TIME – A new journal article suggests that evolutionary forces push women to be more sexual, although in unexpected ways.
University of Texas psychologist David Buss wrote the article, which appears in the July issue of Personality and Individual Differences , with the help of three graduate students.
The authors found that women in their 30s and early 40s are significantly more sexual than younger women. Women ages 27 through 45 report not only having more sexual fantasies (and more intense sexual fantasies) than women ages 18 through 26 but also having more sex, period.
And they are more willing than younger women to have casual sex, even one-night stands. In other words, despite the girls-gone-wild image of promiscuous college women, it is women in their middle years who are America’s most sexually industrious.
By contrast, men’s sexual interest and output, usually measured by a reported number of orgasms per week, peaks in the teen years and then settles to a steady level (an average of three orgasms per week) for most of their lives.
As I pointed out in March, most men remain sexually active into their 70s. According to the new study, as well as the study I wrote about in March , women’s sexual ardor declines precipitously after menopause.
Why would women be more sexually active in their middle years than in their teens and 20s? Buss and his students say evolution has encouraged women to be more sexually active as their fertility begins to decline and as menopause approaches.
Here’s how their theory works:
Our female ancestors grew accustomed to watching many of their children perhaps as many as half die of various diseases, starvation, warfare and so on before being able to have kids of their own.
This trauma left a psychological imprint to bear as many children as possible. Becoming pregnant is much easier for women and girls in their teens and early 20s so much easier that they need not spend much time having sex.