Sex­ual in­ter­est has a sell-by date

The Star Early Edition - - OPINION & ANALYSIS -

FORGET the seven-year itch – re­searchers claim it takes just a year for women to lose their pas­sion in a re­la­tion­ship.

Their in­ter­est in sex tends to die down af­ter a year liv­ing with the same part­ner, ac­cord­ing to the largest study of sex­ual habits in the UK.

Af­ter 12 months, sex­ual ap­a­thy among women quadru­ples, re­searchers at Southamp­ton Univer­sity dis­cov­ered. The feel­ing, how­ever, is one-sided. Men are in­ter­ested in sex no mat­ter how long they have been in a re­la­tion­ship. The find­ings, pub­lished in the third Na­tional Sur­vey of Sex­ual At­ti­tudes and Lifestyles, of­fer stark ev­i­dence that men and women view sex in very dif­fer­ent ways.

Re­searchers from Southamp­ton, Glas­gow and Univer­sity Col­lege London in­ter­viewed 6 669 women and 4 839 men aged be­tween 16 and 74 who re­ported hav­ing at least one sex­ual part­ner in the last year. Over­all, 34% of women and 15% of men said they lacked in­ter­est in sex.

Half of these, 62% women and 53% men, said they were dis­tressed by their lack of in­ter­est in sex. And while in­ter­est in sex among women de­clined sig­nif­i­cantly with age, male sex-drive seemed to fall far more grad­u­ally, with men found to stay in­ter­ested well into their 70s.

The re­searchers, whose work was pub­lished in the med­i­cal jour­nal BMJ Open, found that talk­ing openly about sex could help. Those who al­ways found it easy to talk about sex with their part­ner tended to have a bet­ter sex life. This was true for men as well as women.

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