How often do people do the deed, and is it as often as they’d like? Do they prefer a partner who is a professional chef in the kitchen or a god in bed? And what sexual tastes are considered relationship deal-breakers?

We asked 1,500 Europeans and Americans to spill the beans on their romantic trade-offs and what they would and would not be willing to put up with in a relationship. Want all the saucy details? Keep reading to learn more. 

Sweet or Sexy?

Sexuality and romance sometimes go hand in hand. More than half of all European and American men and women described themselves as “somewhat romantic” and “somewhat sexual.”

However, nearly 30 percent of all men considered themselves to be “extremely sexual,” while 17 percent of all women responded the same. Interestingly, around 19 percent of all men and women said they were “very romantic.”

And while almost 14 percent of women were not very sexual, less than 6 percent of men felt similarly.  Leading research suggests that it’s not that women have less of a sex drive, rather their sexual feelings tend to be more “context driven” than the male sex drive. While both men and women want to please their partners, men tend to focus on physical pleasure while women covet emotional intimacy and feeling desirable.

Preferential Partners

We next asked European and American men and women which attributes they’d rather have in a partner. 

It turns out, of all respondents, European men cared more about their partner being great in bed than being a great cook (nearly 73 percent). However, American men and women most valued effective communication over sexual prowess – almost 88 percent of women and nearly 73 percent of men preferred their partner to be a great communicator over being great in bed. 

About 75 percent of European women felt the same, while over 57 percent of European men liked thoughtful speech to skills under the sheets.

All's Fair in Love and Sex

If a little of what you fancy does you good, how often would people have sex in an ideal world? Overall, men would have sex much more often than women, with over 7 percent of women wanting sex more than once a day compared to nearly 18 percent of men. However, a good portion of men and women (over 42 percent and 48 percent, respectively) would prefer to jump in bed just a few times a week.

Interestingly though, European and American men and women seemed to agree in nearly equal measure that love was a priority over sex – more than 95 percent of women and nearly 84 percent of men preferred a matter of the heart over just physical attraction.

Romantic Expectations

Men felt pretty strongly about dating someone who only lasted a minute in bed. Sixty-six percent of European and American men would rather date someone who forgot their anniversary than someone who’s quick to cross the finish line. Comparatively, just over half of women surveyed would prefer to date someone who forgot their anniversary than someone who can’t pace him or herself during sex.

Further, almost 43 percent of women preferred a partner who wants less sex, while over 57 percent would rather date someone with a higher libido. However, the vast majority of men (nearly 79 percent) would rather date someone who wants sex more often.

Turning Down a Relationship

Here’s the deal: Both men and women care about oral sex.

Twenty percent of men said they would not date someone if they had a religious or personal objection to oral sex, while 15 percent of women reported the same. For 14 percent of women, wanting to try BDSM (Bondage and Discipline, Sadism, and Masochism) was a deal breaker, but only 11 percent of men agreed with this opinion.

A small penis was a deterrent for 8 percent of women, and 12 percent of men stated they wouldn’t date someone with a low libido (a qualification that did not appear on the women’s list).

Compromising Criteria

A higher percentage of men (nearly 60 percent) would date someone who isn’t their type if the person was amazing in bed, but only around 36 percent of women would do the same.

However, men and women would date someone not good at penetrative sex if they were very good at oral sex; nearly 73 percent of women would give a partner a chance if cunnilingus were their speciality versus almost 86 percent of men.

Putting the Sheets Down

As our survey shows, men and women most certainly do think differently when it comes to relationship deal breakers. In fact, roughly 15 percent of women would break up with someone if they did not receive compliments regularly, compared to only 7 percent of men. 

However, men were more likely to end a long-term relationship if their partner did not want to perform oral sex. Similarly, more men would break up with a long-term partner if they had a low libido or didn’t want to receive oral sex. 

Men definitely leaned toward deal breakers that revolved around less sex overall, while women were more concerned about the other parts of a relationship (like being taken on dates).

Tolerance Tallies

More than 1 in 4 respondents are or have been in a relationship with someone who is not good in bed; however, the average length of this kind of relationship was one year and five months. Almost 12 percent of people said they were in a relationship with someone they found unattractive, but these relationships lasted a somewhat shorter length of time.

Relationships where someone stopped caring about their physical appearance (roughly 15 percent of respondents) had the longest average relationship: two years and nine months. 

Where romance was involved, nearly 30 percent of people reported being in a relationship with someone who was unromantic. Relationships like this lasted, on average, about two years.


Romance and sex are hot topics for men and women around the world. What could be considered a relationship deal breaker to some may be tolerated by others. And how long a relationship lasts certainly depends on how partners feel toward each other and what they are willing to accept to make it work. Overall, communication was felt to be key in making a partnership last.

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Superdrug Online Doctor asked 1,500 Europeans and Americans about romantic trade-offs. We asked what qualities you would prefer in a relationship to gauge just how important sex is in comparison to a variety of other factors.

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