Reasons Not To Have Sex Survey Results

Jay Dee

Reasons Not To Have Sex Survey Results

Oct 09, 2013

This was a simple little survey that I created, originally to answer a simple question:  do husbands and wife’s agree on whether or not the choice to not have sex on a given night is mutual.  This question was raised due to a comment on

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Reasons Not To Have SexThis was a simple little survey that I created, originally to answer a simple question:  do husbands and wife’s agree on whether or not the choice to not have sex on a given night is mutual.  This question was raised due to a comment on a recent post.

I added a few more questions, partially so that it wasn’t a two question survey, partially because, well, if people are going to fill it out, I might as well get a bit more data, and partially because it’s generally a bad idea to ask only what you want on a survey, because people tend to answer differently if they know what you are looking for, thus ruining the data.

In total, 159 respondents filled out the survey when I grabbed the data set I’ll be working from.

Individual Questions

Number of responses: 159

What is the number 1 reason for not having sex in your marriage on any given night?

There were 47 individual answers given including the original 4 I posted.  I did my best to consolidate the data into categories.The rest were responses by only one individual or people said “multiple reasons”, which completely violated the “number 1 reason” phrase in the question.

  • Too tired/too late/need to get to sleep – 49%
  • Not in the mood – 26%
  • Doesn’t want sex (flat out refusal purely based on the grounds that it is sex) – 6%
  • Earlier fight (or just emotionally disconnected) – 6%
  • Head-ache/Sore back/Sore neck – 3%
  • Menstruation – 3%
  • Body Image Issues – 2%
  • Medical Issues – 1%

It was nice to see the stereotypical “I have a headache” is not so popular these days.  Seems like “I’m too tired” has replaced it as the go-to phrase.  Not that I’m saying everyone who answered that is just using it as an excuse to get out of sex.

On those nights, whose idea is it not to have sex?

  • Husband – 19%
  • Mutual – 31%
  • Wife – 50%

I would consider myself to have a

  • High Sex Drive – 78%
  • Low Sex Drive – 22%

How often does sex get turned down?

  • Never – 5%
  • 10% of the time – 12%
  • 20% of the time – 19%
  • 30% of the time – 8%
  • 40% of the time – 6%
  • 50% of the time – 15%
  • 60% of the time – 6%
  • 70% of the time – 5%
  • 80% of the time – 10%
  • 90% of the time – 6%
  • Every time – 10%

Husbands’ Responses

Number of responses: 90 (57%)

What is the number 1 reason for not having sex in your marriage on any given night?

  • Too tired/too late/need to get to sleep – 45%
  • Not in the mood – 30%
  • Doesn’t want sex (flat out refusal purely based on the grounds that it is sex) – 9%
  • Earlier fight (or just emotionally disconnected) – 7%
  • Head-ache/Sore back/Sore neck – 3%
  • Menstruation – 3%

On those nights, whose idea is it not to have sex?

  • Husband – 7%
  • Mutual – 23%
  • Wife – 70%

I would consider myself to have a

  • High Sex Drive – 95%
  • Low Sex Drive – 8%

The husbands are pretty much where I’d expect.  I’d imagine there are more low-drive husbands in the population, but they are less likely to frequent a site about sex within marriage.  They are also less likely to admit (even on an anonymous survey) that they have a low sex drive.  Thank you to those who are man enough to speak the truth.

How often does sex get turned down?

  • Never – 3%
  • 10% of the time – 7%
  • 20% of the time – 18%
  • 30% of the time -5%
  • 40% of the time – 6%
  • 50% of the time – 15%
  • 60% of the time – 5%
  • 70% of the time – 8%
  • 80% of the time – 10%
  • 90% of the time – 8%
  • Every time – 16%

These stats are in line with what I’m seeing out in the population and other statistics: between 10-20% of Christian marriages being sexless.

