How Much Sex Should I Be Having?
January 23, 2018
“My wife never wants to have sex”
“In 20 years of marriage we’ve only had sex a dozen times”
“My husband never seems satisfied. I’m exhausted!”
“My friend tells me sex 2-3 times per week is normal for them.”
“I’m just not interested in sex”
“We have sex daily and we are so happy!”
As a marriage counselor, I have heard all of these and more from my clients.
Sex tends to be a primary area of conflict in marriage. In fact, it’s one of the big three – finances, family and sex – that create discord in a relationship. Odds are, you’re reading this because sex is something that you and your spouse argue over too. Or, you don’t argue and it’s the big elephant in the room.
How much sex do I need to be happy?
A 2015 study from the University of Toronto Mississauga examined 30,000 American couples over a 40-year period. These couples covered nearly every age bracket, income bracket, ethnicity and marital status. The study discovered that having sex once per week resulted in happier relationships than those who have sex less often.
However, interestingly, the study also found that having sex more than once a week did not further increase marital satisfaction.
Before you run to your spouse with this information…
Approaching your spouse with demands for more – or less – sex based on this study will not improve your sex life. Or your relationship. In fact, it will likely set you back. Trust me on this.
Sex in your marriage should not be based on a statistic. It’s not about averages or the “norm”. It’s about finding the right frequency where each of you feels their wants and needs are being met. It takes lots of work to find the right balance. A lot more work than it does to find the right article or statistic to make your case.
But I’m not having enough sex
The tendency is to focus on what your spouse is or isn’t doing. Don’t. Turn your focus inward. How has your disappointment with your sexual relationship impacted what you give to your spouse outside the bedroom? What emotional needs are going unmet or even uncommunicated? What does your spouse need from you?
Ask him/her! And then consider involving a therapist who can help you both make the changes in your relationship necessary to improve your sex life.
So, does happiness = sex or does sex = happiness?
Good question! Does weekly sex produce more marital bliss or does marital bliss lead to the weekly sex?
I think the answer lies in whether you see sex as the solution to your happiness or the barometer of your happiness in the relationship.
The answer here isn’t an easy one, but I believe sex is more the barometer. Sex – no matter the frequency – does not guarantee you a happy marriage. But I can tell you that when the sex is missing or infrequent, it always means something else is off in the relationship.
The key to good sex
Society tries to sell us on what good sex looks like. We are bombarded with messages that focus on perfect bodies. On passion and intensity. And it’s worked. Pornography is now a $3.3 billion industry. The sex that society sells us is glossy and visually striking, like a magazine ad. But it’s as deep as the page it’s printed on. It robs us of true intimacy and connection.
A real-life quality sex life is built on that connection. Connection comes from all the work you do outside of the bedroom. If you want more sex, or simply wish you wanted sex as often as your spouse does, focus on your activity outside of the bedroom! Seriously!
Sex is a touchy subject (pun intended) but it’s too important to your relationship not to discuss openly. We can help you do that. Give us a call or schedule a 15-minute Discovery Call to learn more.
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KIM BOWEN is a licensed professional counselor who offers relationship therapy through her company, The Marriage Place. Her blogs and newsletters have been featured in various publications and she is the author of the