Sexual peak: Socially shared cognitions about desire, frequency, and satisfaction in men and women

Alicia Barr, Angela Bryan, Douglas T. Kenrick

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

13 Scopus citations


Is a man's sexual peak earlier than a woman's? Three studies were conducted to examine (a) whether the perception that men achieve their sexual peak at a younger age than do women is shared across individuals of different ages and sexes, (b) whether sexual peak is defined differently for men and women, and (c) whether differences between definitions contribute to differences in the age at which men and women are perceived to reach sexual peak. Study 1 suggested that participants believed that females reach their sexual peak at an older age than do males. Study 2 indicated that the defining feature of sexual peak for males was sexual desire and for females was sexual satisfaction. Study 3 suggested that predictions of male sexual peak coincided with participants' predictions of male age of highest desire and frequency, but not satisfaction, and that female sexual peak coincided with participants' predictions of female age of highest satisfaction but not frequency or desire. Discussion focuses on potential reasons for differences between the perception of male and female sexuality, as well as the social and evolutionary importance of each of the dimensions of sexuality for both males and females.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-299
Number of pages13
JournalPersonal Relationships
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2002


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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