Recent Study Concludes Women Twice as Likely to Lose Interest in Sex vs. Men
A recent British study on adult attitudes towards sex concluded that women are twice as likely to lose interest in sex compared to men in a long-term relationship.1 There were 2 main reasons for the lack of interest, which were a perceived lack of closeness or emotional connection with their significant other, and also their declining health.
Sex-Study Looked at Thousands of Men and Women
The study itself looked at nearly 5,000 men and 7,000 women. This actually makes it one of the largest studies to look at sexual attitudes. The ages of the participants were from 16 to 74, and all had at least one sexual partner within the last year. The study was intended to uncover reasons that account for a loss of interest in sex, rather than simply using medications to treat issues of sexual desire. Of the participants, 15 percent of the men and 34 percent of the women had experienced a period of at least 3 months during which they had lost interest in sex, over the previous year. Women in relationships for longer than a year were significantly more likely to lose interest than women who were in relationships for shorter periods. Men seemed to have a fairly constant sex drive with time. Women who were living with their partners seemed to lose more interest than those living on their own. Peak ages of a loss in sexual interest was 35-44 in men, while it was almost 20 years later for women, 55-64.
Combination of Reasons as to why Women have a Low Interest in Sex
The later ages of a loss of interest was not attributable to menopause, however, young children in the house was a significant contributor of loss of interest in sex in women. The major reasons that women cited having a low interest in sex was a lack of emotional connection during sex, a lack of communication, and mental and physical health problems. A negative first sexual encounter was also associated with a shorter active and enjoyable sex life in women; guilt and other feelings regarding how they lost their virginity tended to cloud relationships. Three or more partners in a previous year was also associated with lower sexual interest. Those who were not happy in their relationship, both men and women, were less likely to have a good sex life, and subsequently lost interest.
Could Communication, or Lack Thereof, be the Culprit of Copulation Coldness?
Communication problems surrounding sex, differing levels of sexual interest, and not sharing sexual likes and dislikes were also important elements that contributed to women losing interest. This underlines the importance of relationship health and open communication first and foremost, before sexual problems are likely to be resolvable.
- Graham CA, Mercer CH, Tanton C, et al. What factors are associated with reporting lacking interest in sex and how do these vary by gender? Findings from the third British national survey of sexual attitudes and lifestyles. BMJ Open 2017;7:e016942. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-016942
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Node Smith, ND, is a naturopathic physician in Portland, OR and associate editor for NDNR. He has been instrumental in maintaining a firm connection to the philosophy and heritage of naturopathic medicine among the next generation of docs. He helped found the first multi-generational experiential retreat, which brings elders, alumni, and students together for a weekend camp-out where naturopathic medicine and medical philosophy are experienced in nature. Four years ago he helped found the non-profit, Association for Naturopathic ReVitalization (ANR), for which he serves as the board chairman. ANR has a mission to inspire health practitioners to embody the naturopathic principles through experiential education. Node also has a firm belief that the next era of naturopathic medicine will see a resurgence of in-patient facilities which use fasting, earthing, hydrotherapy and homeopathy to bring people back from chronic diseases of modern living; he is involved in numerous conversations and projects to bring about this vision.