A new British study has found that women and men use different mechanisms to cope with stress.
Women tend to raid the cupboard or fridge, while men go for sex.
The researchers analysed a survey of 115 men and 250 women who were questioned about the strategies they use to cope with stress.
They found that a majority of women chose comfort food, while less than a third of men chose comfort food.
The results showed that 27% of men chose sex and pornography and only 11% of women chose the same.
According to Daily Mail, men use sex as a distraction to escape from negative thoughts and women use food to lower their stress levels.
“For men, having sex is probably about dissociating from whatever troubles they are having at that particular time – it is escapism,” said Dr John Barry, from University College London.
“There are endorphins released during sex, so it provides a pleasurable feeling, which can act as a type of medication. It could be that men are just wired differently than women, they naturally have a higher libido so they fall back on this behaviour to cope.”
Louise Liddon, from Northumbria University, added: “Studies show a need to seek out fatty and sweet foods, which are related to the stress hormone cortisol, but we don't quite know why women do this more often.”
The second phase of the study where 20 experienced therapists were asked gender differences in people seeking help for their problems, found that men are less likely to seek psychological help.
Experts believe this to be because it is more about talking than finding practical solutions.
This study further found that men preferred group counselling which involved receiving advice about their concerns, while women preferred psychotherapy, where discussion focuses on feelings and past events.
“One of the interesting findings was that 80 per cent of the therapists showed a reluctance to talk directly about gender differences in the needs of their clients,” said Dr Barry.
“This could be due to the culture in academia, where discussions of gender similarities are more acceptable than discussions of gender differences.”
He concluded that if gender differences were taken into account then psychology might be more effective in treating men.