Men Like To Cuddle, Women Prefer Sex (TRUE OR FALSE?)
A study conducted by researchers at the Kinsey Institute and published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behaviour, has debunked every belief about what's important to couples in long-term relationships.
In fact, the study indicates a reversal in perceived roles and behaviours, finding that as relationships advance, women are the ones more interested in sex, while their men prefer to cuddle.
The study, titled 'Sexual Satisfaction and Relationship Happiness in Midlife and Older Couples in Five Countries' is said to be the first to examine sexual and relationship parameters of middle-aged and older couples in committed relationships of one to 51 years duration.
Research was conducted in Brazil, Germany, Japan, Spain, and the United States, targeting 200 men aged 40-70 and their female partners in each country, with 1,009 couples in the final sample.
It found that for men, relationship satisfaction "depended on health, physical intimacy, and sexual functioning, while in women, only sexual functioning predicted relationship satisfaction.
"The longer the relationship lasted, the greater the relationship happiness and sexual satisfaction for men.
"However, women in relationships of 20 to 40 years were significantly less likely than men to report relationship happiness. Compared to men, women showed lower sexual satisfaction early in the relationship and greater sexual satisfaction later."
The result of the research has baffled some couples and experts here, even as others admit that there's merit.
Psychologist Dr Leahcim Semaj said he knows that as women get older their sexual interest and desires become stronger, but they are the ones, he believes, who are more attracted to cuddling and being close.
"My awareness is that women are the ones who are generally more attracted to cuddling and just being close and want to hug and so on, while men are the ones who are more vagina-centric -- everything must be around intercourse," he said.
Counsellor David Anderson said the study has some merit as although men are typically raised to be macho, many let down their guard when they enter long-term relationships.
"Once they settle in, and realise the woman is in for the long haul, then the macho guard drops," he said. "He suddenly becomes the needy baby, the one who can't bear to be in pain; the one who needs comfort when he has a boo-boo; the one who can't stand the sight of blood..."
He said normally, these behaviours are frowned upon in societies like Jamaica where traditional roles are celebrated, but in other places where men are allowed to express themselves, "there's not much difference between a man and an 'emotional woman'.
"And so I can understand that as the man settles into the familiarity of married life he would want to be loved and cuddled, while the woman, who has never had an issue with expressing herself emotionally, will want to explore more sexually," he said.
For 51-year-old Curtis Stewart, who has been married to 53-year-old Claudette for 21 years, "it feels good to cuddle".
The couple admits, though, that their relationship hasn't fully reached the extent as seen in the study. As for Claudette: "When I was younger I found that sex was comforting and relieved tension, now I find that just relaxing or just holding his hands means even more to me."
Forty-something-year-old Michelle R, who has been married for 12 years, agreed that older men enjoyed cuddling.
"The ones who talk about how they love sex more are just full of mouth (talk). I think it's more mouth than action," she said.
Men above the age of 60 years are more prone to erectile dysfunction and very well may be forced to resort to cuddling instead of intercourse..
The Kinsey Institute, based at the Indiana University in the United States, "works towards advancing sexual health and knowledge worldwide", according to its website.
For over 60 years, the institute has been investigating critical issues in sex, gender and reproduction. SOURCE