Sex not required.
The study in the European Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Reproductive Biology involved 1,800 women in their late 40s and early 50s, in six European countries.
While only 66 per cent of British women said their sex life was important, good sex mattered to 90 per cent of women in France, 82 per cent in Switzerland, 86 per cent in Italy and 81 per cent in Germany.
British women were more likely to have headaches, with 37 per cent reporting the problem compared with 21 per cent in Switzerland.
Forty-seven per cent of British respondants said their sex drive had diminished in middle age, compared to 21 per cent of Swiss and 52 per cent of Italian women surveyed.
Dr Rossella Nappi, who led the study for the Centre for Reproductive Medicine at the University of Pavia, was surprised at the results from the United Kingdom.
But she said the difference may also lie in what people are willing to say in a survey.
"Maybe in the UK a woman feels a woman, independent from being a sexual object. Maybe that is why they complain more and we complain less."