Do Men Really Think About Sex Every 7 Seconds?

The 7-Second Belief Is Based On Myth

There is absolutely nothing to support what is apparently an urban legend – that men think about sex every 7 seconds, or even more often. No studies, no research, no anything anywhere to support that belief.

It may at times seem like men are thinking about sex almost constantly, and there are probably a few men around the world who do think about sex often, but when it comes to all men, the 7 second belief is only opinion, not fact. According to the most recent thorough study – the Kinsey report, the 7-second belief does not apply to even half of all men.

William Holden, Academy Award winning actor       April 17, 1918 - November 12, 1981
William Holden, Academy Award winning actor April 17, 1918 - November 12, 1981 | Source

The Kinsey Report

Dr. Alfred Kinsey did the most recent study on the subject of male sexuality in 1948. There were 5300 white males who participated in the study. Kinsey did research on female sexuality also, but here the main issue is male sexuality and so the subject of female sexuality will be discussed in a future hub.

According to the Kinsey Institute’s website, “Kinsey used in-depth, face-to-face interviews by highly trained interviewers. In each history a subject would be questioned on up to 521 items, depending on his . . . specific experience (the average in each case being near 300). Histories covered social and economic data, physical and physiologic data, marital histories, sexual outlets, heterosexual histories, and homosexual histories.”

The Kinsey Report included the self-reporting of a wide age range of men. Kinsey reports that 54% of men think about sex several times a day, while 43% of men think about sex only several times a week or a month, and that 4% think about sex fewer than once a month. That means nearly half of men of all ages think about sex less than once a day – a long way from every 7 seconds.

Ohio State University Report

Brian Mustanski, Ph.D., in Psychology, and Associate Professor at Northwestern University, reports in Psychology Today, that the study conducted in 2011 and led by Dr. Terri D. Fischer, professor of psychology at Ohio State University in Mansfield, Ohio and two of her students, showed that men are not all the same. Of those who participated in their study, college men ages 18 to 25, thoughts about sex occurred anywhere from 1 to 388 times a day. Results might be different, probably would be different, if a different age group of men were studied.

The Ohio State University study showed that a few men out of the 283 college age men who participated in the study thought about sex as often as 388 times a day. That is about once every 3.7 minutes -- still a long way from once every 7 seconds.

People who are comfortable with the subject of sex naturally tend to think about it more often than people who are uncomfortable with the subject of sex. People who are comfortable with the subject of sex are more likely to self-report honestly about the number of times they think about sex. This was taken into consideration with both the Kinsey Report and the Mustanski Study.

How Is “Thinking About Sex” Defined?

Then there is the question of what exactly constitutes “thinking about sex?” It seems to me that anything related to sex would count as “thinking about sex.”

A joke with the main subject being sexual in nature would require thinking about sex. Reading this hub or something similar requires thinking about sex. Some news stories are related to the subject of sex. So if one imagines that thinking about sex only includes thinking about a specific sexual activity, they would be mistaken. Lots of things are related to sex, but do not include sexual activity, or thoughts of sexual activity, as such.

There are also things that on the surface do not seem to a lot of people as being sexual in nature, yet they are sexual in nature. Beauty pageants, for example, or visiting the gynecologist for a check-up, two very different activities, and both are related to sex.

One could even go so far as saying that a man holding a door open for a woman is sexual in nature. He is being courteous first of all, but why the deferential treatment for a woman? Would a straight man jump from his comfortable seat to hold the door for another man even if that man did not have his hands/arms full and need assistance?

What about when a woman decides how she will look in a flirty feminine dress? Or a particular color of nail polish? Or a particular style of applying eye makeup? These thoughts are sexual in nature are they not? All of these activities are based in a desire to be sexually attractive, yes?

How about when a man is choosing a bright red convertible sports car? Isn’t he choosing that vehicle in part for its sexual attraction? Even thinking about whether or not to have a beard or mustache, or whether to wear glasses, can be related to sex because one will wonder if these things will appeal or deter from their sexual desirability.

So when considering how many times a man thinks about sex every day, one also needs to ponder exactly how “thinking about sex” should be defined. The point is that all thoughts about sex are not necessarily thoughts about sexual activity. Sex is included in many of the thoughts we all have every day without our realizing it.

