A new study presents data suggesting that husbands underestimate their wives’ sexual desire.
In 3 dyadic studies, we provide evidence that men in established romantic relationships err in the direction of the opposite bias and underperceive their romantic partner’s sexual desire. We also demonstrate that this underperception bias is functional (particularly for men) in that it is associated with their partner feeling more satisfied and committed to the relationship. In addition, people are particularly likely to underperceive their partner’s desire on days when they are motivated to avoid sexual rejection, and men’s underperception bias is, in part, accounted for by men’s higher general levels of sexual desire than women.
Translation: it’s true that a wife often has a lower sex drive than her husband, however, the husband still frequently underestimates his wife’s sexual interest because he doesn’t enjoy having a sexual advance rejected.
The researchers found that, on a regular basis, men significantly underperceived the degree of their female partners’ sexual desire, while women consistently made accurate judgments about how much their male partners wanted sex. Among diary-keeping couples, on days when men underestimated their female partners’ libido, the women showed higher levels of relationship satisfaction.
Basically, when a wife has high relationship satisfaction she wants more sex — but apparently husbands aren’t good at noticing when their wives have high satisfaction. Here are some ideas:
- Wife: make sure your husband knows when you’re happy with the state of your relationship! He probably already knows when you aren’t happy, but tell him when you are.
- Husband: when your wife expresses affection and happiness with you, consider that an opportunity to initiate.
This doesn’t seem complicated, but apparently a lot of us are missing the obvious.