Men don’t have sex on the brain all the time, though they do think about it more often than women, a new study from the Ohio State University found.
The study of college students found that men think about sex a lot more than women – but they also think a lot about other biological needs like eating and sleeping, too.
As a group, men in the study thought about food almost 18 times per day and sleep almost 11 times per day, compared to women who thought about eating and sleeping at nearly 15 times and 8.5 times, respectively. Young men thought about sex about 19 times per day compared to women who thought about sex roughly 10 times per day.
This finding dispels the myth that men think about sex every seven seconds, which would amount to more than 8,000 thoughts in 16 hours.
“It’s amazing the way people will spout off these fake statistics that men think about sex nearly constantly and so much more often than women do,” said Teri Fisher, lead study author and professor of psychology at the Ohio State University, Mansfield. “When a man hears a statement like that, he might think there’s something wrong with him because he’s not spending that much time thinking about sexuality, and when women hear about this, if they spend significant time thinking about sex they might think there’s something wrong with them.”
The study involved 163 women and 120 men between ages 18 and 25 enrolled in a psychology research participation program. Of those, 59 were randomly assigned to track thoughts about food, 61 about sleep, and 163 about sex. Most students self-identified as heterosexual.
Researchers gave each student a tally counter device and told those assigned to the sexual thoughts condition to click the device to maintain a count their of thoughts about sex. They were told to count a thought about any aspect of sex: sexual activity of any kind, fantasies and erotic images, sexual memories and any arousing stimuli.
Others were instructed to use the device to record thoughts about eating that included food, hunger, cravings, snacking or cooking, and thoughts about sleep that included dreaming, sleeping, napping, going to bed or needing rest.
The study appears online and is scheduled for publication in the January issue of the Journal of Sex Research.