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Women are more than twice as likely as men to lose interest in sex in a long-term relationship, according to a new British study.
When asked about their sex lives, 15 percent of men and 34 percent of women surveyed revealed they had lost interest for three months or longer in the previous year. For men, this dip in libido was most common between the ages of 35 and 44, while for women it peaked between the ages of 55 and 64.
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So why are so many older women losing interest in sex? Apparently, it’s not an issue related to menopause, according to researchers from the University of Southampton and University College London. Instead, poor physical and mental health, a breakdown in communication, and an absence of emotional closeness are largely to blame.
Generally speaking, women are more likely to remain interested in sex if they are able to talk about it with their partner and able to share similar sexual likes and dislikes with their partner.
The findings, published in BMJ Open, are based on the experiences of about 4,800 men and 6,700 women ages 16 to 74 who had had at least one sexual partner in the previous year.
Cynthia Graham, the lead author of the study, said in a statement that the research shines a light on the factors that drive sexual behavior in both men and women.
“For women in particular, the quality and length of relationship and communication with their partners are important in their experience of sexual interest,” Graham said.
Coauthor Kirstin Mitchell added in a statement that a greater focus needs to be place on “open sexual communication,” noting the strong association between emotional intimacy and sexual satisfaction.
Another British study published this year found that about 1 in 10 sexually active women report finding sex painful, particularly women ages 55 to 64. That survey of nearly 7,000 sexually active women ages 16 to 74 also found a strong link between painful sex and other sexual problems, including vaginal dryness, anxiety during sex, and lack of sexual enjoyment.
Overcoming these challenges is important, as sexual intimacy may translate to better health.
Studies show that a regular sex life not only boosts your mood and improves your relationship, but it can also prolong your life.