less sex than other married couples

Do We Have Less Sex Than Other Married Couples?

A while back, I was having dinner with a group of friends. Most were married, but there were a handful of singles. Somehow the discussion turned to the frequency of married sex. The conversation was driven by the singles who were curious. How many times a week? How many times a month? They had heard of married couples not having sex and couldn’t imagine it. In fact, they couldn’t imagine anything less than once a day. Every married person laughed. The questions continued. I knew what they were after. Since each married person at the table had a strong marriage, they felt like we were a good measurement for what was “normal,” perhaps “healthy”.

As we all looked at one another wondering who was going to answer them, I realized we were thinking the same thing. There was hesitancy to reveal for fear that maybe other couples have sex more and are happier. Maybe our sex life is a problem, and we should be having it more frequently. It certainly isn’t as frequent as it used to be. Maybe that means our marriage is headed in a bad direction. Finally, I decided to say what I thought was true for most marriages or, at least, what was true of ours. I was a little surprised (and relieved) at how quickly the other married people agreed with me. I think most married couples struggle with this issue. So let’s ask the question, “Do we have less sex than other married couples?” and when does it become a problem.

Is there a normal amount?

No. It depends on each individual couple. There may be an average amount, but no “normal.” I have seen surveys suggesting an average frequency of sex for married couples to be around a couple of times a month (once every 7-10 days). That doesn’t mean that this is a number to aspire to or judge your marriage upon. What is normal and overwhelming are marriages with at least one partner who doesn’t think they are doing it enough.

The key to a healthy sexual marriage is finding a frequency that works for both of you. [Tweet This] It takes a sacrificial love for one another. Investment grows desire. One partner with a low sex drive may need to initiate, even when they don’t feel like it. Interestingly, having sex regularly raises the level of testosterone which increases desire. It’s like exercising. The more it’s done, the higher the desire becomes to do it. On the other hand, the other partner may need to sacrifice their expectations and sexual desires. There has to be a meeting somewhere in the middle. All of this comes down to communication and to understanding. Talk and listen to one another. Seek to know each other, serve each other, and love before being loved.

When does it become a problem?

The problem occurs when couples resent one another and look out for themselves, rather than sacrificing. When a couple has sex once in a several month time frame, it may indicate problems below the surface. The same surveys indicated that couples having more sex were more fulfilled in their marriages; however, it is difficult to determine what leads to what. Does having more sex alone lead to greater marriage fulfillment or is it vice versa? It’s actually probably both working together. The couple willing to put the other first and invest in one another’s needs before their own, physically and emotionally, will have a deeper level of satisfaction in their relationship.

Sound Off

What challenges have you faced in this area?

BJ Foster

BJ Foster is the Director of Content Creation for All Pro Dad and a married father of two.

  • Mark Thompson

    My wife has never understood this. She compares our sex life to her friends and if 2-3x a month is common then she is fulfilling her duty to me. She could care less of my feeling about it. There is no number or “meet in the middle” – there is a definite selfishness that I can’t break through. I have changed over the years and now want more quality than quantity. That might be because quantity will always fall short of my expectations so shoot for another goal. Quality has diminished also – referring to the above term “duty”. The sad thing is – this topic is rarely or never preached about from the pulpit so we don’t get Gods design of sex taught. I have studied and I believe I understand Gods intentions of marriage and sex, but my wife won’t here it because it doesn’t match her narritve.
    The worst thing for a couple to do is compare their sexual health to the couple across the table. Look to your partner – and if they are completely with you, then it’s golden. If they (or you) are not satisfied – then you got to step up and get to work. If not, they will find someone else who will!!

    • Craig Eastom

      What you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

      • Mark Thompson

        Interesting, so give me your opinion on this topic. I am eager to learn from other perspectives.

