The seven-year itch doesn't look so bad now. A new study shows that our interest in our partners starts waning well before that time. Ludwig Maximilian University looked at 3,000 participants between the ages of 25 and 41, asking them to rate their sex lives and determine when they were the most sexually satisfied. It turns out that sexual satisfaction in relationships peaks at around the one-year mark. Which means that your one-year anniversary must have been hot. Claudia Schmiedeberg, who authored the study, pointed out the surprising finding that sexual satisfaction did not seem to vary in relation to the number or age(s) of children a couple has, which in previous research has shown to have a high impact on sex lives. Instead, the more decisive factor was arguments — more fighting was tied to less sex.
As The Telegraph points out, this is one in a long range of studies looking at sexuality and libido within relationships. There's a complex interconnectedness when it comes to sex, happiness, relationship satisfaction, life satisfaction, stress, and pretty much any other facet of life you can think of. So maybe The Telegraph is right to say "perhaps the Ludwig Maximilian study is simply the latest retort in the still raging, but ultimately unsolved argument about the complexities of sexual satisfaction." In other words: No, you're not doomed. But here are some other things science says about your sex life in a relationship.
1. No Matter How Much You Want Each Other, Chances Are It's Not At The Same Time
Anyone who's woken up next to a man knows that there's a very physical manifestation of their desire for morning sex, while women tend to prefer sex at night. But it's not a little difference — it actually can be pretty problematic. One study showed that 80 percent of couples had wanted sex at different times in the past month, and another showed this happened five days a week. Five out of seven days of wanting sex at different times is a big discrepancy!
2. Women With Lots Of Male Friends Are More Likely To Have A Lot Of Sex (With Their Partners)
OK, so this is a little weird. It's called sperm competition. According to one study of heterosexual couples featured in The Journal of Comparative Psychology, if a woman has a lot of male friends, her man will attempt to have more sex with her. And he might not even be aware that he's doing it — it's a subconscious perception of other men as threats, and an attempt to combat that threat. Just a reminder that we're all essentially cave people.
3. Sexual Incompatibility Isn't Necessarily A Dealbreaker
I think that everyone should be sexually satisfied, and that a lack of satisfaction can totally be a deal breaker. But that still leaves loads of room to meet in the middle, even if you're predisposed to wanting different amounts of sex, or sex at different times. A study by the University of Toronto Mississauga found that people are more likely to engage in sex (even when their desire was low) when they thought about how sex improved their relationship, because they expect they'll feel more satisfied with the sex overall. So basically, even if you're not really in the mood, if you realize the benefit to your relationship, then you'll enjoy the sex more. Then it's a great little cycle of enjoying sex more and your relationship getting better. Sounds good to me.
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