Men enjoy cuddling more than women, study says
Josh Visser, CTV.ca News Staff
Updated: Sun. Jul. 10 2011 9:44 AM ET
Men, our darkest secret is out. We enjoy cuddling more than women, care immensely about our partner's orgasms and are happier in the long run by having fewer sexual partners.
This is according to a new study by the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University, which found that more frequent cuddling and kissing predicted happiness in a long-term relationships for men -- but not so much for women.
Cynthia Loyst, a Toronto-based relationship expert, says that while the study may seem counterintuitive, anecdotally, it stands up.
"(The study) is a bit surprising because we are all entrenched in the same world where we think of the average man is a little less into intimacy . . . and more into the act of sex," the host of CP24's Sex Matters said. "But anecdotally . . . most would admit that they know that men are equally or even possibly a little more into the acts surrounding sex."
"Possibly because those acts may lead to sex," she added with a knowing laugh.
The study looked at 1,000 heterosexual couples between the ages of 40 and 70 in long-term relationships from the United States, Japan, Brazil, Spain and Germany. Researchers asked gender-specific questions to each partner in the relationship with the assurance their partner would not know their answers.
The median length of the relationships in the study was 25 years.
"Enduring relationships appear to be linked to life quality, health, and satisfaction for many individuals, and sexuality appears to play an integral, albeit not fully predictable, role in relationship durability and satisfaction," the study says.
The Kinsey study is backed by other research that suggests there is a chemical reason for a dude's predilection for cuddling.
According to Canadian-American anthropologist Helen Fisher of Rutgers University, there are three stages of love: lust, attraction and attachment.
Fisher's research found the attachment phase is partially driven by the release of two chemicals by the nervous system, oxytocin and vasopressin.
Oxytocin is known as "the cuddle hormone," Loyst says.
"It's a powerful hormone that is released when we have orgasms, but also, from skin-to-skin touch and it deepens the feelings of attachment and makes couples feel much closer to one another after they have had sex or in the process of cuddling, before or after," she said.
The Kinsey study found men were happier in their relationship if they could bring their partner to orgasm and that women had a happier sex life the longer they were married.
"The longer you are with a partner, the more safe you feel, the more stable you feel . . . the better they know your body, and the more orgasmic you will become," Loyst said.
Study counters divorce myth
Loyst called the study "refreshing" for its positive news on long-term relationships, saying that couples were happier the longer they were together.
"This definitely points to some happiness at the end of the road in terms of long-term, which is counter to most of the stuff we tend to hear about," she said.
The study counters the oft-cited "50 per cent of marriages end in divorce" myth. More than 50 per cent of marriages in the U.S. last, while in Spain, 90 per cent do, according to researchers.
In Canada, according to the Vanier Institute of the family, about 37 per cent of marriages end in the divorce.
"We know from other research that being in a long-term relationship has some value to health. Perhaps we can learn more about what makes relationships both sustainable and happy," the lead author of the report, Julia Heiman, the director of The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction, said in a release.
The Kinsey study is published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior.
Survey Shows Men Need to Cuddle, Women Value Sex
By Meredith Melnick Thursday, July 7, 2011
That old chestnut about women always wanting to cuddle? Myth, according to a Kinsey Institute study, which finds that kissing and hugging were more important to the happiness of men than of women.
The study involved 1,009 heterosexual middle-aged and older couples in long-term (average 25 years) committed relationships in five countries. Researchers asked participants to fill out questionnaires about their satisfaction with their relationships and sex lives, revealing some surprising truths: for instance, men who reported frequent kissing or cuddling with their partners were on average three times as happy with their relationships as men who reported limited snuggling. For women, such shows of tenderness didn't have much impact on relationship satisfaction.
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However, both men and women who reported frequent touching, kissing and hugging, as well as higher sexual functioning and more sex, were more likely to be sexually satisfied. For women, sex got better over time: they reported significantly more sexual satisfaction after being with their partner for 15 years.
"Possibly, women become more satisfied over time because their expectations change, or life changes with the children grown," Julia Heiman, director of the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction and lead author of the study, said in a statement. "On the other hand, those who weren't so happy sexually might not be married so long."
Both men and women became happier with their relationships the longer they stayed together. But, in a reversal of stereotype, men were more likely than women to report being happy in their relationships, while women were more likely to report being satisfied with sex.
