Men in long-term relationships tend to underestimate their female partners’ sex drive, data from two Canadian universities show. A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology indicates that the conventional wisdom eternally exploited in sitcom riffs and stand-up routines—that wives are incapable of satisfying their husbands’ gargantuan libidos—may be a figment of the male imagination.
Psychologists from the University of Toronto and the University of Western Ontario studied 229 North American couples, most of which were heterosexual partnerships.
Research subjects were aged 18 to 68 and had been in their current relationships for an average of six years; they reported having sex about one to two times per week.
The members of the couples either visited the lab once to report on their general sexual desire, their perception of their partner’s sexual desire, and their satisfaction with their relationship, or kept a daily three-week diary on those same three factors. Some also reported on their daily level of motivation to evade sexual rejection.
The researchers found that, on a regular basis, men significantly underperceived the degree of their female partners’ sexual desire, while women consistently made accurate judgments about how much their male partners wanted sex. Among diary-keeping couples, on days when men underestimated their female partners’ libido, the women showed higher levels of relationship satisfaction.