Scientists interested in sexual wellbeing have started to examine the role of boring sex. As part of that effort, new research published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy helps to identify several characteristics of sexual boredom.
“I believe this topic is widely discussed in the media but to have always been under the radar of psychological science,” said lead researcher Leonor de Oliveira (@prontoadespir), a sexual therapist and PhD student at Porto University.
“I find that many people looking for support for sexual desire problems are not necessarily dysfunctional and, instead, bored with sexual monotony. I believe this is especially true for women, who are more frequently diagnosed with sexual desire issues.”
In the study, 653 Portuguese-speaking adults completed a sociodemographic questionnaire and sexuality related measures as part of another research project. The participants asked to respond to the open-ended question “What is sexual boredom for you?” at the end of the survey. Most of the participants were either married or cohabiting (51.2%) or dating (24.4%).
After conducting an analysis of the responses, Oliveira and her colleagues found that several primary themes emerged.
Participants frequently linked sexual boredom to monotony, such as always remaining in the same sexual positions, decreases in sexual interest, and sex that was not pleasurable or satisfying. Sexual boredom was also associated with feeling that sex was a duty or obligation, a lack of emotional connection, and with not having enough sex.
“Sexual boredom has several shapes, but it is often linked to aspects of routine and to low levels of sexual desire, satisfaction, and pleasure,” Oliveira told PsyPost. “Although many people in our study described sexual boredom in the context of long-term sexual relationships, there are some individual and contextual aspects that may contribute to sexual boredom, including distraction and fatigue or, on the other hand, practice related aspects and aspects of relationships such as lack of passion/eroticism and other relationships issues.”
But researchers still have much to learn about the causes and consequences of sexual boredom.
“We still need to learn how and if sexual boredom overlaps with sexual desire and to identify which individuals and/or specific circumstances make people more prone to sexual boredom. Hopefully, we will also be able to identify ways to cope with sexual boredom for those who struggle with this,” Oliveira explained.
“Sexual boredom is not inherently dysfunctional,” she added. “It is likely that many people, once they recognize they feel sexually bored, will put in place strategies to overcome this boredom, and potentially gain sexual satisfaction. Boredom may well be adaptive! According to our data, when someone perceives themselves as dealing with sexual boredom, they can choose to look for sexual novelty or, in case they are unable to do so, they may need to face the progressive waning of sexual desire.”
The study, “Perceptions of sexual boredom in a community sample“, was authored by Leonor de Oliveira,Joana Carvalho, and Pedro Nobre.