Comment: This paper is interesting because it shows how sexual desire  naturally tends to go out of sync between the sexes over time. Synergy may be a useful intervention in harmonizing sexual desire because it is less goal-driven and more relaxed.

The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Volume 16, Issue 5, May 2019, Pages 701-710



Although much research has described individual sexual dysfunctions, few studies to date have examined the types of problems that couples consider most significant in their sexual relationships.


To clarify the types of relational sexual problems that are most common and most severe in the sexual lives of individuals in long-term romantic relationships.


A community sample of 117 mixed-sex couples completed this in-lab study. Members of each couple separately completed a demographics questionnaire and a measure of their relational sexual problems, the Sexual Problems Questionnaire (SPQ). Descriptive analyses (eg, examination of means, frequency counts) were conducted to determine the most common and severe sexual problems reported by participants. t-Tests were performed to examine gender differences in mean severity ratings for each SPQ item. Qualitative data were examined by conducting a frequency count on the SPQ items that participants reported to be most important in their sexual relationships. Results of all frequency counts were divided by the total sample size and are reported as percentages.

Main Outcome Measures

Participants reported on the severity of their sexual problems using the 25-item SPQ.


Quantitative analyses revealed that the most common and problematic sexual problems endorsed by both sexes were frequency of sex, sexual initiation, and showing interest. A frequency count of participants’ qualitative reports also revealed that frequency of sex (women = 36%; men = 39%), sexual initiation (women = 33%; men = 32%), and showing interest (women and men = 25%) were the most important sexual issues for most individuals.

Clinical Implication

The most pressing relational sexual problems for couples in long-term romantic relationships are consistent between sexes and pertain to the domain of sexual desire.

Strength & Limitations

The current study used an expanded measure of sexual problems, which allowed participants to report on a broad range of issues in their sexual relationships. The direction of such relational sexual problems (eg, desiring more or less sexual frequency) was not explored.


The key problems in sexual relationships center on the theme of sexual desire, and men and women consider these issues to be problematic to a similar extent.