There’s no source on exactly how many people have sexual challenges. And people probably underreport sexual difficulties because it can be painful to admit you’re having a tough time. Here’s some of the data we do have.
In a 14,500 person survey conducted by Crucible® Institute based in Evergreen, Colorado the respondents reported that:
- More than 1 out of 10 (15%) say their sex is “dead.”
- More than 3 out of 10 (34%) say sex is “comatose and in danger of dying.”
- Almost 3 out of 10 (28%) say sex is “asleep and needing a wake-up call.”
In other words, almost 8 out of 10 people (77%) say their sex isn’t really worth taking off their clothes for.
This may be starting to paint a picture of sexual relationships in the modern world. And why it’s actually normal to have trouble with desire in a committed relationship.
Some people use these statistics (and the divorce rate) to argue that monogamy must not be the way humans are designed to live. Interestingly, I think the stats reveal quite the opposite!
Committed relationships are “pressure cookers” that heat you up, and then if you allow them, they transform you.
Marriage is an elegant system.
To illustrate that normal sexual relationships have challenges with intimate sex, I want to show you these statistics.
Again, the Crucible® Institute conducted an online survey of 14,387 people.
They were asked “How often do you kiss during sex?” and this was the result:
- 1 out of 10 (10%) reported they never have sex
- More than 5 out of 10 (55%) don’t kiss in every encounter
- More than 3 out of 10 (35%) kiss multiple times in every encounter
This means that for more than 6 out of 10 people surveyed (65%), passionate kissing wasn’t part of every sexual encounter.
And again, the Crucible® Institute surveyed 18,965 people about whether they look at their partners during sex. The specific question they asked was: “Do you have eyes open sex?” and this was the result:
- More than 4 out of 10 (45%) never made eye contact during sex. Of this group:
- 1 out of 10 (10%) never had sex, and
- More than 3 out of 10 (35%) had sex but did it completely without eye contact
- 4 out of 10 (40%) made some eye contact during sex
- More than 1 out of 10 (15%) couples had eyes open orgasms
Said another way: About 9 out of 10 (85%) of couples are “eyes-closed-ers” (no eye contact), “peakers” or “lookers” but only about 1 out of 10 couples are “gazers”.
If we look behind the numbers, we can see that they probably reveal a lot of frustration, disappointment and embarrassment.
Up to now, the rulebook for helping couples rekindle love and have better sex has been focused on getting couples to “communicate better”.
The thing is: couples are always communicating with each other, verbally or non-verbally. The communication may be “I don’t want to communicate about this” but that’s still information being transmuted.
It’s not a lack of communication that’s the issue.
Instead of prescribing more communication to couples, we need to let couples know that they can have more intimate, connected sex than ever before. Sex can feel more connected, hot and meaningful. But some things will need to change. And change can be uncomfortable, in fact it usually is.
It’s entirely possible, but it can be challenging.
The solution to better sex is not:
- “Just do it!”
- Communicate more (ask for what you want)
- Focus on the sensations of the touch
- Take a ban on intercourse, or
- Fantasise while you’re having sex
These are the strategies that couples usually come to spontaneously. And also, therefore, the strategies that exacerbate the tension in sexual relationships. Why don’t these suggestions help? You can’t get a new result by doing more of the same.
To enjoy better sex, you may want to try something new. This is where my framework comes in. Now, in truth, you can call these four tools whatever you want. This is the easier way I’ve found to describe the principles. Some couples will find these spontaneously, but it does help to have a framework to know “what’s what” when you’re learning a new way of approaching sex.
The framework includes four tools: Confident & Unguarded, Calm-Connected Responding, Emotionally Self-Controlled and Grit & Growth.
If you can be Confident & Unguarded while practising Calm-Connected Responding to react productively in an Emotionally Self-Controlled way to your partner when you’re frustrated about sex, then you’re well on your way to having hotter, more meaningful sex. Using these 3 tools while harnessing the “staying power” of Grit & Growth, you will condition yourself to access incredible sex.
What do these tools really mean?
✔ Calm-Connected Responding is the ability to not over or under-react when things become stressful—but to engage and reply in a productive way to your partner.
✔ Emotionally Self-Controlled is the ability to soothe yourself when you feel overwhelmed, blamed or threatened.
✔ Confident & Unguarded is the ability to be fully yourself, with others you deeply love and respect, without shrinking, hiding or moulding yourself into a person you think they will be more willing to accept.
✔ Grit & Growth is the ability to stay connected with your partner while tolerating the pain that’s part of growing.
In this article, we’ve looked at the number of couples who are unhappy with their sex life. We looked at the number of people who have low libido, the amount that kiss during sex and the percentage that look at each other during sex.
We also briefly considered why couples don’t need to simply “communicate more” (because they are always communicating).
Lastly, we looked at four tools that can help couples move towards the best sex of their lives.
Next, you might enjoy reading Want Intimate Sex? See Why “Give & Take” Doesn’t Work—And What To Do Instead
Stephanie Renee Cluff