Wives’ Responses

Number of responses: 67 (43%)

By the way, I love that we have a fairly even distribution of man and women in our surveys.

What is the number 1 reason for not having sex in your marriage on any given night?

  • Too tired/too late/need to get to sleep – 54%
  • Not in the mood – 22%
  • Doesn’t want sex (flat out refusal purely based on the grounds that it is sex) – 3%
  • Earlier fight (or just emotionally disconnected) – 4%
  • Head-ache/Sore back/Sore neck – 3%
  • Menstruation – 3%
  • Body Image Issues – 3%
  • Medical Issues – 3%

On those nights, whose idea is it not to have sex?

  • Husband – 36%
  • Mutual – 42%
  • Wife – 22%

Notice that the wives say it is a mutual decision nearly twice as often as the husbands say it is?  And are 5 times as likely to say it was the husband’s decision.  I have a hypothesis about this one that it probably going to take another survey to resolve.

I would consider myself to have a

  • High Sex Drive – 60%
  • Low Sex Drive – 40%

I’m a little surprised that 60% of the wives say they are high drive.  This could be due to the fact that there was no “normal drive” option, because if I chose that, the vast majority would select it by default, because people like being “normal”.  It could also be due to the fact that low-drive wives are far less likely to visit a blog on sex.

How often does sex get turned down?

  • Never – 3%
  • 10% of the time – 7%
  • 20% of the time – 18%
  • 30% of the time -5%
  • 40% of the time – 6%
  • 50% of the time – 15%
  • 60% of the time – 5%
  • 70% of the time – 8%
  • 80% of the time – 10%
  • 90% of the time – 8%
  • Every time – 16%

The women’s stats seem radically skewed.  Only 1% will admit to turning down sex every time. That doesn’t match with the accepted number of 10-20% of marriages being sexless.  But, this fits with the hypothesis I mentioned earlier.  More on that in a later post, if I can prove it.

High Drive Spouses’ Responses

Number of responses: 124 (78%)

So, we have far more “high sex drive” respondents than “low sex drive” respondents.  Not surprising really.  This is a skewed representation of the population, because high drive spouses are far more likely to be researching about sex and participating in surveys about sex.

What is the number 1 reason for not having sex in your marriage on any given night?

  • Too tired/too late/need to get to sleep – 49%
  • Not in the mood – 27%
  • Doesn’t want sex (flat out refusal purely based on the grounds that it is sex) – 8%
  • Earlier fight (or just emotionally disconnected) – 6%
  • Head-ache/Sore back/Sore neck – 3%
  • Menstruation – 3%
  • Medical Issues – 2%

On those nights, whose idea is it not to have sex?

  • Husband – 19%
  • Mutual – 28%
  • Wife – 53%

I am the

  • Husband – 67%
  • Wife – 33%

How often does sex get turned down?

  • Never – 5%
  • 10% of the time – 10%
  • 20% of the time – 16%
  • 30% of the time -9%
  • 40% of the time – 7%
  • 50% of the time – 14%
  • 60% of the time – 6%
  • 70% of the time – 5%
  • 80% of the time – 10%
  • 90% of the time – 7%
  • Every time – 12%

Low Drive Spouses’ Responses

Number of responses: 35 (22%)

What is the number 1 reason for not having sex in your marriage on any given night?

  • Too tired/too late/need to get to sleep – 49%
  • Not in the mood – 26%
  • Doesn’t want sex (flat out refusal purely based on the grounds that it is sex) – 3%
  • Earlier fight (or just emotionally disconnected) – 6%
  • Head-ache/Sore back/Sore neck – 3%
  • Menstruation – 3%
  • Body Image Issues – 6%
  • Medical Issues – 2%

So, whether high or low libido, the answers pretty much line up on the dot.  Now, this creates an interesting possibility.  More on that later.

On those nights, whose idea is it not to have sex?

  • Husband – 19%
  • Mutual – 28%
  • Wife – 53%

Again, sex drive has far less of an impact on this question than gender did.  Does this make anyone else curious?

