Quick: What are you thinking about right now? Well, given that you're reading this article, it's probably sex. But there's a good chance you were thinking about it anyway. After all, men think about sex every seven seconds, right?
That's more than 500 times an hour and more than 8,000 times during the approximately 16 hours you're awake. We can only imagine how those numbers fluctuate during sleep.
But there's no real research to back up this oft-cited stat. And while people often attribute the myth to research by the Kinsey Institute, the actual research shows that while men think about sex a lot (and yes, more often than women), every seven seconds is a gross exaggeration. When Kinsey researchers asked men and women how often they think about sex, 54 percent of men said they think about sex several times a day, 43 percent responded a few times per week or just a few times per month, and 4 percent said less than once a month. Meanwhile, 19 percent of women said they thought about sex every day or several times a day, 67 percent responded a few times per week or a few times a month or, and 14 percent said less than once a month.
It should be noted that this study included men and women of all ages, and while we're sure there are a few randy grandmas and grandpas out there, the average elderly couple keep their beds apart for a reason, which could have a lot to do with all of the I-rarely-think-about-sex responses. Also, the study didn't get into the nitty gritty of "every day or several times a day," which is a pretty big range. And last but not least, if a researcher asked you right now how often you think about sex, how on-target would your estimate really be?
But since there's no good way to look at people's brains for months on end and determine exactly what they're thinking about all day, Ohio State University recently approached the question in a different way. They armed a group of 18- to 25-year-olds with handheld tally counters, and told them to track their thoughts about sex, food, and sleep.
The results: The average man tallied 19 sexy thoughts per day—that comes out to about once every 1.26 hours. To compare that with other thoughts on the average mind, men counted thinking about food 18 times and sleeping 11 times per day. Sex wasn't even the top craving for women, who reported thinking about sex 10 times, food 15 times, and sleep 8.5 times a day.
What are you thinking about now? We're guessing a good romp followed by a snack and a nap.