Study says straight men worry if their girlfriends are 'too' horny, because sexism

Source: Shutterstock
Source: Shutterstock

The sexist double standards of dating are all too familiar to many women. Women generally have fewer orgasms and are regularly shamed for expressing their sexuality, while men often expect sexual satisfaction on the reg.

Even in 2016, when it comes to having sex women are still damned if they do, damned if they don't — especially when it comes to new relationships. A new study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology suggests that men's subconscious stigmas against women's sexuality harm new relationships. Specifically, men get wary or anxious if a woman wants to have sex too often for his liking. 

"Men are intimidated by women's sexuality," said psychologist Moran Mizrahi, one of the study's coauthors. "There's social pressure towards women to be seductive and sexual in some way. On the other hand, when women do that too much...or too early, it might be intimidating. It's a really difficult task for women to walk between the lines." 

Researchers followed 62 new couples for eight months of dating in Israel. Participants answered questions about sex and intimacy to indicate if they felt secure, anxious or avoidant during these early stages of the relationship. 

Couples also came into the lab for videotaped sessions at semi-quarterly intervals so the researchers could observe how they flirted and interacted. After months of questions and observation, the study results were depressing —  yet no doubt unsurprising — for many women. 

"Men seemed to respond negatively to women's displays of sexual desire...the opposite was true when it came to their own displays of sexual desire and intimacy," the paper said. "Women's intimacy displays had an almost opposite effect on men's anxiety trajectory compared women's sexual desire displays."

In other words, when a woman expresses a lot of sexual desire to the guy she's dating, the guy is more likely to worry about their new relationship.

The couples surveyed were dating for at least eight months by the end of the study. You'd think a guy would learn to accept his new girlfriend's libido and enjoy the ride. But the male subjects continued to express anxiety about the relationship overall if the woman stayed horny instead of mellowing out. 

The research paper said expressions of desire could be seen as signs of "assertiveness" and "domination," which might spark men's fears about overall compatibility. 

Mizrahi's study wasn't trying to slam modern men for their subconscious double standards. "The message is for men and women to be aware," Mizrahi said. "Be more aware of [men's] anxieties...and understand that what's going on is they are intimidated because they are attracted." 

She hopes this study will inspire some men to reconsider ending a relationship in the early stages — especially if their girlfriends simply want to have sex more often than they do, because that's just plain dumb. 

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

MORE FROM

Poland makes emergency contraception a prescription-only drug — even for rape survivors

There's a relatively small time frame in which emergency contraception is effective. Requiring prescriptions may mean many Polish women will go without.

Bill Cosby publicists insist speaking tour has nothing to do with sexual assault

Ebonee Benson and Andrew Wyatt accused the media of twisting Wyatt's words, when really there is a video record of his announcement.

Third Vanderbilt football player, Brandon Banks, convicted in rape case

A jury found Brandon Banks guilty on one count of aggravated rape and one count of sexual battery, sending him to a probable 15 years in prison.

What does consent look like on a show like 'Bachelor in Paradise'?

Warner Bros. has cleared the allegations involving Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson, leaving many questions about consent on the show in its wake.

Bill Cosby juror didn't believe Andrea Constand because Constand wore "bare midriff" to Cosby's home

This juror's response to Constand's testimony is victim blaming 101.

In North Carolina, women can't withdraw consent after giving it

The state's consent law says that once someone gives consent, they can't revoke it.

Poland makes emergency contraception a prescription-only drug — even for rape survivors

There's a relatively small time frame in which emergency contraception is effective. Requiring prescriptions may mean many Polish women will go without.

Bill Cosby publicists insist speaking tour has nothing to do with sexual assault

Ebonee Benson and Andrew Wyatt accused the media of twisting Wyatt's words, when really there is a video record of his announcement.

Third Vanderbilt football player, Brandon Banks, convicted in rape case

A jury found Brandon Banks guilty on one count of aggravated rape and one count of sexual battery, sending him to a probable 15 years in prison.

What does consent look like on a show like 'Bachelor in Paradise'?

Warner Bros. has cleared the allegations involving Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson, leaving many questions about consent on the show in its wake.

Bill Cosby juror didn't believe Andrea Constand because Constand wore "bare midriff" to Cosby's home

This juror's response to Constand's testimony is victim blaming 101.

In North Carolina, women can't withdraw consent after giving it

The state's consent law says that once someone gives consent, they can't revoke it.