Couples report differences in sexual satisfaction over time

An international study has indicated that cuddling and caressing are important ingredients for long-term relationship satisfaction.

According to the study that looks at relationship and sexual satisfaction throughout committed relationships, contrary to stereotypes, tenderness was more important to the men than to the women.

The study from the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University is the first to examine sexual and relationship parameters of middle-aged or older couples in committed, long-term relationships.

For men, relationship happiness was more likely if the man reported being in good health and if it was important to him that his partner experienced orgasm. Surprisingly, frequent kissing or cuddling also predicted happiness in the relationship for men, but not for women. Both men and women reported more happiness the longer they had been together, and if they themselves scored higher on several sexual functioning questionnaires.

Men did report more relationship happiness in later years, whereas for women, their sexual satisfaction increased over time. Women who had been with their partner for less than 15 years were less likely to report sexual satisfaction, but after 15 years, the percentage went up significantly.

“Possibly, women become more satisfied over time because their expectations change, or life changes with the children grown,” said Julia Heiman, director of The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction and lead author of the article.

“On the other hand, those who weren”t so happy sexually might not be married so long,” added Heiman.

The study is detailed in the Archives of Sexual Behaviour.

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