Moving In With Your Boyfriend Can Kill Your Sex Drive, Study Finds
A relationship changes when a couple moves in together. Some changes are good (i.e., cooking dinner together) while some of them aren’t so great for one or the other partner (i.e., toilet seat up). Now, there’s a new factor to consider: A team of researchers at the University of Southampton in the U.K. suggests living together and relationship duration can influence sexual desire in couples.
The study, published in the British Medical Journal Open, found both men and women lose interest in sex with time. For both sexes, poor physical and mental health, poor communication and a lack of emotional connection during sex can cause sexual desire to dwindle. Interestingly, women were twice as likely as men to lose interest in sex when living with their partner or while in a relationship lasting more than a year.
This finding confirms what most people already know: Women are more likely to lose interest in sex over time than men, but cohabitation and relationship duration are strong predictors of sexual desire among women. Similarly, a 2012 study in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy found the length of a relationship influenced a woman’s sex drive more than sexual satisfaction and satisfaction with the relationship. The researchers theorize this decrease occurs because, over time, the relationship moves from passionate love to compassionate love.
In the new study, the U.K. researchers noted that many of the women’s sexual turnoffs were linked to having children under 5 years old, and to giving birth in the last year.
“This may be due to fatigue associated with a primary caring role, the fact that daily stress appears to affect sexual functioning in women more than men or possibly a shift in focus of attention attendant on bringing up small children,” the authors wrote in the study.
This coincides with previous research that suggests sex drive decreases after pregnancy. In a study featured in the book Sexuality During and After Pregnancy, author E.L. Ryding found 20 percent of postpartum women had little interest in sex three months after pregnancy, and another 21 percent experienced a complete loss of sexual desire and sometimes an aversion to any kind of sexual activity. Women’s sex drives compete with the overwhelming fatigue of taking care of a newborn, so when a new mother gets a break from this physical attachment, sex could rank low in the list of priorities.