London - This may come as little surprise to the female of the species – but it seems men are less likely to say “Not tonight dear”.
A study has found that even when in pain, men are interested in sex. Women, on the other hand, would rather take to their sickbed.
The researchers studied mice, but said the results could explain why the very human saying “Not tonight dear, I have a headache” is frequently attributed to the fairer sex.
In one of the first studies of its kind, Canadian scientists put male and female mice on opposite sides of a partitioned cage.
The divider contained holes too small for the males to squeeze through but just big enough for the females to make their way to the male area – and back again when necessary. The results were “very striking”, with the females spending less time on the male side when in pain. Even something such as a sore cheek dramatically depressed their desire.
In contrast, males given free access to females behaved the same whether in pain or not, the Journal of Neuroscience reports.
Researcher Jeffery Mogil, of McGill University in Montreal, said it has long been known that women’s desire is more “context dependent” than men’s, but it wasn’t clear if this was due to biology or upbringing. The finding in mice “strongly suggests” there is a biological underpinning.
Dr Mogil said it wasn’t known if a women’s libido is more affected by pain.
But if it is, it could be nature’s way of stopping them from getting pregnant and taking on the responsibility of raising a child while they are ill.
Men, in contrast, have no such worries.
Dr Mogil, who has previously shown that redheads are better at coping with pain than blondes or brunettes, said: “For males, once conception is over, their work is done.”
It is hoped the research will lead to a better understanding of why migraine sufferers, people with arthritis and others in chronic pain often lose interest in sex. - Daily Mail