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Our Sex Lives Affect Our Work: Part 3

"The impact of sexual function and sexual satisfaction on the work environment and work productivity"

An essay I wrote for a recent certification had the above title. The essay has been split into four parts. If you have not read the first part, I invite you to do so here.

In the third part, which is this one, I examine the connection between relationship satisfaction or dissatisfaction and how it can affect a person's workplace productivity and collaboration. (If you missed the first part you can read it here).

The hyperlinks take you to studies, research and evidence to support the discussion. I would love to hear your feedback! Enjoy!

It is acknowledged that there is a connection between sexual and relationship satisfaction and their mutual influence.

Sexual dysfunction in one partner has been linked to dysfunction in the other partner. A 2008 study revealed that partners of women with vaginismus had 'inadequate' levels of sexual satisfaction and a higher incidence of sexual dysfunction. It is unclear from the study's findings whether the sexual dysfunctions of men whose partners were diagnosed with vaginismus were a result of or a response to the vaginismus. It is important to note that there is an interaction between the response of one partner to the dysfunction of the other.

This was supported by research on premature ejaculation, which went on to describe what may be occurring on an emotional and relational level. An examination of premature ejaculation in men revealed a high prevalence of a variety of sexual dysfunctions in their female partners. The interpretation of the data indicates that a perceived lack of sexual and/or emotional satisfaction disrupted intimacy and led to emotional withdrawal in both partners. The study recommended that clinicians pay special attention to this dynamic when treating someone with a sexual dysfunction, as the partner's reaction to the dysfunction can influence treatment.

According to a second study on the topic, men with premature ejaculation had higher levels of 'interpersonal' difficulty than men without premature ejaculation. In addition, their partners had higher levels of 'interpersonal difficulty' than those whose partners did not have premature ejaculation. Half of the men and women in a relationship where the man had premature ejaculation believed the relationship would improve if the man were better able to satisfy his partner, according to the same study.

It has been shown that erectile dysfunction impacts the quality of life of men with this diagnosis. It is known that the condition can lead to outcomes such as anxiety and relationship withdrawal. It continues to be under-reported, under-recognised, and under-treated because many men and health professionals find it embarrassing to talk about.

When examining the emotional aspects of sex and relationships, it has been demonstrated that a satisfying sex life and a warm interpersonal climate appear to have a greater impact on marital satisfaction than the frequency of sexual activity, although intercourse frequency can be a cause for conflict.

When the relationship charity Relate surveyed women in ‘sexless’ relationships (defined as no sex in the past year or fewer than ten times in the past year) via Gransnet and Mumsnet, they discovered that nearly half of those who had not had sex in the past year had argued with their partner about the amount of sex they were having.

It is interesting to note that when sexuality is functioning well in a person's life and relationship, it contributes only 15 to 20% to the vitality and satisfaction of the relationship. It is acknowledged that the primary functions of sexuality are to energise the couple bond and heighten feelings of desire and desirability. However, when sex is dysfunctional, conflictual, or avoided, resulting in a nonsexual relationship, sex can play a negative role between 50 and 75% of the time, essentially draining the relationship of intimacy and threatening its stability.

For both men and women, a 2002 study found a correlation between sexual satisfaction and relationship satisfaction, love, and commitment. Those who reported the highest levels of sexual satisfaction also reported high levels of relationship satisfaction, love, and commitment. In previous studies, links between sexual satisfaction and relationship satisfaction, love, and commitment were found in married couples, but this study found the same to be true for dating couples at various stages of their relationships. The implications of the study were that sexual satisfaction influences how partners feel about each other and their commitment to staying in the relationship. For men, sexual satisfaction was negatively associated with the likelihood of a breakup, whereas relationship satisfaction was a factor for women. This indicates that men are more likely than women to use the quality of their sexual relationship as a proxy for the quality of their entire relationship.

Relationship break-down is significant. It has been demonstrated that a person experiencing a romantic breakup may experience bereavement-like symptoms, similar to those resulting from a death or divorce. This is likely due to the loss of the partner's role as a co-regulator of the nervous system and is the result of decreased vagal activity and an increase in cortisol. Sexual dysfunction that results in dissatisfaction and relationship dissolution can have physiological and psychological repercussions that extend into the workplace. The task at hand is to investigate further how relationship issues can impact employees' health, productivity, and absenteeism and presenteeism.

A longitudinal study revealed that family and work conflict appeared to be associated with elevated levels of depression and poor physical health, such as hypertension. The study suggested that employers take note of this, as conflicts between family and work can be a problem in terms of health care costs and productivity.

Work performance has been shown to be negatively impacted by fatigue, irritability, decreased concentration, and decision making. More than a third of men and nearly half of women who reported family-to-work conflict were impacted. It was discovered that nearly one-third of women and one-fifth of men exhibited ‘presenteeism' and used work as a place to ‘rest’. According to the study, managers and coworkers avoid discussing the impact of family life, including relationships, on work performance.

Some researchers have gone so far as to suggest that an employee's family life can act as a negative ‘presence factor’ that encourages employees to present themselves at work while unwell. For many working mothers, managers, and professionals, the home is not necessarily a place of respite from the demands of the workplace. In fact, many prefer to work rather than take sick leave.

Carla Crivaro is a trauma-informed and certified Sex, Love & Relationship Coach, she works with men and women internationally to reach their goals in delicious sex, profound love and authentic relationships. Carla helps men and women understand themselves and each other, sexually and relationally, in and out of the bedroom. You can reach her at

If you missed the first part:

A video around the importance of healing sexuality:

Further articles and podcasts around the topic of this article:


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