5 Sex Facts About Men You Didn’t Know

Most of what you think you know is probably wrong.  Let me share the real numbers on five areas of men’s sexual health. The answers may surprise you.

Sex on the Brain
The idea that men think about sex every seven seconds, like the claim that we only use 10 percent of our brains, is often repeated but rarely sourced. The number doesn’t bear up against scrutiny. According to the Kinsey Report (Sexual Behavior in the Human Male), 54 percent of men think about sex every day or several times a day, 43 percent a few times a week or a few times a month, and 4 percent less than once a month. Even though the Kinsey Report relies on men to self-report on how often they think about sex, it’s still eye opening to find that just under half of men aren’t even thinking about sex once a day. Clearly, the seven-second rule may be a tad hyperbolic.

Not Tonight, Honey
The stereotype about the sex-starved man and the disinterested woman may be more than just a cliche. As it turns out, the instant a woman enters a secure relationship, her sex drive begins to plummet. Four years in, a German study found, fewer than half of women wanted regular sex. And after 20 years, only 20 percent did.

Among men, libido held steady no matter how long they’d been in the relationship. Researchers provide an evolutionary explanation—women’s sex drive is initially high to facilitate pair bonding. Meanwhile, desire for tenderness showed the opposite trend. Ninety percent of women craved tenderness, but of men who’d been in relationships for ten years, only 25 percent said they hoped for the same from their partner.

Measuring Up

For as long as there’s been such thing as a ruler, men have been putting wood to, um, wood and wondering how they measure up. “There’s nothing wrong with you. You look at yourself from above and you look foreshortened,” Hemingway reassured a panicking F. Scott Fizgerald. “It is basically not a question of the size in repose. It is the size that it becomes. It is also a question of angle.”

The trouble is that most of the actual surveys of penis size are unscientific and unreliable. The Kinsey survey relied on men to report their own numbers honestly and accurately—never a good idea. (Curiously, that survey found that gay men reported having longer penises than straight men—a finding never since replicated.)

Since then, there have been numerous attempts to settle on a number: from various Web surveys to the condom company that did a survey in Cancun during spring break (“Excuse me, could you step into my office, I need to check something”). But the most rigorous studies to date found similar results—the Journal of Urology put the average penis size at 5.08 inches, and the International Journal of Impotence Research put it at 5.35 inches.

The Spread of HIV

In Africa alone, AIDS kills some 6,000 people every day. While treatment must be made available for all who need it, some elements of the AIDS epidemic are likely exaggerated. Remember when Surgeon General C. Everett Koop called AIDS “the biggest threat to health this nation has ever faced.” (Presumably bigger than cancer, heart disease, obesity, and smoking.) And when Oprah told her viewers: “Research studies now project that one in five heterosexuals could be dead from AIDS…” It seemed as if no one was safe, not even non-drug users, straight men, or housewives.

But the truth is that HIV isn’t nearly as easy to spread through heterosexual sex as many people think. According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, men almost never get HIV from women. A healthy man who has unprotected sex with a non drug-using woman has a one in 5 million chance of getting HIV. If he wears a condom, the odds drop to one in 50 million. And though it’s easier for men to infect women, the odds that an HIV-positive man will transmit the virus to a woman through sex are less than one in 1,000.

In Three Minutes Flat

Judging from the average porn flick, romance novel, or locker room conversation, a Martian landing on Earth would probably assume that intercourse would last somewhere in the vicinity of 40 minutes. But if that Martian were to actually enter into a relationship, he might be in for a big disappointment. Such marathon sessions are the exception to the rule; surveys find that the average sex session lasts from three to ten minutes. Not that any of this should be so surprising—the average hotel porn viewer watches for just 12 minutes.


