If you were to be asked, "Over the last month, how interested were you in sex?" What would be your response?
According to a Duke University team led by Kevin Weinfurt, who ran a 30-day study with 202 people (101 men and 101 women) who were in a sexual relationship. They found that your answer to the above question is likely to be inflated, especially if you’re male.
People, particularly male people it seems, remember being a lot more interested in sex (after the fact) than they were in the moment.
You can get the gist of the study from the abstract below (no open access options that I could find).
Weinfurt KP, Lin L, Dombeck CB, Broderick JE, Snyder DC, Williams MS, Fawzy MR, and Flynn KE. (2013, Jun 26). Accuracy of 30-day recall for components of sexual function and the moderating effects of gender and mood. Journal of Sexual Medicine; doi: 10.1111/jsm.12225. [Epub ahead of print]
Accuracy of 30-Day Recall for Components of Sexual Function and the Moderating Effects of Gender and Mood
Weinfurt KP, Lin L, Dombeck CB, Broderick JE, Snyder DC, Williams MS, Fawzy MR, Flynn KE.
Despite the ubiquity of 1-month recall periods for measures of sexual function, there is limited evidence for how well recalled responses correspond to individuals' actual daily experiences.
To characterize the correspondence between daily sexual experiences and 1-month recall of those experiences.
Following a baseline assessment of sexual functioning, health, and demographic characteristics, 202 adults from the general population (101 women, 101 men) were recruited to complete daily assessments of their sexual function online for 30 days and a single recall measure of sexual function at day 30.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:
At the baseline and 30-day follow-ups, participants answered items asking about sexual satisfaction, sexual activities, interest, interfering factors, orgasm, sexual functioning, and use of therapeutic aids during the previous 30 days. Participants also completed a measure of positive and negative affect at follow-up. The main outcome measures were agreement between the daily and 1-month recall versions of the sexual function items.
Accuracy of recall varied depending on the item and on the gender and mood of the respondent. Recall was better (low bias and higher correlations) for sexual activities, vaginal discomfort, erectile function, and more frequently used therapeutic aids. Recall was poorer for interest, affectionate behaviors (e.g., kissing), and orgasm-related items. Men more than women overestimated frequency of interest and masturbation. Concurrent mood was related to over- or underreporting for six items addressing the frequency of masturbation and vaginal intercourse, erectile function, and orgasm.
A 1-month recall period seems acceptable for many aspects of sexual function in this population, but recall for some items was poor. Researchers should be aware that concurrent mood can have a powerful biasing effect on reports of sexual function.