This article is the first in a three part series focused on women’s sexual health. In the lead up to Valentine’s day, there is so much attention on relationships, and maybe pressure for some to act as expected considering the holiday. Even though it is a holiday with a focus on love and romance, inevitably sex becomes intertwined with those ideas. Some may be in a new relationship and not ready to take the step of intercourse with a partner, others may be waiting until marriage, and still others may be in what would be a sexually active relationship, except for the fact that sex isn’t always as easy to enjoy or desire as the media makes it out to be. In fact, a 2005 Durex Global Sex Survey revealed that only 52% of Americans are happy with their sex life (which is actually over the global average of 44%)(1). Another large-scale epidemiological study in 2008 reported that the prevalence of any sexual problem among women in the United States was 43.1%(2). That is a pretty sizeable portion of the population. Consider also that 22% of respondents in this survey reported sexually related personal distress. In this study, distressing sexual problems were correlated with other health conditions (poor self-assessed health, depression, anxiety, thyroid conditions, and urinary incontinence), underlining the need, in my opinion, for holistic care in response(2).
There’s not an optimal frequency for sexual intercourse in a relationship, and sexual satisfaction is not all about frequency, but when both parties are dissatisfied with their sex-life, it’s time to take action. Sexual satisfaction can lead to a higher level of relationship satisfaction, and people who are happier with their relationships tend to have a higher satisfaction with their life overall. Because emotional health impacts physical health, this is positive all-around. As a bonus, there appears to be physical health benefits beyond this connection.
1 – Durex. Global Sex Survey 2005. http://www.durex.com/en-jp/sexualwellbeingsurvey/documents/gss2005result.pdf
2 – Shifren, Jan, et al. Sexual Problems and Distress in United States Women: Prevalence and correlates. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 112(5). November 2008. Pp 970-978