Surprise! Study Reveals Men Think About Sex a Lot (but Not Every Seven Seconds)

Photo: Getty ImagesPhoto: Getty ImagesA new study by researchers at Ohio State University tracked 288 college students and found that male participants thought about sex up to 388 times a day with a mean of 19 times and female participants thought about sex up to 140 times a day with a mean of 10 times. The study also measured thoughts of food and sleep.

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The research dispels the old myth that men think about sex every seven seconds-which would mean that men imagined getting their freak on about 8,000 times a day. "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," Professor Terri Fisher, lead author of the study, said in a written statement. Fisher also pointed out such myths about men and sexuality might make women with libidinous minds judge themselves as abnormal.

Before embarking on the study, participants filled out a questionnaire detailing their attitudes toward sex and sexuality as well as their need to fit in socially. Based on an analysis of the findings, researchers concluded that women's "erotophilia" - or comfort level with sex and sexuality-was the greatest predictor of how many sexual thoughts they would have. Those who had the least thoughts tended to have the strongest need to be socially acceptable. "We're seeing that women who are more concerned with the impression they're making tend to report fewer sexual thoughts," explained Fisher, "and that's because thinking about sexuality is not consistent with typical expectations for women." How often men thought about sex couldn't be defined by any one variable.

Men also beat out women in number of thoughts about food and sleep suggesting that they are generally more preoccupied with their biological needs than women. Men reported thinking about food 18 times a day and sleep 11 times a day while women's scored a median number of thoughts about food 15 times a day and sleep 10 times a day.

Fisher plans to repeat the study with older adults since women peak sexually in their thirties which might impact results, while men start to decline after college.

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