Richard G. Petty, MD

Sex Drive and Relationships

The BBC is reporting on an article published in the journal Human Nature.

According to the report – and I haven’t yet seen a copy of the original research – investigators from the Hamburg-Eppendorf University in Germany found that the sex drive of many women begins to plummet once they are in a secure relationship. They found that four years into a relationship, less than half of 30-year-old women wanted regular sex.

Conversely, they found that a man’s libido remained the same regardless of how long he had been in a relationship. The researchers interviewed 530 men and women about their relationships.

They found 60% of 30-year-old women wanted sex "often" at the beginning of a relationship, but that within four years of the relationship this figure fell to under 50%, and after 20 years it dropped to about 20%.

And here’s a shock: The study also revealed tenderness was important for women in a relationship. About 90% of women wanted tenderness, regardless of how long they had been in a relationship, but only 25% of men who had been in a relationship for 10 years said they were still seeking tenderness from their partner.

The researchers then start talking about the evolutionary implications of all this: that women evolved to have a high sex drive when they are initially in a relationship in order to form a "pair bond" with their partner.

That is all quite plausible, but it is a usually a mistake to try and reduce human behavior to hormones, neurotransmitters and evolutionary drives.

Most men and most women may well have different sex drives, and the duration of a relationship may play a part. But it is just as likely that we are seeing the effects of having children who need lots of a couple’s attention and a natural reaction to one or both partners focusing more on their careers and outside activities rather than on the relationship.

In Healing, Meaning and Purpose I talk about the best solution to tired relationships: it’s not a matter of trying every variation in the Kama Sutra. The most valuable thing to ensure the viability of intimate relationships is not so much to try to learn lots of different techniques, but instead to make the time together really count. There is nothing quite as attractive as an intimate occasion marked by complete focus on and awareness of the other person. Feeling the dance of the duality, focusing on all your senses, and, if you can, feeling the subtle systems of the other person.

Simple things that have rescued countless relationships. And a lot cheaper than hours of therapy.

About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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