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Sex And Satisfaction

The importance of sex and the level of sexual satisfaction fluctuates among women, according to age.

That's what Self magazine discovered when it spoke to more than 500 women, ages 18 to 45, about sex and satisfaction.

Stephanie Dolgoff, the magazine's sex and health editor, visits The Early Show on Wednesday to explain.

Among the results: 41 percent of women are somewhat satisfied, leaving 17 percent who'd sooner watch reality TV than face the reality in their own bedroom.

Self also found that sex becomes more important at different ages, and that levels of satisfaction fluctuate, too.

"I was surprised at how many women were not happy with their sex lives," says Dolgoff. "One of the choices is they were somewhat happy. 41 percent were somewhat and 42 percent were very happy. That's pretty close. And 17 percent were just not happy."

If you're like 58 percent of women Self magazine surveyed, who say their sex life leaves them lukewarm or cold, the magazine advises to look into the source of the problem. The following are the magazine's results:

Women's Sexual Satisfaction

  • 42 percent are extremely satisfied with their sex life
  • 41 percent are somewhat satisfied
  • 17 percent unsatisfied

    What's Better Than Sex?

  • An amazing massage, 66 percent
  • Time to themselves, 59 percent
  • An extra hour of sleep, 59 percent
  • An outing with their best friend, 55 percent
  • Watching a favorite TV show 48 percent
  • Reading a totally absorbing book 42 percent
  • Eating gourmet chocolate 34 percent
  • Shopping for the perfect pair of shoes 32 percent
  • Having a great workout 27 percent

    Age For The Best Sex Yet

  • Women ages 18 to 24 are the most satisfied with their sex lives.
  • Women ages 30 to 34 are the least satisfied.
  • 58 percent of women ages 40 to 45 (the most of any age group) say sex is very important.

    It Could Be About Your Partner:

  • 37 percent say their bedmate needs a fresh approach.
  • 35 percent says when he's done, he loses all interest
  • 29 percent says the sex is only about intercourse.
  • 24 percent says he never asks what they want
  • 22 percent says their partner is not romantic
  • 17 percent say he's often emotionally absent.

    Sex And Satisfaction With Your Partner

  • 94 percent are more satisfied when they feel connected to partner.
  • 91 percent say it's possible to be sexually satisfied with one partner their entire life.
  • 84 percent say the longer they're with a partner, the better sex gets.

    Here are some tips from the magazine if you suspect you may be getting in the way of your own satisfaction:

    Not happy with your body?
    Reminder: Most men are so thrilled to be invited to the party that they're not about to critique the decor. He likes what he sees or he wouldn't be there. Oh, and if you feel freer in the dark, go ahead and hit the dimmer.

    Agree to sex when you're not into it?
    "Women of all ages struggle with saying no when they're not in the mood," says Laura Berman, Ph.D., director of The Berman Center, a mind/body clinic for women's sexual health in Chicago. "They may be afraid of disappointing their partner or think that if they give it a go, they'll get turned on and enjoy it. And that's not a bad plan. But the difference between feeling satisfied and feeling like a human blow-up doll is saying yes for the right reasons. If you're in a neutral place, you can say, 'Let's try it' and see if fireworks start, Foley says. "But if you really don't want to, you need to say no." Repeat after us: 'Store's closed. Come back tomorrow.'

    Can't relax?
    Deep breathing can help calm your body and mind in the moment, but just as important is letting your drive catch up with your game plan: Even if you want to have sex tonight, you can't expect to go from being executive VP, to commuter, to chef, to sex goddess, within a few hours. Foley says many women think their bodies will tell them when it wants sex, but in fact, most of us need to set the stage: Unplug the phone, click off the news and worry about it tomorrow — whatever "it" is.

    Take forever to climax?
    You're the only one who cares. "Almost all of the men I've interviewed say they're in no hurry," Foley says. So relax. Letting go of the goal and enjoying the experience might make it happen faster, Berman says. If your mind does wander (Shoot! Forgot the cat food!), Foley suggests training your focus when you fly solo. "Have a sexual fantasy, and stay with it even if the phone is ringing," she says. "That way, when you're with a partner and you hear those little voices saying, 'Is he bored? How am I responding?' you can stay in the moment."

    Ignoring your own needs?
    If it takes two to tango, then why is he the only one who gets to enjoy the dance? Get what's coming to you. You deserve it.

    Too embarrassed to say what you want?
    Start off small ("Mmm, a bit to the left") and take it from there. The Self guarantee: He'd give anything to know what he can do to make you happy in bed. And if he wouldn't, he's the one who should be embarrassed!

    For more information, pick up the August issue of SELF, or log on to

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