Published February 22, 2013
Newsflash: Your girlfriend might not actually be from Venus after all.
A new review of research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology suggests that, sure, men and women are different—but not that different.
Researchers analyzed 13 studies looking at 122 characteristics and 13,301 people and found that even though some research has shown—and stereotypes suggest—differences between the sexes (like female empathy or men’s superior math skills), the differences aren’t as distinct as many believe.
In fact, for many psychological traits—like the fear of success or how we choose our partners—men and women are pretty similar.
So here are three common myths about your other half that you shouldn’t always believe.
1. She Doesn’t Want Sex as Much as You Do
OK, you might daydream about getting dirty almost twice as frequently: A 2011 study in the Journal of Sex Research found that men think about sex on average 19 times per day, compared to 10 times for women.
But the truth is, every day she ages, her sex drive increases, according to a study in The Journal of Sexual Medicine. After studying the responses from 806 women over age 40, researchers found that the ladies were more satisfied with their sex lives, and almost 70 percent were reaching orgasm.
2. She’s Overly Emotional
By nature, she can’t help being emotional. Her amygdala—the small brain region devoted to emotions—is way more efficient than yours. It produces richer, more intense emotional memories. But just because she’s crying and you’re not doesn’t mean you’re made of stone.
Recent Wake Forest University research found that men become more stressed out and emotional with relationship issues, and experience more of a “boost” when the relationship’s going well than women do.
Why? It could be that women are more likely to have a strong social support system than men, the researchers say. So when things head south—or are going well—men feel it more as the relationship is more likely to be their main source of intimacy.
3. She’s Obsessed With Shopping
Perhaps. But you might be spending more: A poll of 2,000 people from the British firm Npower found that the average guy spends a little over $40 on impulse buys per week—while women spend just over $30. And new research from market research firm Mintel found that when it comes to grooming and beauty products, it’s not just your girlfriend who stocks up: Sixty percent of guys—versus 52 percent of women—like shopping online.
Additional research by Madeline Haller