You've certainly heard the statistic, "Men think about sex every seven seconds," or whatever. However, finally, a study has come ablong to challenge that, claiming men about eating and sleeping proportionately more than they think about fornicating. You're probably thinking it's difficult, or nearly impossible, to quantify such findings. And you have good reason to be skeptical since most past studies have used the unreliable methodology of flat-out asking subjects "so how many times a day do you think about sex?", which, unless you catalog your every lusty thought, is bound to be inaccurate.
Yet, even if her results are still inevitably culturally biased, Terri Fisher, a psychologist at The Ohio State University, Mansfield, devised a pretty clever technique for calculating this data. Fisher gave 163 college women and 120 college men golf-stroke tally counters. Some students were told to click the counter whenever they had a sexual thought, others were told to keep track of their food or sleep-related thoughts. Here's how MSNBC reported the results:
"The stereotype is that men think about sex constantly and women rarely [think about it]," Fisher said. But that's not what she and her colleagues found. There was a broad range in the number of sex thoughts, from several participants who recorded one thought a day, to a male participant who recorded 388 thoughts in a day.
On average, Fisher wrote, the men in the study thought about sex slightly more than once each waking hour and women about half that. However, men paid no greater attention to sex than they did food and sleep, Fisher found. That difference could be a real one in which men are just more aware of their physical state at any given time, she said, or it could be that men are more comfortable clicking the tally counter to record their body-centric thoughts.
Societal expectations and stereotypes undoubtedly taint the results, because, you know, whether the craving's for sex or a bowl of pasta, there's still a social stigma against female desire. Maybe the next time researchers ask what us ladies are thinking about, we'll say "the unfairness of cultural bias." Or ice cream, that works too.