8 Surprising Truths About Men

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Busted: 8 Bold Facts About Men

We hear a lot about what “men are like” in the media, especially in magazines and on websites that target women, who are, naturally, very curious about the subject. Sweeping generalizations about such a huge and diverse group, however, aren’t reliable—or even particularly useful. And yet, these generalizations harden into stereotypes, which then become self-perpetuating. According to some recent studies, many of them simply aren’t true. We’re here to set the record straight by busting eight common myths about men you know doubt have heard and maybe even believed.

1. Men Don’t Want to Commit: UNTRUE

A 2011 study of 5,200 singles in America (done by Match.com and based on the US census to accurately represent the US population) showed that men are just as eager to marry as women. Among individuals between the ages of 21 and 34, 62% of both sexes said they were eager to wed. In some cohorts, women were slightly more eager to marry, while in others men were slightly more eager, but the differences were not significant. In a study done in 2000, more men than women reported that marriage was their “ideal lifestyle.”

2. Men Don’t Want to Have Children: UNTRUE

The 2011 Match.com study of 5,200 singles in America also found that more men than women are eager to have children in every cohort between ages 21 and 65+. In the age group 21-34, 51% of men were eager to have children, while 46% of women reported that they were eager to have children. When asked whether women should be the primary caregivers, 38% of men agreed, while 49% of women agreed. Men are also more willing to be the primary caretaker for their offspring.

3. Men Want More Independence in a Relationship: UNTRUE

In the 2011 study of 5,200 singles in America, 47% of men (as opposed to 66% of women) reported that they needed to have regular nights out with the boys; 8% of men (as opposed to 12% of women) said that while in a relationship, they wanted to take vacations without their partner; 56% of men (as opposed to 77% of women) said they needed their own personal space when in a relationship; and 23% of men (as opposed to 35% of women) reported that they wanted to have their own bank account. In a 2010 study of 2,071 men (on Chemistry.com), men did not expect to be exempted from household chores, even if they made more money than their partner. And they did not want to continue the “free-wheeling life of a bachelor” after entering into a committed relationship.

4. Men Don’t Fall in Love: UNTRUE

My brain-scanning study (an fMRI study done with colleagues Dr. Lucy Brown and Dr. Art Aron) showed that men in love express just as much activity in brain regions associated with romantic love as do women. Moreover, men fall in love faster than women, possibly because they are more visual. In a 2011 study of singles in America done by Match.com, 54% of men reported having fallen in love at first sight, whereas 44% of women reported having fallen in love at first sight. Men also have more intimate conversations with their wives than women do with their husbands—because women have their intimate conversations with their female friends. Men and women are equally likely to believe that romantic attraction can be rekindled in a long-term relationship. And among people under the age of 40, women are just as adulterous as men.

5. Men Don’t Suffer as Much After a Relationship Ends: UNTRUE

The sexes express their depression differently. Rejected women cry, become lethargic, and talk obsessively about their despair. Men express their sadness by obsessively drinking and/or drugging, driving too fast or hunkering down to watch TV. Men are also 2.5 times more likely to kill themselves when rejected in love.

6. Men Don’t Seek Real Intimacy: UNTRUE

Americans commonly believe that only women derive intimacy from talking about the relationship, and only men derive intimacy with a partner by doing something together. Neither is true. In a 2010 study of intimacy, done with a sample of 4,876 individuals, 95% of both men and women regarded it as particularly intimate when they talked about the relationship; and 95% of both sexes also regarded it as particularly intimate when they went on an adventure together. Moreover, both sexes are turning away from the standard reasons for marriage (such as financial stability, children, religious similarity and to fulfill kinship and community responsibilities) and, instead, are looking for close companionship based on a highly personal connection. In a 2011 study of 5,200 individuals, the top traits both sexes sought in a mate were someone whom they could trust and confide in and someone who respected them. For men as well as women, self-fulfillment is triumphing over societal and family requirements.

7. Men Only Want Younger, Less-Educated Women: UNTRUE

Today men are much more likely to seek women who are closer to their own age, with the same level of education and the same earning potential. Moreover, in a 2011 sample of 5,200 single Americans, only 20% of men (as opposed to 29% of women) said they “must have” or regarded it as “very important” to have a partner of the same ethnic background; and 17% of men (as opposed to 28% of women) said they “must have” or regarded it as “very important” to have a partner of the same religious background; 23% of men had also dated a woman 10 or more years older than themselves.

8. Men Focus On Sex In a Relationship: UNTRUE

A representative American sample of singles were asked, “Would you have a committed relationship with someone who offers everything you are looking for but whom you don’t find sexual attractive.” More men than women replied “yes.” They believed that shared interests and goals were more important than sex. When asked “How intimate is having sex in a relationship,” 89% of both sexes agreed that it was “extremely intimate” or “very intimate.” In another 2011 study (done by the Microsoft Network), of 32,248 single and married men and women, men (as well as women) agreed that the personality traits of a partner were more important than their physical traits. Looking at the results of these studies, women need to be aware that some of their assumptions about men are, well, wrong. And, guys, if you’ve been feeling that women don’t really understand you, you’re right.

Originally published on manofthehouse.com

Helen Fisher

Helen E. Fisher, PhD biological anthropologist, is a Research Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Rutgers University. She has written five books on the evolution and future of human sexuality, monogamy, adultery and divorce, gender differences in the brain, the chemistry of romantic love, and most recently, human personality types and why we fall in love with one person rather than another.

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