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Feels Sad During Sexual Intercourse by Family Structure and Religious Practice

Adults aged 18 to 59 in intact marriages who worshiped weekly were least likely to feel sad during intercourse, according to the National Health and Social Life Survey (1992), the most detailed analysis of sexual behavior in America. [1]

Family Structure: Those in always-intact marriages were least likely to feel sad during intercourse (3.1 percent). This is more prevalent in non-intact family structures and among singles: 3.7 percent of those who were divorced and remarried felt sad during intercourse; 10 percent of those who were always single felt sad; and 10.3 percent of those who were divorced or separated felt sad.   

Religious Practice: Those who worshiped less than weekly but at least monthly were least likely to feel sad during intercourse with their current sexual partner (4.1 percent). As regular worship decreased, sadness increased: 5.1 percent of those who worshiped weekly felt sad during intercourse with their current partner; 6.3 percent of those who worshiped less than monthly felt sad during intercourse; 6.8 percent of those who never worshiped felt sad during intercourse.

Family Structure and Religious Practice Combined: Those in intact marriages who worshiped weekly were the least likely to feel sad during intercourse (3 percent), followed by those in intact marriages who never worshiped (4.3 percent). Those in non-intact family structures or who were single who never worshiped (7.4 percent) and those in non-intact family structures or who were single who worshiped weekly (7.6 percent) were most likely to feel sad during intercourse with their current sexual partner.

Related Insights from Other Studies: One study examined the hypothesis that adults who were sexually abused either as children or as adults were more likely to develop depression later on. Sexual victimization was found to lead to depression when an individual developed a tendency to think about their sadness continuously.[2]

The 2001 Youth Risk Behavior Survey of 13,601 high school students found that for both males and females, feeling sad and hopeless were correlated with a history of forced sex.[3]

 

[1] These charts draw on data collected by the 1992 National Health and Social Life Survey

[2] Michael Conway, Morris Mendelson, Constantina Giannopoulous, Patricia A.R. Csank, Susan L. Holm, “Childhood and Adult Sexual Abuse, Rumination on Sadness and Dysphoria,” Journal of Child and Abuse and Neglect 28, no. 4 (April 2004): 393-410.

[3] Donna E. Howard and Min Qi Wang, “Psychosocial correlates of U.S. adolescents who report a history of forced sexual intercourse,” Journal of Adolescent Health 36, no. 5 (May 2005): 372-379.