How often should we be having sex?

relationship couples counselling vancouver sexuality

If you’ve landed on this post, you’re likely feeling a lot of uncertainty around your relationship’s sex life. Maybe you’ve been in a relationship together for many years and what used to be a multiple times a week situation has sort of moved to a maybe once a week or even once a month. Or, you’re in a new relationship with someone you’re completely in love with and have had great sex with but…it’s not as often as you’re used to. So you wonder, how often should we be having sex?

First off, let’s address the elephant in the room. The elephant is…should. I hear this word out of my client’s mouths more often than I can count. “I should be having an orgasm every time we have sex”, “I shouldn’t feel like sex is a burden”, “I should have bounced back from that already”. In the simplest terms, shoulds are expectations. Shoulds come from society’s expectations that you have internalized as your own and when they don’t align, you believe that you are somehow broken. Then you hear how often your friends are having sex or you read online that this person is having sex every single day and you’re wondering, well, why am I not? What is wrong with me? What is wrong with our relationship?

First, ask yourself, how often would you like to be having sex? In an ideal world, nothing standing in your way, what’s your magic number? Then ask your partner the same question, what is their magic number? This is the starting point. A starting point to knowing what you and your partner(s) want, not necessarily what you will have.

Mismatched desire is probably the number one reason couples come to sex therapy. The partner who wants sex less most often feels the pressure to try to adjust to what the partner who wants sex more often would like while the partner who wants it more often feels like they have to give up on what they ideally would like to meet their partner’s needs. The thing is, that’s called compromise. The likelihood that you and your partner(s) are going to want to have sex at the same amount is not as likely as having a difference in your desired frequency.

 

So here are a few points to remember when you ask yourself, how often should we be having sex?

 

1.     There’s no normal. Yes, I said it. There is really not answer to your question because there is no amount that you should have sex and there is no normal. There’s a study that suggest that couples who have sex once a week are happiest and that the average couple has sex 2-3 times a week. I’m going to be honest and say that I don’t think that’s true; research is skewed in that way that people want to appear more sexual than they are so they overestimate how often they have sex. Now, of course, there’s a range in everything but I’d say it’s closer to once a week. However, the key here is that there is a range. This means that there really isn’t a magic number of how often you should be having sex because every couple is different and every relationship is different. This leads me to my second point…

2.     Don’t compare how often you’re having sex with your friends or even with past relationships for that matter. I hear this quite often as well, “my friends are having sex way more often than we are”. Well, are they really or are they just telling you that they are? Or another one is “my last partner and I had sex all the time and while the sex is so much better with my new partner, it just doesn’t happen all that often”. Like I mentioned before, every relationship is different. If you wanted what you had back then, you would still be in a relationship with that partner but you aren’t for a reason. Be present and focus on what is going on your relationship, not your friends or your past one.

3.     Sex should be about how good it is, not about how often. Let’s give you this scenario: would you rather have sex every day and it’s mediocre but at least you’re doing it every day or would you like to have sex once a month, it’s passionate, exciting, hot, and intimate? I don’t know about you, but I think I’d pick the second one. If you’re focused on how often, there’s likely some pressure to have sex which doesn’t really make for good sex.

4.     If it’s bad sex and it rarely happens, time to seek out some extra help. Often times, there’s more to the picture than just bad sex, but sometimes that’s what we notice first. This is where I come in – if you’re dissatisfied with the quality of your sex with your partner, I can help.

 

Still unsure if your sex life with your partner(s) is the way you’d like it to be? Contact me today for a free 15-minute phone consultation to see if I can help you revive the passion in your relationship.

 

Diana Sadat