The secret of male sexuality has, for centuries, eluded the best efforts of scientists - and the understanding of most women. Now Greek researchers have uncovered the basic truth; it's all about orgasms and how often men have them.
This conclusion follows a study of orgasm frequency - a reliable indicator of male sexual behaviour - among young soldiers at an Athens base. They were asked to recall the average number of orgasms they had had per week over a month.
To ensure answers were accurate and typical of the average European male, the men were told that "the total number of events rather than their mode of initiation" was the important factor. Masturbatory and spontaneous nocturnal orgasms were as relevant as those associated with intercourse.
Dr Christos Mantzoros of Harvard Medical School, who oversaw the study, said this instruction was necessary to safeguard the validity of the findings. Blood samples were taken and the levels of various hormones measured, and compared with how often the men reported orgasm.
The researchers found that one hormone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), previously discounted by scientists, was a potent indicator of orgasm frequency. The more of it men had in their blood, the more orgasms they reported and the more sexually active they were likely to be.
The scientists report in the British Medical Journal that the hormone determining sexual behaviour in healthy adults has not yet been identified. They conclude that "dihydrotestosterone which binds more avidly with the androgen [male hormone] receptor, is the most important and perhaps only important androgen in determining male sexual behaviour as reflected in the frequency of orgasms."
Leading article, page 18