There are so many factors that might contribute to why you and your partner are having more or less sex that it seems absurd to try to distill it down to one thing. However, since everyone loves a sex study, that’s exactly what these researchers tried to do. Unfortunately while their intentions might have been good, their parameters and results seem rather skewed. Let me explain.
The study, which was recently published in the Journal of Research in Personality, aimed to find links between personality types and frequency of sex between couples. As such, it examined three separate studies that looked at the sexual behavior of newlyweds. That’s a narrow view right off the bat, especially because it was taking only married, heterosexual couples into consideration. How is that a comprehensive analysis of today’s modern world?
The couples in the various studies were asked to keep journals in which they would record when they had sex and how good it was on a scale of 1 to 7 (weird scale, but whatever). They were also asked to fill out a classic five-trait personality test. After several weeks, the researchers found that the newlyweds were having sex three to four times in two weeks on average, and that the men were more often than not the ones initiating it. While that’s not terribly surprising, the next part of the conclusion made me do a spit take. According to the studies’ data, the couples who tend to have more sex are the ones in which the woman is more “open and agreeable.”
There are so many things wrong with this I don’t even know where to start. First off, of course the women would need to be agreeable if their men are the ones initiating sex for the most part. However, that’s essentially saying that a woman saying “yes” is the only factor that determines whether or not the couple’s going to have sex. That’s like saying that men are always up for it, and a woman’s compliance is the only thing standing in the way. Even though it’s in the name of science, it’s notions like this that promote the rape culture that has taken hold of our society.
What about the bajillion other reasons a couple may choose to engage in sex or not? Personality is far from the only factor that contributes, and while this may be a personality-based study, those other factors should at least be noted as possible influencers.
Oddly the study stated that “openness” in men led to less sexual satisfaction overall, but by the time I reached that point, I was already too dubious of these so-called conclusions to care. If you’re going to do a relationship study focusing on the link between personality and sexual frequency, then limiting your participant pool to heterosexual newlyweds is not nearly a wide enough sample. Newlyweds are usually in a honeymoon phase, which automatically skews the data. And of course, as I mentioned above, not taking homosexual couples into consideration makes the research practically archaic.
So my conclusion is to take this study with a big ol’ grain of salt. Not only is the data pool far from an accurate representation of today’s couples, but it’s pervading a sexist stereotype that women are the sexual gatekeepers in all relationships. If I wanted to think that way, I’d just watch a romantic comedy from the ’80s.