Wise Guys: Who Has to Work Harder During Sex, Men or Women?

photo via Flickr

Advice from three of EM & LO‘s guy friends. This week a straight woman asks, “Who has to work harder during sex: men or women? Why?”

Straight Single Guy (Tyler Barnett): I know for a fact men have to work harder just to have sex in the first place. you can see tons of examples of men working it, burning those calories at sites like 18 twink xxx. As for who is burning more calories during the deed, it is going to depend on several factors, including but not limited to: Position (Missionary has the him controlling most of the motion but something a bit more advanced, such as Reverse Cowgirl, can be quite exhausting for her); Time of day (morning sex might have either person working harder, especially if one partner is still sleeping); Physical capabilities (if she is a jazzercise instructor and he is a professional couch potato, she most likely will be steering the ship). I think it’s nice to alternate positions based on degree of difficulty to make sure everyone is feeling that deep burn.

Straight Married Guy (James Glazebrook): Not a good question to ask a married man – when it comes to sex, my wife and I are equally lazy. From what I remember from my time “in the saddle”, sex can be as energetic (or otherwise) as you desire, regardless of your gender. Of course, the traditional approach required more effort from the man, rutting away in the missionary position until sowing his seed in his mistress’ fertile loins. But in these liberated post-SATC times, sexual roles – and positions – are negotiable, so whoever wants to take the lead is free to. As long as someone can be bothered…

Gay Single Guy (Jay Dyckman): No one ever says “wait ‘til my labia is fully erect” or “can’t get your clitoris up?” before sex. A hard penis means working hard. Men, hands down.

Our “wise guys” are a rotating group of contributors, some of whom wish to remain anonymous and some of whom like the attention. This week’s Straight Married Guy is James Glazebrook, a British writer/illustrator working in Berlin with his photographer wife on their cool blog, Überlin; our Gay Guy is Jay Dyckman, an LA copywriter; and our Single Straight Guy is Tyler Barnett of Tyler Barnett PR in LA. To ask the guys your own question, click here.


  1. KMD – you’ve never been woken gently by a horny partner and slipped gently into morning sex? trust me, it’s a damn good way to start the day.. :0)

  2. “especially if one partner is still sleeping”…um, I´m sorry, but what you´re lightheartedly joshing (at least, I hope you’re not serious) about would qualify as rape in most people´s book. Ha bloody ha.

  3. As Melissa points out, women have a mental aspect to being ready for sex. It’s hard when a man is ready in 5 seconds for sex but it’s said to take the female mind and body 20 minutes to be fully warmed up for sex. I think who does more work solely depends on the position used and as for getting some, I think women have to work harder at finding a guy to have sex with. It’s assumed in the above comments that the man has no problem with getting an erection but that isn’t always the case.. Performance anxiety for both sexes is becoming a major problem nowadays. I see a lot of sexist comments above, from both women and men. It’s not only moms who stay home to watch the kids, it’s not only men who have to find someone willing to have sex, and I also must agree that while I do love having input from anyone and everyone, I do agree that having a gay man’s opinion really doesn’t work here as we’re talking about women/men sexual relationships.

  4. Well, I would simply put it as men (usually) have to work harder physically, whereas women generally have to work harder mentally (ex: to get/stay in the mood, etc)

  5. Must agree with the previous posters about gay guys answering questions about women’s sexuality. I’ve seen some of the most horrible, sex-negative answers from the gay “experts.” The worst of the worst was a question (I believe about female ejaculation) and the gay “wise” guy’s answer was “Ew.”

    Like any woman needs any more negative sexual messages about her body, her sex drive, her looks, etc.

  6. Hey guys, let me guess. By “woman”, as in “woman can have sex with anyone she wants” you really mean an able-bodied woman between maybe 17 and 40 years of age, fitting in a quite narrow range of body weight. And of course without any exhausting small children. So check your damned assumptions.

  7. As the saying goes, a woman can have sex with anyone she wants, whereas a man can have sex only with women who will let him.

    So I guess a woman has to do as much work fighting men off, as men have to do to succeed.

