Gigi Engle is a certified sex coach, educator, and author of All The F*cking Mistakes: a guide to sex, love, and life. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle. | Read More
The question of how much sex is the “right” amount of sex with your loved one has been a hot topic on search engines since the invention of the internet. Many of us weren’t given the language or tools to comfortably discuss sexuality, even with our intimate partners.
This article aims to offer the insight you need to start broaching these conversations and get your sex life back to the hot and heavy fireworks you’re craving. Here is what you need to know.
How often are couples really having sex?
You might be wondering how much sex people are actually having. People really want to know how much sex everyone is having so you’re not alone if you’re confused or are wondering if your sex life is “normal.” What people tell us and what is actually true might surprise you. Luckily, there are definitely solid statistics for this.
According to recent data, the average adult has sex 54 times a year. Another 2017 study yields more positive results. The study shows that people have about the same amount of sex whether they’re married or unmarried, partnered or unpartnered, coming in at a whopping 80 times per year. This suggests that people have sex more than once per week. We like the sound of that.
We still have to ask: Is sex that important in a relationship? Does having more sex make you happier? We’d have to say yes. On average, studies show that couples who have sex once per week are happier. Couples who last aren’t the ones who have all of that can’t-get-enough-of-your-body oxytocin, they’re the ones who make sex a priority and commit to having it. So, go and get it! It’s healthy for the longevity of your relationship.
On a more granular level, who is having the most sex?
There is a lot of odd and conflicting data out there. Millennials are often called the “sexless generation” because we’re absorbed in our screens and dating apps. Lucy Rowett, a certified relationship coach and clinical sexologist tells us that it’s pretty well-known that Boomers are having more sex than their younger counterparts, but points out that we may be looking for better, more quality sexual experiences. Which would you rather have? We’re all about getting lucky, but if there isn’t an orgasm … why bother showing up, you know?
Yet, a recent study from The Kinsey Institute shows the exact opposite. What the what? Yeah, we know. It’s complicated. This study showed that people under 30 have sex 112 times per year on average, or about twice per week. Get it!
In the 30-39 age bracket, that number drops to 86. As you get older, it seems to decline even more: to 69 times annually for those aged 40-49, and about 52 times per year for couples in their fifties and older.
Is having more sex better for your relationship?
We know it’s really tempting to quantify how much sex is “enough” sex. There is an odd idea that if we meet some “magic number” in our sex lives. “How often do couples have sex?” is a question often asked by people who want to feel like they’re having sex enough.
That’s just not how it works.
The important thing in any sex life is the quality of the sex you’re having. The amount of sex is essentially meaningless without the assurance of quality. Think about it: You could be having unsatisfying sex three times a day with no orgasms and no pleasure, or mind-blowing, toe-curling sex once a month that leaves you lying in bed basking in the orgasmic glow of a lifetime. Which would you rather have?
Dr. Holly Richmond, a certified sex therapist and somatic psychologist tells us that couples who have unsatisfying sex lives will wind up disengaging from their partner, which only leads to a rabbit hole of even less sex. Rather than reaching toward a specific number of how often couples should have sex, explore how much pleasure you want to feel, and the different ways that you can achieve that pleasure. It’s about staying curious and enjoying your body and that of your partner’s.
You may find that instead of full-on sexual intercourse, you want to feel more spontaneity and passion in your relationship, which you can foster with an erotic, risky thrill a few times a month. This could look like a lot of things from trying food play, to exploring role play, to taking your partner for a tantric massage. What constitutes a thrill will be different for everyone.
Or maybe you’re craving more closeness and connection in your relationship, and want to trade in a night of sex for more intimate cuddling, caressing, and making out. There is no wrong way to explore intimacy and connection. When you focus on your pleasure and on creating the experiences that you deeply desire, you’ll have more satisfaction and fulfillment in your erotic relationship. It’s about making your intimate connection a priority. The couples that last are the ones who know sexual touch and intimacy are important and choose to make that a priority.
How to have more (or less) sex with your partner?
Having a strict number of times we’re “supposed” to have sex is problematic because it doesn’t account for our differing sex drives. You’re having “enough” sex when both partners are satisfied with their sex lives. We tend to cater to the person who has the lower sex drive. This doesn’t work because it lacks compromise. The partner with the higher sex drive usually winds up feeling sad, broken, or bad about themselves. Here are some tips on how to sync up your sex drives:
Tip 1: Communicate your expectations
The first step in getting your sex life where you want it to be is by communicating your expections in an honest and loving way. Communicate about each person’s needs and try to make them happen in a natural way.
Tip 2: Find some balance
Explore what accommodations you can make, so that both partners feel fulfilled without feeling pressure. Broaden your definition of sex to include more intimate acts beyond penetration, or even oral sex. There are many kinds of sex to explore.
Tip 3: Try mutual masturbation
You can intimately connect and get that pleasurable release with mutual masturbation, or a friendly “assist” to masturbation, where one partner masturbates and the other provides sexy enhancements with kissing, caressing, touching, and affection. This gives you the same oxytocin and dopamine.
Tip 4: Take turns initiating sex
To get your sex life on a more balanced wavelength, take turns as to who has to ask for sex. Take turns initiating sex so that both people feel desired and wanted. When both people take responsibility for making sex happen, everyone is happier.
Tip 5: Find what works for you
If a couple is happy having sex a few times a month or year, then they should feel no pressure to have sex more often than they enjoy. As long as both partners are satisfied and fulfilled by the sex that they are having, then they have a healthy happy sex life!
Consider tantric massage as a way to enhance your sex life
For those looking to expand their sexual horizons and reignite a sexual spark, tantric massage is a really wonderful way to go. Sometimes it takes an actual sexually exciting activity to get your juices flowing. It’s about exploring your intimate connection. Rowett says that sexual connection isn’t so much about sex itself, but about building upon your emotional and sexual intimacy.
Tantric massage is a great tool to reconnect to your body and all of its pleasure potential. If you’re interested in more information about tantric massage and how it can improve your sex life, check out Karma Tantric’s Couples Tantric Massage Guide.