Daniel Bergner in the NYT Magazine:
When they were dating and out with other couples, Linneah would think, “I just want to get home with him, I just want to get home with him,” she recalled. But that lust had dwindled. Around the arrival of their second child in 2004, something insidious crept in, partly fatigue but partly something else that she couldn’t name. She talked about her to-do lists, the demands of the kids, “but let’s face it,” she said, “sex doesn’t take that much time.” Rather than feeling as if she still wanted to grab her husband’s hand and hurry him up the stairs in their small brick house, on many nights she waited in bed, somewhat like prey, though the predator was tender, though he was cherished.
Around once a week, her husband tried to reach through the invisible barriers she built — the going up to bed early, the intense concentration on a book, the hoping he was too tired to want anything but sleep. “He’ll move closer to me in bed, or put his arm around me, or rub my back.” She willed herself not to refuse him. And mostly, she didn’t. Usually they had sex about four times each month. But it upset her that she had to force herself and that she put up those barriers to deter him from reaching more often.
“I’m scared that if it’s slimmed to this by now, what’s going to happen as we get older?” she said. “I want to stay close, not just psychologically, physically. I want to stay in love. I have a friend, they have sex so intermittently, every three months. She is so unhappy. I don’t want that to happen to me.” She longed for a cure, a tab of magic. As she got into her car in the parking lot at the center, she hoped that her first set of pills had been placebos, that she’d been given fakes for the first eight weeks, that today she was driving away with the real drug and that their sex life would be transformed.
Amanda Marcotte offers some thoughts in Slate:
Since its beginnings, when it was called “sociobiology,” evolutionary psychology has been wed to the theory that women are monogamous and men are promiscuous—that men have a compunction to spread their seed while women instinctually want to lock some guy down to raise her children. Feminist attempts to create sexual equality between men and women were doomed to fail, because they went against biology. Shrugging was encouraged, and the term “hard-wired” was mandatory.
But now the evidence is beginning to trickle in, and one sticky fact has thrown this entire theory into jeopardy: It's women and not men who get bored with monogamy faster. As Daniel Bergner writes in the New York Times, women are far more likely to lose interest in sex with their partners. This doesn’t necessarily translate into infidelity—a choice many reject because it’s so hurtful—but, Bergner reports, spouse-weary women often just avoid sex altogether.
Add to that the study Bergner cites showing women respond to novelty in pornographic fantasies, and another showing that women are much more turned on by fantasies of sex with strangers than friends. You’d be forgiven for concluding that the gender most interested in mixing it up might be…women.