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Local Experts on National Sex Study: Men Want to Cuddle

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Despite the stereotypes or clichés gleaned from a romantic comedy, men need cuddling in order to find satisfaction in marriage. This from an international study by the Kinsey Institute at Indiana, recently published in the journal, Archives of Sexual Behavior. This is the first study to examine the parameters of relationships and sex in couples engaged in committed, long-term relationships, and it has dispelled more than a few stereotypes about men and women’s sexual preferences and satisfaction levels in relationships.  

The study, which made gender-specific queries and promised anonymity, found that caressing and kissing were more likely to indicate a man’s happiness in a long-term marriage. Also contrary to popular belief, women reported that their satisfaction with sex increased over time, while men reported increased happiness in the relationship. 

Men become "less obsessed with sex"

While these facts seem surprising, local relationship and sex experts in Rhode Island were aware of these counter-intuitive elements all along. Over time “men become less obsessed with sex,” says Megan Andelloux, a nationally acclaimed sex educator and Director of the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health based in Pawtucket. When the testosterone levels drop with aging, says Andelloux, “it makes it easier to focus on other things and be more satisfied with the type of sex that they’re having.”  

Men also begin to shift priorities concerning affection with a partner. “It goes against how we view men,” says Andelloux, “but the thing I’m hearing much more often from them is how they just want to be with their partner and have some type of affection shown to them.”  

Men need to feel desired

Jody Eyre, a licensed marriage and family therapist, is the president of the Rhode Island Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (RIAMFT). Eyre says that in therapy more men than women tend to ask their spouses for more affectionate physical contact. “Men need to feel like their females are finding them desirable,” says Eyre. 

This constant affirmation of desirability is difficult to maintain as time goes by. Though divorce rates are still high, marriages that do stay intact last a very long time. If a couple marries in their 30s and stays married into their 80s, while remaining sexually active, Eyre posits the obvious question: “How do you keep excitement going over 20 or 30 years?” 

This might explain, Eyre says, the study’s discovery that the more sexual partners a man has had, the less likely he is to be satisfied sexually in his marriage.  “Let's be honest - if you’ve had sex with the same person a thousand times you just won't hit the high-notes with the thrill-seeking,” she says. 

Women more satisfied over time

Addressing the report of increased sexual satisfaction over time among women, Megan Andelloux explains that this most likely has to do with increased comfort levels. “I always say that you don’t give someone an orgasm,” she says, “you create a space where you give someone the freedom to orgasm.” It is more likely that women would find enjoyment after many years of building a comfortable and communicative relationship.  

Eyre says that promoting a safe, comfortable conversation is key, and something that Americans have a difficult time achieving. “We live in a culture that is really good at selling sex to sell merchandise or as entertainment, but we are very poor as about as a society is getting people to talk about what they like or dislike, getting people to talk about their own sex.”  

Both Andelloux and Eyre say that many of their patients have a difficult time communicating about their own sexuality and preferences. Perhaps this is why incorrect stereotypes, now dispelled by this Kinsey Study, have persisted for so long; people may have been afraid to correct them. 


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John McGrath

I can see it now, RI politicians offering "cuddle nights" to big donors, or charging "cuddle nights" to the state so they "can do a better job."

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