London - One woman in five is unhappy with her sex life, a major survey carried out for the Daily Mail reveals.
And only 17 percent of women say they are very satisfied.
One in ten has sex only once a year at most, while two thirds make love once a month or less. Just 10 percent said they had sex at least once a week.
The survey of 2 002 women aged 30 to 80 was commissioned by the Daily Mail in association with LloydsPharmacy.
A quarter of all women said they sometimes avoided sex because they were too tired, while 13 percent did so because they were too anxious, 11 percent due to a lack of intimacy with their partner and 11 percent because sex was painful. Six percent said their partner had issues such as erectile dysfunction.
About 27 percent – mostly those who were single, divorced or widowed – said they never had sex.
The survey found that the 30 to 44 age group are the least happy with their sex lives, despite having sex the most often.
A quarter of this group said they were dissatisfied, including 11 percent who were very dissatisfied. Half those aged 65 to 80 declined to say how often they had sex, believing it a private matter.
Experts said many couples find sex a chore because they are too busy or exhausted to make it enjoyable. Peter Saddington, a Nottingham-based sex therapist for Relate, which provides counselling services, said: "The common problem is lack of time.
"People say they haven’t got the time, haven’t got the energy, they’re feeling pressured, it’s hard to switch off from work.
"Actually being in a relaxed enough state to have sex just doesn’t happen. You go through a period of time of squeezing sex in, then it becomes dissatisfying so you end up not doing it at all.
"It can become a chore, it can become boring if it’s repetitive, uninteresting and there’s no involvement or enjoyment."
Krystal Woodbridge, a psychosexual counsellor based in St Albans, Hertfordshire, said: "It’s a very common issue and arguably it is becoming more common."
Women do not enjoy sex if they do not feel a strong, emotional bond with their partner, she added. "If she’s angry, upset or resentful to her partner for any reason, she is going to have a low sexual desire."
Professor Mary Ann Lumsden, senior vice president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said women who experience pain during sex may suffer from a medical condition.
"If women are concerned about changes in their sexual feelings, they should speak to a healthcare professional," she said.
"Many women may feel too embarrassed to discuss intimate issues and suffer in silence, but it is important to remember that healthcare professionals are used to talking to women about this and are happy to offer treatments that could help women enjoy sex again."
Natika H Halil, chief executive of the Family Planning Association said: "Sexual wellbeing is an important aspect of many people’s lives, but unfortunately many different factors can get in the way. Good communication can go a long way to help address anything that might be impacting your sexual wellbeing.
‘By sharing your sexual likes and dislikes, ideas about what you’d like to try, or speaking up about things you don’t want, it’s much easier to find pleasure with each other. It also means you don’t have to act as a mind reader and play a guessing game of what works."