The Naked Truth: How Sexually Satisfied Are We?

by Lovehoney

on May 31, 2023

Whether we’re in a happily committed relationship or flying solo, we all experience a bit of a sexual slump sometimes. And when we do, it can leave us feeling frustrated, fed up and downright dissatisfied with the state of our sex lives.


To find out just how many of us are feeling disappointed in the bedroom department and why, we surveyed over 1,000 adults about their current sexual satisfaction and what’s holding them back from feeling fulfilled.

Given how important it is to have a healthy sex life, and that everyone deserves to have absolute sexual happiness, we’ve also spoken to our sex and relationship expert, Christine Rafe, to explore exactly why sexual wellbeing is so important, and how to own your sexual satisfaction.

Four in five adults are not satisfied with their sex life

Unfortunately, a shocking four out of five people we surveyed said they are not currently satisfied with their sex life.

This lack of satisfaction is even higher among women; just 17% said they are satisfied, while the majority said they feel unfulfilled. Despite men, on the other hand, being found to be more likely to be content with their sex life, with over a quarter claiming satisfaction, there’s still a long way to go for them to own their sexual happiness.

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Interestingly, when it comes to age, it seems that the older you are, the more happy you are with your sex lives. Over a third (36%) of people aged 55+ said they are satisfied with their intimate lives, surprisingly making this the most sexually satisfied age group of all.

However, only 16% of 18 to 24-year-olds and 17% of 25 to 24-year-olds can say the same. This could be down to any number of things, such as not feeling as confident asking for what they want in bed, or simply struggling due to a lack of experience.

The most (and least) sexually satisfied star signs

Scorpios live up to their sexually charged reputation by ranking as the most sexually satisfied star sign, with a third saying they feel content with their sex lives. This water sign is famously feisty and unafraid to go after what they want, so it’s no surprise that they know how to stay satisfied.

Fire signs Leo and Aries, who are also renowned for their impressive libidos, follow as the second and third most sexually satisfied signs.

On the other end of the spectrum, nearly nine out of 10 Capricorns (88%) said they don’t feel fulfilled by their sex lives, making them the least satisfied star sign. This ambitious earth sign is known for their super high standards, which may explain why they can be hard to please.

Why are we not satisfied with our sex lives?

Sex is a very personal thing, and what satisfies one person sexually might leave another feeling unfulfilled. That being said, there are some common issues that tend to regularly take the blame for an unsatisfying sex life – and with so many of us apparently not fully happy with how things are in the bedroom, we wanted to find out exactly what these issues are.

Our survey revealed that the leading cause of sexual dissatisfaction is low body confidence, with a quarter of people saying they feel too body conscious to enjoy sex. This is followed by a low libido, which one in five people struggle with, and feeling too distracted by other things going on in their lives.

Low body confidence is most common among women, with nearly a third blaming this for their lack of satisfaction. Just under a quarter of women also blame a low libido, which is more common than you think and isn’t something to be ashamed of.

Men it seems, are far less concerned about these issues. Only 11% listed low body confidence as a reason for not being sexually satisfied, and just 12% said their libido was to blame. For them, the top reason is that their partner doesn’t want to have sex with them – which, if their partner is a woman, may be because they feel too body conscious to get intimate.

Women were also found to be twice as likely than men to say that having children means they don’t have time for sex.

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Christine Rafe commented: We deserve to be satisfied in all areas of our lives, and sex is no different! Awareness of our sexual desires and pleasure is part of our body awareness and autonomy, and our sexual identity is part of our whole self; alongside personal and professional interests and goals, values, and religious and/or cultural beliefs. Sexual satisfaction plays a part in overall relational satisfaction and connection, reduced resentment, and improved relational communication.

There is some interesting research that links sexual fulfilment with a higher quality of life, more satisfying relationships, higher self-confidence as well as improved physical health. Various studies have also found links between sexual activity and satisfaction to better immunity, lower blood pressure and cardiovascular health (sex is a physical activity after all).

However, as the survey reveals, not all of us of have the body confidence and libido to feel sexually satisfied. To help work through some of these reasons, Christine has shared the following tips:

Question what sexy means to you -Ask yourself: ‘what does sexy mean to me?’

”In practice when I explore this question with clients they usually end up defining ‘sexy’ as things that aren’t related to a body type or physical appearance at all, and are more about seeing enjoyment and pleasure or feeling engaged and connected in an experience.”

Pay attention to yourself -Pay attention to your internal self-talk relating to sex and challenge pre-existing thought patterns that might be sex or pleasure- This type of negative self-talk is really common considering we have grown up in a culture of shame/taboo surrounding sex, masturbation and pleasure. It has a bigger impact than you might think on desire and interest in sex and pleasure.

“Remind yourself that you deserve pleasure and that masturbation and sex are a healthy part of human functioning! Over time we can retrain our brains to see sex and pleasure as a wonderful form of self-expression, vulnerability, fun and connection.”

Identify what turns you on - “It is a common misconception that desire/libido spontaneously appears and for many people who have a more responsive desire, it can feel like low libido. Identifying what turns you on and off, and being intentional about the contexts, environments and actions/activities that support your libido can make a huge difference to overall interest, arousal and therefore sexual satisfaction.”

Why is sexual satisfaction so important?

Taking ownership of our own satisfaction is a really important part of becoming sexually satisfied, says Christine. “It’s important to take ownership of your own sexual satisfaction because everybody experiences desire, pleasure and arousal differently and no sexual partner is a mind reader.

“We need to take responsibility for learning about and communicating our sexual desires and needs so we can feel sexually satisfied. Our desires, arousal patterns and pleasure needs will also change and evolve over time (particularly for those who menstruate where they may fluctuate throughout your cycle). Sexual satisfaction is a lifelong exploration so requires ongoing curiosity and openness, even if you are in a long-term relationship.”

How can we own our sexual satisfaction?

Whether you’re wanting to start taking more control over your own sex, or you’re wanting some new tips on feeling empowered, Christine has shared her top tips for owning our own satisfaction…

  • “Exploring and learning about what you like (and don’t like) is essential in sexual satisfaction, whether solo or with others. This includes bringing curiosity to what contexts support your desire/arousal, what turns you on, what types of touch, and where feels the most pleasurable to you. A practical way to identify specifics about your arousal could be to identify and write about three (or more) of your most enjoyable sexual experiences, being as descriptive as possible about the context/environment. The anticipation and build-up to any genital touch, what types of touch/activities were involved, how you felt during the experience, and the time after the experience (known as aftercare).”

  • “Consider all five senses when it comes to desire, arousal and pleasure. Remember that sexual satisfaction is holistic and not just about physical ‘techniques’ or positions. All of our senses play into our overall sexual satisfaction, so consider what you see, hear, smell, touch and taste that get you going (as well as what acts as a brake to your desire, arousal and pleasure). Solo exploration with a focus on the different senses will support you in identifying which of the senses are most erotically relevant to you, and what turns you on and off.”

  • “Using toys is a great way to explore your body and its experience of pleasure. Consider incorporating toys, such as anal toys and handcuffs, that have different locations and sensations to identify where and what types of stimulation feel good for you.”

Sources and Methodology

All data taken from a survey of 1,002 adults (18+) who have had sex, carried out in April 2023. We asked respondents about their gender, age, city, star sign and relationship status. If your identity sits outside of the binary, you might benefit from heading to our LGBTQIA+ page here.

Expert commentary provided by:

Christine Rafe - Lovehoney’s Sex and Relationship Expert

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Originally published on May 31, 2023. Updated on May 31, 2023