        • Craig Eastom

          I have no perspectives..
          Im just a trouble making troll

          • JCV

            Personally I have found that life gets in the way and you have to work at it.
            I read the 5 Love Languages and learned about what I desire in a relationship and what my spouse desires. We talked anout it as well.
            I also recommend the Love Dare book to help strengthen your relationship. It is a series of things to do for 30 days. One day is gift day. On that day, what would you get your wife? Now, think about it again with the perspective of how important is she in your life? If she is that important, show her! Flowers was my initial thought… But, flowers was just checking the box. In marriage, you have to do more than check the box. You have to connect, stay connected. It is no easy!!! Kids make it more of a challenge.
            Do you still have date nights? Are they just going to dinner? or are you focusing the time on each other. Just talking and connecting. Try new places together.
            Sex is a bi-product of the connection you have and how you satisfy each other. Read 5 Love Languages. I thought I was doing what my bride wanted. But I was doing things, which is what I thought she wanted. Nope, she’s a “time together” person. Just sitting on the sofa watching a show together is what she wants.

            I thought I was fulfilling her needs. But, I was missing them altogether. It took me 18-years to study and figure it out. But I did it and it saved my marriage. We were on the verge of divorce and the separation was starting. I fought hard. It took time. And a good Christian based counselor. And hard work. I read and read and finally realized I was part of the solution. She did too, eventually.
            We have never been happier. Sex is hard to come by. Two active kids, up early every day. We almost have to schedule it (some of our friends do!). The books and counselors will tell you that the lovey-dovey part of a relationship is 24 months or so. After that it is a connection thing for us.
            We plan date nights, we have spontaneous date nights or dinners or a glass of wine. Whatever we can squeeze in.

            It is about us first. Kids come second. They want us to be happy. Believe me, we told them what we were going through and they understand that date nights are important. Momma has to be happy and dad has to be happy!
            Good luck. Get 5 love languages. Also Men are from Mars, women are from Venus. Also, Love Dare and watch Fireproof.

            Good luck!

          • tricia

            Love that book!

          • Craig Eastom

            What you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

          • Paul_Sp

            Wow, carbon copy response!

          • Craig Eastom

            Well it was cut and pasted from an adam sandler movie..clearly genius..definitely thought it was fitting here though..way to much thought being put into this if a husband and wife live together and love each other its not that hard to take a moment EVERYDAY.

          • Paul_Sp

            Think what you want, but it can be very hard to connect everyday.
            As you can see just here, people WILL think about this topic and reach various conclusions.
            Why imply others are thinking too much?

          • George

            The reality is that kids are a blessing from the Lord. I love both my kids. They’re so fun to watch, and play with. But they are also a giant stressor on a marriage. If your marriage was shaky before kids, then it’ll be on the rocks after, especially if you have more than 1 child under 2 years of age. When you’re both tired, you’ll be at your worst. Arguments will flare up for no real reason except that your both cranky and tired.

            And sex pretty much disappears for many marriages after you have kids. There’s nothing sexy about changing kids diapers, feeding the baby or toddler, and not getting enough sleep. You’re on call 24/7. It’s a mini-hell in many ways, that lasts for 2 to 3 years if you’re lucky. Then you can work on mending your relationship and having sex.

            I’ve experienced this first hand. You’re too tired to do anything but crawl into bed, and sleep. Sex is the furthest thing from your mind. You crave sleep, not sex. But does anyone tells this to pre-married couples? Probably not. And even if they were told, they wouldn’t believe it.

            You learn how selfish you really are when you have kids. It’s difficult to die to self. And this is really the core of most marriage problems. Everyone wants to satisfy themselves first in all things, then they’ll consider the partner. If in fact, both husband and wife would consider their mate first more of the time, it would lead to much improved marriages.

          • Paul_Sp

            Well said!

      • Paul_Sp

        Ridiculous response!

    • tricia

      The real question for you is what are you doing that makes her not care that she is not fulfilling your needs? There is a need she has that you are not taking care of and as a result she can rationalize her behavior towards you. Do you spend time with her? Do you make her feel like she is your #1 priority? Do you take an equal share of the household responsibilities? Do make her feel safe? She once wanted you; what did you stop doing that made her stop wanting you? Fix that and keep it fixed and I promise you she will want you again. A woman’s brain works differently. We do not feel like having sex unless we feel a connection to the other person. You will only repeat this exact same problem with a new woman if you don’t figure out why you are losing this one.

