a woman looking at phone seven year itch

Is the 5-year itch a thing?

I often heard the terms 'five-year itch' and 'seven-year itch' at dinner tables. The terms have long been used to describe a phenomenon where couples experience a decline in relationship satisfaction around the five-year or seven-year mark of their partnership. But is there any truth to this popular notion, or is it merely a cultural myth?

What does this itch mean?

The five-year or seven-year itch refers to a period in a romantic relationship, typically around those years, where couples may experience a decline in satisfaction, increased conflict, and a sense of stagnation or boredom. It's often characterized by a longing for excitement, novelty, or a desire for change within the relationship.

Where did this term orginate?

The term "seven-year itch" gained popularity in the 1950s, following the release of the play "The Seven Year Itch" by George Axelrod and its subsequent film adaptation starring Marilyn Monroe. The play explores the concept of marital infidelity and the temptation to stray from a long-term relationship after seven years of marriage, but the idea of a time-related decline in satisfaction has since been generalized to the five-year or seven-year mark in popular culture.

Any scientific proof to this?

While the concept of the five-year or seven-year itch is widely recognized in popular culture, scientific evidence supporting its existence is limited and mixed. Some studies suggest that relationship satisfaction tends to decline over time, with one specific study showcasing that divorce rates are the highest in the fourth year and reach its peak in the fifth year. However, other research challenges the notion of a specific timeline for relationship dissatisfaction, emphasizing individual differences and relationship dynamics as primary factors. 

Interestingly, another scientific evolutionary study indicates that the fourth year is generally when pair-bonding would end as co-parents have brought the child to a certain age and they would move on to increase their chances of genetic variability with other mates. 

Relationship satisfaction and sexual desire

The decline in relationship satisfaction associated with the five or seven-year itch may indeed have implications for sexual desire within relationships. As couples navigate challenges and transitions over time, such as career changes, parenthood, or financial stress, their emotional connection and intimacy may be affected, leading to a decrease in sexual desire and frequency.

However, it's essential to recognize that low sexual desire within a relationship can stem from various factors beyond the five-year mark, including communication issues, unresolved conflicts, physical health concerns, and individual differences in libido.

navigating relationship with the itch

While the itch may be a recognized phenomenon, it's not inevitable, nor is it a death knell for relationships. Couples can take proactive steps to maintain and enhance relationship satisfaction, such as:

  1. Communication: Open and honest communication is essential for addressing issues, expressing needs, and fostering intimacy within the relationship. Open up conversations with the 'sexploration cards' in our CHI set.

  2. Prioritizing intimacy: Making time for shared activities, emotional connection, and physical intimacy can help strengthen the bond between partners and reignite passion. Increase bonding time and focus on one another with Rub Me Tender massage oil candle.

  3. Cultivating novelty: Injecting novelty and excitement into the relationship through new experiences, hobbies, or shared goals can help combat feelings of stagnation and boredom. Try out fun nights out together with Dream Team, couple's exploration set with remote control.

  4. Seeking support: Couples therapy or counseling can provide a safe space to explore concerns, improve communication, and develop strategies for overcoming challenges together. Reach out to our in-house expert Dr. Laura Vowels https://www.lauravowels.com/ for support. 

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