References:

Ohio State University Study: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-sexual-continuum/201112/how-often-do-men-and-women-think-about-sex

5 Myths About Men: http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200706/five-shocking-stats-about-men-and-sex

Kinsey Reports Summary: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinsey_Reports

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Comments 57 comments

Danext profile image

Danext 2 years ago from Tanzania

@Au fait....:)....


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Danext, thank you for stopping by. Here I must remind you that it pays to read an article in it's entirety before commenting. :)


Danext profile image

Danext 2 years ago from Tanzania

Well, great article and a very funny one indeed!.......But we all know that it's a cliché and a very funny one, because there isn't any truth behind it; even if there were studies to support it....because it's basically impossible for a person to think about one particular thing about every 7 seconds considering the amount of thoughts one processes every seconds/minute......however for humor's sake, College Humor uploaded videos on YouTube about the subject, supporting the idea in a funny way.....check them here......https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nuLBmb0gz-w


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for stopping by Sam. You know I took a sociology class that was all about fetishes and different types of relationships/marriages, etc. and there was a lot, I mean a lot of what I would call strange things in regard to both that people do. With all that, and all the other classes on sex education I have taken, I have never ever heard the term anitsexual.

Agree with you Sam. If people do not want to have sex that is their decision to make and their right to make it, and to feel that way if they want to. I don't think it's ever right to force or coerce people to have sex, or to have sex in any particular way. Neither should anyone be denied the right to choose a sexual life if that is what they want and they can find people in agreement with them. If a person doesn't want to have sex, they shouldn't do it. Why is it anyone else's business anyway? If a person does want to have a sexual relationship, so long as everyone involved in that sexual relationship is of legal age and able to consent and does consent, then why is it anyone else's business anyway?


samowhamo profile image

samowhamo 2 years ago

What are your views on antisexuals. Antisexuals are different from asexuals in that they believe that sex is comparable to drugs and some are even against the idea of romantic love believing it to be an addiction to a person. I read on Wikipedia that antisexualism falls into the category of sexualism which is discrimination of either certain sexual orientations or sexuality itself and it also falls into Erotophobia. There even use to be what some antisexuals use to call the antisex league but from what I have read it was disbanded and I think its members went on to form small asexual awareness groups. I am curious as to what your views are on this. Personally I think that if they are not interested in sex that's entirely there business but don't try to force there lifestyle on other people.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for sharing your thoughts Shyron, and for voting and sharing!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Sam, why on earth would you care about these feminists you have only read about but have never met any of? How do you know there are more of them than the single author of the book you read? Even if a thousand women actually exist who all hate men, why do you care? Just stay away from that thousand. There are plenty of other women. So long as these separatist feminists aren't kidnapping men and serving them up like Hannibal Lector, who cares if they hate men and want to live away from men?


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago

I believe that lots of men do, and a lot of men say they do, and a lot of men say they don't. Age has a lot to do with it also, and ego has a lot to do with it. Very interesting hub. Voted Up and shared.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for taking an interest in this hub Bobby. Yes, if it is your own spam folder on the comments page you can read them and decide if you want to make them public. They are not always put in the spam folder because of sexual content. There are lots of reasons they may end up there. They are usually there due to something a non HP member wrote, but every once in a while an HP member's comment ends up in there -- in my case anyway. I don't know if most people even check their spam folder, but once I discovered it I check it every once in a while. Comments HP considers spam won't be in your comments on your comments page, but sometimes they sit on one of your hubs until you happen upon them because you are there for some other reason. xx


diogenes profile image

diogenes 3 years ago from UK and Mexico

Just skimming through the comments on this fascinating hub, it surely seemed to have separated the men from the sex fiends! Waahhaaaaahhhaaaaa!

I wrote because I just noticed the bit about a spam comments file within which I suspect I might need congratulating for content. Can one read it?

xx


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Deborah-Diane, thank you for reading, voting on, and sharing your experience and thoughts on this subject!

Yes, I remember that boys were sensitive to anything they could be twisted into a double entendre or put a sexual connotation to in the 4th grade already.


Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah-Diane 3 years ago from Orange County, California

Fascinating article! I work with high school boys and have learned that if there is a way to put a sexual spin on a topic, the boys will jump at the opportunity. Every mispronounced word or word that has a double meaning has the potential to generate laughter in class. However, as men grow older and more mature, there seems to be less of that kind of thing.

Great topic! Voted UP as very interesting!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Samowhamo, you didn't offend me. It's pretty hard to do that. ;) There's nothing to forgive.

I'm just saying that you have to realize some people are not reasonable, like the women you mentioned. Forget about them. They're a small minority. If the one hadn't written a book you probably would never have heard of her or her ridiculous idea.

Some feminists have been carrying on about that subject for decades and you see how far it's gotten them . . . let's not minimize real rape by suggesting that any sexual relations, especially consensual relations, are the same thing.


samowhamo profile image

samowhamo 3 years ago

Well I was just asking out of curiosity really I was not trying to be unreasonable or offensive and I apologise if I was please forgive me.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Samowhamo, thank you for reading and commenting on this article.

You've raised a lot of issues here.

I will just say the same thing again. There are a lot of different groups. There are Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Feminists, Promise Keepers, Islamists, Catholics, protestants, lawyers, doctors, men, women, and on and on it goes.

There are tons and tons of different groups. Do you think every single person in any one of these groups think exactly the same way about everything? No, they do not. Anytime you have a group of more than one person, chances that every person in the group think exactly the same way about everything (or anything for that matter) are very unlikely. Extremely unlikely.

There are some extreme feminists who do believe that intercourse and/or penetration with/of a man with/of a woman is rape or domination at the very least. They are a small group within the larger group of feminists. Let's face it, there are some crazies and nuts in every group that has very many members.

If people were to stop 'mating' there would eventually be no more people. We've had some test tube babies in the past, but it doesn't seem to have caught on because we're still doing things pretty much the old fashioned way these days.

In any case, there are a lot of women who actually enjoy relations with men and even if reproduction were not a part of the package, they would still want to engage, anti-feminism be damned -- if they even believe that's so, and I would wager that most women do not. Some people are just extremist in their thinking. A lot of men are too.

I do believe that consent is essential, but when consent is included for both or all parties, then it's entirely their business. I have my own problems to worry about. Live and let live. Try to be reasonable and realize that not everyone is going to be reasonable. It takes a lot of variation to make the world go around.

You left a comment on a different hub, the one about how often women think about sex. HP determined it was Spam and I only found it in the comments spam folder recently.

The answer to the question you posed is that studies show men who have not been circumcised tend to be more sensitive than men who have. There is some variation in that it seems to make no difference to some men. Obviously most of the men in the studies chose circumcision as adults so they have experience to fall back on as to which way seemed more physically sensitive to them.

Less sensitivity usually means a man can last longer, so that might be seen as a positive. It really is a personal preference and choice for males who are allowed to make that choice. Most are not since they are circumcised shortly after birth.


samowhamo profile image

samowhamo 3 years ago

I am sorry I forgot to put this in my last comment. There was another feminist (I forget her name) who said the institution of sexual intercourse is anti-feminist again that does not make much sense to me and again this is a sex related question.


samowhamo profile image

samowhamo 3 years ago

I do think about sex sometimes but not that often I fact the thing I think about the most probably is fantasizing I like to fantasise about things that I like.

I have a question relating to sex is penatration (as some feminists like Sheila Jeffreys believes) dominating women to me that just doesn't make any sense what do you say Au Fait.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Shyron for sharing your thoughts! ;) You may be right because there is a lot of variation between men (and women).


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago

Sometimes I think the only time men don't think about sex is when they are thinking about food.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Peggy W for commenting on this hub and for voting on it and especially for sharing it! In fact there have been very few studies done since the Kinsey Report and I have listed and written about all of them in this hub. Even the couple that have been since were very small in comparison the the Kinsey Report and so it remains the authority.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

I remember reading some of the Kinsey Report back when I was in college. Interesting subject. I am sure that many other studies have been done by now but that one is still famous because it was rather ground breaking at the time. Up and interesting votes and will share.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Glad you enjoy them Shyron. Thanks for stopping by!


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 4 years ago

I think that every man is different and some think about sex almost every other thought.

