Men and Women tend to believe there are gaps between their behavior and “normal” behavior, often overestimating the sexual behavior of others. Sometimes these norm gaps lead to dissatisfaction with one’s own behavior and can cause pressure to adhere to perceived (but not actual) norms.
A recent study in the “Journal of Human Sexuality” (2013) looking at gender differences in perceived sexual behavior found that:
Women perceive themselves to be less sexually active than the average man and average woman, while men perceive themselves to be less sexually active than the average man. This may be due to common beliefs about the “typical” male being more likely to engage in sexually permissive behavior, (Cohen & Shotland, 1996; Oliver & Hyde, 1993; Seal & Agostinelli, 1996).
Additionally, the study found that this gap between self-other perception resolved through more frequent sexual behavior, gender, and age.
The more frequently a person engages in sexual behaviors the more narrow is their self-other norm gap, which can be explained by the fact that more frequent sexual activity brings people closer to their perceived norm. For gender, males experience norm disparities more than females…The fact that age was an additional predictor suggests that as one gets older their norm gap gets smaller.
So ladies, where men were shown to continually struggle with how they measure up…the older we get…the more sex we have…the more satisfied we are.
Sounds great to me…nothing like having something to look forward to!
Study citation: “Misperceived Social Norms about Taboo Sexual Behaviors,” K.L. Pariera.
Image (of me) by: Dan Roldan