After Dr. Laurie Mintz’s first daughter was born, her sex drive took a nosedive. When her second daughter arrived it disappeared. Her friends were having the same experience, even those without kids. They were too tired for sex; some didn’t care if they ever had it again. Mintz looked to self-help books and psychological literature for guidance but found them lacking. Nothing pinpointed the sentiment she and her friends had, which was, “I really love my partner, I’m just exhausted.” A psychology professor and sexuality expert at the University of Florida, Mintz wanted to understand the phenomenon wreaking havoc on her libido and she turned her subsequent research into a book A Tired Woman’s Guide to Passionate Sex: Reclaim Your Desire and Reignite Your Relationship with the hope of helping other women.
As many as 45 per cent of women and 31 per cent of men have concerns about their sex lives and studies show nearly half of all women experience some sexual dysfunction at a point in their lives. The most common is simply a lack of interest. And it matters. A 2008 University of Melbourne study found that feelings for your partner and sexual desire are bi-directional, meaning that low sexual desire reduces how much you like your partner and, in turn, impacts your partner’s relationship satisfaction too. “Sex is important. It’s the glue that holds relationships together and the oil that helps them function smoothly,” Mintz says. “When you’re busy with work, raising kids or dealing with ageing parents and all of life’s stressors, there’s so much to do. You can become business partners and roommates or co-parents with your partner. Sex is the one thing that changes that relationship into something more unique.” There’s a joke in sexual academic circles serving as a greater metaphor for the research, Mintz says – the things you find annoying about your partner before you have sex become endearing after sex.