Do Women Lose Interest in Sex When They Marry?

She's just not that into you: A male friend of mine claims that men fear women becoming sexually stingy as much as women fear being used for sex.

Marie Claire
(Image credit: Marie Claire)

The other day, I sent my friend Adrian Colesberry (author of How to Make Love to Adrian Colesberry) a blog-related question: How can a woman tell if a man just isn't that into her? In the e-mail he sent back to me, before responding to my question, Adrian made a point that I found extremely interesting: "The just-not-that-into-you conversation happens on the man's side, too, by the way — except usually it centers about a woman's sexual enthusiasm: how often she wants sex, how much she seems to enjoy it... Similar to the way that women are worried that men are using them for sex with no interest in a relationship, men have legitimate worries that women will draw back or plain abandon the project of maintaining the physical once the relationship is established."

I asked another male buddy about this: Do men really worry so much about women losing their sex drives?

"Adrian is on to something," said my friend, who goes by the porn-star name of Barry Sackett. "I'm tentatively in favor of frigidity clauses in marriage contracts — a written reminder that keeping your partner sexually satisfied is literally what you signed up for."

Hmm. That sounded a little patriarchal to me, but I decided to overlook the rather old-fashioned nature of Barry's response so I might get to the more pressing question: Did he fear that if he got into a serious relationship, his female partner might become frigid? And if so, were his fears based on personal experience?

"Not one of the women I've dated long-term has lost interest in sex," he said. "But according to most of my married male friends, it happens."

Then I remembered this essay by Lauren Slater that I read when I was preparing to blog about Behind the Bedroom Door, an anthology of essays about women's sex lives. In it, Slater writes: "I could chalk it up to getting older, the fact that sex interests me these days about as much as playing checkers. But ... I've never much liked sex ... I mean, really: What is the big deal? Especially when it's with the same person, over and over again; from an evolutionary standpoint, that simply couldn't be right. I, for one, have always become bored of sex within the first six months of meeting a man..."

Slater goes on to note that a 1999 study out of the University of Chicago found that 40 percent of all women suffer from some kind of sexual dysfunction, usually low libido.

All of this fascinates me. Married women or men out there, can you tell us: Do the ladies get bored of the sex after the knot has been tied? Or simply after a certain period of time has passed? How have you handled it?

I have more to say on this topic ... but I am going to save it for next week.