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Sex Talk

October 30, 2009

It has been widely reported in various news outlets that women are more verbose than men. One commonly cited popular statistic held that women spoke an average of 20,000 words a day versus a mere 7,000 for men. While those figures have since been discredited, a number of rigorous studies purport to show the differences between how, and how much, men and women talk.


15,699 13 3 278 2


16,215 14 2 406 0
Total words spoken per day Pronouns per 100 words “Ums,” “uhs,” and other fillers per 100 words Incidence of the word stem “love” Incidence of the word “horny”
A 2007 study of 186 men and 210 women found rough parity in the number of words uttered by each gender. While men and women used roughly the same number of pronouns, women used more first person pronouns, presumably because they tend to hedge their statements with phrases such as “I wonder if …” or “I guess …”. Uh, yeah. The same 2001 study found that men and women were equally likely to restart their sentences or repeat a word or two. In a paper published this year, Berkeley researchers analyzed the free text self-description portion of online dating profiles. They then teased out the ten most common words by category—in this case, sexual terms. In the same study, other top-ten sexual words included “ass,” which women used six times and men used only twice, and “kiss,” which women used three times, and men not at all.
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