Study: Sleep Deprivation Impairs Men's Sexual Judgment

We already know that it's best not to drive or take exams while sleep deprived. Now, a new study also suggests that trying to have sleepy sex is also a bad idea too—especially if you're a man.

The recent study out of Hendrix College found, basically, that men are worse at reading what women want when they're tired.

Here's how it went: First, subjects rated their level of agreement with a series on statements about sexual interest, sexual intent, commitment interest and commitment aversion. An example of a question was, "When a woman goes out to a bar, how likely is it that she is interested in finding someone to have sex with that night?" The questions were meant to gauge the men's sense of how interested in sex a woman might be, ie, sexual judgement.

Then, 60 college students (male and female) were subjected to a single night of sleep deprivation. Then they answered the series of questions again.

What they found is that when men were deprived of sleep, their rating of a woman's sexual intent on the questionare increased significantly from a score of 13.5 to 17.55. Women, for their part, were unaffected by the sleep deprivation when it came to sexual judgement.

Why? "We really don't know," the study's author, Dr. Jennifer Peszka said.

"The literature suggests that women are looking for different things when dating and mating, while men are always looking for sex. Because women are making bigger decisions that are more important to them, they may be making instinctive decisions rather than cognitive ones. But this is just a hypothesis."

The study may reveal more than just why (constantly sleep-deprived) college boys tend to not be the best when it comes to making judgments about women in general. The fact that women were not affected reveals a possible distinct difference in what part of the brain women use when they make decisions about sex.

But ladies, it's probably still a bad idea to get no sleep before a final exam or getting on the highway. You still need your frontal lobe for that.

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