Whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or somewhere in between, you know firsthand that there are several differences between these personality types. Plus, based on a recent study, it turns out that these distinctions may also apply to sex.
During his TED talk, personality psychologist Brian Little discussed a study proposing that extroverts have more sex, on average, than introverts. Taking place in West Germany, the experiment used the Eysenck Personality Inventory (EPI) to figure out where participants fall on the personality spectrum. Then, they asked them about how much sex they have, with extroverted men saying 5.5 times a month and introverted men saying 3 times a month. As for extroverted women, they averaged 7.5 times a month whereas introverted women averaged 3 times a month (the same as introverted men, interestingly enough).
The main issue: there’s no way to tell if the participants were telling the truth (or if they were simply guessing instead of actually counting). Consequently, the results aren’t 100% accurate or comprehensive.
However, this study got us thinking and caused us to wonder: What are some specific things (some —not all!) introverts may experience when it comes to sex? Let’s discuss.
1. Initiating isn’t always a piece of cake.
“[Introverts] might let friends or activities pick us, rather than extending our own invitations.” states Sophia Dembling, author of The Introvert’s Way. The same can apply to initiating sex, especially since introverts often prefer to think about it for awhile before they speak (or initiate).
2. Casual sex is sometimes a no-go.
Many introverts thrive on genuine, longterm connections with fellow human beings, which typically isn’t synonymous with casual sex. In other words, according to Dembling, introverts “like to jump into the deep end.” Rather than devoting their time and social energy to someone they’re never going to see again, introverts commonly favor being around those they’ve cultivated an intimate, personal relationship with.
3. Sex is not only physically exhausting, it’s mentally exhausting.
“Extroverts don’t have the same internal talking as we do,” explains Dr. Olsen Laney. “Most introverts need to think first and talk later.” When it comes to sex, this means that introverts are observing and dissecting everything that’s going on, which is just as tiring as the physical act itself.
4. Being away from your safe space is tough.
While extroverts are habitually reinvigorated when they’re in social situations, the opposite is true for introverts. That’s why many introverts have some form of a safe space, a place they can go to when they need time to reenergize. That’s also why leaving this space (i.e. sleeping over at someone else’s home) can be a terrifying thought.
5. Sharing your safe space can be even more of a challenge.
Speaking of safe spaces, letting someone in can be its very own obstacle. Sex is an intimate act. So is sharing your safe haven with someone else. When you combine these two things together, sex can become… complicated (especially if your safe space is your bedroom).
6. Talking about sex is hard.
As Dr. Laney said, introverts often have an inner monologue going at all times. As for translating that mental speech into actual words? It’s basically like climbing a mountain. With that being said, sex can be hard to talk about for introverts, especially since such a discussion may involve a ton of small talk:
“Let’s clear one thing up: Introverts do not hate small talk because we dislike people,” reveals Laurie Helgoe, author of Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength. “We hate small talk because we hate the barrier it creates between people.”
7. You don’t want to have sex when you’re socially drained.
If you’re an introvert, you know that being out and about will sometimes leave you feeling tuckered out. Moreover, you probably want to detach yourself from the outside world for some “me time.” One of the last things you want to do when you’re feeling this way? Have sex.
8. Intimacy beforehand is key.
Little states, “Extroverts like to stand close, make eye contact, have a mutual gaze. When an extrovert meets [someone named] Charles, it rapidly becomes Charlie, Chuck, and Chuckles Baby. Introverts stay with Charles until they’re given a pass to be more intimate.”
Essentially, this means that foreplay can be a beautiful thing when it helps make an introvert feel comfortable leading up to sex.
9. Silence after sex isn’t weird.
Dembling mentions that introverts often seek out a quiet environment when they need to recharge their social batteries. While silence after sex may seem awkward to some, introverts ordinarily relish in such a moment, since it allows them to restore their energy (and to process everything that just happened).
10. You want your partner to be as observant as you.
Aside from being known as great listeners, introverts also excel in one other area: “Introverts may prefer one-on-one interaction … we might enjoy large parties but want to sit and watch the action from the sidelines,” says Dembling. “Extroverts may interpret this as not wanting to have fun, but this observation is fun for an introvert.”
Since responding to your partner’s needs is an important part of sex, introverts may feel as though they’re working harder than their partner in this area – especially if they aren’t a fellow introvert.
11. You may get distracted.
When they’re stimulated, introverts tend to become easily distracted – especially since there’s so much for them to take in, observe, and think about.
“Extroverts are commonly found to be more easily bored than introverts on monotonous tasks, probably because they require and thrive on high levels of stimulation,” wrote Clark University researchers. “In contrast, introverts are more easily distracted than extroverts and, hence, prefer relatively unstimulating environments.” (And sex isn’t exactly… unstimulating.)
While these sex-related statements may not apply to all introverts – since each one of us is a unique human being with our own individualistic personality to boot – it is interesting to think about how sex and personality intermingle. Most importantly, no matter what your personality type, sex should be enjoyable, comfortable, and all about consent.