When you’re in a committed relationship, it can feel as though you’re in the mood for sex at the exact opposite time as your partner. When he wants to get intimate, you’re too tired. When you’re ready to go, he isn’t even close. Why are men and women so often at odds about the best time of the day to have sex? And what is the best time for women, anyway?
A number of studies have been done to answer those very questions. One survey of 2,300 people done by sex toy company Lovehoney got ultra-specific and found that the optimal time of day to have sex for guys was 7:54 in the morning, and for women was 11:21 at night. In general, only 16 percent of the men polled said they routinely wanted to have sex just before falling asleep, while just 11 percent of women said they were up for a romp early in the morning. The bulk of the men said their peak time for passion was between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m., whereas the largest percentage of women reported they were most in the mood between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m.
Those findings make sense considering how differently men and women are wired, says Dr. Susan Block, a sex therapist known as “Dr. Suzy” and the author of The Bonobo Way and The Ten Commandments of Pleasure.
“The best time to have sex is when the kids are asleep and you don’t have to work and you can get together with your honey,” Block says. “You don’t have to rush because you’re late for work. Women are using their heads. Men are using their penises because at 7:54 their penises are waking them up and saying, ‘Let’s have sex.'”
In other words, for men, the best time of day to get it on tends to be purely physical, she says. But for women, it’s more complicated.
“There are so many factors that come into play as to when a woman is ready,” says Block. “Women need to get themselves in the mood. We need to feel pretty and like we’re not going to be disturbed. Men don’t need to get into the mood.”
Other studies have shown that the ideal time of day to have sex for women is mid-morning — between 9 and 10 a.m., says Block. That’s closer to when men feel most passionate but still not quite in sync.
“Nine to 10 a.m. is the time women reach peak endorphin levels and are most excitable,” she explains. “That is the optimal time physiologically. They have the most energy during that time. But it’s awkward. They’re either at work or getting the kids off to school.”
Afternoon is also a time when a lot of women feel like having sex, but unless they’re on vacation, it’s not the most convenient. It’s also the best time to try for a baby, some research has shown.
“According to the studies that tell you afternoon is the best time to have sex for women, it’s because you’ve had some sleep, you’ve had something to eat, you’ve had a little activity,” Block says. “But if you’re having your normal, everyday life, husbands and wives don’t tend to have sex in the afternoon. They’re busy. They’re dealing with picking up the kids or dealing with work.”
Interestingly, early evening is typically not mentioned by either men or women as the perfect time to have sex.
“Early evening tends to be trumped by being hungry,” Block says.
No matter what, choosing a time of day to have sex when you both feel like it is often a source of tension and arguments for couples. But it doesn’t have to be.
“This is one of the biggest sources of contention between men and women,” Block says. “We have to be kind to ourselves and try it at different times. There is no one answer to this question.”