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"They're young, maybe they just got married, and they're saying, `I've lost it. According to Meston, who heads the Sexual Psychophysiology Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin, that one-third percentage remained relatively constant throughout all age groups, until the fifties and sixties, when it rose to 37 percent. The decline of a once-thriving libido can be devastating: an identity altering loss that results in feelings of inadequacy and frustration not unlike those associated with erectile dysfunction.
"We can still spend 24 hours a day with each other and never get bored," says Kathleen, a 34-year-old teacher in New York City.
It happened, whether I wanted it to or not," says Gina, 32.
"Now, I can't even quite remember how that spark felt." This loss would be painful at any age, but young women are also keenly aware that while waning desire can always be milked for a laugh—thank you, Liz Lemon—it can also feel like a failing on a wider social scale. One can imagine our feminist forebears shaking their heads in disgust.
Previous studies have found that men want and initiate sex more than women, the authors say, prompting women to be labeled as “the ‘gatekeepers’ of sex within relationships.” Traditionalist as this idea may be, the authors wrote that their own findings support it as well: The higher a wife rated on openness to experience or agreeableness, the more often the couple had sex.
The husband’s personality, on the other hand, was was another story.