Study: Married women have a better sex life when they own property

New research has found an association between property ownership and a satisfying sexual life among married women in Vietnam. The findings, published in the journal Sex Roles, suggest that women tend to be more sexually satisfied when they are less dependent on their spouse.

“Sexuality is no longer a taboo topic in the Vietnamese society; however there remains a ‘pleasure deficit’ in existing research on women’s sexual well-being,” said study author Trang Thu Do of the Institute for Social Development Studies in Hanoi.

“Most studies tend to focus on reproduction or problematic sexual behaviours or negative aspects of sexuality such as violence or ill-health. We conducted this study in hopes of diverting attention to understanding positive and pleasurable dimensions of sexuality and abandon the long-ingrained belief that the exercise and enjoyment of sexual pleasure primarily lies with men.”

The researchers analyzed data from 2,783 married women collected from a national survey called the Social Determinants of Gender Inequality in Vietnam. The survey asked participants several questions about their sex life, along with other factors like monthly income, education, and property ownership.

“We found a number of findings to our surprise. For instance, age did not predict married women’s sexual satisfaction. Our analysis showed that although the frequency of sexual activities may decrease when women became older, their level of sexual satisfaction does not necessarily decline,” Trang told PsyPost.

Women who had a bank account in their own name, as well as held total or partial ownership over their housing tended to feel more satisfied with their sexual life.

“The most notable result was the association between the ownership of property and higher level of sexual satisfaction. We interpreted that a woman’s status of property ownership might denote her decision-making power in the family, including bargaining capacity in her sexual life,” Trang said.

“It might also affect the way she is perceived and treated by her partner, as well as the egalitarianism of her partner. Men in more equal marriages might be less likely to prioritize their own sexual drives and experiences. Instead, they are more likely to show their wives more respect, paying more attention to creating a ‘balance of pleasure’ for both themselves and their partner,” she explained.

Likewise, women with higher incomes also tended to report higher levels of sexual satisfaction.

But the study — like all research — includes some limitations.

“Data on spouse’s sexual satisfaction was not available so consistency of responses related to sexual behaviours between wife and husband could not be tested. We hope that our future research can analyse couple data. With that we can have a deeper understanding of women’s sexual satisfaction in relation to and comparison with that of their spouse,” Trang said.

“We hope that our research can inform policy makers, practitioners and academia working on women’s empowerment and well-being. We look forward to the growth of attention to approaching female sexuality through a positive lens. Enjoyment and pleasurable aspects of sexuality should be viewed as an integral part of women’s overall well-being and need to be considered in programs/initiatives aimed to enhance women’s rights, status and quality of life.”

The study, “More Property, Better Sex? The Relationship Between Property Ownership and Sexual Satisfaction Among Married Vietnamese Women“, was authored by Trang Thu Do, Hong Thu Khuat, and Anh Thi Van Nguyen.