Women have always been cast as the more affectionate sex. But new studies suggest it’s not as simple as women being keen to cuddle and men wanting more space.
Those old gender stereotypes are not the norm, suggests a recent survey of 2,000 British couples by the hotel chain Travelodge. Of the people polled, half said their sex life “would be better if we 'cuddled-up' more.” For the male respondents, 67 per cent wanted more cuddling in bed.
A number of psychologists and sociologists are questioning the idea that men and women are from different planets when it comes to relationship needs.
Terri Orbuch, a sociology professor at Oakland University, explains her marriage research to the Chicago Tribune.
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“When husbands reported that they did not get affective affirmation from their wives often, that couple was two times more likely to divorce over time.”
Surprisingly, the same could not be said for the wives. Affective affirmation – or the way you show your partner they’re cared for – was not as troubling for women when it was missing from the marriage.
The reason? In her study of 373 married couples for more than 25 years, Orbuch concludes women get a lot of their affective affirmation from other sources such as family members and friends. Men, however, rely more heavily on their partners for it.
Either way, both genders crave those little things that help make a person feel wanted. Some gestures that help include hugging, kissing, or even bringing your partner a cup of coffee.
Within a relationship, the expression of affection can take different forms for men and women.
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A study in the November issue of the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin looked into the coupledom of 168 married men and women in the U.S. over 13 years.
The University of Texas researchers found that showing affection wasn’t just something limited to the female domain – husbands were just as likely to show their love.
They also note some of the things women are more willing to do when they are in deeper love.
"Biting their tongues, letting men initiate sex more often, showing a willingness to allow men to assert themselves a little more – this is what we saw when women were more in love," Elizabeth Schoenfeld, the study author, explains to U.S. News.
Men, however, were more likely to team up in with their partner, helping them with chores around the house or involving them in their hobbies and leisure pursuits.
So if your girlfriend’s wondering why you’re so eager to take her to a hockey game, you should suggest she sees the gesture as on par with a hug or a kiss.
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