The truth about sexual satisfaction in long term relationships
Just in time for World Sexual Health Day earlier this week, the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University published a new study on sexual satisfaction around the world.
The study asked more than 1,000 heterosexual couples in five countries (Japan, Brazil, Spain, Germany and the United States) about their relationship happiness and sexual satisfaction. In a unique twist, researchers surveyed couples in long-term relationships ⎼ 50% had been with their partner for at least 25 years.
The surprising results?
It was assumed that relationship happiness would likely stay constant, and sexual satisfaction would decrease as people stayed together longer and got older…but not so. Couples reported being happier and more sexually satisfied the longer they were together.
The study found a few other interesting tidbits, too…
- Americans could learn a thing or two from the Japanese. It turns out that Japanese men are 2.6 times more likely to say they were sexually satisfied than American men, and Japanese women were 4.3 times more likely to say they were satisfied than American women.
- Cuddling is more important to men. Couples in every country said their sexual satisfaction was related to cuddling, kissing and sexually intimate caressing. But only men said these displays of tenderness were important when it came to how happy they were with their relationship overall. (For women, perhaps surprisingly, cuddling didn’t factor into relationship happiness.
- Women get more sexual satisfaction over time. According to the study, women in all countries reported lower sexual satisfaction in the early years of their relationships, and much higher sexual satisfaction after 20 years. What’s going on there? Researchers aren’t quite sure, but this trend may indicate that women are less sexually satisfied during their 30s and 40s when child-rearing and other stresses consume more of their time…or perhaps their partners, like fine wine, get better with age?
Bottom line, relationship happiness and sexual satisfaction tend to go hand-in-hand. According to this and other studies, nurturing a happy relationship over time can also increase sexual satisfaction…and may even lead to a longer life.
With that in mind, what does World Sexual Health Day mean to you? Perhaps it’s a reminder to look at long-term partnerships with renewed appreciation.
- Archives of Sexual Behavior: Sexual Satisfaction and Relationship Happiness in Midlife and Older Couples in Five Countries
- World Association of Sexual Health