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What’s really going on in other women’s sex lives? The Healthista Sex Survey 2018

The results are in. The Healthista sex survey polled 1300 women about how often they have it, how much they wanted it and whether they were deep down happy with their sex lives. Here’s what we found

If there is anything more compelling than our own sex lives, it’s other people’s.

Whether it’s wanting to live vicariously through that lovey-dovey couple who never stop their PDAs or through sheer old-fashioned nosiness, most of us would love to know how often other women are doing it and whether they’re bored, satisfied or anything in between.

That’s why Healthista, in association with natural female libido enhancer Lady Prelox, asked 1300 of our readers aged 25 to 55 for the intimate details of their bedroom lives – and the results make for revealing reading.

Here’s what we found out and some thought-provoking comment from a leading sex therapist:

Almost half of women are not happy with their sex lives

While 32% of women described their sex lives as ‘okay but could be better,’ a further 18 per cent called theirs ‘boring and unsatisfying.’

Are we really surprised by this? Not really, given the answer to the next question and the staggering number of women that report having low or no libidos.

‘The difficulty that so many women experience is speaking up about what they would like from their sex lives, or voicing what they and their partner could be doing differently,’ says Kate Moyle, a psychosexual  and relationship therapist and founder of The Thought House Partnership in London (katemoyle.co.uk).

‘We know that when women have better sex, that they have more of it. It makes complete sense – why would we want to be doing more of something that doesn’t feel good?’ asks Moyle.

‘So we can understand that sexual desire is responsive,’ Moyle continues. ‘Traditionally women’s sexual pleasure has been left out of the conversation and we know that sex education has a lot to answer for in not including the clitoris or conversations about enjoying sex and so we are starting to turn a corner in terms of it joining mainstream conversation but many of the hang ups and feelings of shame or embarassment are still there’.

On the other hand for 36% of you, sex life was satisfying and there’s a lucky 14 per cent of women out there who rated theirs as ‘hot’.

Over one in ten women in a committed relationship hasn’t had sex in over a year

A staggering 11.15% of women married or living with their partners hadn’t had sex in over a year. But how can we best broach the conversation of wanting to have more of it?

‘The best time to approach the conversation about sex is when you aren’t having sex,’ advises Moyle. ‘It’s also important not to criticise but to start with a positive and discuss with your partner about what you would like to try and do differently.

‘The important point is that you want to have more and better sex with them, not with someone else and so the conversation is a healthy one not an unhealthy one, not speaking up about it will only build up negative and frustrated feelings.

‘Have a conversation about times when you have had sex that you really enjoyed or it was particularly memorable and explore what was so good about those times to get the conversation started’.

Meanwhile, nearly 30 per cent only had sex twice a month, with the majority (40%) getting hot and heavy 2-3 times a week.  While almost 4% do it daily, just under 2% do it more than once a day!

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40% of women fantasise about other people during sex with their partners 

Not that surprising, given the majority of respondents – over 90% – were in long-term relationships.

But what did surprise us what that of those women that fantasised about other people during sex with their partners, over half imagined it was someone they knew (including 15% who said they always fantasised about previous lovers).

Over a third of women have low or no libido

While half of women rated their libidos as medium, and 15% said theirs was high 24% said theirs was low and almost ten per cent said theirs was ‘non-existent’.

Meanwhile, a quarter of women reported their partners had low or no libido.

So, what influences a woman’s libido?

‘When we talk about libido it’s important to understand that we discuss two things separately – ‘desire’ the want to have sex or be sexual and ‘arousal’ the physical process of becoming aroused and ability to be sexual,’ Kate Moyle points out.

Great sex happens when you are fully in your body rather than in your head

‘In women we understand libido to be mostly  responsive rather than spontaneous; we get turned on by sensations such as touch or seeing something exciting or our imagination.

‘It’s also not linear – we understand that we are all a product of our experiences but both men and women if they have been brought up with a negative view of sex may experience some of those negative emotions or feelings when relating to sex in the present which can be a real turn-off.

‘We also consider the role  self-esteem, body image and trust which allow us to let go and feel comfortable with someone else.

‘Great sex happens when you aren’t thinking about what you are doing, when you are fully in your body rather than in your head which is why we also understand that many people have less active sex lives when they report that they are stressed as they aren’t able to ‘switch off’ and therefore fully enjoy’

Half of women’s libidos have decreased as they have gotten older

Whether it’s because of the effects of menopause, relationship breakdowns or the increasing stress that comes with ever-expanding responsibilities, one thing is certain for many of us, the older we get, the less sex we want.

