I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Sam Ferris on CKNW Newstalk 980 about the Global News IPSOS Reid Poll of 2002, Canadians in romantic relationships, which revealed the sexual satisfaction of Canadians among other quality of life elements.  Now, given that our chat was at 11:30 AM we had to keep it clean, which is too bad (pun intended).

Sam did a great introduction summarizing the study but I noticed she was careful not to say the s-e-x word (I get it, another pun).  Not everyone is comfortable with the subject of sex and people may be driving around with children in their cars.  Lucky we have been able to procreate at all here, as it turns out that British Columbians are the LEAST satisfied with their romantic and sex lives among all Canadians, and being uncomfortable with the mere mention of sex may be a contributing factor!  Sam spoke about body image as  a reason for low sexual satisfaction. She said, “we are not all that comfortable with our bodies and therefore we are not comfortable when we are naked.”  Ironic in a province where running shoes trump suits.

The Global News IPSOS Poll results and other surveys

According to the Global News IPSOS Poll:

  • Canadians on the East Coast have the best romantic and sex lives (71% satisfaction), followed by the middle of the country (68%);
  • Alberta clocked in at 65% and trailing behind are the Ontarians (59%);
  • British Columbians are dead last (someone has to come last, p-u-n).

According to a Chatelaine magazine survey of 1000 Canadian women:

  • 60% remain in their romantic relationships for companionship and a mere 2% stay for the sex!

Further, according to a National Globe and Mail on-line study of 10,000 whereby 70% were male respondents:

  • 75% reported they were satisfied with their relationship but more than 52% were dissatisfied with their sex lives.

The Sexual Socialization of Girls and Women

This demonstrates a rather obvious disconnect between relationships and sex.  One reason may be that women are poorly socialized about sex. Women are taught to view sex as a commodity, something to give away or withhold or to be used to advance in life.  According the UNAIDS, “sex is the currency by which girls are to pay for life’s opportunities.”  It is not acceptable for women to say they enjoy sex because it places them at risk for slut shaming by men and women.

Another very common reason for low sexual satisfaction in a relationship is desire discrepancy. Simply put, one partner wants it more than the other.  Low sexual desire in women is a common reason and may occur in men too (but less so).  Fatigue is the number one reason for low sexual desire in women; ladies, don’t take on too much that you are too tired to take on your man (or wife) at night.  If you are not having sex with your husband (or wife) someone else will!

Why is Low Sexual Desire so Common?

Lack of sex may have it’s roots in the bio-psychosocial as sex begins in the brain, our largest sex organ.  If anxiety, depression or addiction takes hold, then it may impact your sex life as will many of the medications used to treat these conditions. Other concerns including erectile dysfunction, which can occur at any age, vaginal dryness or vaginal atrophy, which affects up to 70% of post-menopausal women, may decrease sexual satisfaction as well.

Of course any history of sexual abuse or assault, bladder health, chronic pain and/or mobility issues may impact sexual satisfaction as well.  Social media plays a role as well.  With the flip of a click we can seek attention from others or find someone better looking, wealthier or having a better time than who or what we have going on at home….on-line at least (remember pictures lie).

Finally, the real reason for the plight of the sexually dissatisfied British Columbians may lie in the fact that we are hugging more trees than lovers.  According to Amy Muise, a sex researcher at the University of Toronto who conducted this poll for IPSOS, claims that increased cuddling time after sex has been demonstrated to improve sexual satisfaction.

Why Aren’t British Columbians Frisky?

So why are the Atlantic provinces living the friskier life? We may be more tapped out here in British Columbia given high cost of living saddling couples with excessive debt coupled with high housing costs which lead to stress and may mean less sex. The colder weather and/or higher unemployment rates may keep Atlantic Canada igniting more romantic fires and that makes them more likely to get under the covers! They may be more grateful for the small things (no pun intended) in life.  Our “Fifty Shades of Grey” weather probably does not help our sexual satisfaction because it actually lowers mood for many.

It is difficult to determine exactly why BC is less sexually satisfied but regardless of where you live in the country, the following holds true:

  • Both individuals in a relationship need to make sex a priority
  • Both need to be curious and open in communicating sexual and intimate needs and desires

After all, if you cannot touch yourself, who can you touch? Knowing how to please yourself and your partner is vital to sexual satisfaction. There is not a position, fantasy, or sex toy (except maybe the womanizer lol) that will create the kind of sexual satisfaction that bringing your best self to the relationship will.

So British Columbians, it is clear; take care of yourself and your partner and be your best self in a relationship by dealing with any issues so that you can get back to the bedroom henceforth!

Maureen McGrath

Maureen McGrath

Host of the CKNW Sunday Night Health Show on Corus Radio. As a leading women's health expert and Registered Nurse, I understand the importance that sexual, vaginal, bladder and bowel health has on overall health and relationships.

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