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Feb 6, 2008

The 8 Biggest Myths about Men and Women

Are men really from Mars and women from Venus? Here, we explore the most common assumptions surrounding the sexes.

Men are obsessed with sports, cars, and the remote control. Women are hopeless romantics who can't do math. These are just a few common myths about men and women. Are they just gender stereotypes, or do they contain nuggets of truth?Some studies suggest there are, in fact, distinct differences between the sexes.
But according to other research, men and women may be more alike than we realize. Read on to find out what's fact and what's fiction.

The 4 Biggest Myths About Men

Myth 1: Men aren't as emotional as women.
Reality: A recent Vanderbilt University study suggests that men and women do, in fact, experience the same levels of sadness. Women are just more likely to reach for the box of tissues. As the lead researcher explained, it's not that women are more emotional than their male counterparts; they're just more likely to express those emotions.

Myth 2: Men don't like to communicate.
Reality: Men communicate differently than women, but that doesn't mean they’re uncommunicative. "For males, conversation is the way you negotiate your status in the group and keep people from pushing you around." This is in stark contrast, she notes, to females, who use conversation to negotiate closeness and intimacy.

Myth 3: Men think about sex constantly.
Reality: It's often said that men think about sex every seven seconds, but experts agree that this isn't true. According to the Kinsey Institute, only 54 percent of men think about sex every day or several times a day; 43 percent think about it a few times a month or week, while the remaining 4 percent thinks about sex less than once a month. Nevertheless, men do think about sex more than women (only 19 percent of women think about sex every day or several times a day, 67 percent a few times per month or a few times per week, and 14 percent less than once a month).

Myth 4: Men want to avoid marriage.
Reality: Men may be marrying at a later age, but the majority of them are still tying the knot. A 2002 U.S. Census Bureau study reported that more than half (51.3 percent) of men were married. Another U.S. Census article lists the median age of a first marriage in 2003 as 27.1, compared to 26.1 in 1990 and 24.7 in 1980.

The 4 Biggest Myths About Women

Myth 1: Women aren't good at math.
Reality: In a Lafayette College study, three groups of men and women were asked a separate series of questions prior to taking identical math tests. The women who answered questions about their achievement at a prestigious, liberal arts college performed significantly better on the math test than women who were asked whether they lived in a single-sex or coed dorm. The findings suggest that seemingly innocent questions activate male and female stereotypes—and may then go on to affect individual cognitive performance.

Myth 2: Women are bad drivers.
Reality: This age old-stereotype was brought to a screeching halt by researchers at Bradford University. Their study found that when it comes to tasks requiring mental flexibility, such as driving, women prevail. Women scored significantly better on a battery of tests that assessed skills such as spatial recognition memory, attention span, and motor control. The researchers believe that oestrogen, a hormone present in a woman's part of the brain responsible for motor skills, may be the contributing factor.

Myth 3: All women want children.
Reality: Some women choose to live life without children; this is an important topic to discuss before marriage. The National Center of Health Statistics confirms that the percentage of women of childbearing age who define themselves as voluntarily childless is on the rise. From 1982 to 1995 alone, the percentage of women say no to motherhood jumped from 2.4 to 6.6.

Myth 4: Women just want to get married.
Reality: Yes, for some women, a wedding ring is the ultimate goal. But with the divorce rate hovering around 40 percent, many women realize that tying the knot isn’t a guarantee of happily-ever-after—and are marrying later, if at all. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median age for a woman’s first marriage was 25.3 in 2003, as versus 23.9 in 1990 and 22 in 1980. In addition, a 2006 U.S. Census report stated that 51 percent of American women are unmarried, which includes those who are divorced, widowed, or never married at all.

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