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They say men think about sex every 7 seconds. This always struck me as a strange proclamation. Every 7 seconds, that’s 12 342 sexy thoughts in a 24 hour period. Ok, we should probably assume that he sleeps for 8 hours a day, so in 16 waking hours that’s 8 228 sexy thoughts. Then I wonder if every 7 seconds was more of an overall average. If  8 228 seconds a day are devoted to thinking about sex, that’s about two hours and ten minutes. Seems slightly more reasonable. Perhaps the thoughts occur in one or more large blocks (it would at least interfere less with normal functionality).

Well, apparently men don’t think about sex every 7 seconds after all, according to this study (rather unscientifically reported here by the Daily Mail): http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2067542/Men-dont-think-sex-seven-seconds-rest-easy–idea-myth-researchers-found.html They report it to be more like 19 times a day. Furthermore, apparently all these thoughts about sex aren’t even because they are sexually driven beasts (as previously believed). Rather, “The study suggests that men tend to think about physical needs more than women do – but those needs are often more prosaic ones, such as the need for a cheese sandwich or a nap.” I certainly can’t disagree with that one. After living with two boys for the past year, I know far too much about their desire to eat cheese sandwiches and take naps. Now according to the article women only had a median of 10 sexy thoughts a day.

I’m positive that I think about sex more than ten times a day. Now to divert this story slightly. A few weeks back I was taking a stroll through a park with delicious ice-creams and the delightful company of Olivia and Addison and a good friend of our who I’m going to call “friend-box boy” (because he is exactly the sort of boy who makes a lovely friend. But you struggle to imagine yourself, or any girl, being with him. Poor guy). So we were chatting and eating ice-cream and the conversation naturally turned to sex (Not that unusual really for a group of single 20-somethings with more hormones than we know what to do with). When I said that I saw life as existing in two phases, that of getting-some, and that of wanting-some. Friend-box boy readily agreed with me on this paradigm. Olivia and Addison, however, told me that I seemed to have a rather male outlook on the whole thing (It’s ok girls I’m not offended!). Then I remembered the words of a couple of ex’s “You’re practically like a man when it comes to sex!”. Not one, but two of my ex-sexual partners told me I had the sex-brain of a man. I don’t really know how to take this. I don’t think that thinking about sex frequently is a bad thing. But, on the other hand, being compared to a man in bed is always off-putting (as a woman I do like to feel feminine when it comes to these matters). I was assured that it was a good thing, and it’s exciting to be with a girl who openly and freely enjoys sex. (Don’t all girls???) The Flying Englishman went as far as calling me “unusual in bed”, just because I enjoy sex, am forward, and not opposed to things that aren’t completely vanilla.

I had never really worried about my active sex drive till that day with the ice-creams. Does my desire to do the nasty make me some how unfeminine? That’s when I comforted myself with the knowledge that I was still feminine because I simply do not think about sex every seven seconds. So being a modern women I went home and googled “Men think about sex every seven seconds”. That’s when I found that slightly old news report from the Daily Mail. Of course it’s only the Daily Mail (I shouldn’t be holding to much in a report where I can’t find a citation to the original published research) but it exaggerated my fears that I think about sex too much. I apparently really do think about sex as much as a man (and I can’t even correctly counter-balance my thoughts with those of cheese-sandwiches).

Despite the fact that the conversation with Liv and Addison stemmed this whole cycle of worry, I know they would both very quickly tell me to stop being silly. They would tell me that the amount that I do or do not think about sex only affects myself, and my own levels of sexual frustration. It doesn’t matter how much we, men or women, think about sex.

On a slightly different note I was reading an opinion piece the other day discussing sex-scenes in Hollywood films (I tried to find the link to add here, but it’s disappeared in the recesses of the internet never to be read again); it suggested that sex scenes were only there for the amusement of men and “young women who wished to like what men like”. The author was obviously trying to  be a champion of women, by berating the presence of black lingerie on our TV sets. However, how can she presume that young women (or any women) would enjoy a sex scene merely to please men?? If a women enjoys watching a sex scene,  it should be assumed that she enjoyed it because it got her off and she likes sex, not because she is trying to please men. If women are not allowed to enjoy sex scenes (for their own benefit, not the benefit of men), there is no hope for those of us that admit openly to enjoying porn. Yes, men do think it’s great to find a girl who will watch porn with them, but that’s probably not why she was watching it. Believe it or not women can watch porn for their own pleasure, not just to keep their man happy. Shock-horror that a girl feeling lonely on a Friday night might even watch porn on her own, or do other nasty things to herself that the church would condone (if not for the pleasure of a man).

I think that we should stop seeing sexuality and sex-drive as a masculine or feminine trait. It’s not unfeminine to enjoy sex, to think about it, to watch porn, or to masturbate*. It’s just one of those things. I also just can’t stop thinking that a good old fashioned roll in the hay would be the best thing to calm my worrying.

- Lillian

*Liking sex doesn’t make you unfeminine, but it also doesn’t make you more feminine (or some sort of goddess or sexual liberation). I consider myself a sex-positive feminist. Because I believe that sexual liberty is one of the key aspects of personal freedom due to any woman. Unfortunately this ideology seems to often lead to women believing that their own personal promiscuity is furthering the female cause. No, feminism gave you the freedom of choice. The freedom to choose to be promiscuous. A woman choosing to wait till she meets the right man/woman or a woman choosing to be abstinent is also furthering the feminist cause, by choosing her own sexual path.