Your hubs are very interesting.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

vijaykumarcmeseo, Thank you for stopping by. Good luck on your exams!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for commenting, Shyron.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 4 years ago

This is still a very interesting hub. Good Job.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

vijaykumarcmeseo, thank you for your comments! Hope you get some of your own hubs written soon. Will be interesting to see what you have to say.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Diogenes, thank you for the comment you made on my hub 4 months ago! I cannot believe that it ended up in the Comments Spam folder and I didn't even know until a few minutes ago that such a folder existed. I apologize for not responding sooner. I always appreciate the time you and all my readers take to read and write a comment on my hubs.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Diogenes: Thank you for your comment. What seems like a subtle hint to you may mean nothing at all to someone else. Another words, be careful judging what you believe to be hints, subtle or not. A lot of men seem to think when a woman smiles and says hello it's because she has the hots for him. WRONG. ASSUMPTIONS are usually wrong and can damage a relationship even before it gets a chance to begin.

Get used to it Bobby -- men and women are different. If women and men were exactly alike, I suspect you would not find women so fascinating.


diogenes profile image

diogenes 4 years ago from UK and Mexico

But surely, m'dear, there are many ways of solicitation? The direct request, the subtle hint, or the slow build-up of desire, resulting in the need for this type of expression?

Most blokes would be flattered to receive a picture of a dear friend's, er, ambrosia, why are women different where the Willy is concerned?

The internet perv x


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Diogenes: I think it is presumptuous and in bad taste if the photos are sent unsolicited. Thank you Bob, for taking time to comment.;)


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Richard, thank you for commenting on my hub, and for your compliments. Women do inspire sexual thoughts I'm sure, since women are the object of that desire where most men are concerned, however i think media plays a big part as well as out culture's general attitudes about sex.


diogenes profile image

diogenes 4 years ago from UK and Mexico

Misty. I have even heard some perverts email photos of their sexual organs to others! What do you think ot that!!??

Bob


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for commenting John. Agree that the data from the Kinsey Report is a bit old, but I did quote the most recent studies available on the subject and the Kinsey Report is the biggest, most recent, and most comprehensive study to provide information on the subject. I did also quote findings from more recent studies, but they were quite small and limited in scope compared to the Kinsey study.

Also agree that media plays a bigger part in people's lives than it did when the Kinsey Study took place, and has likely made a difference in how often people in general think about sex.


Richard 4 years ago

Very interesting, I am 70 and I don't think of sex much but there are so many reminders, TV, in public, at work. The way women dress makes me think about sex. Not just look sex, but touch, feel, kiss, hold sex. It's the women who promote all our sexual thoughts. Unless you are 18 yrs old. Beauty and a mind. You have it Miss.


John 4 years ago

Interesting hub, Misty. The thought that occurred to me was that our culture has changed so much since 1948, when the Kinsey Report was done, that whatever the frequency of thoughts of sex by men, it has increased...due mainly to the constant bombardment of visual sex, in particular, in the form of tv ads, internet, movies...you name it.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Diogenes: Interesting thought . . .


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Diogenes. ;)


diogenes profile image

diogenes 4 years ago from UK and Mexico

Any male who thinks about sex every 7 seconds and can do something about it ought to leave his cojones to posterity.

Back in 7 seconds

Bob


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

peoplepower73: Thank you for taking time to read and comment -- I appreciate that very much.

I think the Kinsey Report and the Ohio State University Report both made good points. There probably are men who think of sex in some form every 7 seconds, but they are not representative of all men. While some men think about sex frequently others do not think of it hardly at all, and there is a wide spectrum in between the two extremes as is usual with most things.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Daughter of Maat: Thank you for your comments and compliments. Agree with your remarks about your husband!


diogenes profile image

diogenes 4 years ago from UK and Mexico

Ah, me, talking about me again!

Lancelot


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Brett: Thank you for your comments. They are always appreciated. Once retired with little else to think about, lots of older men seem to focus more on sex again. Then again, maybe these are the same guys who never thought of anything else all of their lives. I guess the main thing is to realize that it takes all different sorts to make the world go round, and not all men (or women) fall into the same category.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Nell Rose: Thank you for your comments! Yes, I think we have to define old. Nowadays a man isn't allowed to be 'old' until he's at least 80, and by the time he gets to that great age, the bar will have moved and he will have to be at least 90 to qualify (to be old). Very few older men I have known (not speaking of Biblically known here) have lost interest . . .


