How a woman's sex drive declines over time – and a man's stays as strong as ever
A happy, healthy relationship and sex life are all very well, but when it comes to measuring a woman's sexual desire, all scientists really need to know is how long a couple has been together.
Women's sex drives gradually ebb over time, say the authors of a new study, while a man's stays at around the same level.
In fact, on a desirability scale, women's yearnings decreased steadily with every passing month of a relationship, making it possible to gauge a woman's sex drive just by looking at a union's duration.
Sex drive: Women's sex drives gradually ebb over time, say the authors of a new study, while a man's stays at around the same level
The study, published last month by
the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, goes some way to addressing a
subject area that is relatively unchartered and yet – as many a couple may attest to – is believed to form a key part of relationships.
170 men's and women's desire levels were monitored and rated on the Female Sexual Function Index. Participants, all in heterosexual relationships ranging from one month to nine years in length, were all undergraduates at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, where the author's lead researcher, Sarah Murray, is based.
Ranging from 1.2 to 6.0, the scale quantifies sex drive so accurately that Ms Murray and her research partner Robin Milhausen found 'specifically, for each additional month women in this study were in a relationship with their partner, their sexual desire decreased by 0.02 on the Female Sexual Function Index'.
The findings were indicative enough to lead the authors to believe that relationship duration is a better predictor of sexual desire than satisfaction in bed or overall relationship health, reports Live Science.
'When an individual has had sex with
their partner over the course of many years, it takes creativity to keep things fresh and exciting'
The study contradicts some beliefs that both men's and women's sex drives decline over the months and years.
Instead, a sustained desire by men is thought to be driven by the evolutionary need for men to produce offspring while women turn their focus to child-rearing, says Live Science.
While hormone levels may play a role in both men's and women's desirability levels, the author cautions over-exaggerating their importance rather than acknowledging the place of 'satisfying, loving relationships' and having 'time to feel relaxed, playful and sexy', according to the science site.
The findings are hoped to help couples address different needs when it comes to the bedroom – and may make Ms Murray's valuation that 'when an individual has had sex with their partner over the course of many, many years, it takes creativity and openness to keep things fresh and exciting,' ring even truer.
She says it is 'crucial' to put effort into keeping things 'fun and interesting' in the bedroom.
There is one word of warning over the results, however, Ms Murray told the site: 'Men may be less inclined to admit that they have low desire as this is considered against male gender norms and masculinity'.