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Men in long-term relationships enjoy cuddling more than women

By Chanah Rubenstein     Jul 6, 2011 in Lifestyle
A new study released from the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University suggests that men enjoy cuddling and tenderness in a long-term relationship more than women.
The study [pdf] looked at more than 1,000 heterosexual couples from the U.S., Japan, Brazil, Spain and Germany. The survey looked at men who were 40 to 70 years old and their female partners, aged 25 to 76, who had been married or living together for a minimum of one year, the average relationship span being 25 years.
Published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, Indiana University reports that this is the first study to look at the sexual and relationship factors of middle aged, heterosexual couples in long term relationships.
Overall, the study found that both men and women are happier, the longer they are together; though the Japanese men and Japanese and Brazilian women were found to be happier than participants from the other countries, reports the Globe and Mail.
However, the difference between men and women on physical intimacy (not necessarily sexual in nature) is “striking”. Men rated physical intimacy (cuddling, kissing, stoking, etc.) as being more important to their relationship happiness then the women did.
The men were also likely to be happier in their relationship if they were in good health and if it was important to him that his partner have an orgasm.
Participants were also happier in their relationship if they were more satisfied with their sexual relationship. Both men and women were more satisfied with their sexual relationship if they had sex more frequently, had higher sexual functioning and kissed and cuddled frequently.
When it comes to sexual satisfaction, overall, the Japanese and Brazilians are more satisfied than their counterparts.
The study also found that men who had more sexual partners in their lifetime were less sexually satisfied than those who had fewer. The study states, “Searching for a better partner or sexual experience may emerge from or be connected to a lack of sexual satisfaction rather than just a desire for sexual recreation and variety. Alternatively, more partners might indicate different standards based on greater experience.”
Where men and women differ seems to be when they are most satisfied with their sexual relationship and when they are happier in their relationship. As time progresses, men are more satisfied with their relationship, but women are less satisfied in the later years of the relationship. Women are also more satisfied with their sex life the longer they are with their partner, usually after the 15 year mark of the relationship.
According to the study, it is theorized that “it is likely that women selected committed partners based on relationship quality more than sexual satisfaction and that, for women in childbearing years, dealing with avoiding pregnancies or having children among other life stressors, all take a toll on sexual satisfaction.”
The study also states, “Women who were in the 25 and beyond years of a relationship were at least 50 years old (with partners at least 5 years older) and thus in physical (menopausal) and role transitions with their partner. Since 90% of the couples had children, the burdens and distractions of parenting, falling heavily on women in their 30 s and 40 s, begin to shift. This change, along with the freedom from reproductive worries, may facilitate greater levels of sexual satisfaction, yet somewhat less relationship happiness due to inter-partner adjustments in roles and possible health issues.”
Lead author and director of the Kinsey Institute, Julia Heiman, said that this could be because “possibly, women become more satisfied over time because their expectations change, or life changes with the children grown. On the other hand, those who weren’t so happy sexually might not be married so long.”
Heiman added, "We recognize that relationship satisfaction and sexual satisfaction may not be the same thing for all couples, and in all cultures. 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."
More about Kinsey institute, Middleaged, indiana university, Men, Women
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