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Diogenes. You always add some interesting tidbits! ;)


diogenes profile image

diogenes 4 years ago from UK and Mexico

I have noted that about pepper spray and thrown my date rape pills away!

Rx


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

tillsontitan: Thank you for your comments. Yes, birth control is thought about on account of sex, so that too, is a sexual thought. ;) So you see how often both men and women think about sex without even realizing it. If not for sex there would be no need at all for birth control.

From my experience, I would say older men are just as interested in sex as younger men. Older men have a different perspective, but their desire and willingness has not mellowed. I would say the joke that old women are better because they never know when it will be their last time really applies more to older men.

Many of the women I know over 50 have little or no interest in sex. Not saying all of them feel that way, but many of them do. Hardly ever find a man over 50 who isn't good to go. Usually have to keep my pepper spray handy! ;)

Thank you for your good attitude and humor on this subject!


peoplepower73 profile image

peoplepower73 4 years ago from Placentia California

I'm in my 70's and sometimes reminisce in my mind about the "good young days", not the "good old days."

I think we are all bombarded by sexual content by advertisers and the media. I think men in general, fantasize about those images and what they could do with the beautful girl on the beach in nothing but a bikini.

They say the first thing a man thinks about when he sees a woman in the flesh or as an image is whether he wants to go to bed with her or not, but we are not pre-occupied with sex every seven seconds. If we were we would not get anything done. This would make an interesting forum to see how men would respond to that question.

Voting up, Interesting and SHARING.


Daughter Of Maat profile image

Daughter Of Maat 4 years ago from Rural Central Florida

Great hub! My hubby is constantly making innuendos to me. Granted that's not a bad thing, but it does seem like it's every 7 seconds! But at least he's thinking about me and not someone else! lol

Voted up and awesome, as always! Love your stuff.


Brett.Tesol profile image

Brett.Tesol 4 years ago from Somewhere in Asia

Interesting hub and Bob's comment made me laugh! It is definitely connected with age, I remember as an older teenager, I could hardly think about anything else. However, as you get older, you develop new interests and also have 'experienced' the many things you are think about when you are younger. Either way, I very much doubt many think about it every 7 seconds, and if they do, do they only think about it for a few seconds, or for longer?? lol

Shared, up and interesting.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Research isn't saying no man thinks about sex frequently, in fact some report that they do, but the common misconception that most men think of sex every 7 seconds has no basis in fact. Thanks again Shyron, for adding to the conversation!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Diogenes: Thank you for your comments Bob. Interesting as always! ;) So your viewpoint about sex has changed over time? Of course it has, Bob . . . ;)


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

Yes I do think age has a lot to do with it. When a man is young he will think about sex a lot, but as they get older it does seem to be the whole package. Saying that though I know a few men who seem to think they are still young! lol!


diogenes profile image

diogenes 4 years ago from UK and Mexico

Misty: I read this again as it popped up on my email again just now. I agree with the last paragraphs in which you postulate that many things can have a sexual frame of reference. Many men even touch themselves (pocket billiards) a lot. Maybe that's subconcious prompting from the id telling them to stay focussed on procreation.

I expect you read "Portnoy's Complaint," about the chap who masturbates constantly, (I forget the book actually but did read it). Even Portnoy would be challenged to do that every hour, never mind every 7 seconds.

Sex is deeply ingrained in our psyche, though, look what fun it is to discuss it!

Rx


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York

I agree with Bob, age has a lot to do with it. Younger men...pure sex, older men...the whole package.

I have to say I laughed when you said a visit to the gynocologist was 'thinking about sex'. I would think a visit to the gynocologist leads more to thinking about birth control ;)


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 4 years ago

Another interesting hub, I know my hubby thinks about sex most of the time, and like Bob, about the whole package.


diogenes profile image

diogenes 4 years ago from UK and Mexico

It must depend on what bloke. I used to be obsessed with sex every wanking, er, waking moment. Now I think more about the whole package: companionship, romance compatibility and then sex.

I guess it's age and more sense!

Bob

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