24 thoughts on “5 Sex Facts About Men You Didn’t Know

  1. real numbers.. ha.. You can’t come to the conclusion that it would be an accurate study because people lie.. Some will report theyt hink about sex less than they do so they dont “fit the profile” or for some other reason.. and some will report they think about it more so they “fit the profile” or some other reason.. People lie.. Women and men alike.. They lie lie lie…

  2. Well… for a variety of reasons other than people lie, self-reported studies are somewhat unreliable. As a species, we’re not really good judges of time or distance/length, and the amount of sex or how often you think about it is very much affected by the type of relationship you’re in, what you’re doing at the moment, how tired and stressed you are, what your occupation is, etc. To ask someone how often they think about sex, is asking them to do the impossible– remember all of their thoughts throughout a day. Even if they could, the answer would be different for the week you are, say on vacation, than a week where you’re stressed because you’re overloaded at work and your taxes are due. And like Ivy said, there are always those who will lie for the sake of trying to “be normal” or because they don’t want to put much thought into answering a question to begin with.

    All in all though… I think a lot of the points listed above are good… and we can very much get sucked in to thinking something is an epidemic when it isn’t.

  3. Sorry Christine. I just need guidance. Someone to watch over me. Maybe I’ll learn from you how to be a grownup someday. I’m humbled by your patience and kindness, by your lack of self-regard as you correct me. It’s strange, I’m normally only humbled by men, by strong men who can keep me safe.

  4. Hey… if you just wanna stick with those strong men who keep you safe, that’s cool by me…

    But if you’re counting on me to teach you how to be a grown up… that’s probably not such a good bet. Why do I get the feeling you (and momma) might try to come kill me now? :s Just kidding… sort of…

  5. Why, are you scared?
    I don’t give a fuck Chris. I just want to get on with my life without being subjected to your scrutiny (and being accused of subjecting you to scrutiny). I’m more worried about how you’re doing, especially when you deliberately scare me (that’s why I suggested Mum come and see if you’re alright).
    I’ve no intention of “incriminating” you (stop accusing me of that!). In fact, I think Mum (and S.) could do with some support right now – which I can’t give – so if you want to worry about someone then worry about them.

  6. I’m a cunt, and I don’t care because I’m a grownup. I just wanted to show my friends what you’re really like, so they could see what a great big boy I am; to see what a grownup boy who doesn’t have any time to waste looks like. I could live your life – I just don’t want to; or rather, I don’t have time to waste discussing unimportant things (hence my commentary is usually quite terse and to the point). Paul you’re a fucking moron – or a liar: one or the other, there’s no alternative, unless you’re one of my friends – who are strong, honest, grownup people. I’m sorry I’m so beyond you that you can’t even understand me; I just had to get on with my life.

  7. I’m not sure what’s up with the rank plugin, but for the record, the two Christine comments above belonged to Pauline/Paul/momma/whatever original–or not so original name– that commenter who apparently doesn’t want to identify him/herself is choosing at the moment. They’re definitely not mine… but I think you all could guess that.

    And sorry, if you’re looking for an apology for suggesting that you might be completely psycho… (and yes, there’s a difference between those with Multiple Personality Disorder and schizophernia, although I’m starting to think you might have both), you’ll probably have to go elsewhere.

    And about that spying on people thing… um, aren’t YOU the one coming to OUR site? You’re welcome to leave at any time…

  8. WTF?? 5.08 — 5.35 inches?? If that’s the AVERAGE, then some of you guys are… well, shall we say, “erectile challenged”

    Geez, every woman I’ve been with has said that I was well endowed, but I always assumed it was polite commentary — something akin to your wife or girlfriend asking “do I look fat in these jeans” (guys: you’re *supposed* to say “no” when asked that question, no matter what the facts indicate!)

    But given the average and taking into account our African-American brothers (I’ve seen a porn movie or two in my day), I must be a friggin giant for a white guy!! I suddenly feel better about myself (y)

  9. Btw, that emoticon was *just* supposed to be a thumbs up, but when I look at it again, it almost looks like a hand masturbating a 5.03″ member…

    Am I a Zen Master now? We shall see when I press the button… drum roll, please

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