A new study finds that women have higher satisfaction levels in their committed relationships when men underestimate their sexual desire.
In the study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 48 heterosexual couples in Canada who were married or cohabiting were given a survey. The participants rated their own levels of sexual desire and the perceived levels of sexual desire in their partner every night. The responses revealed that the women had higher levels of desire for sex than their partners thought.
Contrary to what one might expect, the relationship satisfaction level was higher among women whose partner underestimated the amount of sex she wanted. Researchers believe that the reason for this is because these men who desire sex are motivated to work harder to get their partners’ interest.
However, lead author of the study Amy Muise explained to Complex that it’s also good to be on the same page when it comes to sex. She said:
“When people accurately perceive that their partner has high desire, these accurate perceptions are associated with greater relationship quality for both partners. It might be good to express to your partner when you have high desire.”
In past interpersonal relationship studies, men in non-committed relationships were found to have an overperception bias when analyzing the amount of sexual interest expressed by a potential partner. Women reported more false-positive errors from their suitors, meaning the men inferred the women had sexual interest when they didn’t.
The evolutionary theory suggests that men miss out less on sexual opportunities if they always infer positive interest. It’s better to overestimate and be wrong than to underestimate and miss out on reproductive opportunities.