I am the

  • Husband – 67%
  • Wife – 33%

How often does sex get turned down?

  • Never – 5%
  • 10% of the time – 10%
  • 20% of the time – 16%
  • 30% of the time -9%
  • 40% of the time – 7%
  • 50% of the time – 14%
  • 60% of the time – 6%
  • 70% of the time – 5%
  • 80% of the time – 10%
  • 90% of the time – 7%
  • Every time – 12%

Here, the stats are fairly separated again, as one would expect.  The low-drive spouses are saying they turn their spouse down for sex far less often than the high drive spouse recalls.  Though across the board (for drive and gender), about 15% of spouses will admit that sex is a 50/50 shot.  About a quarter of the time, it has between a 40% and 60% chance of refusal when asked.  Those are pretty bad odds for any betting game, particularly when what you are betting with is your sexuality against the one person you are allowed to express it with.  In fact, on average, spouses say they have a slightly higher (though close to equal) chance of being rejected rather than accepted.  That’s unfortunate.

Answering the Question

Whose Idea Not To Have SexAs I said earlier, all this was inspired by a statement in the comments:

Or maybe it’s that I see the problem more as the family’s schedule has gradually gotten out of hand/husband and wife haven’t worked together to set priorities effectively/now they are stretched so thin they don’t have time for sex, rather than one person has a huge time management/commitment problem and the other person needs to come down on it like a rock. The latter is definitely possible, but it seems like the former is more common.

So, I guess we better answer the question, who is responsible?  Filtering only for responses where the main complaint was “Too tired/too late/need to get to sleep”, which to me all sound like “there isn’t enough time”, or “we’re over scheduled”, what do we see?

35% believe it’s mutual, that the decision not to have sex is a joint one.  This leaves 65% believing it is one spouses decision/responsibility/choices.  And these are split into some interesting categories.

67% of high drive husbands believe it is the unilateral decision of the wife.  I have no doubt that a large percentage of those wives believe their marriage is egalitarian, and the husbands do too…until you mention sex.  For high drive wives, 53% believe it is the unilateral decision of the husband not to have sex.

So, where are all these people who believe it is mutually agreed upon?  Well, a large portion are in the low-drive wives club.  Half of them believe it was mutually agreed upon not to have sex.  Now, you might think that this is a low-drive issue, but it’s not entirely.  Then men who are low drive freely admit, it is their decision and no one else.  100% of them say that the decision not to have sex is theirs and theirs alone.  So, what is going on with the low-drive wives.  We can’t blame the lack of libido, or the gender, it has something to do with the combination of the two.

The rest are in the high-drive spouses club.  33% of them agree that it’s mutually agreed upon not to have sex on a given night due to tiredness, it being too late, or that they need to get some sleep.

Your Turn

A special thanks to Gaye at www.CalmHealthySexy.com for bringing up the topic, and to all those who participated in the survey and especially those who re-tweeted and shared that we were looking for respondents.  Data is data, but the interpretation is based on personal opinion, insight and experience.  What do you think the data is saying?  Let us know in the comments below.

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36 thoughts on “Reasons Not To Have Sex Survey Results”

  1. LatterDay Marriage says:

    My guess is that the low drive wives are either in denial about it being mutual when it is not as a way to avoid guilt, or they have refused their men for so long that their men accept the refusal without starting a fight over it, so she assumes he is agreeing when really he is too hurt and rejected to make a fuss and show it isn`t mutual.

    1. Jeremy says:

      I think you pretty much hit the nail on the head so to speak… once the spouse is turned down enough, we tend to simply except the turn down and not say much about it so that there won’t be a fight about it.

    2. ButterflyWings says:

      Latter day marriage why only low drives WIVES. It very much equally applies to low drive HUSBANDS.

      Thanks for pointing out just another way women who like sex and are married to a low drive husband get their feelings trampled on.

