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Who’s more sexually satisfied: Married or single women?

Relationship and sex therapist Dr. Teesha Morgan reveals the truth about sexual happiness and three tips to achieve it if yours needs a boost

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Many married women seem to have that token single girlfriend who, without fail, fills their heads with stories of passionate sexual dating encounters over Wednesday wine nights. Although these wine-induced, sexually salacious evenings can prove to be a positive thing by creating a space for open communication and bonding, it can also lead many women, within long term relationships, to doubt their levels of passion and how satisfied they are within their current relationship. So the question remains: Who is really having better sex? The single girlfriend experiencing the highs of a new romance, or the married couple of ten years?

More doesn’t mean happier

Science has been probing this question for years, conducting countless studies on both single and marital sexual behaviour and satisfaction. The results? Turns out it’s quite the paradox. Based on the National Health and Social Life Survey (NHSLS) results of married and cohabiting couples’ sexual activities, women generally seem happier with their sex lives than we would think; Although married women have sex less frequently, engage in less oral sex, and are less likely to experience orgasm, they are more likely to derive physical and emotional satisfaction from sex, than women in dating relationships.

Maybe it’s all in your head

According to research, marriage would therefore seem to have a leg up on the single women lifestyle, if we look at it from a satisfaction point of view. Unfortunately, this trend doesn’t seem to last, as a striking change happens between the ages of 45 and 59. During this period men’s satisfaction increases substantially, while women’s satisfaction decreases significantly. (There are many reasons for this including the not uncommon scenario of men in their late forties and fifties divorcing and often remarrying younger partners, while women, however, have been generally less able to divorce and remarry because of their relatively limited resources, but that’s another article!)

The scientific validity of these trends is strong, however, no one has to fit into the statistics box unless they choose to do so. In general, people’s sexual and relationship satisfaction within their marriage, or short term fling, depends on whether they believe that they have a “good deal”—that is, whether they think the partnership is beneficial to themselves, or at least equally balanced.  

When you need a little help

Within the context of short term flings, our new partner’s faults are harder to see, and we often become distracted by new sexually passionate connections. However, as time goes on, and marriage ensues, our love glasses become clear and our partner often doesn’t look as rosy—or appear as sexually suave—as they use to.

To counter this effect, try a few of these simple tips:

1. Remain physically active: The more you work out the more energy you will have and the more your sex drive will increase, leading to more sex and therefore a higher craving for sex.

2. Create a sexual bucket list and literally schedule these items into your life: The combination of planning and novelty will not only retain a sexual spark, but it will also eliminate the possibility for sex to be placed on the back burner.

3. Consciously and consistently remind yourself of the qualities within your partner that turn you on: Focusing on these thoughts a few times throughout the day can create a type of mental ‘sexual sizzle’ that does wonders for your subconscious sexual desires.

And ladies, regardless if you’re married or sporting the single life, remember that Wednesday wine nights with your gal pals are simply meant for bonding—after the third bottle, the sexual vaults may open wide, but elaboration is the norm.

Dr. Teesha Morgan is a sex therapist based in Vancouver, BC.