How many times a day do you think about sex?
December 15th, 2011
07:32 AM ET

How many times a day do you think about sex?

Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, blogs about sex on Thursdays on The Chart. Read more from him on his website, GoodInBed.

Gentlemen, lest you were alarmed you might be abnormal for not thinking about sex once every 7 seconds (more than 8,000 times a day), a new study in the Journal of Sex Research arrives to reassure you.

Men, on average, think about sex far less than that much-hyped interval. (Where that 7-second stat originated is anybody’s guess - it’s been bandied about for decades and was probably a misquote of the original Alfred Kinsey study on male sexual behavior published in 1948.)

That’s why we’re fortunate to have Dr. Terri Fisher and her colleagues at Ohio State University, who recently tracked a group of undergraduates (163 females and 120 males between the ages of 18 and 25) as they used a golf-counter to tally their daily thoughts about eating, sleep or sex over the course of a week.

The results: Far from thinking about sex every 7 seconds, men thought about it about 19 times a day on average, whereas women thought about sex 10 times a day on average. The “on average” part is important to note, as there was lots of variability: Male students recorded between 1 and 388 daily thoughts about sex, while women thought about sex between 1 and 140 times per day.

Having sexual thoughts is healthier than not having them.

“People who tend to have no, or a low amount, of sexual thoughts and complain about it may be depressed, controlling or could be so far removed from the flow of sexual expression in their lives that they may be unintentionally blocking thoughts as they are not sure what to do about them,” says sex educator Amy Levine.

And in my experience it’s not true that people who are hard-up for sex (like singles, presumably) often have more sexual thoughts than people who have access to healthy sex on a regular basis (like couples). It’s often the opposite: People who have healthy sex lives are often more “eroticized” overall and generally want more of a good thing, while people who are not having sex sometimes start to care less about it and dismiss sex as a priority. When the latter does think about sex, it may be in a more obsessive way.

“Both sexual deprivation and sexual activity can lead to sexual thinking,” argues Dr. Ed Ratush, who specializes in sexual issues. “If someone wants sex but does not have it in their lives, they will think about it, maybe even fixate on it. Conversely, having good sex leads to sexual thoughts because of the actual memory of it, physical and psychological.”

One refreshing aspect of this new study is that it normalizes sexual thoughts relative to thoughts about other basic needs such as food and sleep. This shows that the average man is not a slave to his sexual thoughts (thinking about sex over and over and over and over), but rather maintains a healthy balance.

The men also thought about food almost 18 times per day and sleep almost 11 times per day, compared to women’s median number of thoughts about eating and sleep - nearly 15 times and about 8.5 times, respectively.

But what constitutes a sexual thought?

“I think that there are way more sexual thoughts passing through our minds than the ones we zero in on, and then what we are designating as ‘sexual’ matters in this measurement,” says Ratush. “It would be interesting to know if the men were measuring thoughts about intimacy or loving thoughts versus sexually explicit thoughts.”

While the median numbers in this study tell us that men and women are more similar than not when it comes to quantity of sexual thoughts, is there a gender difference when it comes to the quality of sexual thoughts? And is there a difference in the way men and women process these thoughts?

The study didn’t address the content of thoughts, but in my experience, sexual thoughts in men tend to be more directly wired into the arousal system than in women. For example, a guy has a sexual thought, and almost immediately that thought starts to become an action. Women may have just as many sexual thoughts, but they don’t seem linked to an actual desire for sex in the same way.

“Men are like driving standard transmission - if you move through the gears in the right order, you will get where you want to go,” writes Dr. Emily Nagoski, author of “The Good in Bed Guide to Female Orgasms.

“Women are like baking a soufflé - the outcome depends on the ingredients and the chef, sure, but it also depends on the reliability of the oven, the altitude, the humidity of the day… more variables, more variability.”

Per Nagoski’s metaphor, a sexual thought seems to put the gears into action for men, but for women, a sexual thought is just one ingredient in the soufflé.
Yet there are no absolutes - and that conclusion is, perhaps, the real benefit of this study.

Not only do the results help men realize that they’re “normal” if they don’t think about sex obsessively, but the findings can also give women some fresh insight into their male companions: In contrast to the stereotype that guys are always raring to go, the study suggests that, like women, men are complex creatures who may be preoccupied with plenty of concerns that have nothing to do with sex. Some guys may even be “soufflés,” too.

So how often do you think about sex?

soundoff (950 Responses)
  1. Sprinter Van Repair Fountain Valley


    May 16, 2021 at 23:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Sprinter Van Repair In Huntington Beach


    May 16, 2021 at 23:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Sprinter Blower Fan Repair Near Me


    May 17, 2021 at 07:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Van Meter Auto Repair

    I’m impressed, I must say. Seldom do I come across a blog that’s both equally educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. The problem is an issue that not enough men and women are speaking intelligently about. I'm very happy that I came across this in my hunt for something regarding this.


    May 17, 2021 at 07:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Maserati 1990

    Excellent post! We will be linking to this particularly great article on our website. Keep up the great writing.


    May 17, 2021 at 08:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. 2021 Maserati Granturismo

    I really love your blog.. Excellent colors & theme. Did you develop this web site yourself? Please reply back as I’m planning to create my own blog and would love to know where you got this from or what the theme is called. Kudos!


