Share this article Share In fact when it comes to what makes a woman happy, only a quarter said sex made them extremely happy — far fewer than the 42 per cent who chose owning a pet. Another survey, this time of 58 countries, reveals that women rate their body image and appearance above having sex when it comes to the factors they consider to be important for a good life.
So, asks Hakim, why is it that girls in their teens and 20s are increasingly likely to have several sexual partners before settling down? Evidence suggests it does, but only on a short-lived basis. Until the age of 30, men and women are equally likely to wish they had sex more often.
After that, though, the number of women no longer having sex rises sharply. Tina Jones, 39, agrees that there is a fundamental difference between men and women. I In some African countries, couples have sex an average times a year. By contrast, the raie in Western countries is around 2t5 times per year. The gap between male and female divide is greatest in Anglo-Saxon Protestant countries including Britain and America. Many men are left feeling frustrated.
Tina says her libido diminished after the birth of her two sons, now 16 and eight. Neither partner could understand that I was so exhausted running after a small child that the only thing I wanted to do when I got into bed was fall asleep. One in five British women aged has been celibate for more than a year. One of them is year-old Louise Randall. I think it is linked to being pre-menopausal. James has tried to be understanding, but the experience has taught me just how much men rely on sex.
That relationship broke down after we stopped having sex. Men find it almost impossible to live without sex, whereas women can happily go without sex for years. According to the survey most women's interest in sex declines two years into the average relationship Some wives have gone off sex but still agree to it occasionally. Psychologist Bettina Arndt, who conducted the study, discovered that a wife would typically withhold sex to punish her husband for not doing what she wanted.
Alternatively, she would offer sex to persuade him to do something, or to reward him for helping out in the home. The strategy worked because the husbands almost invariably wanted sex more than their wives did.
As one of the women said: Unlike most women, men also indulge in porn, a fantasy land where, significantly, females appear to have equal sexual desire.
So was the sexual revolution little more than a short-lived mirage? Hakim argues that for men it was a boon because the Pill, which removed the fear of unwanted pregnancy, became available at the same time as feminist demands for equality, not least when it came to sexual fulfilment. The Kinsey report, a seminal American sex study conducted in the Fifties, suggested one in ten men and women was homosexual.
However the truth, according to more recent sex surveys, is that only one to two per cent of the population have homosexual inclinations or take part in homosexual activities — which is fewer than one in 50 people. Aids changed everything in the Eighties, provoking a return to notions about commitment and fidelity. The genie never quite went back in the bottle, however, and today women still have more lovers than they used to.
Proportionally, though, men still have twice as many. In other words, the sexual revolution has not changed the overall picture much at all. Another legacy of the revolution in sexual attitudes is that many men assume they should get full sexual satisfaction whenever they want it, and that women who say no are just being perverse. Also, the advent of the internet, which gives ready access to porn, has led to some men putting unwanted pressure on women to engage in more adventurous sex. Indeed, in all the sex studies Hakim has examined in her book, very few females were engaging in pure hedonistic sex.
Monique Carty, 34, believes men and women differ hugely when it comes to sex. Women, on the other hand, view sex as a way of bonding with their partner and, while enjoying the act, are thinking beyond it about the relationship. Monique sums up the views of many women. Economists David Blanchflower and Andrew Oswald have even succeeded in putting a monetary value on a good sex life. Factor in inflation, and it begins to look like a pretty good deal.
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