Why Women’s Sex Drive Declines After Marriage

Josh Spurlock

So where did my sex drive go…

or maybe you’re asking where did my wife’s libido go?

First of all, it’s not all bad news…

The research shows that while the frequency of sex decreases into marriage, relationship satisfaction goes up.

Still, you probably would like to know how to increase your sexual desire and frequency of physical intimacy…right…

In this article, we’ll explain why sex decreases in marriage AND how to increase it!

In This Article

  1. Why Don’t I Want Sex Anymore?

  2. Where Did The Horny Go?

  3. Married Life

  4. Keep The Fire Alive

About the Author

This article is based on scientific evidence and clinical experience, written by a licensed professional and fact-checked by experts.

Josh Spurlock, MA, LPC, CST is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Sex Therapists with over 10,000 hours of clinical experience. Josh specializes in Marriage Counseling and Sex Therapy. You can schedule an appointment with Josh for online counseling.

Why don’t I want sex anymore?

I used to get horny. Before marriage or early in our relationship I would think about sex and want sexual touch/intimacy. Sometime after marriage or the relationship settling-in that seemed to decrease and now is maybe a fleeting thought once a month or so if ever. Why is that?

Where did the horny go?

Early in a relationship, there are a variety of circumstances that can supercharge a woman’s sexual arousal. 

Youthful hormones

Women hit their sex hormone peak in their late teens to mid-twenties. This hormonal high watermark serves to intensify the frequency of sexual thoughts and drive. 

Feeling Sexy

Female sexual desire is closely related to how sexy a woman feels. It’s likely as a single woman you were more intentional about exercise, fashion, underwear selection, make-up, and flirty behavior as you thought more about impressing the opposite sex. These things made you feel sexy, which in turn increased your sexual arousal. 

More Time

As a single person, you generally have more time to focus on the things that make you feel sexy and to take care of yourself in ways that counteract stress and fatigue. The additional confidence and energy you have as a result give your body what it needs to experience arousal. 

Relationship Excitement

Being love drunk in a new relationship is super exciting. The intense amount of time you spend thinking about and connecting with your new love means a high degree of emotional connectedness. The excitement of the new also creates a surge of adrenaline when around your love that mixes with sex hormones to electrify your body.  It’s also likely that your partner is more attentive to you during this time, which fuels the fire.

Married Life

Once settled into married life, especially after children come along, many of these things change. Our sex hormones begin to decline, we become less focused on impressing our man, our body changes with age and pregnancies, we’re increasingly busy, and nurturing our relationship can move to the back burner. The arousal superchargers for single women can also hide underlying sexual problems that are bound to appear once the hormonal high tide recedes. All of these are contributors to reasons why married women don’t want sex. 

Keep the Fire Alive

What once came effortlessly takes intentional focus to sustain across a lifetime. As you and your relationship mature you’ll need to address common barriers to sexual desire that most women face. They can definitely be addressed, but they probably won’t fix themselves. 
Learn more with this article: Help For Married Women With Low Sexual Desire

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References

  1. Byers, E. S., & Heinlein, L. (1989). Predicting initiations and refusals of sexual activities in married and cohabiting heterosexual couples. Journal of Sex Research, 26(2), 210-231. doi:10.1080/00224498909551507  
  2. Call, V., Sprecher, S., & Schwartz, P. (1995). The incidence and frequency of marital sex in a national sample. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 57(3), 639-652. doi:10.2307/353919
  3. Cheung, M. L., Wong, P. C., Liu, K. Y., Yip, P. F., Fan, S. Y., & Lam, T. (2008). A study of sexual satisfaction and frequency of sex among Hong Kong Chinese couples. Journal of Sex Research, 45(2), 129-139. doi:10.1080/00224490801987416
  4. Conley, T. D., Ziegler, A., Moors, A. C., Matsick, J. L., & Valentine, B. (2013). A critical examination of popular assumptions about the benefits and outcomes of monogamous relationshipsPersonality and Social Psychology Review, 17(2), 124–141.  
  5. Gager, C. T., & Yabiku, S. T. (2010). Who has the time? The relationship between household labor time and sexual frequency. Journal of Family Issues, 31(2), 135-163. doi:10.1177/0192513X09348753  
  6. Peplau, L. (2003). Human sexuality: How do men and women differ? Current Directions in Psychological Science,12(2), 37–40. doi:10.1111/1467-8721.01221
  7. Rao, K. V., & Demaris, A. (1995). Coital frequency among married and cohabiting couples in the United States. Journal of Biosocial Science, 27(2), 135-150. doi:10.1017/S0021932000022653
  8. Schoenfeld, E. A., Loving, T. J., Pope, M. T., Huston, T. L., & Štulhofer, A. (2016). Does sex really matter? Examining the connections between spouses’ nonsexual behaviors, sexual frequency, sexual satisfaction, and marital satisfaction. Archives Of Sexual Behavior, doi:10.1007/s10508-015-0672-4
  9. Smith, A., Lyons, A., Ferris, J., Richters, J., Pitts, M., Shelley, J., & Simpson, J. M. (2011). Sexual and relationship satisfaction among heterosexual men and women: The importance of desired frequency of sex. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 37(2), 104-115. doi:10.1080/0092623X.2011.560531
  10. Yabiku, S. T., & Gager, C. T. (2009). Sexual frequency and the stability of marital and cohabiting unions. Journal of Marriage and Family, 71(4), 983-1000.

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