Enjoying a passionate tryst can be one of the most rewarding activities. Not only for the fun itself, but for the emotional, physical, and mental benefits during and thereafter.
Achieving an orgasm has the ability to relieve stress, increase happiness, lower one’s blood pressure, as well as bring a sense of closeness between partners when experienced together. I guess the best things in life are actually free!
So while we’re on the topic, let’s take a look at what’s considered a ‘normal’ amount of sex. And really, just how much sex is too much sex?
How Often Does the Average Couple Have Sex?
While it’s near impossible to measure how often the average couple has sex, professionals have been weighing in, giving their opinion, based on studies and couple’s therapy. And according to one particular sex therapist, Dr. Ian Kerner, PhD, there is simply no one right answer.
He notes that there are just too many factors that come into play when trying to measure the average. For example, one’s age, lifestyle, health status, and levels of libido.
Adversely, he believes that when couples stop having sex, there are a slew of negative consequences that could arise such as anger, detachment, infidelity, and even divorce. In this way, he is a strong advocate for physical intimacy between partners.
David Schnarch, PhD, however, has a more concrete point of view. He advises couples to have sex at least once a week, a target that is actually rarely being reached.
His study, conducted on over 20,000 couples, revealed that only 26 percent are fulfilling this sex-once-a-week quota, while the majority are hitting the sheets once or twice a month.
Then, a 2015 study looked at the matter from a different perspective. This study, found in Social Psychological and Personality Science, looked at how sex is linked to happiness. And during this research, it was yet again found that couples who are intimate together at least once a week, are happier than those who do so less frequently.
Interestingly, this same study also found that even if sex is enjoyed more than once a week, the level of happiness does not increase. So for those hoping to get a jolt of happy vibes, once a week is more than enough as opposed to getting it on 24/7.
Then again, if we flip this question, and talk about the expectations that couples have for themselves in terms of their sex life, this alone can be a cause of a number of problems. Oftentimes couples believe that they need to be having xyz amount of sex in order to be ‘normal’ or happy.
In actuality however, it’s more than accurate to assume that what works best for one couple may not work for another, and that it is all about doing what both partners feel comfortable with that can make or break one’s sex life.
Not having as much sex as usual could be a sign of comfortablility for some, and a sign of boredom for others. It’s just not a one-size-fits-all experience.
One’s mental and physical health is, too, a huge factor when it comes to what is ‘normal’ and what is not.
There are several different health disorders and lifestyles that can affect one’s sex life, such as medications, hormones, levels of libido and sexual desire, ageing, body or self-esteem issues, religion, sexual beliefs, depression and anxiety, and one’s emotional experience.
Oftentimes, these issues may not align with your partner, making sex a touchy or difficult subject.
How Can You Improve Your Sex Life?
Communication, communication, communication. So often, not only in relationships but life in general, individuals have a tendency to be passive aggressive in their anger or sadness, or perhaps they feel scared or too vulnerable to talk things out.
But for couples who feel as though there are problems within their relationship, be it in their sex life or other, communication is the best way for both to get on the same page.
Additionally, it will prove far more productive to talk to one another, with or without a professional, as opposed to comparing yourselves to statistics. It’s just not feasible.
It’s also important to realize that the goal of a successful relationship is happiness, not sex. And when both partners are happier, the sex is more often than not, much better.
So, instead of counting the number of times you do the sideways tango and comparing it to your friends or general statistics, rather focus on your unique relationship… the reason why or why not you are having sex.
Sex cannot fix a broken relationship when issues are simply more complex than a lack of sex. Thus I reiterate, communication, communication, communication.
Negative Effects of Having (Too Much) Sex
As previously mentioned, it’s been shown in a number of different studies that couples who have sex once a week are, in general, happier than those who don’t.
It was also mentioned that the level of happiness does not have the capacity to increase when the frequency of sex is increased. And with that, it was found that couples who were asked to double their sex frequency as part of research, actually enjoyed sex less.
Not only that but the notion itself that we should be having a certain amount of sex in order to be happy is actually inhibiting our happiness and perhaps stunting relationship growth and contentment itself.
Some are chasing a fictional sex quota which is believed to be met by every couple besides them, and this has a big tendency to cause relationship issues.
For some, not engaging in hot sweaty sex that’s shown on TV leads them to believe that they’re not normal or good enough, causing stress and anxiety within a relationship, and perhaps self-esteem issues.
Having Sex: The Cold, Hard Facts
According to various and credible research:
The frequency of sex between couples drop with age and duration of marriage.
The longer a couple has been together, the less sexually satisfied they tend to be.
The amount of sexual intimacy lessens the longer a couple have been together.
Sexual frequency and divorce rate are strongly linked in that, when the frequency of sex diminishes, the chances of divorce are higher.
Is it Possible to Have Too Much Sex?
Sex can be seen as being done in excess, yes. And this can be due to a number of reasons, such as individual issues as well as shared concerns and feelings between partners. The notion of having too much sex is also relevative and unique to each individual.
1. Being In Sync
When it comes to sex, it involves two people, not one. For that reason, you or your partner may, and probably do, have different needs, urges, and desires.
One partner may have a sex drive that is much higher than the other, leaving one to feel sexually frustrated and rejected while the other feels somewhat smothered and perhaps pressured.
And when this occurs, sex can be seen as a way in which to dissapoint a partner instead of to please them. It can cause a major shift in the dynamics of a relationship or be a big factor in pushing two people apart.
2. Sex as a Substitute
Additionally, the reasons why you’re having sex can have a big impact on whether it is healthy or not. When the driving force during sexual intimacy is anger, neediness, or to fill a void, it’s merely a way in which to ignore underlying issues.
Simply participating in this unhealthy approach to sex, alone, affects one or both partners negatively on various different levels.
3. Sex Addiction
To have an addiction to sex is to be compulsively seeking gratification that is oftentimes never enough. In this way, sex and intimacy changes from an experience of desire and lust to that of compulsion.
Those with a sex addiction constantly crave the action and are able to feel the positive effects during, but afterwards, are again unsatisfied and in search of more.
Support for Sex Addiction
If you, or someone you know, is affected by sex compulsion and or addiction, there are various support groups available worldwide. Just like other addiction support groups, these are anonymous and can be a lifesaving opportunity in order to feel joy and happiness once again.
SAA, Sex Addicts Anonymous, is “a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength, and hope with each other so that they may overcome their sexual addiction and help others recover from sexual addiction or dependency.”
The SAA website allows you to find a meeting near your location, and offers online information, literature, and other useful tools to help those living with a sex addiction.
So, to go back to the question of “just how much sex is too much sex?” there isn’t really a concrete answer.
There are so many different factors that can determine whether you’re having sex for the right reasons and are truly happy with your sex life, or if you’re engaging in sex for the wrong reasons, which could, in itself, be a factor in “having too much sex.”
At the end of the day, it’s about not comparing your sex life to others which could, in actuality, make you feel quite bad, but finding a happy place that’s congruent with your partner’s.
In short, communication is key, and that is the only thing that can be said for sure.