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Do men prefer sex or food first? Here’s the surprising answer to this age-old question

It has been obvious to researchers for the last many years that men and women treat sex very differently in their minds. This has also given to highly prevalent sex myths that are mistaken as true over a long period. In general, men are more easily able to indulge in physical intimacy while women seek a higher level of emotional connect before engaging in sex. Over the course of thousands of years, we humans have evolved in a way that males played the role of a hunter / gatherer and the females played the role of the nurturer. Given this context, men seem to prefer quantity over quality with the aim of propagating their genes far and wide to ensure survival of their bloodline (imagine a world where you could be the next passing dinosaur’s meal), while women seem to prefer quality over quantity, so that their mate is strong and capable to provide for the family.

Suggested read: Are women more sexual than men?

Well, all of this mumbo-jumbo basically suggests that sex is a HUGE part of what goes on in men’s brains. There has even been a saying that men have only one thing on their mind – sex. Now, a study conducted by the University of Rochester Medical Centre claims to have the answer and the answer seems to suggest that men are helpless in this regard – the answer is hardwired in their brains!

men choose sex over food

A species of microscopic roundworms called C.elegans were observed in the study. The worms have two sexes – male and a self-fertilizing hermaphrodite organism. Neurons called AWA, which are linked to finding a partner and also hunger, were the focus of the researchers. The slimy creatures were put into a Petri dish and given food, and given the choice between eating or searching for a mate. Among the worms, some were genetically engineered to be more sensitive to the smell of food, and had their neurons tampered with.

Interestingly, the researchers found that normal male worms went in search of a mate, while abandoning their food source.

And the genetically mutated worms stayed close to the food source, being hungrier and less likely to hunt for a mate. The hermaphrodite worms just waited by their food source, and wouldn’t go out of their way to find another worm to mate.

The study was published in the scientific journal Current Biology, and points towards the fact that the male brain is hardwired to favor sex, suppressing their hunger.

Professor Douglas Portman from the Department of Biomedical Genetics and Center for Neural Development and Disease at the University of Rochester, who was involved in the study, said that the findings shed new light on genetic difference between sexes.

While we know that human behavior is influenced by numerous factors, including cultural and social norms, these findings point to basic biological mechanisms that may not only help explain some differences in behavior between males and females, but why different sexes may be more susceptible to certain neurological disorders.

sex over food

“These findings show that by tuning the properties of a single cell, we can change behavior,” Professor Portman said. “This adds to a growing body of evidence that sex-specific regulation of gene expression may play an important role in neural plasticity and, consequently, influence differences in behaviors – and in disease susceptibility – between the sexes.”

Although the study was conducted on microscopic roundworms, many previous discoveries made by observing C.elegans apply throughout other animals.

In essence, the study proves that males are hardwired to seek sex over food. Tell us what you think!

Chaitra Ramalingegowda

Chaitra Ramalingegowda

I fell in love with storytelling long before I knew what it was. Love well written stories, writing with passion, baking lip-smacking-finger-licking chocolate cakes, engaging movies, and home-cooked food. A true work-in-progress and a believer in the idiom 'all those who wander are not lost'. Twitter: @ChaitraRlg