I’m rather surprised to learn that it is now men who tell their wives or partners, ‘Not tonight dear.’ If this stereotype is to be believed it’s invariably women who feign a headache and turn to their spouse, not tonight dear. For one has often assumed that when it comes to sex, men find it very difficult to abstain when sex is offered but, lo and behold, research suggests that it’s actually men who are often responsible for the lack of sex in a marriage – because they feel under pressure to perform.

A review of 64 studies into complex love lives has found that men are put off sex by the expectation that they will make the first move and, just like women, a lack of emotional connection is the fear that their partner finds them unattractive may also turn them off from a night of passion. The result of the analysis confounds stereotypes by showing it is women, not men, who are likely to go off sex because they have been with their partner for a long time. They also show emotional connections is important to both halves of a couple.

The authors, led by Dr Kristen at the University of Kentucky said: ‘There are assumptions in our culture that women have lower sexual desire than men, and that it is abnormal for women to have high sexual desire, or for men to have low sexual desire. However, research in recent years has clearly shown that these gender-based assumptions about sexual desire are not supported by data. Men feel pressure from their wives, girlfriends or society in general to initiate sex, even when they do not want it, the research suggests. They worry that they won’t have erotic feelings or that they will fail to perform and this can create a negative feedback loop which ruins their love life. Women are expected to put off sex if they do not feel emotionally close to their husbands,’ the experts write in the Journal of Sex Research.

But men who have more emotional intimacy with their partner are also more likely to want to sleep with them. The authors’ state: ‘Men who felt a lack of emotional connection with their partners experience lower sexual desire as well.’ The advice for both sexes the authors conclude is to accept that desire ebbs and flows in any relationship. The assumption that men have higher sexual desires than women overall is simply not consistently supported by the data in the context of relationships.’

Although personally I can’t claim to be an expert on sexual desire, I honestly believe that sexual desire in women is normally much higher than that in men and the fact that women can have multiple orgasms of longer duration proves the point.

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