  8. I’ve got to agree with some commenters here, in that a gay guy answering a question about having sex with a woman tends toward uninformed answers. I’m always confused why Em and Lo include gay men in questions specifically about women or man-woman relationships. If it’s a more general question about relationships, then sure, I’m all for that. But specifically about women? That would be like me trying to answer a question about gay guys having sex. I have no firsthand experience with it, other than what I’ve seen onscreen.

    Not that I always agree with the straight guys either, but they do represent a portion of the men straight women are trying to date.

  9. Perhaps not, but “outdated notions of sexuality” does make someone a poor candidate for offering up advice on a modern sexuality website. That they are often also sexist is just an additional side dish on an already full course of crap.

    I’m not exactly sure what an “outdated notion of political correct-ness” would be. I mean, I get that you’re trying to use my words against me, but it really hasn’t worked here, since it is nonsensical.

    I haven’t tried to make myself an authority on sex from a man’s perspective; indeed, my biggest complaint here is that men are speaking to women’s sexuality using poor and misguided information. I’m certainly not going to do the same to them, except where I can do so on the foundation of scientific and academic studies on sexuality.

  10. lighten up Jess, “outdated notions of sexuality” doesnt make you a sexist OR a misogynist. Just like outdated notions of political correct-ness dont make you an authority on sex from a man’s perspective.

  11. I’m sorry, but I think this word “fact” doesn’t mean what you think it means. It might be helpful if you learned about human sexuality through something other than watching bad sitcoms and your own anecdotal evidence on how easily you can get laid.

    Here, let me help. Take a look here: http://www.marieclaire.co.uk/news/health/443123/why-women-want-more-sex-than-men.html

    Or here: http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200303/when-men-suffer-low-sex-drive

    If you keep an eye on psychological journals and counselling bulletins, you’ll see that the tides of sexual drive are changing and it’s thought that it is even more prevalent than previously thought, as men are so loathe to admit to anyone that they have lowered sex drives.

    If you add in the fact that in order for a woman to get laid, she needs to traverse difficult social mores and judgements, there is really not the difference that you seem to think.

  12. No, he’s right. You could always point to exceptions if you want to argue, but that doesn’t invalidate the larger trend: men must work harder to get laid in the first place. True fact.

  13. I thought that one of the pre-requisites of being a “Wise Guy” is that the guy not be sexist? So why is it that two articles in a row we are still getting men who vomit up these outdated notions of sexuality?

    Seriously, you know for a FACT that men have to work harder just to have sex, Straight Single Guy? SERIOUSLY? You’ve never in your life met a woman who is the initiator in the relationship? Never even fathomed the notion that there might be women out there who have to work pretty darn hard to get their men in the mood for sex? Ugh.

    And really, Gay Single Guy, you know a lot about a woman’s sexuality? You have a pretty good handle on what we need to get aroused? Awesome. You really seem to be super on top of the sexuality knowledge.

    Seriously, I don’t like you guys.

  14. sorry jay, i agree with dannie. i’m sure you were being funny and meant no harm, but ladies often times need to be seriously finessed. many a time has my vag been like ‘i know i have to be at work in 20 minutes, but i’ll need no fewer than 45 minutes before a penis is getting NEAR me!’ (thanks a lot, v.) i imagine there are quite a few others out there with high maintenance lady parts (and compromised job punctuality) as well. as for who works harder during intercourse.. in my experience it’s pretty simple: whoever is on top.

  15. I feel like a gay man should have no say in sexual intercourse with women. Sorry, Jay, you just don’t know enough about women or having sex with them. If the vulva isn’t engorged with blood, if juices aren’t flowing, the woman (typically) is not physically aroused–sound familiar (and actually, the clitoris becomes erect with arousal; huh.)? Note that the straight men here, even the misogynist who assumes that men always have higher libidos than women (which previous debates have viciously countered here already), acknowledge that whoever works harder/burns more calories depends on what’s going on, not on gender. Even in the missionary position, a woman can do a whole lot more than just lie there and stare at the ceiling–especially if she wants to have anything to do with having an orgasm. Seems kind of a no-brainer to me.

Comments are closed.