Almost ten per cent of women said their libido was ‘non-existent’

But is a libido that declines with age simply a fact of life?

‘Across the board we see people having less sex as they get older and much of it is to do with the fact that it does not get prioritised for many in the same way,’ says Moyle.

‘Many couples feel less of a need for sex as they build intimacy and connection in other ways and move into different stages of their relationship.

‘We understand that physically and physiologically there are changes impacting women during the menopause – a reduction in oestrogen means that there is less vaginal elasticity, that there can be decreased lubrication, and that the process of arousal takes longer.

‘Many women also report more difficulty reaching orgasm. So we can understand that not only can these things make sex uncomfortable but it can also be painful, and less satisfying.’

Over a third of women have cheated on a partner

When asked if they had had sex outside of a committed relationship, a staggering 34 per cent said yes.

Of those who had cheated we asked them how many times and while most women answered 2-5 times, others were more specific:

‘Too many to mention,’ said one, while another reported having cheated on a partner an eye-popping 67 times. And counting, clearly.

It made us think – especially as it’s often assumed that men are the gender most likely to cheat – are more women cheating or are we just more prepared to admit it?

‘The modern world we live in offers everybody more accessability to cheating irrespective of their gender, it’s just much more a part of the conversation nowadays,’ says Moyle.

‘Traditionally women would have had the more dominant roles at home limiting the people that they meet, and therefore chances to start different relationships whereas now most people go out to work in some capacity and meet people in a variety of ways that go alongside that.

‘The internet has also opened up a whole world of possibilities that used not to exist for cheating on your partner’.

Over one in five women have used ropes and bondage to spice things up

Call it the 50 Shades Effect, but something has made us more comfortable trying new things in bed, especially ropes.

23% of respondents said they would or already have used bondage and BDSM role play to hot things up in bed.

Perhaps predictably, most common ways to rekindle the flame in a relationship included planning a weekend away (58%) and wearing sexy underwear (59%).

Meanwhile, favourite options for breaking bedroom boredom for one in four women were watching porn (27%) and asking him about his fantasies (26%).

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Nearly 60% of women have had trouble having an orgasm

While a lucky 41% of women always reported having an orgasm during sex with their partners, a staggering 59% had trouble reaching orgasm.

We found that while the vast majority of Healthista readers only orgasm occasionally during sex, one in ten rarely had orgasms and one in 20 always fake it to please their partners.

So, what influences a woman’s ability to orgasm?

‘We know that one of the biggest things that gets in the way of a women’s ability to orgasm is distraction,’ says Moyle.

‘The best guarantee of an orgasm is letting go, being in the moment and just allowing the physical sensations to take over; however in the busy lives that we all lead this is easier said than done.

‘Orgasm in women is also a learned response, once we have worked out how to do it then it becomes easier to achieve.

‘This is also to do with how well we know our bodies and what feels good for us, which is something that we need to learn and experience ourselves in a pressure free environment.

‘As a Psychosexual Therapist I often encourage those I work with to explore their bodies so that they know what feels good for them which then makes it easier for them to show or tell their partner in future’.

Almost 70% of women would potentially take a supplement to boost their libidos

True to form, most Healthista readers would take a supplement to increase their libidos and make their orgasms more intense – but only if it were proven safe and natural.

So, does such a thing exist? Well, as you ask, Lady Prelox is a new supplement that contains only plant-based ingredients and is backed by published scientific research showing that it’s not only safe but also effective.

One double-blind, placebo-controlled 2014 study, published in the Journal Of Women’s Health Care on 80 peri-menopausal women (that is, women who are in the decade prior to their menopause) gave half four tablets of Lady Prelox daily and four women a placebo.

Researchers then evaluated the women’s sex drive and orgasm using the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI). They found that after one month women’s sexual function had improved by 60 per cent on average with Lady Prelox compared to only 40 per cent in the placebo group. After two months, those taking Lady Prelox had improved by 73 per cent compared to only 46 per cent of those on a placebo.

Two further studies published in peer reviewed journals have suggested that supplementing with Lady Prelox can improve sexual function, enhancing desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm and satisfaction. You can check out our article next week for the full story or get more details and buy by clicking here.

Kate Moyle is an independent Psychosexual Therapist and founder of The Thought House Partnership. Find out more here. To find a psychosexual therapist near you visit the UK Council of Psychotherapy

Related Healthista Content

Low libido? 8 surprising reasons you might not want sex

Why is my vagina dry during sex?

Is sugar sabotaging your sex life?

5 best supplements for sex drive

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