Statistical Evidence: 68 Most Common Reasons That Intimacy and Sex Stops in relationships (12 main factors)

By Benjamin Jorgensen / August 17, 2022

This article provides the first quantitative evidence for the reason why intimacy and sex stops in a relationships.

The study used an exploratory approach to first detirmine all the possible reasons for why couples experience difficulties with sex and intimacy.

Quick facts:

  • Lack of Effort is the #1 most common reason that sex stops (strongest correlation with no sex).
  • Bad Sex does not influence the level of intimacy and sex in a relationship.
  • Women report that Character Issues are most likely to destroy intimacy.

Methodology:

We conducted 40 qualitative in-person interviews (with 20 women and 20 men) allowing for the respondents to come up with new reasons and keeping any of our own biases out of the questioning.

Additionally we invited 128 respondents to an open-ended survey that allowed them to list alle the possible reasons for why they beleive intimacy stopped in their relationship.

By doing this we pinpointed 68 reasons for why intimacy stops – they can all be found in the table at the bottom of this article.

12 categories (main factors):

After pinpointing 68 reasons we grouped them in 12 categories – or “main factors” that a decriptors for between 3 to 13 different individual reasons each.

  1. Lack of effort
  2. Bad sex
  3. Behavioral issues
  4. Character issues
  5. Fading away enthusiasm
  6. Children
  7. Social circle issues
  8. Lack of personal time and space
  9. Infidelity and abuse
  10. Clinginess
  11. Not monogamous
  12. Long work hours

With these 12 main factores for why a relationship looses intimacy we set out to find out what factors are the most dangerous for the intimacy in a relationship.

What reasons are most likely to cause problems?

We conducted a quantitative survey where 1.099 respondents where collected (592 women, 507 men).

All respondents where asked on a 1-5 scale how much they agreed that each of the 68 reasons was likely to cause them difficulties in keeping an intimate relationship.

The scores for all factors are aggregated and weighted under each factor.

The mean scores for each factor is listed in the Table.

The results of what reasons people beleive are most likely to cause them difficulties in keeping an intimate relationship are listed in the below table:

#FactorOverall (Mean) ↓Women (Mean)Men (Mean)
1Fading away enthusiasm 2.682.622.76
2Long work hours 2.662.592.73
3Lack of personal time and space 2.612.502.73
4Character issues 2.572.642.49
5Clinginess 2.512.522.50
6Bad sex 2.502.462.55
7Infidelity and abuse 2.282.282.29
8Children 2.242.262.22
9Lack of effort 2.222.132.31
10Social circle issues 2.152.112.21
11Not monogamous 2.121.942.32
12Behavioral issues 1.761.721.81
Higher scores mean more people agreed that these were problematic factors. Each factores comprises of 3-13 ‘items’ or sub-factores identifiable in the last table in this article.

How are they correlated with sex?

So, one thing is asking respondents what they beleive are the main reasons for why intimacy stops.

Another approach entirely is asking them about the factors and correlating them with scores on how much sex they actually have.

Doing this we only found significant correlations between 8 of the factors and the frequency of sex in the respondents relationship:

  1. Fading away enthusiasm
  2. Lack of personal time and space
  3. Character issues
  4. Infidelity and abuse
  5. Children
  6. Lack of effort
  7. Not monogamous
  8. Behavioral issues

Surprisingly a factor such as ‘Bad sex’ did not correlate significantly with loss of intimacy in a relationship!

The same goes for:

  • Long work hours
  • Clinginess
  • Social circle issues

The largest effect size, and therefore biggest factor in why intimacy stops is “Lack of effort”.

12 Factors and The 68 Reasons

#Factor and Reason
Lack of effort
1I do not take into consideration my partner’s needs
2I find it difficult to understand my partner’s needs
3I find it difficult to tolerate my partner’s idiosyncrasies
4I do not make enough effort for the relationship work
5I neglect my partner
6My interest for my partner soon fades away 
7I become distant from my partner 
8My sexual interest for my partner soon fades away 
9Frequently, I do not behave well to my partner 
10I take my partner for granted 
11I am not honest with my partner 
12I do not easily compromise 
13I find it difficult to communicate with my partner 
 
Bad sex
14Bad sex 
15Disagreements with my partner about how often we have sex
16Sexual incompatibility with my partner 
17Frequent fights with my partner 
18Different goals with my partner 
 
Behavioral issues
19I have psychological problems 
20I often become violent to my partner 
21I have addictions—gambling, alcohol etc
22My parents/relatives intervene in my relationship 
 
Character issues
23I am quirky 
24I am selfish 
25I am always complaining to my partner 
26My insecurities 
27I often break out on my partner 
28My character 
 
Fading away enthusiasm
29I find the relationship’s routine tiring 
30My enthusiasm soon fades away 
31I am not a routine person 
32I get bored quickly 
33I am not patient 
34My feelings of romantic love soon fades away 
35My passion soon fades away 
 
Children
36My children are absorbing much of my energy, and not much is left for my relationship
37My partner allocates most of his/her time to our children and very little to me
38Frequent disagreements with my partner about how to raise our children
 
Social circle issues
39My partner does not have good relationships with my parents and relatives
40I do not have good relationships with my partner’s parents and relatives
41My partner does not have good relationships with my friends
42I do not have good relationships with my partner’s parents and relatives
43I have different interests from my partner
 
Lack of personal time and space
44I feel that my partner is oppressing me 
45I want to have more personal time and space 
46I feel that a relationship constrains me 
47My partner always nagging 
48My partner constrains me 
49I am tired of constantly reporting on where I am and what I do
 
Infidelity and abuse
50My partner’s infidelities 
51My partner is physically violent 
52My partner lacks sexual interest for me 
 
Clinginess
53I become easily dependent on my partner 
54I am too clingy 
55I tend to adapt to my partner’s needs without considering my own
56I try to exercise constant control on my partner 
57I am jealous of my partner 
58I expect too much from my partner 
 
Not monogamous
59I feel that I miss opportunities to get different experiences when I am in a relationship
60It is difficult for me to be monogamous 
61I keep making comparisons with my previous relationships 
62I cannot resist temptations 
63I get bored having sex with the same person 
64I find it tiring to be with the same person all the time 
65I easily break up if I do not like something 
 
Long work hours
66I spend many hours working 
67I do not have much time available for my partner 
68I often put my career on top of the relationship