For just about everyone, sex is a huge part of life. It's intimate, it's satisfying, and if you're in a relationship, it can bring you and your partner closer. But regardless of your relationship status, sex can get confusing. Everyone is different and enjoys sex differently, so it goes without saying that some people have a much higher need for sex during the week than others. How often should you have sex in a week? Well, according to experts, it's complicated.
"Having sex regularly helps you stay happy and healthy, both physically and mentally," online dating expert Julie Spira tells Elite Daily. "Sex is a bonding experience that keeps couples connected, and without it, relationships can suffer. Even if you’re exhausted from a stressful work schedule, make sure to find sexy time on the weekends with your partner."
But is there an actual number of times you should be getting it on with your partner on an average week? Like most things when it comes to subjects as personal as intimacy and love, it varies, and it can ebb and flow throughout the course of your relationship. According to one 2017 study, the average American adult has sex 54 times per year, averaging out to about once a week. But that’s before factoring in things like age, relationship status, and whether you live with your partner.
Every couple is different, and it depends on how often you see each other as well. You can't expect to have sex every day if you don't see each other every day. People in long-distance relationships may have sex all the time when they’re together, then go months without seeing each other in person (that’s where sexting and FaceTime come in). Same goes for how long you’ve been together: Early on in a relationship, when you’re still feeling those “I can’t get enough of you” butterflies, you might have more sex than you eventually will when you settle into a routine. As long as you and your partner are happy, that’s the most important thing.
More sex isn’t necessarily a sign of a healthier relationship. One 2015 study found that couples who have sex once per week were the happiest, and that having sex more frequently than that doesn’t improve relationship satisfaction. Couples having sex twice a week, three times a week, or every day are just as content as those who get it on on a weekly basis. But again, this study is just one example, and it doesn’t tell you anything about your own relationship or desires.
Don’t get these statistics stuck in your head, and don’t use your friends’ sex lives as a barometer for how much sex you “should” be having. "There is no magic secret number," Frank Kermit, dating and relationship coach, tells Elite Daily. "It is up to the individual couples to work out what is at least necessary for them, and at most reasonable for them based on their individual sexual needs and personal sexual boundaries." Try not to worry too much about how often you're having sex, unless it starts to get to a point where you're not satisfied. If that's the case, you might want to have a conversation with your partner.
"I know some people who want to have sex seven days a week, and others who are happy having sex three times a week," Spira says. "In my opinion, if you're together, a week shouldn’t go by without having sex, unless someone is sick or out of town." Of course, if you're single and you want to get it on every night of the week, you do you! There's nothing stopping you. But if you're in a relationship with only one sexual partner, it can get tricky because there are two people who need to be equally satisfied and happy. And it’s not uncommon for you and your partner to have different sex drives and desires.
In this case, talking it out will be key to finding a cadence you can both be happy with. "Focus on your feelings and desires, and avoid blaming, shaming, or critiquing," advised Courtney Cleman, relationship and sex expert and founder of The V. Club. "Ask them about how they feel about the frequency of sex in your relationship and find out what they [think.]" There may be other ways you can keep the intimacy alive in your relationship besides having sex every night before bed.
After all, it’s not just the physical act of sex that makes it feel so good. Another 2017 study revealed that affection (kissing, cuddling, pillow talk, you name it) helps induce those same feelings of joy and well-being that we get from having sex. In other words, intimacy can be achieved through many different acts of physical and emotional closeness. Spending the evening cuddling while rewatching Bridgerton together can make you feel just as connected as having sex. (Although, TBH, those spicy scenes may also end up being a turn-on.)
You should be satisfied with your sex life, but you also should hopefully be on the same page as your partner. "The bottom line is, there’s no one answer on how often you should be having sex, but if you’re noticing your sex life on the decline, it’s time to ramp it up to stay connected to your partner," Spira explains. Everyone deserves great sex, and if you're not having sex as often as you'd like, then talk to your partner. And if you're single, start swiping! The world is waiting.
Julia Spira, online dating expert
Frank Kermit, dating and relationship coach
Courtney Cleman, relationship and sex expert and founder of The V. Club
Twenge, J.M., Sherman, R.A. & Wells, B.E. Declines in Sexual Frequency among American Adults, 1989–2014. Arch Sex Behav 46, 2389–2401 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-017-0953-1
Muise, A., Schimmack, U., Impett, E.A. Sexual Frequency Predicts Greater Well-Being, But More is Not Always Better. Social Psychology and Personality Science, Volume 7, Issue 4 (2015).
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