sexual desire differences between men and women

Sexual Frequency & Desire: Chemistry Between Men and Women

According to science, testosterone is what regulates sexual desire. And, as expected, men have a lot more of it than women, both the hormone and the desire for sexual activity. That’s a fact of our biological evolution. Men hunt for food and available mating partners. It’s in our DNA. But in the modern world, can these sexual differences cause problems or be the key to opening up a better balance in our sexual compatibility?

Let’s Talk About Diddling Yourself First

One place to look for the variation between men and women is a 2009 study on masturbation.


If we take self-pleasure as an indication of sexual desire, we can see some stark contrasts between men and women. About 1/3 of the women list their masturbation frequency as “Not in the past year” between the ages of 18 and 50. After 50 that percentage jumps to 50% and on up to 70% for our elder ladies. Now compare that to men who show the same tapering off with age, but look at the men listing masturbation over 4 times per week. (PER WEEK!) 19% – 15% of men between the ages of 18 and 50 report masturbating over 4 times per week. Wow.

No wonder my masturbation-related posts seem so natural to me and are kind of icky to some of my women friends. Fascinating. And perhaps masturbation is not the perfect indicator of sexual desire, but the contrast between men and women is fairly dramatic, don’t you think?

The suggestion from a woman for women, was instead of saying no all the time, to say, “Let’s see how you might be able to get me in the mood.”

So we men are walking around with testosterone raging around in our veins and brains at a high level into our fifties. We are constantly driven towards release. And it must be fatiguing for the women in our lives to have to deal with that much aggressive sexual pressure. Thank goodness men (and even monkeys) have learned to release the raging hormones via masturbation.

So what do you do with a relationship between men and women when the request for sex is constant and unrelenting? Well, of course, the man needs to figure out a way to pleasure himself, or he’s going to be frustrated a lot of the time. And it’s really not the woman’s responsibility, even in a marriage, to pleasure us. It’s a dance. We men are constantly asking for, thinking about, and craving sex. Women, not so much.

Getting Each Other in the Mood

I read recently about how women need a bit more ramp-up time to get in the mood. Sexual desire is not something that drives their daily motivations. And the suggestion from a woman for women, was instead of saying no all the time, to say, “Let’s see how you might be able to get me in the mood.”

In my experience, the imbalance is manageable as long as the relationship is in good shape. If the conversation and trust are still intact in the marriage, the constant pressure from the man can become more of a game, rather than an irritation. When things were working for us, sex was just a part of our play. Sure I was in heat more of the time, and she was able to pleasure me efficiently and quickly in the shower as we were getting ready for work. And it was easy, often involving contact and rubbing rather than penetration.

I was aware that the lack of touch was killing me. There was no amount of masturbation that was going to make up for the distance between us.

But when the relationship begins to go south, sexual communication becomes more and more strained. And sure, women cannot satisfy our every craving. That’s not their responsibility. But the dynamic is there either way. If you’re not talking about it or playing about it, it’s getting built up and the imbalance may become more and more painful.

That was the big indicator to me that things were not working at all in my marriage. I was fine with self-pleasure for long periods of time, but ZERO sexual connection over a month began to get my attention. And ultimately this is the pain that I woke up to and began expressing in my marriage as complaints and dissatisfaction. Again, I’m not talking about daily or even weekly sex. I’m talking about going a month without so much as an encouraging touch. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Something was out of whack, and my whacking was not going to repair it.

Lack of Sexual Connection May Indicate a Problem

Sex is an important part of any relationship. And for some of us, more “touch-oriented” a lack of sexual connection is akin to starvation. In the last year of my marriage, I was not just sex-starved, I was touch-starved. There was so little affection coming from her, that when she said, “I love you,” one night, out of the blue, I felt immense pain. I realized for the first time how infrequent her expressions of affection of any kind had become.

That was the beginning of my campaign to either have her return to the marriage or divorce me. It wasn’t my idea. But I was aware that the lack of touch was killing me. There was no amount of masturbation that was going to make up for the distance between us.


John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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reference: This is how often women masturbate – Huffington Post Women

image: physics is like sex, son of groucho, creative commons usage

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This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. Divorced Kat

    My ex husband refused to be sexual with me in any way. It was heart wrenching because I needed that physical, sexual contact with the man I loved. After we divorced I bought a vibrator and it changed everything!

