Having a healthy, stable, loving relationship is one of life’s greatest joys, and one that no man should take for granted.
The bad news is, however, it’s more than likely that if you’re a guy who dates women, your long-term girlfriend, wife or partner is going to get bored of having sex with you.
A recent study found that women are almost four times more likely than men to lose some interest in sex with a partner they’ve lived with for over a year.
Researchers at the University of Southampton and University College London surveyed 4 839 men and 6 669 women over the course of the study, which was recently published in the British Medical Journal.
While that initial statistic – that your girlfriend is four times more likely than you are to become less interested in sex – sounds daunting, the study notes that a number of social and environmental factors contribute to this, some of which are healthy, some of which are tragic realities, like the larger proportion of women who have experienced sexual abuse.
First off, both men and women statistically lose some of their libido as they age. Men are most likely to lose their sex drive between 35 and 44, and women are less likely to care about sex between 55 and 64.
Of the more than 11 000 people studied, 15% of the men reported that they had “lacked interest in sex” for three months or longer in the past year, compared to 34% of the women.
So what explains the discrepancy? The researchers found that women were more likely to be distracted or turned off from sex because of the presence of young children at home.
Losing interest in sex is also an issue that can snowball – both sexes reported that past sexual difficulties could be a factor.
Women, however, were more likely to not want to have sex if they weren’t feeling emotionally close to their partner during the act, or if it was difficult to talk to their partner about sex.
It makes sense: There are plenty of ways to spice up your sex life in a long term relationship, but the secret to a healthy sex life often comes down to flexibility and communication.
Men and women were both less likely to be into sex if they had a history of sexually transmitted disease, and especially if they had a history of sexual abuse or non-consensual sex.
As the latter disproportionately affects women – one in six women experience rape or sexual assault, compared to one in 33 men – that could also be a major factor in explaining why women are more likely to lose interest in sex over time.
The researchers’ takeaway was that there’s no magic pill or miracle cure for sexual problems in a relationship. Instead, the team writes that their “findings highlight the need to assess, and if appropriate, treat lacking interest in sex in a holistic and relationship-specific way.”
What works for one couple may not work for another, so talking to your partner and getting specific help for specific problems is probably the best way to make sure the bedroom stays just as steamy as it was when you first met.
Major Reasons Why Men in Relationships Get Bored
There could be any number of reasons why a man might lose interest in his girlfriend or wife. However, it likely has very little to do with you and much more to do with the lack of excitement, thrill, passion, romance, and spontaneity in your relationship. If you want to make sure that your relationship lasts, then you should familiarize yourself with the major reasons why men in relationships get bored so you will be able to find ways to prevent this from happening.
1) A Need for Space
While it may seem strange, there is such a thing as too much intimacy. When you first start dating someone and are still in the “honeymoon” period, it’s natural to want to spend as much time as possible with your romantic partner. It’s important to remember, though, that distance is key to making your relationship survive. Think of it this way: he can’t miss you if you never leave. If you keep seeing each other twenty-four hours a day, then there is a strong possibility that your boyfriend or husband will get bored.
Solution: Create Healthy Space in Your Relationship
Everyone needs some time to themselves or time to spend with other friends or family. Realize that it’s OK—and in fact good—for your boyfriend or husband to need space. Then, take the following steps to make sure that you both create healthy boundaries.
- Talk to your partner. Ask him how much space he wants and what kind of space he wants. Does he want an office or a “man cave” in the house where he can go when he wants some time alone? Or does he want a few nights a week to spend with his friends? Does he need to spend extra time at work or school because of some big deadlines? Whatever the reason is, the important thing is that you trust him.
- Take care of yourself. If you’ve been spending every waking hour with your partner, it’s likely you’ve neglected yourself and the other important relationships in your own life. Reconnect with friends. Have a girls’ night out on the evenings you’ll be apart. Or you can focus on an exercise regimen: maybe you’ve always wanted to check out that yoga studio down the street? You can also explore a hobby. Whatever you choose to do should be enjoyable and good for you.
2) Another Woman
This is one of the major reasons why men get bored in their present relationship. If your man meets another desirable woman, then there is a great possibility that he will be drawn towards catching her interest. You may notice his restlessness as he thinks less about you.
Solution: Add Some Excitement!
