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Arch Sex Behav. 2009 Feb;38(1):87-107. Epub 2007 Sep 13.

Physical women, emotional men: gender and sexual satisfaction in midlife.

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Department of Sociology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37235-1811, USA.


In late midlife, heterosexual women report markedly lower levels of sexual satisfaction than heterosexual men. This article explored the social factors contributing to this difference, using data from 1,035 sexually-active heterosexual adults, aged 40-59 years, who participated in the National Health and Social Life Survey (NHSLS). Conducted in 1992, NHSLS interviewed a nationally representative random sample of U.S. adults about diverse aspects of sexual life (Laumann et al., 1994, The social organization of sexuality: Sexual practices in the United States. Chicago: University of Chicago Press). Contrary to gender stereotypes, women's emotional satisfaction was closely associated with bodily sexual practices, whereas men's physical pleasure was linked to relational factors. Lower levels of sexual satisfaction at older ages appeared to stem from differences between the Baby Boom and older generations rather than from aging per se.

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