Did you know that on days when sex is difficult, reducing the variety in sexual behaviour may contribute to lowering a couple’s sexual satisfaction?
A recent study performed by our lab in collaboration with the Katholieke Universiteit (KU) Leuven in Belgium, focused on how everyday sexual difficulties predict a couples’ behaviour in bed, and their overall sexual satisfaction after sex.
We worked with newlywed mixed-sex couples, asking them to complete a diary everyday for 5 weeks about their couple and their sexuality.
What were the results?
We found that even in newlywed couples, sexual difficulties were common. Women reported at least some sexual difficulty two-thirds of the times they had sex, and men, one-third of the time; of these, most were difficulties with sexual desire and arousal.
The couple’s sexual difficulties also tended to predict other aspects of their sexuality. On days when sex was even a little difficult for one participant, sexual satisfaction was lower for both partners. It was not very surprising that the participant reporting the difficulty was less sexually satisfied; for the other partner, it may be that they felt less desired when sex was difficult, and that this affected their own sexual satisfaction.
We also found that on days when sex was difficult, the couples’ sexual behaviour tended to be less varied. This more restricted sexual repertoire may be an indication that in such cases, one or both partners tended to “just get on with it”, and this may have compounded the couples’ lower sexual satisfaction.
Studies such as this one, which seek to better understand couples in their everyday sexuality, can give us clues as to how couples can maintain their sexual health over time. This study’s findings highlight how difficulties in one partner affect the couple as a whole. This has implications for treatment, and underscores the importance of including both partners when addressing sexual difficulties.
If you would like to know more about this study, we invite you to read the full paper:
Jodouin, J.-F., Bergeron, S., & Janssen, E. (2018). The mediating role of sexual behavior in event-level associations between sexual difficulties and sexual satisfaction in newlywed couples. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 15(10), 9.