Sleep-Deprived Men May Misread Women’s Sexual Interest

C. Price

Written by: C. Price

C. Price

C. Price is part of DatingAdvice.com's content team. She writes advice articles, how-to guides, and studies — all relating to dating, relationships, love, sex, and more.

Edited by: Amber Brooks

Amber Brooks

Amber Brooks is the Editor-in-Chief at DatingAdvice.com. When she was growing up, her family teased her for being "boy crazy," but she preferred to think of herself as a budding dating expert. As an English major in college, Amber honed her communication skills to write clearly, knowledgeably, and passionately about a variety of subjects. Now with over 1,600 lifestyle articles to her name, Amber brings her tireless wit and relatable experiences to DatingAdvice.com.

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Fellas, have you been getting enough sleep lately? It could be important to your love life.

Academic research finds a single night of missed sleep can impair a man’s ability to discern how interested a woman is in having sex.

The study, which was led by Dr. Jennifer Peszka, involved 60 college-aged students who completed a survey about their sexual interest, sexual intent, commitment interest and commitment aversion.

The same study group repeated the survey the following day after being deprived of one night’s sleep.

Researchers discovered well-rested men and women rated the sexual intent of women as significantly lower than that of men.

“A night of missed sleep can impair a man’s

ability to discern how interested a woman is.”

However, following a night of no sleep, men’s perceptions had changed enough that women were no longer viewed as having lower sexual intent than men.

The authors said sleep deprivation brings on frontal lobe impairment, which is known to impact decision-making, moral reasoning and risk-taking.

“Our findings here are similar to those from studies using alcohol,” said Peszka, an associate professor of psychology at Hendrix College. “Sleep deprivation could have unexpected effects on perceptual experiences related to mating and dating that could lead people to engage in sexual decisions that they might otherwise not when they are well-rested.”

“Poor decision-making in these areas can lead to problems such as sexual harassment, unplanned pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and relationship conflicts, which are all factors that have serious medical, educational and economic implications for both the individual and for society,” she added.

Co-author Jennifer Penner, Ph.D., points out this is the first study to explore the role sleep deprivation plays on sexual decision-making.

In terms of other judgements made after missing sleep, the study found it had no significant affect on variables related to a serious emotional commitment.