Obviously, these solutions aren’t fool-proof. You can’t ensure he won’t leave you for someone else. But if you take these suggestions, then there is a great chance his boredom won’t cause his eye to wander.
- Create a “Fantasy Jar.” Have you and your partner write out any fantasies you’ve had or anything you’ve ever wanted try. Put them in a jar, and then the next time you’re intimate, pick one and act it out.
- Break Sexual Scripts. Shake things up a bit. If you typically have hours-long sessions, then try a “quickie,” or try different times of day. A little bit of spontaneity may just be the magic touch!
- Leave salacious voice mails and text messages during the day to build anticipation for when you finally get to see each other that night.
- Make Out Like Teenagers. Be generous with hugs, kisses, caresses, even when it doesn’t lead to intercourse. These kinds of touches can build affection and anticipation!
3) Unresolved Conflict
Irreconcilable differences are also among the major reasons that couples give up. Too many unnecessary arguments and fights that are triggered by small things—like him leaving the toilet seat up or you making commitments for him without asking first—can cause a lot of relationship stress. Being unable to resolve or negotiate your differences may also cause your man to want to spend time with friends or by himself instead of you.
If you want to save your relationship despite your unresolved differences and your regular fights, then you have to make sure that you learn how to communicate and you try to change yourself for the better. This does not mean that you should change everything about yourself. What you need to do is to make those changes that can transform you into a better person.
Solution: Better Communication Strategies
- Communicate Your Needs. It may seem obvious, but a lot of fights are caused because one person’s needs aren’t being met. If you can calmly communicate what you need from your partner, it will be easier for him to meet them – otherwise he’ll just be left guessing in the dark.
- Again, it may seem obvious. But communicating to the other person that you’ve heard him is just as important as actually hearing him. Try reflecting back what your partner has said in your own words. Doing so will make him feel heard and will de-escalate the situation.
- “I” Statements. Make the argument less personal. Rather than saying, “Pick your clothes off the floor – you’re so inconsiderate!”, you should say instead, “I don’t like coming home to find your clothes on the floor and wish you would make a point to hang them up instead.” The goal is to minimize the negative impact of what you’re saying.
- Separate Your Emotions From the Problem. The worst time to bring up a relationship issue is when you’re angry or frustrated. Take care of your emotions first—maybe by venting your frustration to a friend or therapist—and try to calm down before you bring up the issue with your partner. That way you can focus on the actual problem at hand.
- Give Positive Feedback. Sit down and make a list of all the things you like about your partner. Then make a point of giving your partner positive feedback by expressing appreciation for the things you like about him. Doing so will build a solid foundation for the relationship that will make it easier to handle arguments.
4) Too Much Nagging
Most men want to avoid women who nag excessively. At the start of any romantic relationship, most women make it a point to show to their partner that they are carefree and outgoing and may be willing to let certain things go. But as the relationship progresses and each depends more on the other, some nagging inevitably takes place. No one likes to think of herself as a “nagger,” but if you often think to yourself, “it’s in one ear and out the other,” then that might be a sign you’ve fallen into the trap of nagging.
Nagging can become a vicious cycle: it makes the “nagee” less generous and less inclined to help, which leads to more nagging since the nagger’s needs aren’t being met.
Even reminders or hints that are intended to be helpful could be perceived by your partner as nagging if they offend him. Your husband may interpret repeated reminders to pick up your kids from school at 3:00 as evidence you think he’s incompetent or doesn’t care about his kids.
Solution: Break the Nagging Cycle
If you want to get yourself and your partner out of the nagging rut, then try taking these steps.
- Be Brief. Lecturing makes your partner feel attacked and defensive – which will likely make him tune out. State what you need to in as succinct a manner as possible.
- Avoid Ultimatums. These usually come out of heightened emotions. It’s unlikely that you actually want to end a relationship over a toilet seat that was left up. Giving ultimatums can escalate the situation and, when made too frequently, can stop having an effect.
- Avoid “Always,” “Never,” and “Should.” Saying “You always . . . ” or “You never . . . “is very likely to escalate the situation by making your partner feel defensive. Focus on the particular problem you’re facing now.
- Brainstorm Solutions to Common Problems. If clutter is a sticking point for you two, then it might be worth the money to hire a housekeeper to come by once or twice a week.
- Positive Reinforcement. Show appreciation when your husband does the things you ask for. Letting him know that you notice and appreciate his efforts make him more likely to keep doing it.