Prof. Dr. Kemal Arıkan
Psychiatrist

Do Gender Differences Affect Marital Satisfaction?

Sexual intercourse is important for a marriage, yet the sexual desires of the couples may decrease in time, which is caused by many reasons.  The rates of any decrease in sexual desire may vary for men and women.

There were two long-term studies carried out in order to test whether female and male members of newly-wed couples experienced different rates of change in their sexual desires, whether having children affected such changes, and whether these changes had influence over the marital satisfaction. In both studies, a great number of data were collected with regard to the opinions of the couples on sexual desires, marital satisfaction and birth. The results showed that the sexual desire of women decreased much faster in time than that of men, although it did not fall below the average.

Moreover, it was shown that the birth of a child partially decreased the sexual desire of the women, although men were not affected by this. Finally, it is estimated that the sexual desire, which decrease in women and remain the same in men, can lead to a decline in the marital satisfaction in both parties.  These factors lead to depressive symptoms and stress, including parenting-induced stress.  Current findings indicate that the differences in sexual desire are a source of marital conflict.

Source:
McNulty, J. K., Maxwell, J. A., Meltzer, A. L., & Baumeister, R. F. (2019). Sex-Differentiated Changes in Sexual Desire Predict Marital Dissatisfaction. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 1-17.

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