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The Globe and Mail

Men don't think about sex every seven seconds: study

Every seven seconds? That's precious time that could be spent thinking about food and sleep.

Michael Fassbender notwithstanding, Ohio State University researchers are trying to debunk the popular myth that men think about sex seven times a minute, or roughly 10,000 times over 24 hours.

Their study of 283 college students, published in the January issue of the Journal of Sex Research, suggests that while men think about sex more often than women do, they also devote more time to contemplating many a biological need.

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The men in the study thought about sex 19 times per day – just once more than the number of times they thought about food, and eight more times than sleep.

Women meanwhile, thought about sex 10 times per day, food 15 times a day and sleep 8.5 times daily. Yup, women think more about food than sex – no surprise if you've ever witnessed a table of gals moaning over molten chocolate lava cake.

"There's really no good reason that our society should have believed that men are thinking so much more about sex than women," Terri Fisher, lead author and a psychology professor at Ohio State, said in a release.

"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."

For both men and women, the range was far and wide. Male respondents recorded between one and 388 daily thoughts about sex, from fantasies to memories. Women tallied between one and 140.

"For women, that's a broader range than many people would have expected. And there were no women who reported zero thoughts per day. So women are also thinking about sexuality," Prof. Fisher said.

The methodology wasn't exactly scientific: students carried around a golf tally counter to track their thoughts for a week. Those who appeared to be comfortable with their sexuality in a questionnaire were more likely to think about sex, or admit to thinking about it.

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"Frequency of thinking about sex is related to variables beyond one's biological sex," Prof. Fisher said.

According to research published by the Kinsey Institute, 54 per cent of men think about sex everyday or several times a day, 43 per cent a few times per week or month, and 4 per cent less than once a month. With women, 19 per cent thought about it everyday or several times a day, 67 per cent a few times per week or month, and 14 per cent less than once a month.

An American poll of 1,501 adults found that 70 per cent of men thought about sex everyday, compared to 34 per cent of women.

Which of the results, if any, do you find most surprising?

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