It's true that men think about sex more than woman, but exactly how much more is not as great as we think.
A new US study found that the median number of young men who took part thought about sex almost 19 times per day. This discredits the cliche that men think about sex every seven seconds, which would amount to more than 8000 thoughts about sex in 16 hours.
The research out of Ohio also found that men think about other biological needs, such as eating and sleep, more frequently than women do, as well.
The men were found to think about food almost 18 times per day and sleep almost 11 times per day. The women thought about eating 15 times and sleeping about eight-and-a-half times.
Throughout the study, in which they recorded the number of thoughts on a golf tally counter, it was found that a participant's comfort with their sexuality was the best predictor of how often they thought about sex.
Terri Fisher, professor of psychology at Ohio State University's Mansfield campus who lead the study, said each group were asked to track when they thought of a particular thing, be it sex, sleep or food, after they completed a questionnaire.
"If you had to know one thing about a person to best predict how often they would be thinking about sex, you'd be better off knowing their emotional orientation toward sexuality, as opposed to knowing whether they were male or female," she said. "Frequency of thinking about sex is related to variables beyond one's biological sex."
Professor Fisher said it was important to correct the stereotype about men's sexual thoughts.
"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," she said.
"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."
Professor Fisher said it was important to realise that those who were more comfortable with their sexuality thought more about sex.
Those, who participated in the study, also estimated about how often they thought each day about eating, sleeping and sex were all much lower than the actual number they recorded, suggesting previous research in the area was weak.
"There's really no good reason that our society should have believed that men are thinking so much more about sex than women. Even the research that had been done previously doesn't support the stereotype that men are thinking about sex every seven seconds," she said.
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