There is a popular stereotype that men think about sex every seven seconds, which is absurd. Men take a break from thinking about sex every second seconds. That second is usually spent in quiet contemplation. Once that second if over, however, it’s right back to what all men always think about: hot sex. Hammering stuff with our pocket Mjolnir. Making the beast with two chests, because we’re feeling kinky.
Exploiting sexist stereotypes is a great way to make money, so I was greatly annoyed when I read that a recent study from Ohio State University used science to prove that, in fact, men think about more than sex. Those pioneering researchers are obviously intent on ruining the fun of those of us who employ sweeping gender generalities for fun and profit. What next, brainiacs? A study that proves women can drive? Groundbreaking research into whether or not brunch is fatal to men? How about proving that, in fact, women think about more than nagging, fashion and chocolate? A radical, paradigm-shifting scientific study that suggests there is evidence that supports a theory that women think about sex. A lot.
I am no scientist, but I’m going to go ahead and call this study junk. Human behavior is fascinating and deserving of intense scientific inquiry. But debunking sexist urban legends? Really, science? Yes, the whole “men think about sex every seven seconds” thing is sexist. It’s an insult to both men and women, really. This cliché just reinforces old gender norms. Men are sexual Neanderthals. Women are defined by their virtue, which is to say, their precious virginity, which once upon a time was nothing more than currency. The idea that men are prisoners of their sexual desires is one that plays to a prejudice that serves to keep us all just behaving in boring and predictable ways. Of course men don’t think about sex every minute of the day.
One of the hilarious conclusions out of Ohio State is that men think about food and sleep as well as sex, which is great news, because that explains why I’m not dead. Here’s some news: when two people are really into each other, when they can slip into each other’s skin and breathe with each other’s lungs and every soft touch turns every nerve ending into a little mouth that sighs, then they both think about sex, all the time, even when they’re asleep.
You want to know what men think about? Besides sex? We think about shoes. We think about geology, because we’re all standing on an ever-shifting, throbbing, boiling rock spinning around in circles. We think about Batman and money and if our boss respects our work. We think about gardening and war and our beer belly. Am I good enough? Will I succeed? Am I a good friend?
We think, a lot, about what you’re thinking. We think about the way you sleepily stretch into the space we leave in the bed when we get up, like the tide rushing to fill in a footprint. We think about how to make you laugh because your nose wrinkles up when we say something you think is really funny. We think about your dreams, and the words you whisper to us when ours get dented. On our commute in the morning we think about when we get to see you next. At work, we think about instant messaging you. When we’re out with our bros, having a brorgy, we think about busting balls, and buying beers, and what you’re doing. We think about whether or not we’re the men our fathers hoped we’d grow up to become. We think.
Follow John DeVore’s preening narcissism on Twitter.