- The Washington Times - Friday, September 15, 2017

Twice the amount of women compared to men report losing interest in sex, especially if they have been in a relationship greater than one year and have lost interest in or preference for their partner, according to a new study published Friday in the British Medical Journal.

The study, led by researchers from the Center for Sexual Health Research at the University of Southampton, surveyed almost 5,000 men and almost 7,000 women aged 16 to 74 in the United Kingdom who reported one or more sexual partners over a one-year period.

Among the findings, researchers found that a lack of interest in sex typically appears at around three months in a relationship.

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“Overall,” the researchers wrote, “15 percent of men and 34.2 percent of women reported lacking interest in sex.”

Age and physical and mental health were all strongly associated with a lack of interest in sex for both men and women.

The objective of the study was to investigate factors associated with lacking interest in sex and how they vary by gender. An earlier survey had found that a lack of interest in sex was the most commonly reported reason for sexual difficulty among both men and women.

The researchers broke down their data by demographics, health, relationship and sexual behavior and sexual attitude variables for men and women.

Among demographics, for men only, having left school at the age of 16 or being unemployed was associated with less interest in sex. For women, less frequent religious practice led to less interest in sex.

Conversely, women who are students or are retired had more of an interest in sex.

Among health factors, “menopausal status in women and circumcision in men were not associated with the likelihood of lacking sexual interest,” the researchers wrote.

Women who had recently masturbated reported a greater interest in sex compared with men who reported to be less interested in sex, the study said.

A man’s interest in sex wasn’t contingent on the number of partners they had — having the same amount of interest with one partner or multiple partners. But women reported being more interested in sex when having multiple partners compared with only one partner.

Open communication between partners increased interest in sex for both genders, the researchers found, especially among people in long-term relationships.

As the largest study of its kind among the British population, the researchers hope the vast number of variables of attitudes and reasons for an interest, or lack of, in sex can help inform new ways to address sexual difficulties in a gender-specific manner.

“This study extends our understanding of the factors associated with lack of interest in sex in men and women, the gender similarities and differences,” the author’s wrote in their conclusion, “and highlights the need to assess and — if necessary — treat sexual desire problems in a holistic and relationship, as well as gender-specific way.”

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