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27 August 2008
What men (really) want
by George Atkinson

Contrary to cultural stereotypes, men interviewed in a new Kinsey Institute study reported that being seen as honorable, self-reliant and respected was more important than being seen as attractive, sexually active or successful with women.

Published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, the study included interviews with more than 27,000 randomly selected men from North America, South America and Europe. Regardless of age or nationality, the men ranked good health, harmonious family life and good relationships with their wife or partner as more important to their quality of life than material, self-fulfilling or purely sexual concerns.

Key findings from the study included:

  • Being seen as honorable was considered the most important quality in the construct of masculinity.
  • The experience of erectile dysfunction neither increased nor decreased the importance men placed on having an active sex life or having success with women, although men with erectile dysfunction reported less satisfaction with their sex lives.
  • "Being seen as a man of honor," was cited as the most important attribute of masculine identity in Spain, Brazil, Mexico, United States and France, while "being in control of your own life" was the most important in Germany, the United Kingdom and Italy.
  • Nearly all the men interviewed valued couple relationships over purely sexual pleasure.

"Many meanings, positive and negative, are attached to the term, 'masculinity,'" said Julia Heiman, director of The Kinsey Institute at Indiana University. "To ask a large sample of men what comprises their own sense of masculinity is very useful for both the media and for research. These results suggest we should pay attention and ask rather than presume we know."

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Source: The Kinsey Institute at Indiana University

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