The frequency with which couples do the deed can be a difficult topic to open up and talk about, but like most other conversation about the dynamics of sexual health and relationships, it is an important discussions to have.
Understanding how different couples handle this point, where you fall on the issue, and how the various facets of your relationship factor into the matter can make a world of a difference when you encounter issues in your shared sex life.
Thus, this article hopes to do the important work of exploring the issue, giving you the answers you seek, and contextualizing them with pertinent details so that you may take what you learn here and apply it in the pursuit of a better, healthier, more loving life together.
Comprehensive statistics on how often couples have sex are difficult to come by, as surveys vary in their questions and definitions of some of the basic terms involved, like what constitutes a couple, sex, or consistency. Nonetheless, according to a study published in the journal “Sexual Behavior”, the average number of times couples have sex per month is 3.6. Another study, this one published in the journal “Archives of Sexual Behavior”, found that around half of all North American couples have sex at least once a week.
However, this number fluctuates significantly depending on whether couples are married or not, as well as a number of other variables that may affect how frequently couples have sex.
Couples have different sex lives based on a variety of factors, including age, sex drive, relationship status, and other personal preferences. Some couples may have less sex as they age, while others may have more. Studies have shown that there is no specific age at which couples stop having sex, but academic literature on the frequency of sex between romantic partners is largely lacking definitive numbers.
Can You Have Sex Too Often?
Sex is a very intimate, personal, and emotionally significant experience for many people, and overindulging in such an intense experience can prove draining and possibly even damaging. However, the malleable nature of sex, our relationship with it, and what any one person seeks to get out of it means that it’s difficult to say whether it’s really possible to have sex too often – this is ultimately not a one size fits all question: are you and your partner genuinely enjoying frequent sex with one another? Does it feel healthy? If so, there’s little reason for you to think that you’re doing it too much.
An obvious answer to this is that you can have sex too often if you're in pain, or if it's causing problems in your life. If you're not enjoying sex, or if it's impacting your work or social life, then it might be something to consider cutting back on.
It's also important to be honest with yourself and your partner about what you're looking for in a sexual relationship. Making sure that you and your partner are on the same page can help to avoid any feelings of frustration or disappointment.
Overall, there is no definitive answer to whether you can have sex too often. It depends on your individual situation and what you're looking to get out of sex. If you're concerned that you might be having too much sex, it's important to talk to your partner about it and to listen to your own body and mind to see if sex is starting to feel like a chore.
Does Frequency Matter?
There is certainly some data that suggests that more frequent sex correlates with a happier relationship. According to a study by the University of Wisconsin, for example, couples who have sex at least once a week are more likely to be happy in their relationships than those who have sex less than once a month. That same study also suggests that couples who have sex more than once a week are also more likely to report higher levels of trust, intimacy, and satisfaction in their relationship.
The amount of sex that a couple has is personal and unique to them, and what works for one couple might not work for another. There is no magic number when it comes to frequency, and what's important is that both partners are happy with the amount of sex they're having.
It goes without saying that there is no right or wrong answer to the question of how often a couple should really have sex – it depends on the couple's individual preferences and what feels best for them. Some couples enjoy engaging in sexual activity several times a week, while others may only feel comfortable having sex once a week or even once a month.
Quality Over Quantity
It’s not too difficult to imagine that the frequency of sex is the product, rather than the cause, of these positive qualities. It’s also entirely possible for a couple with a lower libido to be perfectly happy while having sex less frequently – in such cases, sexual compatibility and mindful care for your partner’s preferences and needs is key.
Ultimately, it turns out, what really matters is not how often a given couple actually does the deed, but rather how fulfilling they find their sex lives. Studies back this up too: research has consistently shown that sexual satisfaction, far more than sexual frequency, is a key factor in maintaining a healthy relationship.
How To Improve The Quality Of Your Sex Life
It is tragically common for people to have unfulfilling sex lives. Studies overwhelmingly agree that a significant portion of Americans in relationships are not satisfied with their sex lives, with one study putting the number at over a third and another (particularly grim) offering even more staggering numbers: 54 percent of men and 42 percent of women are not satisfied with their sex lives, it claims.
So, what can you do if you are one of them? According to a survey by EdenFantasys.com, the biggest complaints unsatisfied partners cited were a lack of foreplay, sex finishing too quickly, and – above all – a lack of communication.
The first of these is relatively simple to fix, just take it slow, read your partner’s body, and be both mindful and playful. The second is more complicated and calls for a more elaborate conversation, but suffice to say that it never hurts to pay attention to alternative ways to please your partner that don’t involve gambling with an early finish yourself. The third and most impactful is lack of communication. Communication plays a foundational role in sexual intercourse not only due to the fact that it is the best way for you and your partner to let each other know what you like and what you don’t like, but also because healthy communication protects both you and your partner during an act that is uniquely intimate and leaves its participants exceedingly vulnerable.
Should Sex Be Scheduled?
If you nonetheless feel that your sex life has not been active enough, you may be tempted to follow the advice offered by some magazine columnists and arrange for scheduled sex “meetings” with your partner. This is an awful idea, because it will only add pressure to your relationship and kill the spontaneity and excitement that are so important to a good sex life – not to mention the fact that if the schedule does not correspond to times when the mood happens to strike you or your partner, one of you may inadvertently find themselves victimized – that is, feel pressured to have sex against their actual will.
Truthfully, if you and your partner are not having regular sex, it is probably because you are not both interested in it. Letting someone else control when and how often you have sex is not going to make it more enjoyable for either of you, and if this is a solution that came to your mind, it may be a sign that the relationship is dysfunctional – in other words, it may be time for a talk amongst the two of you, possibly with a licensed professional.
Differing Sex Drives
If you find that your sex life is lacking, but your romantic life is largely fulfilling, it may be that you and your partner simply have different sex drives. This is entirely normal, and while it might seem frustrating, open communication and earnest care for your partner’s security and wellbeing can defuse and resolve that tension.
Thus, if you find suspect that you and your partner are somewhat mismatched in your libidos, you should discuss your individual sex drives in order to open up a dialogue about what you both enjoy and what you can each do to help create a more balanced sex life.
There are other measures that can be taken as well – for example, you may want to consider trying different sex activities together. This can help to see what your partner enjoys and can help to find a sexual activity that both of you enjoy. If the problem proves particularly difficult to cope with for one of you and appears to spawn dysfunction and conflict between the two of you, you may also want to consider seeking professional help. A sex therapist or counselor can help you to explore your individual sex drives and equip you with tools that improve communication and enable you to better address the problem.
It’s natural to think and wonder about these things, but sex is simply one of those acts that means different things to different people – there’s a rich tapestry of countless conceptions of sex and different philosophies with which people approach it. That makes it exceedingly difficult to say anything definitive about how sex factors into relationships (an equally diverse concept), meaning that you are ultimately left with little choice but to simply ask yourself whether you and your partner are both satisfied with the state of your sex life.
This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. Your specific circumstances should be discussed with a healthcare provider. All statements of opinion represent the writers' judgement at the time of publication and are subject to change. Phoenix and its affiliates provide no express or implied endorsements of third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products, or services.