less sex

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 questions: 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 couple. There may be an average amount, but there is 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 seven to 10 days). That doesn’t mean 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 sex life in marriage is finding a frequency that works for both of you.

The key to a healthy sex life in marriage is finding a frequency that works for both of you. It takes a sacrificial love for one another. Investment grows desire. Partners 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 you do it, the more you desire to do it. On the other hand, other partners 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 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 only 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 do couples whose marriages feel more fulfilling have more sex? 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? 

Huddle up with your wife and ask, “What was the most romantic night we’ve ever spent together?”