      • Mark

        I am so glad you asked. In my marriage, I have always had to fulfill her needs before mine could be filled. This is what you are suggesting. Now why do women believe they must have their needs met first? Is this the feministic movement of the last 3 decades – where women must show power and control while men have become emasculated and weak? I tend to believe – in my case – it is leverage for my wife. If she can use sex as a reward or punishment, she has more control. Tell me this, if you wanted sex every day and your spouse doesn’t need it all, where should the compromise be? 2-3x a month? Let me put it another way by not using sex but another need…let’s say you have a need to have a kiss at the door every day your husband comes home from work. That might not mean much to him, but you are a stay at home mom and you want to feel desired and appreciated by your spouse every night he comes home from work. Without any doubt if your husband knew how much that meant to you – he would do it without any hesitation- he might even bring flowers, or dinner, or a bottle of wine just to spice it up. He would probably learn to enjoy and look forward to it also. Every single day he would fill that need because he married you so that he wants to make you happy! Now back to sex, if he asked every single night, and you said “no” 27/30 days a month…what are you telling your husband?? Thanks again for your opinion.

        • tricia

          I am far from feminist. My husband gets everything he wants when he wants it but he gives me what I need to feel attracted to him. You assume it is a business transaction for her but odds are it is a desire issue. She doesn’t want to have sex with you because you aren’t behaving in a way that turns her on. Do you want her to just have sex with you or do you want her to want you? I’m sure you can arrange something that would give you access but it won’t make her want you. The quality you seek can only be achieved by having a happy wife who wants you. If it’s not worth the effort then walk away but if what you had is worth saving put some effort into it. She’s fine with things the way they are so she’s not going to give. She has an acceptable arrangement she ignores your needs and you ignore hers and she fills hers some other way. You want changes then you will have to be the one to change because she doesnt need you for her needs anymore.

          • Paul_Sp

            You MAY be spot on, but Mark’s right about his wife’s selfishness, and your response here acknowledges that.

          • tricia

            I’m not saying she is right. If I were talking to her I would tell her she has to do her part. I would tell her to fake it till she makes it. I would encourage her to give him what he wants but to hint at what she wants while she does it. I have no issues getting anything I want from my hubby but that is because I take care of his needs and communicate when I need something. He is a happy happy camper but he makes me feel like a priority so I want to have sex with him. I do not have some extraordinary sex drive. I was married before to a lazy man who dismissed my feelings and I wanted nothing to do with him sexually. Treated correctly though, I am creative, playful, flirty, and always ready. The difference is not me, it is the way I am treated. If he wants her to be an active playmate then he needs to treat her like a girlfriend not a wife. I can’t fix her. She is not reading this. I can fix him though and his behavior can fix her.

          • Paul_Sp

            All makes sense, can’t disagree with you.
            Would be nice if things were always able to be understood and as predictable as you describe here.
            Some spouses do all the right things and still little to no response from the other.
            But you’re trying to help, and it’s appreciated.

          • tricia

            Relationships are complicated. We are talking different languages. Every person speaks love in a different way so you can do everything technically right and still not be saying I love you in a way that she hears as I love you. You say “I go to work, I bring you flowers, I tell you you are beautiful, that should work and for 60% of the population it would but there is another 20 that only hear I love you when you turn down a chance to hang out with your friends to be with here, and another 20% that only hear it when you make out with them. You are doing more than enough for most women but not the right something for the girl you are with. One girl hears it with your working and chores around the house another with gifts like flowers and another with nice words but that does nothing if your girl only hears it when you want to spend time with her. You can do everything right for most girls without doing what is right for the girl you have. You have to think back to what you did that made her go crazy for you. If it has been a really long time since you did it she won’t trust you so it will take a while. Its like you have been starving her for years and every once in a while you come to her cage and offer a treat and in the beginning she trusts you and takes it and smiles but then you leave her again. After a while she stops smiling because she knows you will leave her again. It takes time to regain that trust. Communicate, figure out what is missing. Tell her you are going to make the effort and you hope that eventually she will trust you enough to meet you half way but you understand if that takes a while. If you plan to be with her for life it is worth a few months of work to get a lifetime of freaky fun sex and an adoring spouse.

