Latest study reveals impact of modern life on the wellbeing of married couples

27th September 2012

The startling impact of modern life on the stability of married relationship is revealed today as a study of 2,000 married people found that physical intimacy is now ranked low in the priorities of modern marriages.

A fifth confessed they often avoid sexual intercourse and a third of married Brits even went so far as to describe it as a ‘chore’ - with top reasons for avoiding physical intimacy described as sheer fatigue, stress and work pressures.

The research, commissioned by leading health and wellbeing mutual organisation Benenden Healthcare Society, also showed that the average busy Brit now ranks reading their book, watching the television or making sure the kids lunches are made over one-on-one time with a partner on a typical weeknight evening.

Yesterday Lawrence Christensen, Head of Communications & Strategy at Benenden Healthcare said:“The strain of modern life is forcing married Brits to put their romantic lives on hold. Sadly, it appears that the statistics confirm the stereotype of sex lives taking a downward plunge within marriage - with it becoming a chore for a third of married Brits.

“Married couples are finding that their priorities are elsewhere and this is down to a variety of reasons, but the important point is that this is causing worry and impacting on mental wellbeing.

“Sex isn’t just the physical act but includes the expression of intimacy towards a partner and the statistics show that even then, Brits would rather read a book.”

The average couple has sexual intercourse just five times a month on average, however that’s far removed from the ideal number – with Brits thinking 11 times a month is the perfect amount for those married.

A resigned tenth of the respondents say they just don’t click with their partner in that way anymore. And, sadly, one in twenty confesses that they just don’t think they love their partner anymore.

Ensuring work is all done and making sure nothing good is on TV are the biggest priorities before even thinking about anything in the bedroom each evening, and many would much rather read their book. While over a fifth said they have to feel their partner has shown them affection that day before they feel like it’s an option.

A fifth of people have faked an illness rather than face getting intimate in the bedroom. And 43 per cent of respondents think their diet has an impact on their sex life.

The majority of people said that their sex life inevitably faded after marriage – with the average married person saying the passion fades after just 1 year, 8 months and 23 days.

One in ten married people described their sex life as ‘non-existent’ while four in ten said it was ‘okay’ – just a quarter could say they had a good sex life.

A third of married Brits find sex a chore and sadly 40 per cent of the study claims they don’t find their partner as attractive as they did when they first got married. And four in ten Brits think they and their partner are not well matched in terms of sex drive.

In fact, more than half of married people said problems or worries about their sex life have an impact on their life outside of the home, with many citing their work performance and temper with friends and colleagues as the main areas affected.

Three in ten Brits argue regularly about their sex life, and more than half admitted they have reason to worry. A tenth of Brits worry they are failing their marriage because they don’t want sex, while a fifth say sex is not an important part of their marriage.   

Lawrence Christensen continued: “Whilst a fifth of Brits say that sex is not an important part of marriage, many are finding that modern lifestyles are preventing a functioning sex life even when it is important to them.

“This is leading to worries and arguments and placing great mental strain on individuals. Is it time for married couples to reconsider their priorities?”

Top 20 reasons for avoiding intimacy within married relationships:

1.     Too tired

2.     Stress at work

3.     I don’t feel attractive

4.     It’s too hot

5.     I want to read my book

6.     Not confident in my body

7.     I have too much on my mind

8.     I’ve got a headache

9.     I have neck or back pain

10.  It’s too ‘the same’ every time

11.  I don’t really enjoy it anymore

12.  I’m too full from dinner

13.  It’s too cold

14.  I don’t have enough time

15.  Sometimes it bores me

16.  I want to watch sport

17.  If there’s a film I want to watch

18.  I have too much household stuff to do

19.  I’m not attracted to my partner

20.  I don’t think my partner deserves it



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