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Happier With Sex Life: Men or Women?

Study Reveals Global Gender Gap in Sexual Well-Being
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

April 19, 2006 -- All over the world, men are more satisfied with their sex lives than women, a new study shows.

The study included 13,882 women and 13,618 men in 29 countries. All participants were at least 40 years old.

No matter where participants lived, men generally rated their sexual well-being higher than women, write the University of Chicago's Edward Laumann, PhD, and colleagues.

Participants completed surveys on their "sexual well-being," which was defined as the physical and emotional satisfaction of sexual relationships, satisfaction with sexual health or function, and the importance of sex in one's life.

Women rated themselves lower than men in all of those categories, Laumann's team reports in the Archives of Sexual Behavior.

International Sex Survey

Participants were randomly chosen. They were told that their answers would be confidential.

Survey questions included:

  • "Generally, how happy have you been with your life as a whole [physical, social, family, work] during the past 12 months?"
  • "During the past 12 months, how physically pleasurable did you find your relationship with your partner to be?"
  • "During the past 12 months, how emotionally satisfying did you find your relationship with your partner to be?"
  • "If you were to spend the rest of your life with your sexual function/sexual health the way it is today, how would you feel about this?"

Participants also rated how strongly they agreed or disagreed with statements including:

  • "Older people no longer want sex."
  • "A 'real man' is ready for sex at any time."
  • "Women have greater control over sexual desires than men."
  • "Women have a duty to meet their partner's sexual needs."

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