While this might sound obvious to most women, scientific research hasn't totally caught up with the idea women can — and do — desire sex as much as men do. As researchers try to debunk the many myths about female sexuality (and their harmful corollaries for men), they've started to ask women what it is they actually want. And, according to a recent survey from the fertility awareness app Kindara, what they want is to get laid — not only at least as much as their male partners do, but actually more often.
The survey: Kindara, which seeks to "empower women through a better understanding of their health and bodies," put out a call to 500 female users asking them to quash some of the most pervasive stereotypes of female sexuality. The survey asked about their typical desires, such as what time of day they usually like to have sex or how important physical intimacy is to their overall relationship satisfaction, as well as how much they wanted sex in general.
The results indicated some of what we believe about female sexuality, such as the idea women value emotional connection during sex more than men, might be true. Fifty three percent of respondents said emotional connection was an important requirement for good sex, while nearly a quarter said foreplay was a better indicator of overall quality.
In terms of basic desire, though, most women want more sex than they're having. More than half of respondents said they weren't entirely satisfied with the amount of sex they currently have, and a whopping 75% told Kindara they'd like to fool around in some capacity more than three times a week. Thirteen percent of women even reported they'd like to have sex more than six times per week.
Research is (finally) getting a handle on female libido: The notion that women might be as libidinous as men hasn't become the dominant mainstream school of thought, especially considering longstanding cultural stereotypes that women aren't as interested in sex as men are.
Researchers have, however, made progress toward understanding the biological underpinnings of female lust in recent years. As the journalist Daniel Bergner described in his seminal 2013 book, What Do Women Want? scientists have begun to uncover what could be "a new, unvarnished norm" for female sexuality, which could confirm that women's libidinousness is, "at base, nothing if not animal." All of that is to say, it's distinctly more similar to men's than was previously thought.
Similar doesn't always mean "same" — but it can still be equal. Of course, even if men and women do have similar levels of sexual desire, that doesn't mean their actual sex lives play out in the same way, as there are countless social influences to consider on both men's and women's sexual behaviors. A study released earlier this year, for instance, found women were as likely as men to be interested in casual sex — but only when there was no threat of sexual violence or of social judgment.
We also know from the recent debate over flibanserin, the women's low libido drug commonly referred to as "female Viagra," that the mechanism for desire tends to operate differently for women and men. Nonetheless, the (ultimately successful) push for the drug hinged on the idea that women don't just want to have sex — they want to want to have more sex.
Ultimately, the question of whether women want sex more or less or just as much as men do isn't significant. What's important is that we recognize women want sex in the first place — and finally, science is starting to recognize that we do.