Contradicting the popular belief that men are obsessed with the thoughts of sex, a new study has found that men think about sex only 19 times per day.

The study is published in the Journal of Sex Research. Terri Fisher, a psychology professor at Ohio State University, was the lead author of the study. Fisher, who teaches courses in human sexuality, conducted the research with her students, Zachary Moore and Mary-Jo Pittenger.

One popular misconception is that men's thoughts turn to sex every seven seconds, says Fisher. But Fisher's data suggests that men really only think about sex on average 19 times a day, which is not that different from women who think about sex about 10 times each day.

Fisher said that the variation in figures showed frequency of sexual thoughts was related to a number of factors other than gender. It's amazing the way people will spout off these fake statistics that men think about sex nearly constantly and so much more often than women do, she said.

When a man hears a statement like that, he might think there's something wrong with him because he's not spending that much time thinking about sexuality. But there's really no good reason that our society should have believed that men are thinking so much more about sex than women, she added.

The 163 women and 120 men surveyed were all students at Ohio State University and were aged between 18 and 25. Male participants recorded between one and 388 daily thoughts about sex, compared to the range of female thoughts about sex of between one and 140 times per day.

The researchers found that men also thought more about food and sleep than women. Eating entered their heads 18 times a day on an average and they thought of sleep 11 times. For women, eating cropped up 15 times a day and sleep just 8.5 times.