The REAL reasons couples stop having sex… and cheating is way down the list 

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Keeping the passion alive can be a challenge in any long- term relationship.

Now scientists have researched just why couples feel the spark has gone out of their romance, asking hundreds of volunteers the reasons why their sex lives are on the wane.

As a result of their possibly intrusive line of questioning, the psychologists identified a total of 78 ardour-killing difficulties that couples run into.

Researchers have identified a list of 78 symptoms which can cause couples to have less sex, including the top excuse of 'fading enthusiasm'

Researchers have identified a list of 78 symptoms which can cause couples to have less sex, including the top excuse of ‘fading enthusiasm’

And top of the list were problems that were broadly classed as simply ‘fading enthusiasm’.

Coming a close second was lack of personal time and space, including explanations such as ‘I feel my partner is oppressing me’ and being ‘tired of constantly reporting on where I am and what I do’.

Perhaps surprisingly, cheating comes way down the list of why couples stop having sex.

Psychologists found the responses from men and women were remarkably similar, although men were more likely to admit they had failed to make an effort with their relationship – or to remain faithful. Third on the list came long work hours, closely followed by ‘bad sex’ – a slightly more common complaint among the women than the men. That category covered areas such as ‘sexual incompatibility with partner’ and ‘disagreements over how often we have sex’.

Almost 70 per cent of the 1,099 people involved in the study, published in the academic journal Evolutionary Psychology last week, indicated at least one factor had taken its toll on their sex life, with a troubled 41 per cent pointing to three or more.

Other common causes included infidelity and abuse from the other partner and character issues, including being ‘quirky’ and ‘selfish’.

Professor Meneleos Apostolou at the University of Nicosia, Cyprus – who conducted the research with colleagues in Shanghai, China – told The Mail on Sunday: ‘Having and keeping an intimate relationship is central to most people’s lives. Yet, many people face considerable difficulties in doing so.

Almost one third of couples said 'fading enthusiasm' was the cause of them having less sex

Almost one third of couples said ‘fading enthusiasm’ was the cause of them having less sex

‘Difficulties in keeping an intimate relationship could potentially cause considerable emotional pain to people.

‘Identifying these difficulties is the first step toward addressing them and improving people’s emotional wellbeing.’

In tenth place on the list, excuses for being non-monogamous included ‘fear of missing out on other experiences’, an inability to ‘resist temptation’, comparing the current partner to an ex, and getting ‘bored having sex with the same person’.

Meanwhile, ‘social circle issues’ covered problems people had getting on with their partner’s relatives or friends, while ‘behavioural issues’ included problems such as drinking or gambling.

The average age of those quizzed was about 35.

Older participants were more likely to cite ‘bad sex’ and ‘long work hours’ as reasons for a lack of passion than younger people.

Previous research has revealed some of the tell-tale signs that the spark in a relationship has gone. They include not cuddling at night; stopping saying ‘I love you’; failure to do things together and ‘letting yourself go’ – as well as having little to no sex.

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