How Often Should You Have Sex? A Couples' Therapist Recommends At Least Once A Month
I've had my share of long-term relationships, which means I've witnessed the progression of a romantic connection go from a "flirtationship" to the honeymoon phase to the "Netflix and chill" phase. Most notable in each phase, though, are the ups and downs in your sex life. I mean, how often should you have sex after you've moved in together? Aren't you sick of each other by now? If you're in a happy, healthy relationship, probably not — but there's certainly no guarantee. Anyone who thinks that moving in with their partner means they'll be having sex every night has obviously never seen Sex and the City.
In the movie, each member of my favorite NYC girl gang gets frank about how often they have sex when Miranda reveals that the last time she and her husband Steve had sex was six months ago. She offers up a few excuses for what she calls "a dry spell," like having a full-time job, a toddler to take care of, and an unwell mother-in-law. But Samantha and Carrie don't buy it. The only person who comes to her defense is Charlotte, saying calmly, "Every couple is different."
It's almost as though Charlotte spoke to Dr. Carolina Castaños, a clinical psychologist who specializes in marriage and family therapy, and the founder of MovingOn, a program designed to help heal broken hearts. She didn't but I did and Dr. Castaños agrees. "There is no magic number," she says. (Although, TBH, Charlotte would seek out a marriage therapist.)
According to Dr. Castaños, like with most other things, a healthy sex life is more about quality than it is about quantity. "You can have sex every day and still feel disconnected from your partner, or you can have it once a week and it can be so meaningful. Good sex or intimacy is a product of a close and safe relationship," she says.
So why was Miranda's situation such a big deal? Well, because the movie is literally called Sex and the City, which implies that sex is a major plot device. But also, because how often you have sex still says a lot about your relationship.
Does how often you have sex even matter?
Although there's no right number of times you should be having sex with your partner each week, it's still an important part of any romantic relationship. Dr. Castaños explains, "Sex is not like drinking water where you need a certain amount every day and the reason is that sex only complements the connection between two people." Think of it more as a dietary supplement. It's not absolutely necessary to take it every day but popping a few every now and then is probably good for your health.
How do you know if you're not having sex often enough?
I've always been uncomfortable with Carrie's and Samantha's reactions to Miranda's sex habits because I think this is totally subjective. No one outside of your relationship can determine exactly how often you and your partner should be having sex and why.
While Dr. Castaños agrees, she adds, "At the same time, if you have not had sex for over a month, it can be a sign of something deeper happening in your relationship," which turned about to be the case for Miranda and Steve. (In their case, he wound up cheating — but ultimately, they sought out couples' therapy, worked out the root of issue, and had amazing make-up sex.)
If you and your partner are not having sex as often as you'd like or as often as you used to, it could be because you are not communicating your feelings with each other. You or your partner feels the need to withdraw from your relationship or distance yourself from the other because you are secretly unhappy. Dr. Castaños explains that a lack of sex in this situation will often be accompanied by irritability, angry outbursts, mood swings, avoidance of the other person, and substance abuse.
How do you know if you're having sex too often?
Yup, this is 100 percent a thing. It's not really about having sex too often, though, and more about having sex for the wrong reasons. According to Dr. Castaños, "It's possible that you might be trying to fill a void within you through sex," because science. "When you have an orgasm, you secrete oxytocin, which is a hormone that reduces cortisol, the stress hormone. You have this positive feeling, like a rush, and eventually, you start craving it. It's almost like a drug," she tells Elite Daily.
You know you're having too much sex when your goal is not to be intimate with your partner but to distract yourself from whatever else is going on in your relationship. Because something is missing (most likely, an emotional bond), Dr. Castaños says you might be chasing a false sense of connection through sex.
She makes it pretty clear, though, that sexual frequency does not predict sexual satisfaction. In fact, she says, "The correlation between relationship satisfaction and sexual satisfaction is three times stronger than the correlation between relationship satisfaction and sexual frequency."
So yeah, having tons of sex like Samantha did is great but not if you're compensating for other relationship shortcomings.
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