I agree with the part when it states that women’s sexual interest declines as well as men’s eagerness for sex. I am not married but I feel like sex decreases also in most marriages. Sex is on every man’s mind and if they deny it then they are lying. There are weak men that can’t fight the urge to have sex. If those men can’t fight the urge then it is possible that those men will get abusive towards their partner, which might lead to rape. I am not saying that women should always give into their partner but to watch out for those situations.

  3. Love at first site see a bit farfetched for some people. I believe lust at first sight is more accurate. I think when a man and a woman first meet, there has to be some sort of connection. They need to be attracted to one another in some way. The first few months are the most exciting. You crave their presence and melt at their touch. The feeling of butterflies when you know you are about to kiss. Then when you finally make love you can’t wait for the next time. As the relationship goes on, sex become routine, often less exciting. I find it important to continue to keep it exciting so both involved don’t get board of each other. As time continues to pass, and babies come into the picture, sex seems to go out the door. It can easy become something that is put on the back burner. I think this is mostly the women that feel it should be put aside. So, when that student said “get it over” and “there is no mystery” they really have no idea how magical those first months and years of the relationship really are.

    • Would be interesting to figure out whether it’s love or lust. I wonder if you see someone and they seem to fit your template of the perfect person so that it feels more like love than lust?

      So it feels like love but it seems hard to love when you don’t know someone. But if it’s the whole person you’re drawn to “lust” doesn’t seem quite right either.

      So you bring up a curious question. Thanks.

  4. Regina Phillips

    Many men and women are physically attracted to one another first and then emotionally attracted to one another if they make it that far. I think one of the reasons women may desire sex less is because the honeymoon phase goes away and reality sets in. Yes, sex is great in the beginning, however for women it can sometimes become a chore. Women wear many hats and need to feel appreciated. When a man overlooks all of the task a woman has to do, I believe she becomes less concerned about sex and more concerned about what she has to do the next day. It is very important for a man to continue dating his wife while married. It is extremely easy to become disconnected when the foundation of the relationship is lost.

    As a married woman with two children, I have noticed that I have no desire to be intimate with my husband when I am feeling overwhelmed, however that desire increases when I see that he is helping out in areas that I need him most. The emotional connection is there and I don’t feel like all of the daily weight is on my shoulders.

  5. I think the study is interesting, but more factors should attribute to it. I can agree with the part that things are more interesting in the beginning and then after a while things begin to get a little less exciting. In my case, it was after I had kids. After I had my kids and went back to work, I became exhausted. From holding the babies all day, being pulled and tugged on, loved on, etc, the last thing I want is to be touched sometimes. I think I’m also tired from working, going to school and raising a family so I don’t have the energy sometimes and that can bother my husband. I also noticed that in the first few months after I had kids, my drive was completely gone. I spoke with a doctor and they said that it’s totally normal between all of the hormonal changes and it can also be nature’s way of acting like a birth control immediately after having a baby. Of course, this is not the case for everyone, but for me, these factors played a bigger part than just the length of our relationship.

  6. A good sex, I think, involves a great deal of emotion, love and yes, mystery. How the same thing turns out to be different each time even with the same partner is indeed mysterious. I pity them who fail to enjoy this…

  7. there’s one question that I do consider asking when it comes to frequency of sex. how frequent is too frequent? in other words if a couple have sex too frequently isn’t that going to increase the chances of fatigue happening earlier and much quicker? not sure how true it is but sexual intercourse can be physically draining

  8. If you’re looking for tenderness, I would guess the guy from Northwestern wouldn’t be a good bet.

    • Guess I missed out on something. Huh?

      • I don’t know if what the guy said is anything bad as I think, maybe unfortunately for some people as far as wanting to hear something different. His response is such a guy response ha and a typical blunt guy response. It seems like guys sometimes or maybe often think of things in a practical or pragmatic thought process and what something is rather than the sensational thing behind it.

        It’s probably why some women complain about how men aren’t romantic enough though there are plenty of romantic men. I like romance, and though I don’t see it exactly like northwestern guy. I still have the “what’s the big deal about that?” thought process. Kind of like how some women can conjure the mystery of something or this is so sweet, etc and I can relate to how guys can be like..yeah um…that’s just that and not what his gf conjured it up to be. So is this conditioning too? You said how men and women are closer in similarity than people believe, but like this, there seems to be gender differences with how men think and women.

