It might be helpful to know that there is absolutely no standard with regard to sexual frequency. Too much versus too little varies from person to person, says Jess OReilly, PhD, a sexual health and relationship expert and resident sexologist at Astroglide . Theres no such thing as too much or not enough sex ( sex drive isnt constant , after all). Plus, when you factor in day-to-day stresses, for instance, keeping your loved ones healthy and your finances afloat, it's only natural that your ~mood~ will come and go.
But, if you want to up your bedroom game, there's nothing wrong with that. In fact, theres a chance that more sex may make you more satisfied with your relationship. Research from the University of Toronto found that theres a connection between having sex at least once a week and increased happiness, but any number higher than that wont really be able to make or break a relationship.
Weekly sex seems to be enough to maintain the connection, and the happiness boost is really about prioritizing intimacy and sexnot about keeping score, OReilly says. While it doesnt matter what your exact frequency is with your partner, if you want to be having more sex, thats something you and your partner should have a conversation about. Read on for more about how often other couples admit to having sex and how you can both get on the same page about what youre looking for in bed.
How much sex is everyone else having, though?
There are only select statistics and anecdotal evidence to go by when it comes to frequency of couples of having sex. And then you've got to remember that people tend to exaggerate about their sex life, says OReilly. Data from the Kinsey Institutes Sex, Reproduction and Gender research team discovered Americans who are in the 18 to 29 age category report having sex about 112 times a year (that equates to about twice a week). Couples age 30 to 39 admit to about 86 sex sessions per year. The frequency tends to dip slightly in adults older than that, but about 28 percent of people over 45 are still having sex about once weekly, according to the Kinsey Institute .
But these are just the numbers people report. Another way to put it, is that for Americans in relationships, the most commonly reported frequency is somewhere between three to four times per month, OReilly says. That is almost equivalent to the University of Toronto research that claims that sex once a week equals happiness in your relationshipso maybe they have a point there.
Why is regular sex even a big deal?
There are studies out there suggesting sexual frequency means higher satisfaction in a relationship. But, OReilly argues, regular sex isnt actually that big of a deal, and sexual satisfaction actually varies from couple to couple. Some people have happy relationships and dont have sex, and some people dont experience sexual attraction or desire at all, she says. There are people who dont innately desire sex (or desire it less frequently than other people), and theres nothing abnormal about thatthey actually might be happier with less sex in those cases, OReilly adds.
Its completely up to you and what makes you and your partner feel fulfilledthat could mean you both only want to have sex once a month or so. If so, great. Anecdotally, OReilly says, couples who feel sexually satisfied, which typically means theyre happy with the quality and quantity of sex in their relationship, report feeling more connected with each other, and greater satisfaction in the relationship as a whole.
They also might feel that sex relieves tension in their relationship if theres any kind of disagreement, along with stress in general. The more frequently you have sex and the more open you are with one another in the bedroom, you will likely have an easier time communicating your fantasies and desires with your partner, OReilly says. However, just because youre not having sex every night, it doesnt mean that youre not communicating well or that you're unhappy.
What if my number isnt the same as other couples?
Your number of sex sessions per week only matters as much as you feel it matters. If you dont match up with the statistics, it doesnt mean something is wrong with your sex life at all. Likewise, if youre getting it on more frequently than other couples seem to be, its not a tell-tale sign of a satisfying sex life, OReilly says. You may have sex more often than other couples, but it still may not be as much as you or your partner want it, she adds.
If youre in the camp who wants to have sex more often, its important to have candid conversations with your S.O. about how regularly you actually want sex. That way, you can both make sure youre prioritizing intimacy. If you want sex more often than your partner, youre more likely to underestimate their interest and theyre likely to do the opposite and overestimate yours, OReilly says. It may help to speak to a sex or couples therapist together to act as a mediator for this type of conversation, if you're finding its a difficult one to have.
In other cases, increasing your frequency may involve using some tools to get yourself in the mood. OReilly recommends experimenting with erotic books, art, and videos, if thats your thing, or getting things started with some toys and lube before you approach your partner to come to bed. Another simple thing OReilly suggests is getting in the habit of fantasizing about the sexy things youd like to experience and how youd like to be touched and spoken tobonus points if you share those fantasies with your partner.
What if I'm never in the mood at the same time as my partner?
Your desires might not align 100 percent of the time, but you should take that as an opportunity talk to your partner about what helps turn you on , or what emotional state you need to be in to want sex. OReilly advises getting on the same page as your S.O. about what the best times are to approach you about sex, what words or phrases you like to be turned on with, or even a TV show or movie that might help you relax or get more in the mood.
And also, OReilly says, dont subscribe to heteronormative definitions of sex as just having full-on intercourse. Dont wait until your sexual moods align to have sexif you are in the mood and your partner isnt, ask for what you want, she says. It could be you have your partner go down on you or use a vibrator this time, and then another time, you return the favor on them. There are plenty of ways to get creative, and if you and your partners moods arent quite synced up, solo time is always a valid option for you, too (look at it as a moment of self-care).
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Should I be scheduling sex?
Putting sex on your Google calendars is not really the sexiest thing, but if youre super busy with business travel, young children, or other obligations, spontaneity might not be in your repertoire. For the most part, you do not spontaneously eat, drink or go to a party, so you cannot expect sex to be entirely spontaneous either, OReilly says.
It could be worth it to secretly schedule a date night or surprise your partner one night a week with some alone time, and see where the night takes you. You can alternate who takes the reins, too. This can help to ensure that sex is not entirely predictable and encourage you to share in the task of initiating sex so that the onus does not fall on one party alone, says OReilly. The sex may not be completely spontaneous, but its a little bit more adventurous than simply designating Friday or Saturday night as the routine night for sex.
The bottom line : The only true measure of your sex lifes degree of satisfaction is your own, OReilly says. Communicating with your partner is key.