The couples in the survey hailed from Japan, Brazil, the U.S., Germany and Spain. The study found that Japanese couples were significantly happier with their relationships than American couples, who were in turn happier than couples from Brazil and Spain. The Japanese were also more likely to report sexual satisfaction than Americans: Japanese men in particular were 2.61 times more sexually satisfied than American men. As for women, Japanese and Brazilian women were more likely to report sexual satisfaction than their American counterparts.
What predicted overall satisfaction? For women, key factors were relationship duration and their own good sexual functioning. But for men, there seemed to be a larger variety of contributors to happiness: longer relationships, good physical health (healthy men were 67% more likely to report being happy with their relationships than men in poor health), good sexual functioning and their wives' sexual satisfaction: a man's happiness rose 17% with each additional point he rated the importance of his partner's orgasm.
"This study on heterosexual couples provides a basis for future research on sex and gender, such as how same-sex couples may or may not show similarities and differences in relationship and sexual satisfaction," said Heiman.
ScienceDaily (July 5, 2011) — Cuddling and caressing are important ingredients for long-term relationship satisfaction, according to an international study that looks at relationship and sexual satisfaction throughout committed relationships, but contrary to stereotypes, tenderness was more important to the men than to the women.
Also contrary to expectations of the researchers, men were more likely to report being happy in their relationship, while women were more likely to report being satisfied with their sexual relationship. The couples, more than 1,000 from the United States, Brazil, Germany, Japan and Spain, where together an average 25 years.
The study from the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University, published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, is the first to examine sexual and relationship parameters of middle-aged or older couples in committed, long-term relationships. Research efforts to understand the place of sexuality in human lives rarely involves intact couples in ongoing relationships.
"You hear repeated research and commentary about divorce; but it's important to note that though divorce rates are high in the U.S., couples tend to stay married -- more than 50 percent of U.S. couples remain in their first marriage, and that number goes up to 90 percent in Spain," said Julia Heiman, director of The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction and lead author of the article. "We know from other research that being in a long-term relationship has some value to health. Perhaps we can learn more about what makes relationships both sustainable and happy."
Participants in the study were 40- to 70-year-old men and their female partners, either married or living together for a minimum of one year. The study included around 200 couples from each country. The men and women answered gender-specific questionnaires and were assured that their responses would not be shared with their partner.
"This study on heterosexual couples provides a basis for future research on sex and gender, such as how same-sex couples may or may not show similarities and differences in relationship and sexual satisfaction," Heiman said.
For men, relationship happiness was more likely if the man reported being in good health and if it was important to him that his partner experienced orgasm. Surprisingly, frequent kissing or cuddling also predicted happiness in the relationship for men, but not for women. Both men and women reported more happiness the longer they had been together, and if they themselves scored higher on several sexual functioning questionnaires.
Across all five nationalities, for both men and women, the Japanese were significantly happier with their relationships than Americans, and Brazilians and Spanish reported less relationship happiness than Americans.
Men and women both were likely to report sexual satisfaction if they also reported frequent kissing and cuddling, sexual caressing by the partner, higher sexual functioning, and if they had sex more frequently. On the other hand, for men, having had more sex partners in their lifetime was a predictor of less sexual satisfaction.
Men did report more relationship happiness in later years, whereas for women, their sexual satisfaction increased over time. Women who had been with their partner for less than 15 years were less likely to report sexual satisfaction, but after 15 years, the percentage went up significantly.
"Possibly, women become more satisfied over time because their expectations change, or life changes with the children grown," Heiman said. "On the other hand, those who weren't so happy sexually might not be married so long."
Compared with the U.S. men, Japanese men reported significantly (2.61 times) more sexual satisfaction in their relationships. For women, Japanese and Brazilian women were more likely to report being satisfied sexually than Americans.
"We recognize that relationship satisfaction and sexual satisfaction may not be the same thing for all couples, and in all cultures," Heiman said. "Our next step is to understand how one person's health, physical affection and sexual experiences relate to the relationship happiness or sexual satisfaction of his or her partner. So, we hope for more couple-centered than individual-centered understanding on relationship functioning and satisfaction."
Co-authors of the study are J. Scott Long and Shawna N. Smith, Indiana University; William A. Fisher, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada; and Michael S. Sand and Raymond C. Rosen, New England Research Institutes, Mass
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