      • There is definitely a pattern of gender differences. But there is also a lot of overlap. When I say that there’s not so much difference between men and women that is based on the fact that there are very few things where you can predict which gender a person is. Physical strength is one of the few things where if you say that one of two people is stronger, most likely it is the guy (Because testosterone creates more muscle mass in men).

        Probably because we repress women’s sexuality more, women are on average less sexually desirous and need more to be interested. Mystery is something that could enhance interest. And it something that can heighten The sexual experience for everyone.

        Not experiencing or caring about mystery doesn’t make Northwestern guy a bad guy. But he might miss out on another rich sexual dimension. And he might miss something in connecting with his partners.

  9. I totally agree that after years before marriage i was more enthusiastic about sex. Now that I gave a year married with my husband i have less interest in being sexually active with him. Why? Well everything is less romantic. We are always tired that there is no time for all the other expressions of careness.
    Is as if it becomes a routine of ” just get it done”.

  10. Very interesting!

  11. In newer relationships — less than six months — 59% of men felt that they and their partners were both equally enthusiastic. But after six years only a quarter of the men still felt that way, ”

    I get that for new relationships under 6 months. But I don’t think it even has to go 6 years before the drop off or for there to be a difference even after just a year. I think by the time a year goes by and that to me is still relatively new as one year is not a long time at all. I think after 6 months and after even a year there probably is a difference with men and women with wanting sex. The reason I say is that, is because of men being more visual and women’s bodies sexualized, not to mention the clothing women wear, lingerie, etc. Like I feel within a year after six months or just after a year. Where a man is getting to know his gf and getting used to her, but he has only been with her a year and there still is some newness. Yeah it’s not like a new girl where it’s all a mystery but the relationship is still early enough as in a year that I think he’s still quite excited by her body. I mean a bf will find his gf sexy 6 years later, but like you said how it dimmers a little because the fetish isn’t there anymore.

    But I do believe even in just a year or after 6 months a man is more tempted and lustful to his gf and her body than vice versa. So I think more desire for sex from the man after 6 months or year as he goes out to the mall or date with his gf and she’s wearing a sexy dress or something showing a little cleavage right? Or maybe she like’s to wear tight jeans and her butt is looking really good in it or those yoga pants that girls seem to like now and are tight and show off the butt. Sometimes or maybe many times when gf is looking sexy or sexy clothes, it creates lust and bf is probably wanting or thinking sex with his gf and can’t wait to take her clothes off and be intimate. That doesn’t seem to happen nearly as much with gf toward bf based on how he’s looking or wearing or as frequently. And that may be due to like you said how men aren’t sexualized or the clothes for men, who knows. But I’m sure the man in the relationship even early on is probably more often lustful to his gfs body based on what she’s showing or looking and more frequently than vice versa, therefore, I’d say more interest and desire for sex.

    • I suspect the biggest problem for women is sexual repression, which women are hit much more hardly with. And women are also more affected by it, Perhaps for biological reasons as I’ve written about before. When women have a lot of or level of desire it takes more to get them interested. Oxytocin will do that and oxytocin is most plentiful in the first 12 to 18 months of a relationship.

      When it comes to her lost full body, That can work to either heighten the sensual experience or to dull it. If the man has a particular body type he likes he can be much more limited in the women he finds attractive. That ends up hurting him. If overtime her body type shifts that could also hurt him. And since about two thirds of my students spend time worrying about how their bodies look, this pressure they feel to look attractive and turned their partner on visually can be hugely distracting, And end up hurting the sexual experience. And that hurts her partner to because most men and women want their partners to be enjoying sex, Not worried about how they look.

      But that gets us back to emotional connection. When a woman feels safe with her partner, an emotionally connected, She’s much less likely to be worried about how she looks. And if he’s strongly emotionally connected he will also be less likely to be distracted by any so-called imperfections.

  12. The last dialogue about mystery probably nails the issue. The element of sacredness and tension-filled mystery prevailed till the later part of last century. The percentage of interest in the actual act may be more or less equal in both genders in the beginning marked by steady decline in later years.

  13. Shame about that student who says get it over and done with. No mystery no emotions it seems. I am sure women would never say that sentence “get it over and done with”- we like mystery, emotions and the tingling feeling when it does happen.

  14. you have always a powerful introduction and vision…wow

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