Just when I thought we could no longer be surprised by sex research, a new study by the Kinsey Institute for Sex Gender and Reproduction yielded a set of unusual findings. Contrary to popular opinion, this new study found that men, who kiss and cuddle, are three times more happy than those who don’t. Imagine that. In other words, men who were more in touch with their kinder, gentler, “coochier” side were more likely to experience satisfaction in their long term relationships. These men who made it a practice of smooching with their wives or significant others, were in fact found to experience greater levels of sexual satisfaction than those who didn’t.
What does this tell us girls? It confirms what we’ve known instinctively since Adam was a lad; that sexual satisfaction is much more than the straight-forward thrusting of a penis in a vagina. There I’ve said it! It goes a lot deeper than the length and breadth of the penis, or the depth of the vagina for that matter; never mind what Cosmo says! Sexual satisfaction also definitely extends beyond the latest tricks or is more than those impossible gymnastics’ positions highlighted in the Kama Sutra.
If what we understand about this study is correct, then we can gather that intimacy means a lot more to men than they have traditionally let on. If you remember anything about the movie Pretty Woman, starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, then you would recall that the prostitute played by Roberts, had a distinct difficulty with kissing her clients. She admitted that it fostered attachments and created a sense of intimacy that she didn’t exactly want to encourage in her line of work. Both women and men recognize that there can be nothing more intimate than breathing each other’s oxygen. Maybe this explains why some men subconsciously decide to lay off the smooching after they have landed their catch; perhaps it’s a means of maintaining some level of control; you know, like protecting themselves against too much vulnerability. Unfortunately, however, holding out in the intimacy department actually leads to less relationship fulfillment.
Not that I’m suggesting that most men don’t like to kiss, but other studies have shown that the more stale a relationship gets, the less kissing there often is. As sex becomes routine, several couples admit to simply honing in on what they see as the important hardware for sex; mainly the genitals. With kids to get off to school, pets to feed and jobs to get up and go to, kissing can become relegated to the trash-heap of a relationship. Whether intimacy dies because there is a lack of deep kissing or whether it is that the death of intimacy means that we no longer want to kiss and cuddle, this study confirms that relationships which are satisfying do thrive on something more than just straight-up sex.
What was even more astounding was that this cuddly stuff was more predictive of male happiness than it was of female happiness in relationships. Hmmm. Now that was a stunner. We women have been conditioned into seeing ourselves as soft, mushy, emotional and in need of lots of non-sex affirmation; that is, hugging and the like. While I do believe that this is still very true, it is also true that as women grow older, they also become more in tuned with and comfortable about expressing their sexual needs. In other words, we become more sexually complex. A woman in her late thirties, forties or fifties is more assertive in requesting what she wants from her spouse, than a woman in her twenties, who’s more concerned about how she looks in bright light.
As confirmed by one sex expert, as we women grow older, we come into our own sexually. A woman’s sexual peak tends to take place after thirty five and really takes off when she hits her forties. Men on the other hand, tend to peak in their early twenties and keep up a lot I believe through social expectations and the consumption of Red Bull (just kidding). Not that I’m suggesting that men lose interest in sex, but there is a known difference in our sexual peak points. (I honestly believe that this see-saw effect is genetically engineered to allow us to get on with other aspects of our lives; imagine how the world just might stand still if men and women both peaked at the same time; nothing else would ever get done; balance is always good)
Of course being in love and being committed in a long term relationship, will affect a man’s libido to a great extent. Consequently, what this study also reveals is that men in stable relationships are very concerned with pleasing their partner sexually; it’s more about connection and less about competition. After all it takes a class act of a man to learn his woman’s body very well and know how to keep it humming as her sexual needs change. But these findings all fit together quite nicely. As men become more settled with one woman, their desire is to be more intimate with her and this is strengthened as they kiss and cuddle and allow that attachment hormone Oxytocin to do its work. Women, on the other hand, as their relationships lengthen, experience a greater yearning for hot, steamy sex with the one man to whom they are committed. And this is of course in keeping with a woman’s rise in sexual assertiveness. These male-female differences in need, are in fact complimentary and represent a wonderful dove-tailing of cuddly warmth and hot passion.
These findings to my mind are a great plus for the institution of marriage, which has wrongfully taken a beating and the blame for many a failed sex life. There is a lot then to be said for long term relationships and the commitment which allows couples to grow sexually together.
And it’s nice to know that it’s finally official; guys are a lot more than automatic sex machines.