Entries in men and women (13)

Wednesday
Apr162014

Do Men or Women Say “I Love You” First in Relationships?

If you ask 100 people at the mall whether men or women fall in love more quickly, most would predict women. That’s the stereotype, right?  In a survey of 171 people, researchers confirmed that most (over 70%) believe women fall in love first and are quicker to say “I love you” compared to men. However, the survey also found that the stereotype is WRONG. In reality, men fell in love more quickly than women and were also the first to say “I love you.”  This is a great example of why research needs to test “common sense” assumptions about relationships.

Harrison, M. A., & Shortall, J. C. (2011). Women and men in love: Who really feels it and says it first?. The Journal of Social Psychology, 151(6), 727-736. doi:10.1080/00224545.2010.522626

Monday
Nov182013

The Sadie Hawkins Effect: Gender Role-Reversals in Dating

Imagine that a guy and a girl are at a party, and one approaches the other and strikes up a conversation. Chances are that when you envisioned this scenario, you assumed it was the guy who approached the girl. That’s because we have what psychologists call behavioral scripts, or a sequence of events that we typically expect to occur in social situations. In most cultures, expectations or norms about male and female dating behaviors (e.g., guy approaches girl) are so entrenched that there are special days or dances where the script is flipped. On Sadie Hawkins Day (traditionally observed in early November) or at a Sadie Hawkins Dance, women have the opportunity to break social conventions by asking men out on a date or to a dance. To study dating behaviors like this, researchers have used the somewhat unique experience of speed dating.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Oct072013

Men’s and Women’s (Not So) Different Attitudes about Romance and Sex

There is a common assumption that men and women are very different and perhaps originate from different planets. Although the “males and females are fundamentally different” narrative may be the prevailing opinion, it is science’s duty to determine whether these ideas are common sense or common nonsense. The “men and women are different” idea is perhaps most pervasive with respect to individuals’ thoughts about sex and romance. Common knowledge suggests that men are hypersexual and women are more reserved, but when it comes to romance, women are much more enthusiastic than men. Findings from survey research seem to support these general assumptions.1,2 With surveys, however, participants report their own feelings, so it may be that participants feel pressure to conform to existing stereotypes. Rather than ask men and women how they consciously feel, in order to get to their true feelings, two University of New Brunswick researchers measured participants’ unfiltered feelings by tapping into their automatic responses.3 The researchers hypothesized that participants unfiltered responses may not conform to existing stereotypes.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
May092013

Is Sex Allowed to Be Important in a Romantic Relationship?

A recent article in Wall Street Journal (WSJ) by Elizabeth Bernstein, How Often Should Married Couples Have Sex? What Happens When He Says 'More' and She Says 'No', created some controversy. The article focused on Chris and Afton Mower, a heterosexual couple who share the details of their previously sexless marriage. At one point in their relationship, the couple went one year without having sex. The husband, Chris, desired more sex, whereas his wife, Afton, had no interest in sex.

Over time, after communicating and reading a self-help book together, Chris and Afton revived their sexual relationship and now both report being satisfied with their sex life. In the article, Bernstein referenced our research on sexual communal strength (discussed here) to suggest that at times a person may prioritize their romantic partner’s sexual needs over their own preferences and that this focus on a partner’s needs can be beneficial (not only for the partner whose needs are being met, but also for the partner meeting the needs).1 Bernstein's article caused quite a stir in the media; a number of news outlets, including JezebelThe Week, and New York Magazine, published responses. Critics rebuked the article for what they perceived as its focus on the “man’s perspective” and questioned the depression, weight gain and emotional distress that Chris linked to his sexual rejection. Based on some of the responses, it was also controversial to suggest that a person has some responsibility in an ongoing romantic relationship to meet their partner’s sexual needs, perhaps especially when it is the male partner who desires more sex than his wife.

After reading these responses I began to wonder whether (and for whom) we allow sex to be important in a relationship.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Apr112013

Why Men Shouldn't Do Housework

Check out this article from Slate "Guys Who Do Housework Get Less Sex." The article shares a study that directly contradicts the common sense notion that women want men to do housework and find it sexy.

