Do Women Really Lose Interest in Sex Over Time?

We've all heard plenty of hacky jokes made about the fact that women want to stop having sex after they've been in a relationship for a while, but men don't. Now there's some new research confirming that, in fact, there is a connection between the length of a relationship and the decline in a woman's desire for sex, but let's not abandon hope just yet.

The research was done by Sarah Murray and Robin Milhausen, both from the University of Guelph in Ontario. They surveyed 170 undergraduates who'd been in relationships that had lasted from one month to nine years. The subjects reported on their levels of "relationship satisfaction, sexual satisfaction and sexual desire." They scored desire using a model called the Female Sexual Function Index, which ranges from 1.2 to 6.0.

The participants were generally satisfied with their sex lives—and their relationships too. But women had lower levels of desire depending on how long they'd been in the relationship.

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.

That may not sound like a lot, but it does add up if you're together for years. The male desire held steady over the course of a relationship. If you're thinking about it in terms of the ol' evolutionary theory, then it would make sense that men have continual high desire and women taper off as they start to raise their kids. But that theory doesn't really make sense when you're talking about a study done on undergrads, who aren't typically starting families together. The sexual habits of college kids—even if they've been in a relationship for years—probably aren't going to match up with the sexual dynamic of an older couple who've been together for 20 years, have jobs, have children, etc. So, until we have some solid long term studies to go on, let's hold off on writing a plot line about a wife who cleverly but continually rebuffs her husbands advances into our imaginary sitcoms.

Why Women Lose Interest in Sex [LiveScience]

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