How Frequent Should Sex Be?
There’s no doubt that couples are at it like rabbits during the honeymoon period. But just how much sex are they having when the spark dies? Science has the answer.
Sex and health go hand in hand. Research has linked it to a slimmer waistline, a stronger heart and a lower risk for prostate and breast cancers. It’s also a boon for mental health, since sex is associated with lower rates of depression and better mood.
When it comes to sex, people tend to fudge the numbers. Penis size gets inflated, the number of lifetime partners is edited up or down, and how long a sex session lasts can be way exaggerated. (Six hours, really?)
But when it comes to how often couples have sex, science actually has an accurate idea. The average adult gets some action 54 times a year—or about once a week, according to a 2017 study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior. Another study published in 2015 linked the frequency of sex to happiness. Researchers writing in Social Psychological and Personality Science found that couples who have sex at least once a week are happier with their relationship than those who get it on less often.
When determining what a normal and healthy sex life is for you, the most important factor to consider is whether the sex you do have is satisfying. Like so many other things in life – friends, books, jobs – quality trumps quantity when it comes to sex.
If you and your partner come to the shared understanding you’re having fun and leaving the bedroom feeling content, it simply means your preferred sexual frequency is different from your friends, and that’s totally fine.
You also shouldn’t compare your current sexual habits to the sex you had when you first started dating, since the butterflies-in-your-stomach feeling that comes with new romance typically puts your appetite for sex into overdrive.
If stress from lack of sleep, kids, or poor work-life balance keeps you from getting in the mood, consider sticking to a sleep schedule, hiring a babysitter (I’m sure this one’s crossed your mind a few times before), or forcing yourself to leave the office at a specific time each day. In hectic times, prioritizing regular sex might seem silly, but it could be what you need to de-stress.
On the other hand, if health problems are preventing you from craving and having more frequent sex, don’t beat yourself up. The body’s hormones are constantly fluctuating and affecting sexual function, and you can always talk to your doctor about potential solutions.