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Marriage is typically thought of as a way to solidify a relationship. However, while most set out to get married and spend their life with someone else, this isn’t always the case.

There is a multitude of reasons why people get divorced, and a major one is lack of sexual compatibility. One particular set of studies was carried out by McNulty and published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior. It was Mcnulty and his colleague’s intention to understand how sexual desire and sexual fulfillment play a role in relationships and, more specifically, marriage.

The set of studies included two studies, one of which took place over a year and another that took place over four years. What they observed was that on average, a woman’s level of sexual desire was not only lower than a man’s but also more variable. On the other hand, men tended to maintain a strong sexual desire that was far more constant than their wives.

Additionally, they observed that a woman’s sexual desire would predict marital satisfaction for both parties in the marriage. While desire did tend to decline over time, frequency did not, which suggests that women tend to engage in sex even if they are not in the mood.

For couples who had become parents throughout the study, their sex drive seemed to decline even more. While sexual desire facilitates reproduction, this study also showed that it helped with pair bonding as well. Of course, both studies were limited to just heterosexual couples, but the main results of the study indicate that a lack of sexual compatibility may also play a role in same-sex marriage challenges.

Another limitation of the study was that it was focused on newlyweds, so the researchers did admit that the correlations could change for older couples. However, even in spite of this, this research painted a clear picture: sex isn’t just for pleasure or for reproduction, it is also for bonding and intimacy as a couple.