You may have heard the oft-repeated claim that "men think about sex every seven seconds." Considering what I know about many of the men I encounter in everyday life (i.e., that they're very horny), this is almost plausible. But where does the seven second claim come from? And is it accurate? In short: from flawed studies, and no.
Researchers have trouble accurately determining how people spend their time, because sampling methods tend to interfere with the results. A team from Ohio State University asked participants to carry a clicker and press it every time they thought of sex, food, or sleep. Even the most prolific sex clicker clicked fewer than 400 times per day, indicating that he thought about sex (allegedly) less than every two waking minutes. But even just giving people the clicker may cause them to think differently than they normally would. And anyways, the male participants thought more about all of their needs than women, including sleep and food.
It may work better for researchers to give participants phones and text to check in with them throughout the day, to ask what the participants thought about in the previous brief period of time. A research team from the University of Chicago did just that, and they found that while people do think about sex occasionallyhttp: , especially towards the end of the day, that we think about other, non-sex things even more – "food, sleep, personal hygiene, social contact, time off, and... coffee."
At the end of the day, while there's plenty of evidence suggesting that in general men do really have stronger sex drives than women, it's nowhere near every-seven-seconds strong. Oh, and while we're at it, how about the statistic that fish have memories only a few seconds long? That one's false too — fish can actually remember things for months. Brains are complicated and difficult to study, even fishy ones. So don't believe everything you hear!