Usually in popular culture it's considered men sexual desire is stronger than women. This seems to be congruent with the availability of sexual related items for men and women, such as magazines, movies, and more. Trying to understand if there is a biological connection to this, I found these paragraphs in some articles.

Estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone are hormones that affect a woman’s sexual desire and functioning.

When it comes to sexual desire, the most influential hormone is testosterone. Though it’s often considered a male hormone, testosterone — like estrogen– is present in both men and women, though the proportions differ between the sexes.

Hormones affecting sexual desire


On average, in adult males, levels of testosterone are about 7 to 8 times as great as in adult females.[7] As the metabolism of testosterone in males is more pronounced, the daily production is about 20 times greater in men


Is this greater production of testoterone in men related to a stronger sexual desire? Is there any research studying this, or studying differences between male and women sexual desire intensity in general?


1 Answer 1


Some of the work of Bob Trivers makes some sense to me. He talks about parental investment https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parental_investment. The "investment" of a man could be as little as paying for dinner, followed by a few minutes of sexual pleasure, and then he is free to go. The woman's investment for the same thing is the risk of pregnancy (or cryptic STD). Pregnancy is difficult, and before modern medicine, was one of the most common ways to die for women. Then she must feed a helpless infant with her own body, and tend to its needs for the next 15 years. We have social structures for the man to stick around and contribute. But these are not biological differences. The man can leave. The woman cannot. She bears virtually all the risks of sexual behavior. Of course, sexual desires vary by individuals, likely in a bell-curve that overlaps (I anticipate some PC doofus pointing out that some women have strong desires, and some men don't). But I would not be surprised at all, given the biological differences in risks and investments between men and women, that the peak of these overlapping distributions is higher for men than women. Also, evolutionary fitness is defined by the number of offspring an individual can produce. A man's strategy is fundamentally different than a woman's. A man who has 1000 sexual partners is likely to leave more surviving offspring than a man who marries the woman he loves, and stays faithful. A woman with 1000 sexual partners would not be able to have hundreds of children, and would likely put her health at risk.

  • $\begingroup$ You are saying as if the only result of sex pertinent to evolution is getting pregnant or an STD. Women have menstrual cycles with concealed ovulation which allows them to be sexually active almost all the time. They can have sex during pregnancy. These kinds of non-reproductive sex can help to keep the man around and have more resources and better-protected children. So women may have evolved to have less desire for new partners but not lower overall sex drive. Or not. It just hard to reason without actually measuring it. $\endgroup$
    – Zlira
    Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 12:07
  • $\begingroup$ I did not say that this was the only explanation, but it seems to fit many observations across a wide range of animals. Yes, hard to measure. However, what do your observations tell you? How common do husbands complain that their wives want "it" too often, relative to the other way around? $\endgroup$
    – Karl Kjer
    Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 12:30

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