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 a dating and relationship expert who has penned over 1,800 lifestyle articles in the last decade, and she still never tires of interviewing dating professionals and featuring actionable advice for singles. She has been quoted by the Washington Times, Cosmopolitan, The New York Post, and AskMen.

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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.