      1. Jay Dee says:

        You’re welcome? I’m not sure if that comment was sarcastic or not…

      2. LatterDay Marriage says:

        Well, that is what the data suggests, don`t blame me for that.

        As for why, I think it goes to the `women don`t need or want sex as much as a man`stereotype. It lets men refuse their wife without feeling like they are hurting her in some way, so they don`t need to protect their ego by convincing themselves it is mutual when it is not.

        Just my guess.

        1. Jay Dee says:

          That is an interesting insight, thank you for that.

        2. ButterflyWings says:

          Sorry LatterDay Marriage, my point is more I know it’s not just low drive wives that think that. What you wrote is EXACTLY how my husband thinks. In denial to avoid guilt, and thinks because I don’t start a fight with it, that I’m accept his refusal as being “mutual”.

    3. Jay Dee says:

      I think that might be part of it, but I don’t think it’s the entire story. If it was, then the low drive husbands would likely have the same dynamic, but they are admitting it’s their choice, not mutually chosen.

      1. ButterflyWings says:

        I don’t think there is a difference between low drive husbands and wives. The difference is in the type of low drive individuals who take the time to take the survey.

      1. Robyn Gibson says:

        I should have prefaced that BINGO, let me try again:

        @LatterDay Marriage and @ Jeremy: BINGO

    4. happywife says:

      I’ve been analyzing a different reason for this based on the following assumptions.

      The majority of the male population is “high drive”
      The majority of the female population is “low drive”
      … therefore the majority of men are married to low drive women, and the majority of women are married to high drive men

      The majority of your blog readers are “high drive” or atleast “sex positive”
      therefore …..
      The majority of the men answering your survey are high drive men with low drive wives (unilateral decision)
      The majority of the women answering your survey would be high drive women married to high drive men (mutual decision)

      am I way off base with this thinking? In other words, in a sexually healthy marriage where both are sex positive, I do think that a couple is more in tune with each other and if one senses that the other isn’t really wanting sex on a given night, they are content to let it wait until tomorrow, because it isn’t seen as a rejection but truly as a “how about tomorrow?” … yes, I know that was a bad run on sentence, but I need to get on to other things so I’m not going to take the time to edit 🙂

      1. Jay Dee says:

        Actually, the majority of women answering the survey at low drive (60%), so that doesn’t quite fit in, though a larger percentage are high drive than compared to the general population, most likely. I’ll give you that.

        I would agree, in a sexually healthy marriage, a missed night shouldn’t even be blinked at. The problem is that the vast majority of marriages I wouldn’t consider sexually healthy. It seems to be a very small subset of the married population.

  2. ButterflyWings says:

    Jay Dee, perhaps in response to not using “normal drive” as an option since most people believe they are normal drive, it would be better to use the terms highER and lowER drive.

    Because I have researched the biology and averages, and I am very sure I am not high drive – I am just a normal woman with a normal healthy sex drive. I am much higher than my husband, but only because his drive is abnormally low.

    In regards to the disparity between male and female answers, it’s quite obvious it’s just “sampling bias”. If only couples answered the questions, you’d get a more generally applicable result, but your sample comes from readers of this blog. My guess is the readers of this blog are more likely to be the spouses who like sex and far less likely to be those who refuse sex. Therefore you get the people who are higher drive, whether they are male or female, and therefore tend to be the ones who report being refused regularly.

    In regards to the low drive husbands who 100% admit they are the ones who refuse sex, I would suggest again, this is sampling bias. Men like my husband, would not come to sites like this. Many men refuse to accept they have a low drive – those who are willing to admit they have a low drive are far more likely to be in touch with the fact that they are refusers. Unfortunately the majority of male refusers are men like my husband who will not admit they have a low drive and who fool themselves into think not having sex is mutual.

    If you asked my husband, all the times he has refused me, he would call that a “mutual” decision simply because after he said no, I didn’t push – therefore to him, I agreed to his refusal, making it mutual.

    So yeah, I guess gender does play into it a little. But I would strongly hypothesize this is because most male refusers are in denial that their sex drive is “low”. They think their drive is normal and their wife is just a nympho freak. They also think that their wife not pushing them after being refused means their wife is agreeing to it and therefore “mutual”.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Yeah, I agree that there is a sampling bias. Do you have an suggestions on how to fix that?

      1. ButterflyWings says:

        No idea sorry mate. Welcome to the bane of psychological testing 😉

      2. happywife says:

        I think a way to get a less biased sampling is to offer the survey through another avenue and not make it a “sex survey.” Perhaps a “marriage” survey with a sprinkling of sex questions thrown in. As you said, higher drive spouses would be more likely to be intrigued enough to fill out a survey on sex (and the higher drive spouse is the one who comes here in the first place)
        Interesting survey and results though, even if they aren’t a perfect scientific sampling.

        1. Jay Dee says:

          Oh, now that’s a good idea.

          Alright, next time I’ll try to make it more generic. No branding, but you guys are going to have to help get it out to the general public in order to pull it off. Frankly, the only audience I can effect are those interested in sex.

          I’m also working on getting a way to have both spouses answer (potentially, but not required) and linking the results while still keeping it anonymous and not showing each other their answers. I think I have a solution, just need to see if the technology will allow for it.

  3. Robyn Gibson says:

    Hey JD! OK, time to be brutally honest (about me) — I don’t get the numbers, they confuse me. I mean unless its something concrete and tangible, say like, a divorce stat. I’m SO thankful that you extrapolate information and do lots of explaining and make comments, otherwise I’d be like Dory on Finding Nemo: “Oh look, a castle!”

    1. Jay Dee says:

      No problem, I like doing surveys. I still am working on writing one for the questions you sent me. Trying to expand it to include both genders and make it quantifiable. I haven’t forgotten.

  4. happywife says:

    Maybe it was just me, but I wasn’t sure how to answer the question about refusal frequency. Yes, I realize it should be pretty cut and dry, but I found myself thinking, “what exactly is he asking?”

    How often do we NOT have sex? currently approx. 3 nights out of 4… that would be 70%
    How often do I ask/suggest outright and he say’s no? that number might be 5%
    How often does he ask/suggest and I decline? again, maybe 5%
    Are we talking about nights that we clearly state our need for sex or overtly initiate? .01%
    The night that he comes home late, climbs into bed after I’ve been asleep for an hour and say’s “Are you in the mood?”… ummm 100%
    The nights we look at eachother and say “let’s take a rain check”? Gosh, how do I answer that… are we talking a night that we generally have sex? the night after we just had sex? the 3rd or 4th day when we both know we’re due?

    Am I making sense? I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to count as a night that sex is “turned down”
    In looking at the survey again, I see the reason for my confusion. You asked about “on any given night, what is the number one reason for not having sex” Well, for us it is probably we had sex last night and tonight we choose to cuddle and read because neither of us feels the need again, or he is out late for a meeting, or the kids are all home so we’d rather wait until tomorrow when we know we’ll have an empty house… So when the next question asked, whose decision is it to not have sex, I said mutual. Then you follow with “how often is sex turned down?” and I didn’t know how to interpret “turned down.” Turned down as in “we choose to wait until tomorrow” or turned down as in “no dear, get your hands off, roll over and go to sleep”

    I think one question that might have been helpful also to get a better grasp of the survey results is “Are you currently satisfied with the amount of sex in your marriage?” My answer would have been “yes” and I chose the 2 on the scale of 1-10.

    anyhow, sorry to have posted such a long comment but wanted to explain my confusion.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Thank you for taking the time to give feedback, detailing your struggles with the survey is a great way to ensure I do a better job creating one next time. I understand the confusion.

      Here’s what the flow was in my mind, just to explain myself, not to say this is what you should have thought:
      On a night where sex is initiated/brought up and you don’t have it, what is the reason.
      In those cases, whose reason was it really?
      How often does this (no sex despite one spouse wanting sex)?

      1. happywife says:

        ah, well your first question should have been more clearly stated, as I read it as “of the seven days of the week, how often is sex not happening” two different things. I might have answered differently.

        1. happywife says:

          that was an observation, not a criticism of your survey.

          1. Jay Dee says:

            No problem, I love feedback!

        2. Hannah says:

          yep, I thought the same thing.

  5. Hannah says:

    My husband and I have very open conversations about sex. There will be nights when I don’t/can’t have sex and he doesn’t or can’t have sex, but we both agree to discuss it and often try if the other still wants sex… so long as it doesn’t hurt the other person (physically) and the other person isn’t sick/injured. If we run into issues, then we stop and agree on a time to come back and try again. Sometimes this isn’t the case, but we really try hard to make a mutual decision because we want to love and honor each other. I did ask my husband and we both agreed, usually I have more reasons not to have sex than he does, but again, we talk it through. I don’t know what that says about us in regards to this particular survey. I’d say that couples need to be more honest and open in communication about sex, especially in the marriages where one has a low sex drive and the other has a higher drive

  6. Gaye says:

    Wow, I’m shocked that my little comment lead to this! I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said. I just want to encourage couples to be proactive and plan their time and schedules so that intimacy can be an important part of their lives. It can certainly be just one spouse who over-commits or doesn’t manage time well, but it may also be that as a couple they’ve allowed their schedules and the family’s schedule to control them, rather than the other way around. If a couple or family is really stretched thin with lots of commitments and activities, the effects of fatigue and stress are going to take a toll on sex and intimacy, especially for the lower-drive spouse. I’m just encouraging couples to structure their family’s life in such a way that there’s time for sex and intimacy to be enjoyed by both spouses.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      I agree! I was just curious about which was more frequent: mutual, or one sided.
      It was a good question you raised.

      In the end, it doesn’t really matter, it still needs to be resolved so that there is enough time for the marriage, and not just running from meeting to meeting.

  7. BB says:

    Thank-you for posting! I fall into these results but don’t want to admit it! My husband calls me a nun! But I’m lucky because he doesn’t necessarily have a high sex drive either!

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Admitting it is step one. If you want to take that step, I’d highly suggest checking out ForgivenWife’s blog. I honestly believe saying “Yes” to God means saying “Yes” to your husband fairly often, and I think you’ll find that your marriage will rise to a new level when you do so.

  8. Mel Caldicott says:

    This is very interesting and encouraging. Keep going in your ministry – it is very valuable!
    Thanks for linking up at Essential Fridays.
    Blessings
    Mel from Essential Thing Devotions & Connect With God

  9. David says:

    You said

    I have a hypothesis about this one that it probably going to take another survey to resolve.”

    Did you ever do that survey? What was your hypothesis?

    1. Jay Dee says:

      I still haven’t figured out a way to figure it out using a survey I’m afraid.

  10. Unknown says:

    Would have to agree with the man’s ego and Latter Day Marriage with their second guess for myself!
    Just like men……women have those same feelings of rejection, shame, disconnect after so many attempts and or shut down.
    May I also add since women have a more submissive tendency built in as God created them to be that maybe they are silent and submit to their husband and do not say a word bc of ego or feelings or trying to submit to husband.
    I really feel like the stereotype for men about need of sex is overrated when it is compared to a women’s need. I believe both sexes have same drive, just how the engines run is the question. Intimacy in a marriage plays a huge role….take dating and chemical bonds that glue spouses together or in cases with sexual sin, away. Each person no matter what sex they are, are completely different and have personality that play a role, submitting to a spouse or God in Respect and Honor, feelings, pride, abuse, past…present…future so on.

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