    1. jmacofearth

      Sexual distance is a problem for a lot of marriages. So sad.

  2. TB

    Our marriage became so sexless and lacking intimacy that I used to prefer to get my haircuts by women just so that I could feel a woman’s touch on my head. Then it eventually played itself out to getting manicure/pedicures to have a woman touch my hands and feet. So sad.

    1. jmacofearth

      Very sorry to hear about that. Yes, haircuts are great. I call it hairsex.

  3. Walker Thornton

    “Let’s see how you might be able to get me in the mood.” I disagree with that statement-women need to assume some of the responsibility of getting in the mood. That is an unfair burden to the male partner and sex is not going to be as much fun if she isn’t willing to put in the effort to spark her own arousal. Just as you talk about struggles in desire and how you approach your wife/partner, I think the female in a relationship should be thinking about sex in terms of what her partner wants, what she wants and then taking active steps to engage sexually.

    1. jmacofearth

      While I agree with your sentiment, the sentiment in the sentence is meant as a come on, not a passing of responsibility. Since we men tend to have sexual arousal often, we also find many times when our arousal is not met with a positive response. Rather than say, “not tonight dear” the woman could consider a deflection. I agree, the woman is responsible for her own sexual energy, there are partnership ideas that can help.

      1. Walker Thornton

        Oh! I get it and yes…that would be a fun turn on. I think it’s all about the dance!
        And, as a note from a woman who just turned 60–my level of desire is higher than it’s ever been.

        1. jmacofearth

          Woo hoo! Glad to hear your sexual desire is revved up. Have you seen Masters of Sex on ShowTime yet? An amazing amount of great information and hot scenes. Wow. Thanks again for your comment.

  4. Kadence

    I sympathize with the author and understand that sex is an important PART of a relationship. Sex is not the end all be all in a relationship. As far as I’m concerned, loving touches (NON-sexual), cuddling, and truly loving your partner enough to shower them with loving affection, smiles, fun conversations and spending fun times together trumps sex EVERY time.

    Men have to learn to stop thinking about sex every second of every day and start learning and realizing the most important things in a relationship that truly DO matter: loving one another deeply, showing physical (NON-sexual) affection towards each other and having a strong loving bond and an undeniable trust in your partner. Men have to re-train the hard-wiring in their brain to STOP equating “feeling loved” with having their member inserted inside of their partner. Feeling love means WAYYY MORE than ejaculating inside of their wife. This is why so many wives check out of their marriage sexually – – because they’re smart enough to know (and see) that all their husbands care about and think about on an hourly basis is whether they’re going to have sex; and, if they don’t get any, then they either go in the bathroom and jack off to porn or their eyes start to roam around looking at other women and undressing them mentally.

    If husbands want to have more sex with their wives, then they need to STOP putting so much pressure on them to have it! They need to STOP asking her for it every day. They need to STOP *thinking about it* so damn much! Trust me when I say, there are MORE important things in life that husbands should be thinking about than whether they’re going to get laid by their wives that night. It’s when men place so much importance on whether THEY orgasm or not instead of placing importance on the one person in their life that should matter – their WIFE – is when she STOPS considering sex to be important. And it’s pretty sad and pathetic when men use the “biology” argument as an excuse to act like dogs in heat instead of behaving like a HUMAN BEING whose priorities should be loving, caring, respecting and showing NON-sexual AFFECTION towards their wives.

    1. jmacofearth

      I agree. Sex is great, but it’s only a very small part of the relationship. I was showering my then-wife with all the other loving things as well. But when the stress would hit about ANYTHING the closeness (not just the sex) would go away. I couldn’t do that any longer. Being a touch-love person, I was starving to death. Thanks for your great comment.

  5. Erika

    Enjoying much your writing, vulnerable openings of a male person about “affairs” of love, but what actually is meant here with the physical part of a relationship?
    There is a significant difference in having sex or making love.
    The first falling as time passes in a boring duty, eyes and hearts meeting nomore.
    The last opening your heart and vulnerability entirely to an other, desiring always more.
    Making love you are contributing for love, having sex is…just having.
    And love making is a BIG(GEST) part of a relationship. If it is not working, the partnership is not working. It is the most intimate and vulnerable part of us, there we can’t tell stories, our bodies can’t lie.

    1. John McElhenney

      Erika, thanks for your comment. I completely agree.

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