How much sex in a relationship is too little? Or too much? How much sex should we be having in our relationships? Is there a normal amount!?
Concerns about sexual frequency are common in most long-term relationships. One of the reasons behind this is, it is easy to quantify sexual activity. You are able to count the number of times you have had sex in a day, a week, or a month. Other things in relationships aren’t as tangible or easy to count. How many times did your partner say “I love you “, for example. This leads to sexual frequency being a measure of relationship health for some people, but it really shouldn’t be.
Each relationship is different, there really is no “normal” for sexual frequency. Most couples fall in to a pattern of sexual frequency in their relationships. When there are changes in this pattern is when it might be time to take notice. It also helps to take a step back and see why the pattern changed.
Transitional periods in life can have an impact on sexual frequency. Transitions to parenthood, moving, starting to live together, are some such periods. Usually, the stress from these periods is what can cause issues. For example, a study found that new parent’s sexual frequency was impacted because they had to redefine what sexual intimacy was for them after having a child.
Of course, one of the main gauges of sexual frequency being right for you is satisfaction. The quality of sex is more important, for most couples, than the quantity of sex. One study found that having sex more than once a week did not increase sexual well-being.
How much sex should we be having? It is up to you and your partner to find the right balance.
Leavitt, C. E., McDaniel, B. T., Maas, M. K., & Feinberg, M. E. (2017). Parenting Stress and Sexual Satisfaction Among First-time Parents: A Dyadic Approach. Sex roles, 76(5-6), 346–355. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-016-0623-0
Sylvie Lévesque, Véronique Bisson, Mylène Fernet & Laurence Charton (2019) A study of the transition to parenthood: new parents’ perspectives on their sexual intimacy during the perinatal period, Sexual and Relationship Therapy, DOI: 10.1080/14681994.2019.1675870
Laura M. Vowels & Kristen P. Mark (2020) Relationship and sexual satisfaction: a longitudinal actor–partner interdependence model approach, Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 35:1, 46-59, DOI: 10.1080/14681994.2018.1441991
Blair, K. L., & Pukall, C. F. (2014). Can less be more? Comparing duration vs. frequency of sexual encounters in same-sex and mixed-sex relationships. Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 23(2), 123–136. https://doi.org/10.3138/cjhs.2393
Muise, A., Schimmack, U., & Impett, E. A. (2016). Sexual Frequency Predicts Greater Well-Being, But More is Not Always Better. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 7(4), 295–302. https://doi.org/10.1177/1948550615616462