There are certain things we hold to be self-evident about men and women in relationships: men are obsessed with sex. Women like to talk about their feelings. Women want to marry, men want to screw around. And the older you get, the more desperate you become.
It’s stereotype, of course—perpetuated by women’s magazines and the like. But if you believe the results of a new Match.com survey, the truth isn’t just more subtle, it’s the opposite extreme. Men, it seems, are the ones who want to settle down. Bad sex is a deal-breaker for women. Gay men are the true romantics. And, apparently, it’s conservative Republicans who are getting the most from their bedroom rendezvous.
Match.com gave The Daily Beast an exclusive first look at the results of its second annual Singles in America survey—a dive into the values, attitudes, and sexual patterns of 6,000 American singles. Match has a natural interest in understanding these dating patterns, of course—the online dating site has built an empire on pairing singles with their “perfect” mate. But the survey, of singles 21 and older, was not conducted among Match users, or by Match itself—it is nationally representative, in conjunction with an evolutionary biologist, a sex therapist, and the Institute for Evolutionary Studies at Binghamton University. Anthropologist Helen Fisher, the survey’s resident adviser, says it is the largest comprehensive study of singles ever.
So what does it reveal? A few of the most interesting findings:
Republican Lead the Polls—In Orgasm
Yep, you heard that right. Republicans—and conservative Republicans, for that matter—reported the highest frequency of orgasm of all of the survey respondents, despite having the least amount of sex. More than half of those who identified as conservative Republicans said they reached climax almost every time they had sex, compared with just 40 percent of liberal Democrats. Sure, these answers are self-reported, but the survey was conducted anonymously online. What reason do they have to lie?
Men: The New Romantics
It may be the gals who fill the role of love struck in popular culture, but the data show that men fall in love just as often—and are more likely to experience love at first sight. Yes, men are more visual creatures, so that makes sense, but they’re also just as likely to believe that a couple can stay married forever. Not convinced yet? Well, turns out that whole sex-crazed playboy shtick is more or less just shtick: only 3 percent of men in this survey said they just wanted to “date lots of people.” Moreover, guys are prone to want to show their affection—they’re more comfortable with PDA—and are more likely than women to believe that sex is better with a long-term partner." “I really don’t think Americans understand men,” says Fisher, the author of Why Him? Why Her? and an expert on the science of love. Turns out, when it comes to romance, men may fit the female stereotype more closely than their own.
Women Hate Bad Sex
A full 50 percent of women say that “bad sex” would be a deal-breaker in a relationship, compared with just 44 percent of men. It’s surprising, since men are almost three times more likely to be thinking about sex at any given moment, and 39 percent report being turned off by a low sex drive in a partner. But women are the ones who can’t handle a bad lay. Other deal-breakers for the modern woman? A man who’s lazy (72 percent), disheveled or unclean (71 percent), too needy (69 percent), or lacks a sense of humor (58 percent).
Guys Want Commitment
While data show that men and women believe equally in marriage, the survey says it’s men, not women, who are more willing to settle for somebody who isn’t a soul mate. Thirty-one percent of men said they’d be willing to commit to somebody who “has everything they are looking for in a partner” but with whom they weren’t in love, and 21 percent said they’d commit to somebody they were not sexually attracted to. Women, meanwhile, are more likely than men to say they “must have” someone with a similar level of education, a successful career, and a sense of humor. “Women are the picky sex,” says Fisher.
Prince Charming Was Probably Gay
Sorry, Snow White, but gay men may be more romantic than their heterosexual comrades—at least about falling in love. Match found that gay men are 9 percent more likely than straight men to believe in love at first sight and 14 percent more likely to say they’ve experienced it. No wonder they’re always hitting the gym.
Ambitious Women Turn Men On
For all the anecdotes about men being threatened by women with successful careers, more than half of guys told Match they’d be turned off by a woman who “doesn’t care about her career.” For what it’s worth, the vast majority of men and women believe it’s possible to have a successful relationship and a successful career
Dad’s OK With Being Mr. Mom
No, men may never catch up on their share of the chores, but more men than women—43 percent of men to 33 percent of women—say they believe it’s acceptable for a male partner to be a “stay at home dad.” Does that mean they’re doing it? Not for sure. But it’s refreshing to know that 80 percent of men and women say that housework and childcare should not simply be the work of women.
We Hold Our Politicians to Higher Standards Than Ourselves
Apparently our survey respondents haven’t been reading the latest news. Because no matter how many cheating scandals we see plastered across the television screen, American singles still believe it’s inexcusable for a politician to cheat. Mind you, a third of respondents did not believe sexual fidelity to be a “must have” in their own relationship—but 9 of 10 believe there are “no acceptable excuses” for a politician caught with his (or her) pants down.
The Older You Get, the Pickier You’ll Be
Remember the myth about seniors being abstinent and lonely? It couldn’t be further from the truth. People over 60 are pickier than any other age group when choosing a mate—insisting on both sexual attraction and love. Perhaps, then, it’s no surprise this group is likeliest to achieve orgasm—59 percent said they almost always get there, versus just 29 percent of twentysomethings.