Despite the endless talk about how crucial sex is to a happy relationship, few couples are doing the deed daily.
In fact, author of the book Sex Lives of Australian Women, Joan Sauers found 84 per cent of the 1806 women she surveyed had experienced a lack of interest in sex.
And the biggest surprise? Thirty-something women reported more dissatisfaction with their sex lives than those in their 20s and 40s, says Sauers. What the…?
We identified the top five reasons why you’re just not in the mood some days – and how you and your partner can both get your sex drive back.
THE REASON YOU'RE NOT HAVING SEX #1: LIFE IS SWEETYour dinner parties are legendary, you’re kicking arse in your career, so does it really matter if you’re not having the sex of your dreams?
Well, yes – if your dry spell is reaching drought stages.
“When sex drops off there’s a lot more at stake than missing out on pleasure,” says Sauers. “A healthy sex life is critical to the survival of a relationship. Without it, our happiness and overall health can suffer.”
If sex has fallen off the agenda, chances are at least one of you is feeling worried and unsatisfied, despite your successes in other areas of life. Lack of sex can be poison in a marriage, Sauers says (think Miranda in Sex and the City Movie).
HOW TO GET BACK ON TRACK: Be imaginative. Doing something new together will give you both a dopamine boost to mimic the glow you experienced when you first met.
Book a tennis lesson for two, a Japanese cooking class or play strip Scrabble – anything that breaks your rigid work/cook/sleep routine and brings back the thrill of dating. With luck, this will segue into livelier sex when you get home.
THE REASON YOU'RE NOT HAVING SEX #2: YOU'RE DOING ALL THE HOUSEWORKFact: women with partners and full-time jobs do 70 per cent of the housework. You work a 10-hour day and come home to chop zucchini, feed the dog and put the bins out. Meanwhile, he veges out in front of The Simpsons. Sound familiar?
“It’s not just tiredness from chores that leaves women feeling unsexy, there can also be resentment towards partners for helping out so little,” says Sauers.
She also points out that more households pay for help with “male” chores like gardening and lawn-mowing than they do for house cleaning and ironing.HOW TO GET BACK ON TRACK
You’ve hit him up with a chore list and tried telling him he looks hot in rubber gloves. Didn’t really work? Then try this: invest in a bitchin’ vacuum cleaner. The bigger the engine, the happier he’ll be to ride, er, use it.
Our pick: the Dyson DC14, which doesn’t need vacuum bags and has Radix Cyclone technology. We all know power can be sexy.
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THE REASON YOU'RE NOT HAVING SEX #3: BABIES ON THE BRAINIronically, trying to get pregnant can take all the fun out of the horizontal mambo.
“It’s like there is no reason to have sex except when I’m ovulating,” said one 29-year-old respondent to Sauers’ survey.
Other women said their children were a passion killer. A toddler climbing into your bed each night with bad dreams? Not a sexy threesome.HOW TO GET BACK ON TRACK
If your bedroom has become fertility central take your lovin’ elsewhere, at times when you’re not fertile.
Your best bet? The walk-in wardrobe: according to a University of California, Berkeley study, clothes emit a chemical from men’s sweat, hair and skin that arouses women. Who knew? And don’t knock pre-planned sex – “We schedule everything else important: dentist trips, visits to relatives; why let sex fall off the agenda?” asks Sauers.
THE REASON YOU'RE NOT HAVING SEX #4: HE’S NOT A PSYCHICFed up with him never hitting your magic spots in bed? Newsflash: he still can’t read your mind.
You really dig this man – so why aren’t you having the best sex of your life with him? Yes, we can blame Mother Nature – getting to orgasm at the same time as a man is a bit like a race between a Ferrari and a milk float. But your voice is the most useful tool you have to make your sex life better says Sauers. It’s always the right time to speak up.HOW TO GET BACK ON TRACK
We know you can get your own rocks off, so spend a few nights teaching him. Trust us, he’ll be keener than Keith Urban at a hair-straightening convention.
THE REASON YOU'RE NOT HAVING SEX #5: YOU’RE NOT MILA KUNISYou feel hefty, your bikini line is junglistic (à la Miranda, again!)... there are 101 reasons why you’re just not up for it tonight.
“Women gave so many reasons why they go off sex,” says Sauers. “From taking birth control pills, to flu, psoriasis and feeling fat, through to back pain and work stress.”
Or maybe you don’t even know why you’re not up for it. Gynaecologist and obstetrician Judith Reichman, author of I’m Not in the Mood: What Every Woman Should Know About Improving Her Libido), estimates that 90 per cent of women with decreased sex drive don’t know what’s causing the problem.HOW TO GET BACK ON TRACK
Step one: talk to your doctor who can rule out causes such as low hormones, depression or medications.
Step two: tackle it together. When you’re feeling off form, encouraging a united front lets him know you don’t blame him, says psychologist Dr Yvonne Thomas. Don’t discount long-term stress – having too much to do can elevate your cortisone levels, which eventually, well, screws your libido.