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HealthyWomen’s 2011 WomenTALK survey sought to understand women’s feelings about sexual health, their sex lives and relationships.
Key findings include:
THE MAJORITY OF WOMEN ARE HAPPY IN THEIR RELATIONSHIPS BUT MANY ARE NOT HAPPY WITH THEIR SEX LIVES
Among women in committed relationships, the vast majority (76%) are very happy with their relationships. Interestingly, most respondents do not feel their sex life is extremely important to their relationship satisfaction.
While 43% say their sex life is very or extremely important to their relationship satisfaction, roughly one-quarter (27%) think it’s somewhat or not at all important and 30% say it’s important.
More women report being only somewhat or not at all satisfied with their sex life than report feeling extremely or very satisfied.
While one-third (33%) of women are extremely or very satisfied with their sex life, a higher proportion (39%) are somewhat or not at all satisfied.
More than 4 in 10 women (41%) say they are engaging in sexual activity less often than they would like. Most common reasons why are:
Being too tired (32%)
Not having a partner (31%)
Being too stressed (23%)
Being insecure about their body (22%)
Lack of desire (20%)
WOMEN EXPRESS CONFLICTING VIEWS REGARDING THEIR SEX LIVES
Women express contradiction about the amount of sexual activity they consider to be healthy versus how much they are actually having and say is the “right” amount.
Half of women (51%) believe engaging in sexual activity a few times a week is sexually healthy.
Only 30% are actually engaging in sexual activity a few times a week.
The majority (66%) are actually having sexual activity once a week or less often.
And, 57% say they are engaging in the right amount of sexual activity.
While women rank a variety of factors in their sex lives as “important,” they often express lower levels of satisfaction in these areas:
63% say “connecting with my partner” is extremely/very important, but only 42% say they are extremely/very satisfied with this area
59% say that “level of enjoyment during sexual activity” is extremely/very important, but only 41% say they are extremely/very satisfied
Conversely, 46% say their partner’s express satisfaction is extremely/very important, but 55% say they are extremely/very satisfied with their partner’s expressed satisfaction
SEXUAL HEALTH IS IMPORTANT TO OVERALL HEALTH
More than 4 in 10 women (42%) believe that sexual health is important to overall health.
Roughly one-quarter (27%) say it is only somewhat or not at all important.
At least 6 in 10 describe sexual health in one of the following ways:
Having a good relationship with my partner (72%)
Enjoying sex (70%)
Being satisfied with my sex life (69%)
Not having STDs (64%),
Being in good physical health (64%)
Experiencing sexual desire (61%)
BODY IMAGE NEGATIVELY IMPACTS A SIGNIFICANT MINORITY OF WOMEN
While most women say their body image has little impact on their sex life, one-fifth to one-quarter do report an impact.
Four in 10 (41%) women are comfortable with their body image; the exact same proportion are uncomfortable with their body image.
Small but significant minorities of women say their body image has a very strong or strong impact on their desire to engage in sexual activity (24%), their level of enjoyment (21%), their satisfaction (21%) and the frequency of sexual activity (21%).
The WomenTALK survey was sponsored by EmpowHER as part of its 1000 Women initiative. It wasconducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of HealthyWomen between August 25 and September 1, 2011, among 1,031 women aged 18+ who reside in the United States. The average survey length was 10 minutes.