Bucknell Study Confirms Women Want Intimacy While Men Want Sexual Access

Joel Wade

Study Finds Both Genders Desire Emotional Accessibility in Long-Term Relationships

LEWISBURG, Pa. — A new Bucknell University study confirms a common belief in relationships — women desire emotional intimacy from their partner, while men desire sexual accessibility.

Led by Bucknell psychology professor T. Joel Wade (above), the study from an online survey of nearly 200 adults (ages 17-56) was published online this week by Frontiers in Psychology. It reports that men may be less likely to maintain relationships with women who have low sex drive, are prudish, or are otherwise disinterested in sex with them. By comparison, women may have a lower threshold for a partner’s emotional inaccessibility, particularly in long-term relationships.

“Since research has shown us that women typically desire a larger parental investment from their male partners, they also desire a long-term commitment and interpersonal investment and love are facilitated by emotional intimacy,” Wade said. “Therefore, a male partner’s willingness to share his feelings and show his love and commitment is very important to women.”

The study also found that emotional accessibility was more important than sexual accessibility to both partners in long-term relationships.

“These results are consistent with our prior work showing that men and women rate emotional commitment tactics as most effective for achieving reconciliation after romantic conflict,” Wade said. “Likewise, we’ve found that men and women, overall, rate love acts that show emotional commitment as most effective for expressing love within a long-term relationship. Therefore, emotional accessibility may be more important overall as long as partner commitment shows benefits for both partners.”

Justin K. Mogilski, a former Bucknell psychology graduate student of Wade’s who recently completed his doctoral degree at Oakland University, co-authored the study.

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