The question of whether or not a couple is having a ‘normal’ amount of sex, when compared to others, is one of the most common questions asked of sex and relationship therapists.
And while it sounds like a simple question, therapist and author of Sex Down Under Matty Silver, reveals it does not have a simple answer.
As it turns out there is actually no right or ‘normal’ number of times a couple should be having sex. Because, as Matty explains, a couple’s sex life is affected by so many different factors including age, lifestyle, each partner’s health, and sex drive.
Here, Matty writes why sex isn’t always the main factor when it comes to a great sex life:
Where the real issue lies
This issue often comes up when the couple has what is called mismatched libidos.
If she likes to have sex four times a week and he only once or twice, they want to find out who is the ‘abnormal’ one.
It is actually quite common for a couple to have different levels of desire, and it does not generally reflect a lack of love. It is not that easy to find a partner with the same sex drive as you.
In my experience, there are happy couples who have sex every day, have sex once a week or once a month. It’s not a matter of quantity but quality.
More important than the frequency of sex is how satisfied couples are with their sex lives. Less sex doesn’t automatically equate to less love, happiness and fulfilment, especially for couples who have been together for a long time.
For them, companionship, trust, and mutual reliability are often more important than lots of steamy sex.
What counts as sex?
Another problem of estimating sexual frequency is that people often only consider sexual intercourse as having sex.
Many other activities can be considered sex, such as oral sex, genital touching, mutual masturbation or just affectionate behaviour such as kissing, cuddling, caressing and holding hands.
All these activities are also associated with higher sexual satisfaction for both men and women.
A ‘sexless’ relationship
Most sex therapists agree that couples having sex less than 10 times a year could be labelled a ‘sexless’ relationship.
A lack of sex doesn’t always mean that the relationship is in trouble, as long as both partners are satisfied with the frequency.
In most relationships, sexual satisfaction is a measure of the entire relationship. If a once-satisfying sex life becomes one in which sex is infrequent or non-existent, it's more than likely that other aspects of the relationship are unsatisfactory.
But in my experience, when couples stop having sex their relationship can be overtaken by feelings of anger, disappointment and detachment which can lead to infidelity or divorce.
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