Do men or women say 'I love you' first? - study

A new study revealed that despite common stereotypes, men are more likely to confess their love before women.

A couple kisses and holds each other in a cafe. (photo credit: PXHERE)
A couple kisses and holds each other in a cafe.
(photo credit: PXHERE)

A recent study published in the SAGE Journal of Social and Personal Relationships found that men are more likely to say "I love you" before women.

The study involved a total of 3,109 adults, the majority of whom were heterosexual women, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, France, Poland and the UK.

The participants were 71% women, 26% men, 1% non-binary, 3% did not disclose their gender, 85% heterosexual, 6% homosexual, 5% bisexual, 1% other, 3% did not disclose their sexuality.

Each participant completed a six-item questionnaire which asked them if they were describing a current relationship where both partners had said “I love you” at least once in the relationship or if they were describing their most recent past relationship where both partners confessed love at least once. 

Contrary to common stereotypes about the genders, the research showed that in six out of seven countries, with France being the only outlier, men were more likely to confess their love first.

 Wooden blocks spell out ''I love you.'' (credit: PXHERE)
Wooden blocks spell out ''I love you.'' (credit: PXHERE)

Chemistry and connection

Despite having strong feelings early on, most people did not actually say “I love you” until further along in a relationship. On average, men said “I love you” 107 days into the relationship for men while women first said “I love you” 122 days into a relationship.

The study showed that hearing their partner say those three words made most participants feel happy and more likely to share their feelings in return, although their personal attachment style influenced their responses.

People with an "avoidant" attachment style (physically and emotionally independent and keeping a distance in relationships) were less enthusiastic when told "I love you", while people with an "anxious" attachment style (preoccupied with their partner's responsiveness) were much happier and more satisfied.

Emotional connection is of course an integral part of any romantic relationship, and new research has shown that it is a key ingredient to having better sexual encounters in a relationship.

Another study, published in May of this year in the magazine Sexuality & Culture, stated that the three factors that contribute to a "great" sexual experience are emotional connection, chemistry, and climaxing.

The researchers also noted that many women prioritize an emotional connection over physical satisfaction alone.