How Many Times a Day Does a Man Think About Sex?

The idea that men think about sex every seven seconds is one of those myths that everyone believes and doesn’t question. In reality, sex crosses people’s minds far less often than that.

A study conducted by Ohio State University had 120 male and 163 female college students click a tally counter each time a sexual thought crossed their mind for a week. On average, men tallied 19 thoughts about sex and women tallied 10.

The myth

It’s a popular myth that men think about sex every seven seconds. It’s a stat that gets bounced around as e-mail-forward wisdom, and it can give horny guys an excuse to justify their promiscuous ways. But there’s a big problem with the claim: it’s just not true – This section was sourced from the website’s specialists

While the idea that men think about sex a lot is common, actual research has shown that the number of times men actually think about it is nowhere near as high as the figure commonly cited. In a 2011 study, researchers from Ohio State University used clickers to keep track of how often a sample of 283 college students thought about sex, food, and sleep during a week. On average, the men tallied 19 thoughts about sex each day, while women averaged 10.

There was also quite a bit of variability in the results. One male student tallied 388 daily thoughts about sex, while another female tallied 140. But on the whole, the men tended to ponder other things more than they did sex, with thoughts about sleep and food taking up the majority of their minds.

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Even the researchers who created this study were skeptical about the accuracy of the “every seven seconds” figure. They point out that it would be extremely difficult to count the number of times a person’s mind was occupied by sexual thoughts, especially when they were not consciously focusing on those thoughts.

The reality

The popular notion that men think about sex every seven seconds is more of an urban legend than a scientific truth. And though it’s true that men do think about sex more often than women, they don’t think about it as much as you might expect.

A recent study by researchers at Ohio State University set out to test the myth by letting participants count thoughts as they occurred. The study involved 283 college students who were given handheld tally counters to record when they had thoughts about food, sleep or sex. The researchers found that, on average, male students tallied 19 sexy thoughts per day—that’s far fewer than the myth suggests. However, it’s important to note that there was a lot of variability in the numbers, with one man recording 388 thoughts in a day.

Another study, this one performed by Wilhelm Hoffman and colleagues, involved giving adult volunteers smartphones that would ring at random times during the day. They were then asked to record what they were thinking about when the phone rang. Again, there was a lot of variation, but the results were similar to those from the Ohio State University study. Men thought about sex less than they did other topics, including food and sleep.

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Regardless of the frequency of their sexual thoughts, most men do not consider themselves to be “horny all the time,” as the saying goes. And that’s probably a good thing, because no one wants to be a sex-crazed pig.


A trigger is anything that reminds a person of a past trauma. It could be a smell, noise, feeling or sight. Many survivors find they are triggered by certain locations or social situations like going to the lake where their abuse happened, a particular holiday or a birthday. They may also be triggered by people or things related to a specific incident or abuse, like hearing a voice that reminds them of someone.

Other times, the triggers are less predictable. For example, a person recovering from anorexia may be triggered by seeing photos of very thin celebrities. Or, a person who is trying to stop their substance abuse may be triggered by seeing a bar or smelling alcohol. These types of triggers are often called cues and can cause a return of symptoms even years later.

It’s important to talk with a partner about sexual triggers. Create a “Yes/No/Maybe” list that can help you and your partner decide what is okay and what is off limits. This can help you avoid triggering each other in the future.

It’s also a good idea to learn about the causes of sexual triggers and how to handle them. A therapist can teach you techniques to manage and reduce the impact of your sexual triggers. These include cognitive behavioral therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy, which are both aimed at changing negative thoughts and behaviors.


Men may think about sex more often than women, but that doesn’t mean they think about it every seven seconds. In fact, the popular myth that men think about sex 8,000 times in 16 waking hours is utter bullshit. For starters, if that were true, you would have to have your brain scanned for the thoughts of sex to know exactly when and how often they happen. That wouldn’t be easy to do and would cost you a lot of money.

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Another thing to note about the 8,000-times-a-day theory is that it doesn’t take into account all of the other things that people think about. In reality, most of the time when you’re thinking about sex it is a combination of moments of flirting with the idea, fantasies and actual thoughts of the deed itself.

In a recent study, researchers asked participants to keep track of all the times they thought about different topics. They gave 283 college-age students handheld tally counters to record their thoughts about food, sleep and sex throughout the week. They also recorded what other subjects came to mind, such as their work and family life. The results showed that on average, young men think about sex 19 times a day. The subject crossed their minds less often than many other issues, including their personal hygiene, watching TV and accessing social media.

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