Do most men really have a stronger sex drive than most women?

A quick science tidbit before the weekend begins: a question someone asked at the end of my quick 10 question survey about the best non-fiction sex books you’ve read (feel free to participate if you haven’t). The person asked, “Do most men really have a stronger sex drive than most women?”

This is one of those questions where the way you ask is changes the PRECISE answer, but the IMPORTANT answer stays the same.

The precise answer is NO, it is not the case that most men have a stronger sex drive than most women.

BUT the IMPORTANT answer is:

At the population level, men, on average, have a higher interest in sex than women. At the same time, women, as a population are more variable than men are. Here look at this:

This is not to scale – I just roughed it out in Excel to give you a visual. If you want details I posted them here.

The important points are:

1. Women vary more from each other more than men do.

2. At the extreme ends, you find a thick concentration of one sex and very few of the other. So, among the small number of people who have extremely high sexual interest, the overwhelming majority are male. Among the small number of people with extremely low interest, the overwhelming majority are women. There are people of the opposite sex in these groups, but many fewer. These differences are what makes the statistical significance.

3. Most of the population overlaps; it’s only really at the extremes that you’ll notice differences.

Where YOU or any individual may fall within this range, I have no idea. What’s true at the population level is not the same as what’s true at the individual level.

So if “most men” – i.e., more than half of men – had a higher sex drive than “most women” – i.e., more than half of women – that would look like this:

But that’s not what the distribution looks like. It’s more like the one above.

Also? Sex is not a drive. Okay.

Good question.