time with partner, more interest in sex
When it comes
to relationships, perhaps absence does make the heart grow fonder.
According to researchers, the less time a man spends with his
female partner after having sex, the more attractive he finds
her--and the greater his interest in having sex with her again.
This phenomenon may arise from an evolutionary strategy known
as "sperm competition," according to Todd K. Shackelford, an assistant
professor of psychology in the College of Liberal Arts at Florida
bottom line here is that we find (this) effect for men but not
for women," he said. Shackelford and his colleagues presented
the findings at the 107th Annual Convention of the American Psychological
While the investigators have since expanded their study to include
over 2,000 subjects, the initial data was based on assessing the
behavior of 304 German and American heterosexual men between 17
and 71 years of age. All the men were in committed sexual relationships
lasting anywhere from 1 month to 38 years.
The researchers presented the subjects with a questionnaire, in
which they were asked how many hours had passed since their last
intercourse with their partner, how many hours they had spent
with their partner since last intercourse, and feelings of attraction
towards their partner.
The team found that the less time the men spent with their partner
in the interval since their last encounter, the more attractive
he found her and the greater his interest in sex. Shackelford
and colleagues conclude that it is not simply a question of sexual
frustration or a pent-up drive for sex that motivates the man's
urges and feelings of attraction since their last encounter.
Shackelford's team believes this behavior may be rooted in a biological
concept called "sperm competition." Studied for over 30 years
among birds, insects and nonhuman primates, this evolutionary
theory poses that sperm competition occurs when the sperm of two
or more males simultaneously occupy the reproductive tract of
the female and must compete to fertilize the egg.
Shackelford noted that prior research has demonstrated that sperm
counts are higher in ejaculate the longer a man is apart from his
female partner--with sperm count leaping from 350 million when the
man has been with the woman 100% of the time to 800 million when
he has only seen her 5% of the time.