Thursday, December 8, 2011

Once in a committed relationship, men and women have similar attitudes toward sex

Not much to say, but pretty interesting stuff:

“Men experience a lot of pressure in our society to have sex with a number of different partners,” said one of the study’s researchers, Paul Perrin, a graduate student in psychology at the University of Florida, “the opposite of what women experience as kind of the gatekeepers of sexuality.”

Past studies, the scientists point out, have shown that compared with women, men are more sexually permissive, endorse casual sex at higher rates and masturbate more often.

And even in dreamland, men are from Mars and women from Venus. A recent study showed men were more than twice as likely as women to report dreams about multiple sex partners.

[...]While women placed more emphasis on the emotional aspects of sex, men focused more on the physical side of sex. Men were much more likely to find sex personally and physically pleasurable, while women were more likely to think sex violates social taboos.

Thoughts often turn into actions. “Sexually restrictive gender roles too often become self-fulfilling prophecies because women know that they are expected to be less sexual than men,” the scientists write, “and men know that they are expected to be more sexual than women.”

Men gave much higher ratings for risky sexual behaviors, such as “I should have sex with as many people as possible,” than women. And women were more apt to endorse waiting longer and not engaging in premarital sex.

When Mr. Right shows up, however, women ditch society-imposed gender roles, warming up to sexual pleasures, the researchers found.

In the context of an intimate relationship, both genders expressed that sex was important as a way to bring couples closer, to help maintain healthy relationships and to increase one’s self confidence.

“People in romantic relationships give more importance to their own feelings and their partners’ than they do to social expectations about sexual behavior,” Perrin said.