Our colleague and ScienceOfRelationships.com contributor Dr. Justin Lehmiller also wrote about this research on his blog (click here to check it out).

Monday
Jan302012

True Equality? The Division of Housework between the Sexes

Housework is a necessary evil. Really, who likes to do things like doing the dishes, cooking, laundry, and cleaning up after the kids? Nobody does, but apparently men find it more evil than do women. According to a 2005 study from a study funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) out of the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, getting married increases the amount of time women spend on housework.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan062012

Do Men Really Think About Sex Every Seven Seconds?

Most of you have probably heard the statistic that men think about sex every seven seconds. If this is correct, it means that sex crosses men’s minds 514 times per hour. Talk about sex on the brain! But is there any truth to this statistic?

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jun302011

Men are from Earth, Women are from Earth

According to Dr. John Gray’s popular series of self-help relationship books, men and women struggle with one another in their relationships because they are from “different planets.”

One of our readers, Lizette, was curious about the validity of the claims made in Gray’s books. Specifically, she asked: What truth is there to Dr. John Gray's (Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus) theory that men are like rubber bands?

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jun292011

How Big is His…Wallet?

When do men flaunt expensive watches and exotic cars to attract mates? Do these displays work? It turns out men display luxury items when motivated by short-term mating strategies (i.e., hooking-up), and women seeking short-term mates prefer men displaying these items. However, women looking for a long-term mate (i.e., marriage material) are not impressed by the bling.

So guys, driving that Porsche signals you’re looking for a short-term mate, and that’s exactly who you’ll attract.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
May182011

When Are Women Into Casual Sex?

Men are more interested and likely to engage in casual sex than women, right? From film, to music, to magazines-- it’s one of those things everyone (seemingly) “knows” about the respective sexes that is pervasive in popular culture. Visit your local bookstore’s self-help section and you’re likely to a see volumes (for example, the "Mars and Venus" series) dedicated to understanding how such sex differences should be understood if we’re to experience relational and sexual bliss.

New research, however, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology shows that when great pleasure is expected, women are just as likely as men to say "YES" to casual sex.

Click to read more ...

Monday
May092011

Friends with Benefits: Are They as Complicated in Real Life as They are in the Movies?

The term “friends with benefits” (FWB) has become part of our vernacular in recent years and public interest in the topic appears to be surging. For example, this year alone brings two major motion pictures devoted exclusively to the subject, No Strings Attached (starring Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman) and this summer’s Friends with Benefits (starring Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake). The concept has also been popularized by the ongoing FWB arrangement between Vinny and Snooki on the Jersey Shore (see here for more on the Vinny/Snooki saga).

One thing all of these media portrayals have in common is that they depict FWB relationships as complicated. Inevitably, somebody seems to get jealous and drama ensues. So does that match up with reality? Are these relationships really that difficult to manage?

Click to read more ...

Friday
Mar252011

Who Says "I Love You" First in a Relationship?

Societal gender norms suggest that women should be most concerned with declarations of love, especially during the early, uncertain phase of relationships. After all, who are all those romantic comedies and chick flick movies marketed toward? But recent research demonstrates that in fact, it’s the men who are more likely to say “I love you” first in relationships.1 Not only that, but hearing “I love you” from a romantic partner for the first time makes men even happier than it makes women. And although this may not jive with gender stereotypes, it makes a lot of sense from an evolutionary perspective.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Mar092011

"He's Just Not That Into You"

A reader submitted the following question: The phrase "He's Just Not That Into You" has been popularized by a recent book and movie. I have found that if a man is not that into a woman, it doesn't work out. But if a man is really into a woman, but she's not into him, will it work out?

Dear Reader:

We don't believe in basing relationship decisions on movies or even books that aren't backed up by scientific study, so let's see what research has to say. The general question here is about equal partnership in a relationship, with both parties holding similar levels of interest (see our post on the principle of least interest). Equal interest in a relationship is a good recipe for success.

Click to read more ...