Men enjoy cuddling more than women, study says
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Published Sunday, July 10, 2011 9:44AM EDT
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.