Sex in the News: Relationship + Time = Decreasing Sex Drive

It’s a common comment made in romantic comedies. The longer you are in a relationship, the less you have sex. Turns out, according to a new study by researches at the University of Guelph in Ontario, women’s decreasing sex drive is to blame.

Yes, over time women lose interest in having sex. Men, on the other hand, don’t. Sarah Murray and Robin Milhausen surveyed 170 undergraduates (men and women) that had been in heterosexual relationships for at least one month. They asked participants to rank their relationship satisfaction, sexual satisfaction and sexual desire at the present point in their relationship. The researchers created a Female Sexual Function Index to rank desire from 1.2 to 6.0.

While most of the participants were satisfied with both their relationships and their sex lives, research showed the longer a women had been in a relationship, the less interest she had in getting it on. Sexual desire on the Index drops by 0.02 points each month. Though it is incremental, for people in long term relationships it does add up. Male sexual desire alternatively, remains steady throughout a relationship.

Researchers haven’t yet nailed the cause for the general decrease in desire among women. Some theories are that women’s attention turns towards raising children, decreasing their interest in sex. As they looked at university students, another theory emerged that younger women lose interest once the “honeymoon phase” of a relationship over. Yes, once a guy stops trying to impress a gal, she’s going to stop putting out.

The researchers hope that this information could help couples from losing the spark. They also found that women with realistic expectations about sex did not face the same decrease in desire.

So there you have it boys! If you want us ladies to keep getting it on with you, you might want to drop the whole “I’m going to blow your mind,” act and be realistic. Also, presents help.

Leah is in her final semester of her Bachelor of Journalism at Ryerson University in Toronto. She’s rounding out her degree as the Senior Online Editor for the Ryerson Review of Journalism. In her limited spare time she’s honing her cupcake making skills so she can one-day fulfill her dream of competing on Cupcake Wars. Follow her (and drool over her tasty treats) @ElleandBee.

[Image via altafulla/Shutterstock]



  1. Samantha says:

    The exact opposite thing happened in my longest relationship… and I can see why there are so many guys out there that are super frustrated when their wives/girlfriends stop having sex!!! My boyfriend just stopped being interested, and it SUCKED! Plus it just made me feel like he wasn't attracted to me anymore! (Never a good thing!)

  2. I don't really like the term "putting out" though. It's not like we're slutty eighth graders. These are women in relationships who should be having sex because they really really want to, not because it's a transaction for guys "impressing them" (or worse, for "presents")
    Overall, this pretty much overlooks female sexual drives as a real thing (which may decrease after the initial oh-my-god-you're-so-exciting-i-need-you-right-now element of the relationship has faded). Disappointing.

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  4. Garnet – Columbia University says:

    I don't want this to be true! And it doesn't seem to be true in my experience, but I guess the numbers don't lie…

  5. Lena says:

    I would like to know what exactly are considered "realistic expectations towards sex" so I can be prepared. And I agree with Clara, people should be having sex because they want to, not because of some strange reward system. Another thing I was thinking about is guys being concerned with only their pleasure in bed and not their partner, making it a chore for their girlfriend. Just an idea.

  6. Adria says:

    Hmmm… Well I hate to burst their bubble, but these results don't translate to all women. I'm in a three year relationship, and I swear I am constantly horny and wanting to get it on. My boyfriend hasn't lost the desire, but he's stretched thin with time and energy, so finding a moment when he's available and not exhausted can be difficult. Which means some days I feel deprived. Again, not really his fault, but was my point was that there ARE relationships where the girl wants it more than the guy, that SHE may be the one whose libido remains constant, while her partner get preoccupied with work. Just saying…. such women do exist lol.

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