How Often Do Couples Really Have Sex?

What's a healthy amount of sex to have in your relationship?

Happy couple on couch
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It’s 7:58 p.m. on a Friday night, almost prime time, and you’re surfing through television channels to find a good show to watch. You pick a show and it abruptly opens to the aftermath of a one night stand. Two strangers wake up, late to work, scrambling to get dressed amidst the empty beer bottles, cigarette butts, and scattered clothing from the night before. Scenery like this is strategically plastered all over television, magazines, advertisements, and the Internet to constantly keep our minds fixated on sex and to desensitize us to the cheap over-sexualization of modern day society.

You start to wonder, “How often do people really have sex?”

There’s no right or wrong answer to this question, and the media may skew our views as to what a “healthy” amount of sex is. Many factors affect how often people have sex, including their age, health, stress, mood, and sexual desires. A healthy sex life can strengthen your bond with your partner and help keep your relationship healthy. Sex also provides numerous health benefits, such as boosting your mood, strengthening your immune system, lowering your blood pressure, reducing pain, and helping fight heart disease. That being said, only you and your partner can decide how much sex is right for both of you.  

Studies show that regularly having sex is a more important factor in keeping a happy relationship than money. Most couples typically have sex once a week. This helps keep an intimate connection and gives the feeling of having an active sex life, but it still allows time for anticipation and spontaneity, as sex feels more like a special experience than a daily routine.

Having sex more than once a week typically makes couples feel just as happy as if they had sex only once a week.

The happiest couples and most stable relationships have sex approximately as often as they want to have sex. Most men and women feel that a satisfying sex life improves their overall quality of life, but it doesn’t play a crucial role in their happiness.

Over 90 percent of men agree that happiness is derived from having a good relationship with your partner, not sex. About half of men and women feel that even though sex gives them pleasure, it’s not a necessary part of a good relationship. 

A little over half of men and women in relationships are content with how often they have sex with their partners. The other half of men are dissatisfied with the amount of sex they’re having usually because they want more sex. About two-thirds of unsatisfied women are in the same boat. Since men tend to think about sex and feel sexual desire more than women do, men are about eight times more likely to self-stimulate.

Age and health also play a crucial role in determining your sex drive. As the years go by, sexual problems can develop erectile dysfunction, a loss of interest in sex, anxiety about performance, and trouble climaxing.  As health problems begin to manifest over the years, sex gets put on the back burner.  Masturbation is common as 63 percent of men age 50 and older do it.

About 40 percent of men in this age group have a sexual arrangement with someone other than their spouse or long-term partner.  Masturbation or infidelity can become an alternative to sex, especially if difficulty or discomfort exists with intercourse in the relationship. It’s very possible to have sex well into your 80s, as almost 40 percent of men between the ages of 75 and 85 have sex with a partner, especially thanks to a variety of erectile dysfunction drugs readily available to lend a helping hand. 

However, the quality of the sex you’re having is much more important than the quantity. Men’s happiness tends to come more from physical aspects of sex, while women’s happiness comes more from the emotional aspects. The most important thing in your relationship is to talk to each other about your sexual desires and keep the lines of communication open. If you want to have sex more frequently or spice things up between the sheets, let your partner know. Communication, not sex, is the lifeline that your relationship needs to survive.   

Sources

Excerpted from Sexuality at Midlife and Beyond.  Harvard Health Publications, 9 Jun 2009.  Web.

Once-a-Week Sex Makes for Happy Couples: Study.  MedlinePlus: U.S. National Library of Medicine, 18 Nov 2015.  Web.

Sex In the Second Half.  Harvard Health Publications, 1 Dec 2010.  Web.

Sexual and Relationship Satisfaction Among Heterosexual Men and Women: The Importance of Desired Frequency of Sex.  Ferris J, Lyons A, Pitts M, Richters J, Shelley J, Simpson JM, Smith A.  PubMed: U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2011.  Web.

Sexual Desire Discrepancy: The Effect of Individual Differences In Desired and Actual Sexual Frequency on Dating Copules.  Vitas J, Willoughby BJ.  PubMed: U.S. National Library of Medicine, Apr 2012.   Web.

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