          • Paul_Sp

            Yes, I see your points.
            Not sure I’m as interested as I seemed, as I haven’t been married or had a girlfriend in over 8 years.
            But others read this too.

          • tricia

            Time to get back in the game, Paul. Females are fun if you treat them right 🙂

          • Paul_Sp

            Nah, too risky.
            We married young, it ended horribly as she left me for another after lots of work done to address things.
            Don’t think I could trust another not to betray me again.
            Have lots of female friends though, some quite close.
            I find if they really believe you just want to be friends, they trust you and really let you in their lives over time.
            It’s limited, but no one gets hurt.

          • Mark

            You sound like you know my wife. She has walked away already and is getting her needs met some other way. And I appreciate your candid point of view, and I am glad you have a great marriage. What I am trying to learn – mainly to understand what happened or to prevent this from happening again – is why is it ok for the woman to withhold herself but not the man. It seems ok if the woman isn’t getting her needs met to find it somewhere else, but if a man isn’t getting his met and found it somewhere else, it would be adultery. My view about sex is selflessness but my wife’s view is selfishness. I want to be loved physically and I want to love physically. If the woman has the final say, then I get to do neither. I can write all the mushy love letters and back rubs all day long, but to me – if I can’t love her physically, then I feel it takes a big part of what marriage is all about. Now she might not need the physical to feel loved, but she is not “allowing” me to love her that way – and marriages should not be about withholding or not allowing the spouse to express themselves in any matter! Am I wrong? And again I ask – why is this all the woman’s ultimate decision? Maybe I have been a pushover my whole marriage and didn’t stand up to her when she would have an excuse every night before bed, so I have created the environment- but am I totally to blame on this marriage falling apart? I can and did meet her needs outside of the bedroom for a long time before I got exhausted with the process and never getting my needs met in return. This is where sex is used as a reward or punishment and marriage should not be that way! Thanks again for your input. I am getting counseling – alone because she won’t go with me, but I like getting others point of view also.

          • tricia

            What you need to know to prevent this from happening is not why do women think it is ok to deny sex but what changed to make her not want to have sex. I don’t know her or you so I cannot say. Maybe she got older and lost the hormones that drive sex. That would be like you getting ED and her blaming you for it and harping on you about not performing up to her standards. That will happen at points in every marriage and if the parties don’t handle it correctly it leaves a bitter space between the couple. I’m sure if she complained about your inability to perform it would hurt you too. Maybe it’s not that but some other area where you stopped living up to your part of the partnership. Sex is not the only way we cheat. If you don’t contribute your share to the family you are cheating your partner. If you sometimes get to rest and do fun things but she always has to run for the house you are cheating her. If you don’t spend time with her all week but choose to go out with your buddies when Friday comes you are cheating her. If you expect to rest when you are sick but don’t let her do the same you are cheating her. Marriage is a balance so unless you married a gold digger I can say 100% you did something or didn’t do something that contributed to the situation you find yourself in and you will repeat it if you don’t face it. She pulled away but something happened that caused that and whatever you did in response was insufficient to fix it and the problem escalated from there.

  • Bump54

    My wife and i have sex very little, a few problems we are having is 1. My wife cant stay awake past 9 pm…as hard as i try to kept her up she cant do it… 2. My nine year old daughter will not accept the fact that we like to close our bedroom door at night, she come running across the hall and opens it instantly! We even put a lock on the door and she slammed into the door so hard, it broke the lock! This usually ends up with me screaming at her and her crying which ruins any mood me or my wife would be in…this happens on a regular basis and drives me crazy!

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