Editor’s Note: This is part 5 in a 10-part series on Sex and Intimacy. Click here to read from the beginning.
That’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it?
Believe it or not, I have the answer. The normal amount of sex in a relationship is (drum roll, please)…whatever works for you and your partner.
So stop stressing about whether you are doing it as much as “everyone else” or “what you used to.” The only opinion that matters in your sex life is that of you and your mate.
- Are you and your mate happy with the frequency?
- Are you and your mate physically satisfied?
- Can you and your mate freely discuss your wants and needs?
If you answered yes to all those questions (or even 85% yes), you are having the normal amount of sex.
There are happy people in sexless marriages and happy people who have sex every single day, and the rest of us fall somewhere in between. What matters is that you can tell your mate what you want and listen to what he or she wants and come to satisfactory agreement.
What Negatively Affects Your Sex Life?
The conditions below have a tendency to diminish the frequency of sex:
- Ill health
- Hectic work/school schedules
- Childbirth and young children
Most couples go through fluctuations of sexual activity. We do, and I’ll bet you do, too. This is perfectly normal and is largely determined by what is going on in your life. It doesn’t mean you love each other more or less.
Keeping in mind that these fluctuations occur, as well as knowing the conditions above that may affect your sex life in a negative way, you can work with your partner to create a loving physical relationship to carry you through the dry spells.
This Isn’t a Fluctuation – It’s Broken
If your problems are deeper than the normal curiosity of how you stack up with the neighbors, it is time for a serious talk. Physical intimacy is important in a relationship, and if one of you wants sex and the other doesn’t, it may be time for professional help to sort out the problem.
We withhold sex for a variety of reasons: punishment, resentment, guilt, etc. (Withholding is different from physically being unable to have sex due to illness or injury.) The fight is usually centered on sex but not really about sex at all. Sex is just the chosen weapon.
If your sex life is broken, you need the help of a trained professional. We had a broken sex life at one point in our marriage, and seeing a therapist helped us work through the problem and get our physical relationship back on track. When you are both motivated to fix the problem, it doesn’t take long to start moving in the right direction.
As I’ve said before, you don’t have to have intercourse to have sex. Broaden your definition to include other forms of sexual play (both together and separately) and you will find your physical relationship is on a more constant “hum of electricity” rather than silence as you wait for the next opportunity to have actual intercourse. This works really well for us.
Do you worry that you aren’t having enough sex? Are you comparing yourself to other people or to your past? Is your mate happy with the amount of sex?
Betsy Talbot writes about carving the lifestyle you want out of the life you already have. When she’s not writing, she’s paring down, saving up, and getting ready for a year of travel with her husband.