Sex is a healthy thing, but according to a new study, women tend to lose interest in sex the longer they remain in a relationship. Alternatively, the same study concluded that men retain a consistent level of interest in sex over time. Could the findings of this study lend clues to solve some of the most common relationship issues between the sexes?
Not so fast. The study, conducted by Canadian researchers, surveyed 170 undergraduate heterosexual men and women in relationships ranging from one month to nine years about their levels of sexual satisfaction, levels of desire and more. The Female Sexual Function Index is a commonly used tool by researchers to report on women’s sexual health. It was used in this study to measure and record reported levels of sexual desire by participating women.
A major point concluded by the researchers was that relationship duration, more than sexual and relationship satisfaction, was the most accurate predictor of decreased desire among the women surveyed. In other words, the longer a woman is in a relationship, the less desire she feels for sex in the relationship.
While this study suggests some great points about female sexual desire that should be explored, there are major variables that were ignored; which may have offered additional reasons why sexual desire in women is lower in long-term monogamous relationships.
Women in same sex relationships
Researchers only analyzed heterosexual women in monogamous relationships. To have a more inclusive result, women in lesbian relationships spanning a similar or identical length of time as their heterosexual counterparts should have been surveyed as well. By eliminating the male element of the relationship, the study conductors may have found a different outcome about women’s sexual desire over time.
Women in non-monogamous relationships
While some women may be reluctant to self-report being in an open or otherwise alternative relationship, in order to get a comprehensive result, researchers would have been wise to include this group. Being in an open relationship gives one the freedom to date or form relationships with more than one partner. Studying women who are involved with more than one person for a consistent length of time would have given a glimpse into whether or not those women could sustain desire with one person over another. Food for thought.
Women, men and the everyday stress of life
Any woman reading this might think, “Bills, kids, dishes, work…who has time for sex anymore?” It’s usually true that with more responsibility comes less time for relaxation. Often when a woman find a free moment to herself, she prefers a quite space and a nap over sex. Having a supportive partner who can pick up the slack with everyday life duties can mean the difference between going to bed early out of exhaustion or hitting the bedroom early for some sexy time with your significant other. This study did not address the external factors (lack of support, financial woes, etc) that may lead women in long term relationships to desire sex less often.
Women don’t have to fear losing sexual desire once they say, “I do,” or otherwise commit to a long-term monogamous relationship. While researchers who performed this study concluded that women, in fact, do lose sexual desire the longer they are in a relationship, the reasons why are not explored fully. Couples can spice it up–schedule days for sex, hire a babysitter and have a date night, visit a hotel room–be creative! All of those suggestions can work wonders for helping a woman keep her sexual desire high.