Gender stereotypes busted

Feb 15, 2011 at 6:00 p.m. ET

Think you know what men are thinking when it comes to relationships? recently released the findings from a comprehensive study of singles that dispels many of our long-held beliefs on singles, sex and love.

Retro couple in love

Myths about love

Myth: Women fall in love more quickly.

According to the study, 54 percent of men say they have experienced love at first sight, versus only 41 percent of women.

Myth: Women are the ones who want children.

Among singles without children under 18, more men (24 percent) than women (15 percent) say they want children.

Myth: Men want more space.

Across every age group, women want more personal space in a committed relationship, as well as more nights out with their (girl) friends; they are also more likely to want their own bank accounts and to take vacations on their own.

Myth: Singles are desperate to get married.

According to the research, 72 percent of singles would live with someone in the future without marrying. In the 21 to 34 age group, 62 percent of single women and men want to marry, 9 percent do not, and 29 percent aren't certain about marriage. For singles ages 35 to 44, those numbers drop further. In that category, 40 percent of singles want to wed, 19 percent do not, and 42 percent aren't certain.

Gender roles

Both single women and men have adopted progressive attitudes toward gender roles. Almost half (49 percent) of women disagree that women should be the primary caregiver (versus 38 percent of men). The majority (87 percent) of women say they would pick up the check on a date under some circumstances, and 85 percent of women believe that it's possible to have a successful career and relationship at the same time. Women's behavior, however, does not always reflect these evolving beliefs. In the past year, 89 percent of women have not asked someone out on a date, and 48 percent of women typically wait for the other person to reach out after the first date. With a new partner, women still prefer their partners to initiate sex.

Casual sex & one-night stands

Casual sex behaviors are acceptable for many and widespread: 77 percent of single Americans approve of premarital sex; 42 percent approve of "friends with benefits"; 40 percent approve of casual hookups; and 29 percent approve of one-night stands. The research revealed that 54 percent of singles have had one; 50 percent cite sexual gratification as reason for the one-night stand, and 40 percent say drugs/alcohol were to blame. For those providing a rating, 63.9 percent of men found a one night stand "satisfying," while only 29.2 percent of women felt the same way; Most interesting, 35 percent have had a one-night stand that turned into a long-term partnership.

Office romance

In the past five years, only 12 percent of singles dated someone at the office. Most workplace romances lasted less than three months, and only 6 percent of women dated their bosses. After breaking up, 56 percent reported this romance did not affect their professional relationships. Of singles polled, 36 percent would consider dating someone in the workplace.

This study was conducted to better understand the behaviors and interests of the modern-day American single. An independent group of 5,200 U.S. singles were polled for this study, which was designed by Dr. Helen Fisher, the world-renowned biological anthropologist, researcher and best-selling author of Why Him? Why Her?

More on casual sex

Single fun: Booty calls & friends with benefits
One-night stands: Is it ever worth it?

How to end the non-relationship