July 7, 2011 -- Who says real men don't like to cuddle?
In a study that refutes gender stereotypes, researchers looking at couples in long-term relationships have found that men value cuddling and caressing as important for their relationship happiness more than women do.
For women, sexual functioning predicted relationship happiness, says researcher Julia R. Heiman, director of The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction and professor of psychological and brain sciences at Indiana University, Bloomington.
The study included about 200 men ages 40 to 70 and their female partners from each of five countries, including the U.S., Brazil, Germany, Japan, and Spain. More than 1,000 couples participated.
The findings on gender differences in what made people happy and sexually satisfied were surprising, Heiman says.
"In longer-term relationships, we didn't expect a lot of differences between men and women," she tells WebMD.
But there were. ''Women reported significantly more sexual satisfaction than men, and men more relationship happiness than women, contrary to our hypothesis," she writes.
The study is published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior.