Is my spouse attracted to me?

Jay Dee

Is my spouse attracted to me?

Sep 21, 2013

I wrote a survey this weekend to help out with a post and answer a question from a reader: Was their spouse attracted to them?  So many people commented, both in the survey, on Facebook, message boards, in emails, comments, etc., that they wanted to see the

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Is my spouse attracted to meI wrote a survey this weekend to help out with a post and answer a question from a reader: Was their spouse attracted to them?  So many people commented, both in the survey, on Facebook, message boards, in emails, comments, etc., that they wanted to see the results, that I just have to share them.  At the time of this post, the sample set was 183 respondents.

Gender neutral questions

How long have you been married?

Length Of Marriage My last survey, I had broken this out into ranges, but then I realized my ranges were flawed.  So, this time I asked by what year you were married in.  But, now I have the problem that there are about 40 categories…So, I’m just going to jump by 5 year increments.  We have a pretty nice curve here, well represented, perhaps a little thin at the top, but given divorce and cancer rates…that’s probably fairly representative of the population.  The longest marriage that responded was 46 years.

 How old are you and your spouse?

Ages This is about what I would expect to see.  Not many young couples these days, many are opting to start later in life, which is a whole topic by itself.  The average age gap was about 2.5 years, with the smallest being the same age, and the largest being 20 years.

Gender of Respondent

Now, there is a stereotype that only men are interested in sex.  So, it would stand to reason that the vast majority of respondents would be male.  But in this case, we have a fairly even split: 54% Male, 46% Female.  I’m pretty happy about that.

Questions for the wives

Do you find your husband attractive?

  • Yes: 93%
  • No: 7%

Do you find your husband more or less attractive than when you first got married?

  • More: 49%
  • Same: 38%
  • Less: 13%

 Does your husband have any serious medical, physical or mental conditions?

  • Yes: 24%
  • No: 76%

Is your husband more or less fit than when you got married?

  • More: 16%
  • Same: 24%
  • Less: 60%

Do you currently have more or less sex than you did in your first year of marriage?

  • More: 30%
  • Less: 42%
  • Same: 28%

Do you like the current frequency of sex in your marriage?

  • Would like more: 54%
  • I like it where it is: 39%
  • Would like less: 6%

Did you see that?  54% of wives would like more sex!  I would bet a lot of their husbands don’t even know.  Though no doubt there are some marriages where circumstances simply do not allow for more, or make it difficult to increase the frequency.  Granted, they filled out a survey on a blog about sex…so there may be a bias within the sample set…

How many pregnancies have you had?

  • No pregnancies: 8%
  • 1 pregnancy: 6%
  • 2 pregnancies: 29%
  • 3 pregnancies: 28%
  • 4 pregnancies: 21%
  • 5+ pregnancies: 8%

Do you feel you are sexually confident with your husband?

  • Yes: 73%
  • No: 27%

I’m curious to see what the husbands think of this answer.   Stay tuned.

Does your husband express his attraction to you?

  • Yes: 79%
  • No: 21%

Do you feel tempted by attractive men in your life/workplace/church/area?

  • Yes: 15%
  • No: 85%

Do you feel your husband is attracted to you?

  • Yes: 82%
  • No: 18%

Questions for the husbands

Do you find your wife attractive?

  • Yes: 96%
  • No: 4%

Do you find your wife more or less attractive than when you first got married?

  • More: 56%
  • Same: 29%
  • Less: 15%

Does your wife have any serious medical, physical or mental conditions?

  • Yes: 16%
  • No: 84%

Apparently the wives are the healthier gender.

Is your wife more or less fit than when you got married?

  • More: 17%
  • Same: 25%
  • Less: 58%

How many pregnancies has your wife had?

  • No pregnancies: 14%
  • 1 pregnancy: 10%
  • 2 pregnancies: 26%
  • 3 pregnancies: 21%
  • 4 pregnancies: 17%
  • 5+ pregnancies: 11%

Do you currently have more or less sex than you did in your first year of marriage?

  • More: 19%
  • Same: 21%
  • Less: 60%

Do you like the current frequency of sex in your marriage?

  • Would like more: 75%
  • I like it where it is: 25%

True to the stereotype, none of the male respondents elected for less sex.

Who leads in the household?

  • Husband leads: 37%
  • Wife leads: 10%
  • Equal leadership: 53%

Who leads in the bedroom in your marriage?

  • Husband leads: 34%
  • Wife leads: 31%
  • Equal: 35%

Do you see that?  About 20% of the egalitarian respondents shifted as soon as we bring up sex.  It seems like 20% of the men had this conversation in their head:

Me: Who leads in the house

Respondent: We both do!  We’re equal and have equal roles!

Me: Including the bedroom?

Respondent: …oh, wait…no…she does…

Do you feel your wife is sexually confident?

  • Yes: 36%
  • No: 64%

Do you feel tempted by attractive looking women in your life/workplace/church/area?

  • Yes: 38%
  • No: 62%

Do you feel your wife is attracted to you?

  • Yes: 66%
  • No: 34%

Aggregate for both genders

Do you find your spouse attractive?

  • Yes: 95%
  • No: 5%

Do you find your spouse more or less attractive than when you got married?

  • More: 53%
  • Same: 33%
  • Less: 14%

Does your spouse have any serious medical, physical or mental conditions?

  • Yes: 20%
  • No: 80%

Is your spouse more or less fit than when you got married?

  • More: 17%
  • Same: 24%
  • Less: 59%

How many pregnancies for the wife of the marriage?

  • No pregnancies: 12%
  • 1 pregnancy: 8%
  • 2 pregnancies: 27%
  • 3 pregnancies: 24%
  • 4 pregnancies: 19%
  • 5+ pregnancies: 10%

Do you currently have more or less sex than in the first year of marriage?

  • More: 24%
  • Same: 24%
  • Less: 52%

Do you like the current frequency of sex in your marriage?

  • Would like more: 66%
  • I like it where it is: 31%
  • Would like less: 3%

Is the wife sexually confident?

  • Yes: 53%
  • No: 47%

Do you feel tempted by attractive looking people in your life/workplace/church/area?

  • Yes: 27%
  • No: 73%

Do you feel your spouse is attracted to you?

  • Yes: 74%
  • No: 26%

Temptation and the spouse attracted

Feeling attractive makes a large impact on whether or not you are tempted by members of the opposite gender.  I could find no stronger correlation in the data. If you are a husband and feel your wife is attracted to you, 29% say they are tempted by other women.  If you don’t feel your wife is attracted to you, that number nearly doubles to 55%. If you are a wife, and you feel your husband is attracted to you, only 9% are tempted by other men.  However, if they don’t feel attractive to their spouse, that number jumps more than five-fold to 47%. Moral of the data: make sure your spouse knows you find them attractive (speaking to the 95% of you who do find your spouse attractive).

There is also a strong correlation between the wife feeling sexually confident and the husband feeling tempted.  If the husband has a sexually confident wife, 17% are tempted by other women.  But, if she isn’t confident (hides herself, isn’t open about her sexuality, etc), that number jumps to 48%.  Almost half.  Moral of the data: be more confident (I know, easier than it sounds).

Husbands who are sexually fulfilling there wives (at least frequency wise) have little to worry about in this department.  If the wife is happy with the frequency of sex, only 3% answered that they are tempted (0% of those who want less sex).  However, if they aren’t being satisfied, if they want more sex, that number jumps to 26%.  Men have an almost identical jump, though the initial risk of temptation is higher.  They go from 21% when satisfied up to 42% when not.

So, for the wives, basically, the more sex your husband has with you, and the more sexually confident you are, the less likely he is to be tempted.

For the husbands…well…apparently getting her pregnant works (sorry ladies, this is your data).  The data shows that after one pregnancy, the risk of temptation drops from 43% down to 20% for women.  After a second, it drops to 17%.  One more, and it drops to zero.  This sadly doesn’t seem to have the same correlation to the men’s risk of temptation.  After two kids, it seems to rise from 40% up to 48% (likely due to the frequency and confidence factors) before dropping down to 30% after three kids and 23% after 4 kids.

It also appears that men have a real problem with the “in sickness and in health” part of marriage vows.  The risk increases from 34% without any serious issues to 56% if issues are present.  Women aren’t much better, seeing a doubling from 12% up to 25% for the same criteria.

But women don’t seem to care if their husband is attractive or not.  They stay in the 15-17% range, regardless of whether or not they are attracted to their husband.  Men on the other hand…well…I’d like to just say it plays a large role, but this is a post about data.  So, we see a rise to 75% risk of temptation when they don’t find their wife attractive.  Good news is, that’s a very small minority (5%).

Leadership and the spouse attracted

Leadership of the home is an interesting topic that has come up before.  I’ve heard men say “oh, my wife leads, and I’m OK with that” various times when talking face to face with them.  But get them to fill out an anonymous survey, and their tune changes.

When the wife leads the home, no man (according to the data) is satisfied with the amount of sex.  Whereas in egalitarian and husband-led homes, About 25-30% are happy with the frequency.  None of them are having more sex than the beginning of the relationship (as opposed to about 22% for the egalitarian marriages and husband-led homes), and only 10% are having the same amount (compared with 22% again).  So, basically 90% of the wife-led households are declining in intimacy, and only 56-57% are declining in the other leadership structures (which I think is still too high).  They are also much more likely to find their wife unattractive (20% compared to 2-3%).  Of course, part of this could be because attractiveness is tied to sexuality for men, and these wives who lead in the household, are far more likely to lead in the bedroom as well (70%), while the vast majority (90%) don’t feel confident sexually.  It’s hard to lead when you don’t feel confident in what you’re leading in.  This lack of being confident translates into the husband feeling unattractive (78%).  Sadly, this all leads to a 78% risk of temptation by their husband by other women.  Note: I am not saying the wives are responsible for infidelity.  I’m saying the circumstances seem to make the temptation stronger.  Each is accountable for their own actions.  Though, I do believe it is our job to help keep our spouse from temptation.

Do not refuse and deprive and defraud each other [of your due marital rights], except perhaps by mutual consent for a time, so that you may devote yourselves unhindered to prayer. But afterwards resume marital relations, lest Satan tempt you [to sin] through your lack of restraint of sexual desire.

1 Corinthians 7:5

Let’s take a quick look at egalitarian vs. husband-led, because that’s often a hot topic, and I’m curious about the data, and generally people don’t want to touch it.

Husband led marriages tend to have more pregnancies, with the average being about 3.1 pregnancies instead of 2.3 pregnancies for egalitarian marriages.  As noted before, husband-led households are less likely to have wife-led marriage beds (19% instead of 31%).  They are also 5% less likely to be tempted by other women, interestingly enough, this may be due to the fact that marriages where the husband leads, his chance of feeling attractive to his spouse rises from 63% (egalitarian) to 83%.  In the wife-led marriages, this drops to 20%.

Confidence and the spouse attracted

Some people in the comments mentioned that sexual confidence comes with age.  I’m sorry to say, the data doesn’t support that.  In fact, it seems an overall downward slope based on the wife’s age, starting with 60% saying they feel confident at age 20-25 and ending up at about 33% feeling confident at age 60-65.  But, there are noticeable spikes at 35-40 (70%) and 45-50 (59%), so guys, keep an eye out for those years.

But, here is the bizarre thing.  While confidence declines with age, it seems to increase with length of marriage.  I’m assuming this has to do with second marriages or some such thing, otherwise it makes no sense.  At the 0-5 year range, we see about 44% of wives feeling confident sexually, and it rises (with some ups and downs) to about 57% by 35-40 year marriage.

Comments

14% of respondents opted to leave a comment.  Thank you for those!  Your feedback is helpful and I will do my best to integrate it into the next survey.

So, let me leave you with this tidbit of information I picked up thanks to everyone’s data:

When is the spouse attracted the most?

25-30 years seems to be the sweet spot:

  • Desire for more sex is at an all time low (which could indicate you’re getting enough, thus high frequency)
  • Temptation is at an all time low
  • Wife’s sexual confidence at an all time high
  • Sexual frequency is the highest against other couples compared to the first year
  • Attractiveness to your spouse is at an all time high (90%)

So, for those who are going through hard times and aren’t at that 25-30 year range yet.  Hold in there, chances are, it’s going to improve.

Your Turn

Anything that surprised you from the data?  Does it answer the question “is my spouse attracted to me?”  Any questions that weren’t answered you’d like to have answered?  Let me know in the comments below.

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20 thoughts on “Is my spouse attracted to me?”

  1. Mary says:

    It appears that both genders have high percentages of not being as fit as they were when first married.
    This can easily lead to lack of confidence in the bedroom and being self conscious of being jiggly.
    Added weight and eating a diet that contributes to the excess weight makes us more tired as well, lacking the energy to get busy at the end of the day.

    Bottom line is that we need to remember we are the Temple of the Holy Spirit and we should care for what God has given us so that we may be the best we can.

    If both of you have gained weight, try working out together or taking an evening brisk walk together and talking. Be flirtatious. Shower together after the exercise….and then sexercise… 🙂

    1. Jay Dee says:

      That sounds like an excellent suggestion! I particularly like the last step. In my own case, it’s a little hard to go for a walk together though. Too many little ones at home and no older kids to watch them. Perhaps in another 5 years or so. Thanks for commenting Mary. Welcome to the site.

      1. Mary says:

        It gets easier as the kids get older. Our kids are 10,8,6,and 5. When the 2 younger ones are asleep (7:30 now at it is dark). The boys can hold down the fort for a bit. Of course we cells on and they have a cell and we live in a very safe hood.

        The early years can be and have been quite a drain on energy and on the love life….especially when one gives birth to 4 kids in a 5.5 year span.

        1. Jay Dee says:

          Yeah, we’re in about the same boat, four in 6 years. 3 years to go? I can handle that.

  2. userdand says:

    “But, here is the bizarre thing. While confidence declines with age, it seems to increase with length of marriage.”

    Perhaps what is happening here is divorces which leave the participants anxious as to their desirability and sexual prowess. They are older but are “damaged” goods giving them a feeling if inadequacy, while an older couple that is married still is likely more familiar with their own and the others sexuality and are confident in that relationship because of not just the marriage length, but the increased time to become familiar and comfortable with one another. After 20 Christmas dinners, we all know who likes what, how much of it they will likely eat. We are confident that we are feeding our guests what they desire, and they come to the table confident that you will be serving them their favorites again this year. Now, get a divorce and go to the house of the new partner’s family. How confident do they feel they are serving something you will like, and how confident are you in being served something you will like. I suspect it is the length of the relationship and not just the age at play here.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Yeah, that’s basically the conclusion I came to as well, nothing else made sense.

      Thank you for articulating it well with an example.

      1. ButterflyWings says:

        Jay Dee I was thinking of a different idea that could explain the results. I mean for sure, the above idea could account for some of it. But the other idea I had is perhaps there is just an age difference in sexual confidence. Let me explain what I mean better.

        The “sexual revolution” happened in … um was it the 70s? Perhaps the older people who are less sexually confident because they belong to the oldest of the baby boomer generation (or even the previous generation) when sex was seen as something “dirty”. People in the younger baby boomer and older Gen X generations are more comfortable with their sexuality. Younger Gen X and the older of the Gen Y (those old enough to be married) are more open about sexuality, but don’t have the confidence that comes with age and experience.

        This generational difference in attitudes towards sex (ie the younger a person is, the more comfortable they are with the idea that sex is good not dirty), crossed with the idea that the longer you’re married for, would give the sweet spot where the two lines (confidence due to experience, and healthy attitude towards sex due to generation) meet.

        Just a thought.

        Oh and I was the person who said there needed to be an option for “still in first year of marriage”. I had to select “same as first year” because there wasn’t an option for still in first year. 😉

        1. Jay Dee says:

          That’s a good point too.

          A few people made the comment about being in the first year. I knew it would come up, but the obvious answer, to me, was “same”. I could extrapolate whether they were in their first year from the prior questions, so to me there was no conflict, I could filter those out for the appropriate questions.

  3. Robyn Gibson says:

    Such a great post JD!

    “So, basically 90% of the wife-led households are declining in intimacy, ” I found this interesting b/c when I first started really studying marriage, 70% of all divorces were being initiated by women. But now it’s climbed to 80%. It’ll be a sad day when it reaches 90% of divorces initiated by women and that’s the direction it looks like are trending to. However, it’s also very telling too.

    “When the wife leads the home, no man (according to the data) is satisfied with the amount of sex.” … Very interesting!!

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Thanks Robyn, though I can’t claim much on it. It’s 90%+ just relaying raw data.

      When running through all the permutations of possible correlations, some of the data just jumps out at you, and so you have to present it.

      Now, as they say “correlation does not mean causation”, but I’m starting to see a pattern in all the survey data that’s getting hard to ignore.

  4. Robyn Gibson says:

    WOW, and just, WOW – am I the only one completely stunned at over 90%+

    JD, I would love to see something on this, anything on this. What can you give me from your raw data?

  5. Lewis says:

    We have a fair relationship but if I would not need to do acrobats backwards to have sex daily we have it at least twice a day. We are working on it but she is a good gatekeeper and could be happy with twice a month and try as i might it is hard to get a hard on when shes so take it or leave it. She will do it but it takes constant asking begging and pressure to get enough. Then we will do a heart to heart and it will be better for a week or two. She orgasm easily whenever but still is ok with just doing it. We are too busy that is one issue for sure. Nice reading and commentary on the survey.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Thanks Lewis.

      I’m confused. You’re having sex daily but struggling to get enough?

      1. Lewis says:

        No we are NOT having sex daily or twice a day but as I said she is open to it if the acrobats and selling are done… If there is time. Till they are done there’s oft times less energy and time to actually do it… if you get my drift! I enjoy a willing participant the most and if unwilling participation is sensed it reduces the ability to do it or enjoy it. Its the big IF you missed! I miss it to sometimes and that is quite a mistake and changes the whole picture. We are to busy… especially her but often I feel,that is by design on her part (and from what I read many women are like this this) not accident. What I am saying IS THAT intimacy is much less when she is the “gatekeeper” even though she has told and still tells me to just ask. So if I have the energy to do the impossible and still have some left we have it often and she mostly enjoys it. Your survey proved what I already suspected. So wives if you want to encourage your husband be a willing enthusiastic participant!!!
        We could often times do it twice in the time it takes to avoid it. Am I complaining? maybe a little, but pity is not what I want. II do love her, compliment her, hug her, help her, woo her, and admire her beauty and it gives me an even more intense desire to have her! To do it gently and often as I seldom get what I could use in touch and sexual satiation. I have explained my needs to her and as I said it will help but not for long. Any suggestions?

        1. Jay Dee says:

          Suggestions? One that stands out for me. If it was my house, and my wife kept saying there wasn’t enough time for sex, or we had to do A & B & C & D first before sex, then I’d make sure there were absolutely no “extra” activities in our lives that might cause us not to have time. Sex is that important. Cut out socializing, cut out extra church activities, cut out movies, friends, family. Take the kids out of soccer, dance, scouts, everything. “Sorry, we have to get our chores done today.”

          When you see a months worth of improvement. Slowly start adding them back, one at a time. As soon as the frequency drops below unacceptable limits, back off one activity, and that’s where you hold.

          Life is about priorities. And your marriage should be pretty high on the list.

          1. Jim says:

            To Jay Dee, this is a most interesting comment. It might be the first time I have read that type of advice by a Christian marriage blogger. As most advice revolves around loving your spouse more and being more sacrificial. Maybe cutting out family vacation trips would be included in your advice, too. During the 3 coldest years of my marriage I still took the family on vacation trips and visited her relatives. I did the trips for the sake of the kids, but now in hindsight I see that I was being played for a fool. This is hard to admit now.
            But maybe it all could have backfired on me, if she then would have quit her employment in response to my saying no to trips and other activities. Who knows for sure ?
            Question for all: how can anyone manage doing church activities with a denying spouse, when most people there have the attitude “you have such a charming wife”, when you know inside that it is all an illusion ?

            1. Jay Dee says:

              Not played for a fool, but you have failed to set the priorities for the household. How can you do vacation trips when you don’t have enough time during the day to get things done? Where is all this extra time coming from that you can up and leave to do non-essential stuff? And she shouldn’t be quitting her job in response to no vacations, it’s not a club to wield. She should be quitting based on the fact that she can’t handle it. There is too much going on in her life, and her marriage is suffering. Unless that job is required for food and shelter, it’s not worth your marriage.

              As for church, we have a serious issue in Christianity: people are fake. We go to church, people ask how you are, and you say “I’m well! How are you?” But you’re not well. Maybe you have issues, maybe you have a cold, maybe your going through problems in your marriage, or financial troubles, or work is crazy right now, or your baby is keeping you up every night and you’re in a deep depression due to exhaustion. But we don’t say anything like that. We just say “I’m fine”. And so, we fail to let people know what is really going on, and thus we fail to get the help we need.

              Now, I don’t think you should tell everyone who asks you how are “My marriage is in trouble!” But maybe a trusted elder, friend, prayer partner, accountability partner, pastor, etc..

              Of course, the other side of this is that we in the church need to be open and able to react to such things. If you ask “How are you?” and someone says “I’m having problems with X.” The wrong answer is “Oh, well, I hope that works out for you.” The right answer is “What can I do to help?” At the very least “Can I pray for you?” Better would be “I know someone who has been through that, why don’t I put you in touch with them, maybe they can help you through that.” Of course, this requires people to be more transparent in their church families so that we know what people are going through, what they have been through, and what they can help others with. And if you don’t think of your church as your family, that’s a bit red flag that something is not right.

              1. Jim says:

                @JD, yes, thanks for your comprehensive reply. You are correct about the failure to set the priorities in the marriage/family. That time was years before I educated myself by reading these Christian marriage blogs, which led me to all the marriage verses in the Bible.
                There was enough time for us to get things done, but selfishness got in the way, foolish pride, too. And I was clueless about how I could correct the situation. Too many husbands follow the route of “shut down and defend oneself” in the face of a wife’s long-term refusal, manipulation and punishment.
                Several months ago I tested the waters at church, after gaining insight from these marriage blogs. The replies from the pastor and 2 elders revolved around “just love her more” and “the husband alone is fully responsible for the success of a marriage” and “do and buy her anything she wants, then she will be your loving wife.” We all read comments in these blogs from spouses who try these ideas, but without the desired results.
                Over the years she has said “if you want that (sexual intimacy or even just touching) , just go ahead and find some other woman.” I could never see how that statement fit with her wedding vow to “love, honor and cherish.” During the last 3 months things are getting better gradually, and part of that can be attributed to the advice offered in these marriage blogs.

  6. J (Hot, Holy & Humorous) says:

    Very interesting results! Thanks for doing this survey.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      My pleasure

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