Sex and romance become more significant to marital happiness over time, according to research.
Sexual satisfaction was more important during mid-life than in early marriage and was “surprisingly important” during a couple’s oldest years, said the study.
A survey of 1,000 married couples found that those aged 24 to 34 were the least concerned with sexual satisfaction. Yet being “in love” and “physically affectionate” were important.
Between the ages of 35 and 44, both genders put a higher value on having good and frequent sex, with wives valuing it more highly than husbands.
“It debunks the stereotype that men want ‘good sex and lots of it’ while wives want understanding,” said John Gottman, author of The Relationship Cure.
Between the ages of 45 and 54, women rate being “in love” as the most important thing. The importance of a sex life was rated at a near-lifetime low, while for a man this does not happen until they are 55 to 65.
For those who remain married, years of being together yield an intimacy that trumps even the newly-wed glow, says the study, published in the Reader’s Digest.