While it’s the most natural thing in the world, and the reason why we’re all here alive and kicking, sex sure can be complicated. As anyone who has had ever dabbled in the horizontal jog will attest to, you’re not guaranteed to get off, each and every time, and regardless of how attracted you are to your current partner, you’re not always going to be in the mood.
A recent study published in BMK Open analysed data from a sample study taken between 2010 and 2012 that quizzed people on their sex lives. The study included 4,839 men and 6,669 women between the ages of 16 and 74 years old, who had at least one sexual experience in the last year. And the findings have certainly shone a light on why people start to lose their sex drives.
Researchers discovered that 15 per cent of men and over 34 per cent of women reported a lack of interest in sex. As could be expected, they found that loss of libido was related to age, as well as physical and mental health in both sexes. It was also more prevalent in men and women who had experienced sexual assault in the past, or had been previously diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection.
Likewise, both parties were less likely to be in the mood if they’d faced sexual issues in the past year, or didn’t feel emotionally close, or able to talk about sex with their partner.
Perhaps most surprising, however, is the large discrepancy between men and women; women are over twice as likely as men to not be in the mood for sex.
Conductors of the study discovered that the sexual gender gap was most often seen in people who had been in a relationship for upwards of a year. In these instances, women were likely to not share the same level of interest in sex as their partner.
Now, this will not come as a surprise to many. It’s natural to not have the same level of desire for your significant other after you have been together for an extended length of time. However, researchers went on to affirm just how important it is to keep the spark alive in long-term relationships. I mean, sex is proven to be good for you, after all!
Ramani Durvasula, PhD and author of Should I Stay or Should I Go? states that “Sex doesn’t have to be all candles and foreplay. Sometimes it can make it more playful within the time frame”. She adds that things such as hand-holding, cuddling and just touching each other can help build the kind of intimacy that naturally translates to the bedroom.
It’s also important to talk to your partner if you feel that your libido has been lower than usual, as it could be down to something as innocuous as increased working hours and stress. But in any case, maintaining open lines of communication is paramount to solving the issue at hand.And if everything else fails, Durvasula advises trying couples therapy, “Find out if the mismatched sexual interest is time and stress or something more sinister,” she said.