If you and your partner disagree about sexual frequency, can you make compromises? Our friends at YourTango discuss how much sex you should really be having.
I want to talk about a question many of you ask yourself but rarely say out loud. How much sex is enough sex? What's "normal?"
So many people worry that they're not having enough sex, or that they're having too much sex. Take two people getting it on with their partners with the same frequency: twice per week. One is completely frustrated because she wishes she was doing the bump daily. The other resents the pressure from her partner and wishes she could scale it back to once a month. Truth is, we're all SO different.
According to the Kinsey Institute, 18- to 29-year-olds have sex an average of 112 times per year, 30- to 39-year-olds an average of 86 times per year, and 40- to 49-year-olds an average of 69 times per year. Thirteen percent of married couples have sex a few times per year, 45 percent a few times per month, 34 percent two to three times per week, and 7 percent four or more times per week.
Almost half of married couples have sex a few times per month. Does that surprise you? It kind of surprises me. When you think back to a time when you had sexual mojo — in the true, Austin Powers sense of the word — how often were you having sex?
What happens to us? I know: jobs, kids, fatigue, illness, marital challenges — they all threaten to rob us of our mojo. I had a patient, let's call her Sophie, who had a baby, and afterwards she said she honestly didn't care if she never had sex again.
Many compounding factors played a role; she was breastfeeding, she had postpartum depression, and the medication she took for her post-partum blues didn't help her libido. But seven years later, things haven't changed much. The kids are older and sleeping through the night, the postpartum depression is gone, and she's off her meds. But Sophie is still picking up the marital pieces of years of abstinence.
Another patient, we'll call her Monica, married her high school sweetheart and had been together twenty years. At first, things were hunky dory, but as the years passed, their sexual frequency dropped off until they were only having sex a few times per year.
She tried seducing her husband, because her sexual needs demanded more sex than she was getting, but to no avail. As a result, her self-esteem dwindled and her libido suffered. She asked if he was gay, but he denied it, saying that he was attracted to women, just not her. Ouch.
Monica came to me to ask if she was "normal" because she wanted sex every day. She worried that maybe she was a sex addict or that something was wrong with her for wanting to enjoy more physical pleasure with her husband. Four years later, I hear they're getting divorced. No big surprise there. I feel for you, sister.
After talking with Sophie and Monica, I got really curious about sexual frequency, so I started asking people in relationships to answer these three questions:
- How much sex would make you perfectly blissful?
- How much sex would make you feel satisfied and content?
- What's the bare minimum sexual frequency you would need to get by, if you knew it wouldn't last forever (such as when your partner is ill)?
The answers I got from my little straw poll were surprisingly consistent. Granted, my study selection was limited mostly to married couples with children, so it's a skewed population. And I asked more men than women. But here's what they said:
- Blissful: 3 to 5 times/week
- Content: once/week
- Bare minimum: once/month
I asked my buddies on Twitter how much sex was enough, and here's what they had to say.
- " When you have enough sex, you know it. Just like an orgasm, there is no doubt... you're full and satisfied, and your cup runneth over. Divine sex is the only sex that touches the whole body." —@DorisJeanette
- "Money and sex are similar. When you have some, you can't get all you want. If you don't have any, you can't get any. Another similarity between money and sex, you only need enough to get by on, and some days you need way more than others." —@PheasantPhun
- "Seems like it ebbs and flows through the years and if no one is dissatisfied, it's all good. We check in. If it's been a while, we talk about it, and usually it's a mutual sense of just being too tired." —@ThingsMomsLike
- "How much do we get it on? A lot more now that hubby is home and walking around naked!" —@stephanieelliot
- "Can you ever have enough?" —@amandabeez
I can't help comparing everyone else's answers to my own sex life (it's impossible not to compare ourselves to others, isn't it?). My husband and I probably get down about once or twice a week. I'm pretty sure if I showed up in my black teddy more often, he'd be all over that, so I guess I'm the brakes in our sex life.
Why don't I put out more often? I mean, I love my husband and I think he's totally sexy. So what gets in the way? Time, energy, not wanting the burden of any more expectation in my life. But despite that, we're content. Is content good enough? Not sure. Could it be better? I think so. Could we grow in mojo as we explore our sexuality together? Yes. Will we? Hope so.
If you and your partner are both happy, it's enough. Enough said. If one of you is dissatisfied, it bears exploration because those seeds of discontent breed loss of mojo and relationship discord.
Can you talk to your partner about it? I know sex is hard to discuss, but can you touch base periodically and check in? If you and your partner disagree about sexual frequency, can you make compromises?
So often, we make assumptions about our partners that simply aren't true. Maybe you wish you could have sex twice a week, but your partner only wants it every other week. Maybe you assume your partner just isn't that sexual, when in truth, your partner just doesn't always want to put in the hour-long ordeal of loads of foreplay.
What if you could just have a quickie every now and then, just to tide you over? Would you be willing to sacrifice quality for quantity? Or is it all about quality and quantity be damned?
How much sex is enough for you? Are you able to talk to your partner about your wants and needs? If you're not putting out, why not? What roadblocks are keeping you from owning sexuality in a rocking, sexy way? What can you do to better own your sexuality?
Check out more great articles from YourTango:
- If He Really Wanted to Be With You, You Wouldn't Have to Try So Hard
- 50 Love Quotes That Express Exactly What "I Love You" Really Means
- 5 Signs He Isn't Interested in You — He's Stalking You
- 6 Signs You're in Love With a Serious Narcissist (and How to Deal)
- 10 Signs You're a Sapiosexual (and Smart Guys Turn You On)