    May 17, 2021 at 10:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. horse trailer repairs


    May 17, 2021 at 14:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Maserati Tampa


    May 17, 2021 at 22:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. bus ac repair


    May 18, 2021 at 02:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. 2021 Maserati Levante

    May I just say what a comfort to discover someone that actually knows what they are discussing over the internet. You actually realize how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More and more people should read this and understand this side of the story. I was surprised you aren't more popular because you surely possess the gift.


    May 18, 2021 at 15:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. how to start a mobile food truck business ohio


    May 18, 2021 at 15:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Maserati Zagato

    Saved as a favorite, I really like your blog!


    May 18, 2021 at 16:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. online lifestyle coach

    Very good write-up. I certainly appreciate this website. Continue the good work!


    May 18, 2021 at 17:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. journaling coach


    May 18, 2021 at 18:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Forklift Dealer California


    May 18, 2021 at 21:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Commercial Roof Repair

    This is a very good tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere. Simple but very accurate info… Thanks for sharing this one. A must read post!


    May 18, 2021 at 23:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Where To Get An Eye Exam Near Me

    Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Thank you so much, However I am experiencing difficulties with your RSS. I don’t know the reason why I am unable to join it. Is there anybody getting identical RSS issues? Anyone who knows the solution can you kindly respond? Thanx!!


    May 19, 2021 at 00:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Vsp Doctors Near Me

    Hello there! This blog post couldn’t be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept preaching about this. I most certainly will forward this post to him. Fairly certain he will have a very good read. Thank you for sharing!


    May 19, 2021 at 02:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Maserati Alfieri Price

    You've made some decent points there. I checked on the net to find out more about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this website.


    May 19, 2021 at 02:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Internet Marketing Jobs San Clemente


    May 19, 2021 at 03:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Maserati Wrong Place Right Time

    You're so interesting! I do not think I've read through a single thing like that before. So great to discover another person with some original thoughts on this subject matter. Really.. thanks for starting this up. This site is something that is needed on the internet, someone with a bit of originality!


    May 19, 2021 at 04:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Roofing Supply Companies Near Me


    May 19, 2021 at 04:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. 2007 Maserati Quattroporte Sport Gt


    May 19, 2021 at 07:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Social Media Marketing Company Cypress

    Very nice blog post. I absolutely appreciate this site. Thanks!


    May 19, 2021 at 07:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Lake Havasu Jet Ski Rental Kosten


    May 19, 2021 at 11:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. rvupgrades reviews


    May 19, 2021 at 14:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. RV Lighting Near Me


    May 19, 2021 at 15:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. SEO Marketing Services


    May 20, 2021 at 01:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Digital Marketing Business

    Great web site you have here.. It’s difficult to find high quality writing like yours nowadays. I honestly appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!


    May 20, 2021 at 02:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Digital Marketing Firms

    Hello! I simply want to offer you a huge thumbs up for your great info you've got here on this post. I'll be returning to your website for more soon.


    May 20, 2021 at 04:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. SEO Marketing Business

    Everything is very open with a clear description of the issues. It was really informative. Your site is very useful. Thanks for sharing!


    May 20, 2021 at 04:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Social Media Marketing Near Me

    Spot on with this write-up, I actually think this website needs much more attention. I’ll probably be back again to see more, thanks for the info!


    May 20, 2021 at 04:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Digital Marketing Company

    Great site you have here.. It’s difficult to find quality writing like yours nowadays. I really appreciate people like you! Take care!!


    May 20, 2021 at 10:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Social Media Marketing Companies


    May 20, 2021 at 10:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Social Media Marketing Experts


    May 20, 2021 at 10:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Content Marketing Business

    Greetings! Very useful advice within this article! It's the little changes that make the largest changes. Thanks a lot for sharing!


    May 20, 2021 at 11:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. RV Washing Orange County


    May 20, 2021 at 13:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. rv upgrade store


    May 20, 2021 at 16:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. RV Supplies Los Angeles

    After going over a number of the blog articles on your site, I truly appreciate your technique of writing a blog. I book-marked it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back soon. Please check out my web site as well and tell me how you feel.


    May 20, 2021 at 16:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. horse trailer renovation


    May 20, 2021 at 16:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. 2006 Sprinter Tank Fuel Pump Repair


    May 20, 2021 at 17:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. custom rv painting

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this post and the rest of the website is very good.


    May 20, 2021 at 22:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. furniture restoration orange county


    May 20, 2021 at 22:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. rv entertainment system upgrade

    This is a topic that is close to my heart... Take care! Exactly where are your contact details though?


    May 20, 2021 at 23:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Rust Repair Sprinter

    I really love your website.. Very nice colors & theme. Did you build this web site yourself? Please reply back as I’m hoping to create my own personal website and would love to find out where you got this from or exactly what the theme is called. Many thanks!


    May 21, 2021 at 01:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. RV Leak Riverside


    May 21, 2021 at 01:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. rv washing near me


    May 21, 2021 at 01:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. RV AC California


    May 21, 2021 at 02:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. wood repair near me

    Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Thank you so much, However I am encountering issues with your RSS. I don’t know the reason why I am unable to subscribe to it. Is there anybody having similar RSS problems? Anybody who knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanks!!


    May 21, 2021 at 02:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. RV Frame Los Angeles

    Hello there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but after going through a few of the articles I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m certainly delighted I came across it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back frequently!


    May 21, 2021 at 03:19 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

Leave a Reply to Van Mechanic Shop Near Me


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.