London - More women than might care to admit it have feigned a headache or pretended to be asleep to avoid the amorous attentions of their other half.
Now scientists say that women who have lost interest in sex can cope better if they recognise that desire changes over time.
Expecting passion levels to stay the same can lead to greater bedroom difficulties.
Women who think this way are more likely to be in denial about their lack of a sex life, disengage emotionally from their partner or try to avoid the problem by making jokes.
A study of 780 women said those who expect their passion for their partner to come and go over the years are less likely to use such negative coping strategies, meaning their low libido may be less harmful to the relationship because they do not feel "helpless".
Siobhan Sutherland, the study’s lead author from the University of Waterloo in Canada, said: "Women who believe that sexual desire levels remain the same may feel that challenges with sexual desire, such as low sex drive, are impossible to overcome and therefore they try to avoid or ignore the problem.
"Our findings suggest that holding a belief that sexual desire changes over time may protect women against responding helplessly to their sexual problems."
Loss of libido is one of the main problems women face in the bedroom, and reportedly affects a third of them in any given year.
The researchers gave women two articles to read, one reporting that an expert had found sexual desire to "increase and decrease" over a decade, while the second stated that it stayed the same.
The women were then asked for their own beliefs. Those who believe desire stays the same are more likely to use negative coping strategies, such as denial, mentally distancing themselves from their partner, physically disengaging or using humour to avoid addressing the problem.
The study, published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, says these women may have seen "little use in actively coping with sexual desire problems if they believed that these problems do not change".
But those who accept desire changes were not more prone to use positive strategies, such as giving vent to emotions.
This may be because they believed the problem would eventually resolve itself.