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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Thinking about sex...as usual

Everyone’s heard the Alfred Lord Tennyson quote, “In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.”

My question is: Really? Just in spring? After all, everyone also knows that men think about sex constantly. Or, at least, nine times a minute, which is pretty danged close to constantly.

Could be I’m confusing sex and love here. Or maybe men think about sex all the time, but love only muscles its way into the mix from April through June.

Or maybe there’s something else going on.

“The idea that men think about sex every seven seconds, like the claim that we only use ten percent of our brains,” Psychology Today says, “is often repeated but rarely sourced.” The magazine notes that, according to the Kinsey Report, fifty-four percent of men think about sex every day or several times a day, forty-three percent a few times a week or month, and four percent less than once a month.

The website What Do Men Really Think.com says men can’t possibly be thinking about sex all time, what with sports, food, bills and work keeping brain cells occupied.

“Having constant thoughts of sex has nothing to do with a lack of character or maturity,” the site says. “In men, ‘thinking’ about sex happens almost unconsciously. Sometimes they look at a curvy girl and have thoughts like ‘wow she’s hot’…without even realizing that this reaction happened. Men undress women in their mind almost unconsciously, too, without any real intention. It just happens.”

Hmmm. What study determined all that?

WebMD
, no doubt a more credible source, says a Florida State University survey of studies showed most men under sixty think about sex at least once a day. The survey also said women typically fantasize about sex about half as often as men. Which means that if men think about sex every seven seconds…well, you do the math.

Anyway, what got me thinking about all this thinking wasn’t so much Tennyson as Borgman. As in Jim Borgman, author of the comic strip Zits. A few weeks ago Jeremy, the sixteen-year-old star, stared blankly into space while three bikini-clad babes used his cranial cavity as a hot tub. Jeremy’s mom said, “I can’t image what’s on his mind.” Jeremy’s dad answered, “Seriously?”

Oddly, hot tubs play a prominent role in Fast Lane. I just read a key tub scene in my writers group and got thumbs up all around.

Yeah, I’ve had my share of Jacuzzi daydreams. And not just at this time of the year.

But, honestly…every seven seconds? What with sports and food and all, who has the time?

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sometimes you just have to prioritize, and sometimes you have to be realistic. Football and food are going to happen without too much thinking, but sex needs to be planned out.

Dave Thome said...

Well, yeah. Especially if you've got teenagers coming and going at all times of the night.

Donna McDonald said...

My romances feature older characters. The current series features heroes and heroines ages 42-50. I had feedback from traditional publishers that my characters were too sexy for their ages. I'm 53 and engaged to a man who is 39. I was married twenty-three years before this one. So after I got done swearing, and then laughing my ass off at the limited thinking (likely based on studies), I decided to Indie publish my work and let the readers tell me what they thought.

The youngest reader who has contacted me so far was 20, male, and gave my book to his girlfriend to read. So that blew the theory about it not being believable to younger people. I think it is very encouraging to a 20 year to read about sex at 50. It means you don't have to have all of it, or even the best of it, before you're 30.

The oldest reader who has contacted was 60, a retired police officer, and who also gave the story to his wife after thanking me profusely for telling the "truth" about how great sex was even when you were older. Likewise for a 50-something man who told me I hit on the reality of his second-time around marriage and how hard he and his wife worked at their relationship because they were crazy about each other.

So the thing I have learned in my two months of being published and putting out the stories that I felt in my gut were wanted is that my gut was more right than the acquisition editors who told me my truth wasn't realistic.

As a romance novelist, I guess I bust the statistical curve every day on how often I think of sex. However, I have friends of all ages and my observation is that this ebbs and flows. Young people with infants don't think of sex as often because they are too occupied with trying to sleep and take care of their child. This is logical. But these same two, years later, might be sneaking off to lock the bedroom door on Saturday morning while the kids watch cartoons. Years and years after that they are trying every position in the Kama Sutra.

So I think the statistics are true, but there are many, many circumstances that affect this over the course of any individual's sexual life. Don't you think?