Why do some couples give up on sex?

Passion fading away was the difficulty most often cited by couples struggling to maintain their sexual relationships. (Rawpixel pic)

PARIS: How do couples keep the spark of an intimate relationship alive when living together becomes routine?

This was the central question in a study conducted by researchers from the University of Nicosia, Cyprus, and the Fudan University, China, which was published earlier this month in the journal Evolutionary Psychology.

Passion fading away and a lack of personal space were among the reasons cited for giving up on sex.

The researchers combined the results from two distinct studies, involving a total of 1262 men and women with an average age of 30 years to come up with the new findings. They identified no fewer than 78 specific difficulties and 12 broader factors to explain a decline in the frequency of sexual relations.

The leading factor was enthusiasm fading away, and, by inference, a decline in intimacy (31.6%).

As to specific difficulties linked to this factor, participants blamed routine, boredom, a progressive absence of romance, and a lack of patience that undermined a long-term interest in their sexual partners.

The second-placed factor was “a lack of personal time and space.” Here again, there were contributing difficulties: a feeling of being oppressed by one’s partner, seeing an intimate relationship as a source of constraints, or being tired of remarks and suspicions voiced by a significant other(31%).

“Long work hours” were also blamed for putting a brake on intimacy in the long term. Contributing to this factor were a lack of availability, and allowing career priorities to take precedence over relationships (29.9%).

Participants also regretted having bad sex (28.9%) incompatibility, disputes, and disagreement over the frequency of sexual relations. Infidelity and abuse (24%) were further cited as a reason for giving up sex.

Linked to this factor, there were also issues of a partner’s potential for infidelity, a loss of sexual interest in a partner, and physical violence and abuse.

The top 10 reasons cited for giving up on sex:

  1. Passion fading away (31.6%)
  2. A lack of time and personal space (31%)
  3. Long work hours (29.9%)
  4. Bad sex (28.9%)
  5. Infidelity and abuse (24%)
  6. Character issues (23.9%)
  7. Clinginess (21.6%)
  8. Children (19.8%)
  9. Lack of effort (17.7%)
  10. Not monogamous (16%)

It should be pointed out that in this final category, participants drew attention to their fear of missing out on opportunities because of being part of a couple, compared their current partners to previous ones, or explained that they were unable to resist temptation.