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Passion and sexual satisfaction typically diminish in longer-term relationships, but this decline is not inevitable. We identified the attitudes and behaviors that most strongly differentiated sexually satisfied from dissatisfied men and women who had been together for at least three years (N = 38,747). Data were collected in 2006 from cohabiting and married men and women via an online survey on a major national U.S. news website. The vast majority of these participants reported being satisfied with their sex life during their first six months together (83% W; 83% M). Satisfaction with their current sex life was more variable, with approximately half of participants reporting overall satisfaction (55% W; 43% M), and the rest feeling neutral (18% W; 16% M) or dissatisfied (27% W; 41% M). More than one in three respondents (38% W; 32% M) claimed their sex life was as passionate now as in the beginning. Sexual satisfaction and maintenance of passion were higher among people who had sex most frequently, received more oral sex, had more consistent orgasms, and incorporated more variety of sexual acts, mood setting, and sexual communication. We discuss implications of these findings for research and for helping people revitalize their sex lives.


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Journal of Sex Research, volume 54, issue 2, in 2016, available online at DOI: 10.1080/00224499.2015.1137854. It may differ slightly from the final version.

hjsr_a_1137854_sm9938.doc (41 kB)
Appendix (Online Supplement)


Taylor & Francis



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