Sexual Desire Discrepancy as a Feature, Not a Bug, of Long-Term Relationships: Women's Self-Reported Strategies for Modulating Sexual Desire

Debby Herbenick, Margo Mullinax, Kristen Mark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction: Sexual desire discrepancy is commonly reported by couples in long-term romantic relationships. Given the idiosyncratic nature of desire, and the lack of a "one size fits all" model approach to address desire concerns, it is useful to understand more about the range of ways that women and their partners modulate sexual desire. Aim: This study aims to assess women's strategies to influence their sexual desire and the self-reported effectiveness of these strategies. Methods: One hundred seventy-nine women who had been in a relationship with a male partner for 5+ years completed an anonymous Internet-based survey. Main Outcome Measures: Participants responded to three open-ended items about the strategies they use to address desire issues and how helpful those strategies are. Results: The most common responses regarding what participants did to get desire back on track included: communication, trying to meet partner's needs, having sex without desire, and having patience/letting time work out the problem. Women also mentioned several specific strategies they had employed: communication, scheduling sex, lingerie, and a date night. However, a large number of women discussed that the issue was not resolved, and they were dissatisfied with attempted strategies. Conclusions: This research provides valuable insight into the construction of women's sexual desire and the strategies used to navigate sexual desire in long-term relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2196-2206
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Sexual Medicine
Volume11
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Desire Discrepancy
  • Female Sexual Function
  • Relationship Sexual Dysfunction
  • Sexual Desire

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