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When you’re in a long-term relationship or married, it’s common to see changes in your sex frequency. When couples first become one, there’s typically a period of high sexual regularity because of the initial excitement of the new relationship. However, the relationship’s newness tends to fizzle over time, and sexual frequency can decrease due to libidos not matching up. If your sex life has become dull, you might wonder how often married couples have sex.

Everyone’s sex drive is different. For some, a natural libido can be the desire to have sex a few times a week or daily, while for others, it could be a few times a month or less. People’s sexual desires can also vary due to factors like sleep, medications, stress, exercise, and diet. If you and your partner have differences in sex drives, it doesn’t mean your sex life is ruined. There’s still hope even if you’re in a sexless marriage.

How frequently do married couples have sex?

A 2017 study by the Archives of Sexual Behavior found that the average married American couple has sex 56 times a year or about once a week. Experts in Prevention and TIME had similar numbers, with 51 and 52 times a year. If you and your spouse don’t match up to these numbers, that’s no cause for alarm, as long as you’re both satisfied. However, if you’ve noticed a change in how often you have sex or are unhappy about it, you should consider taking action.

Life’s stressors can start to pile up, so you have to fight and work through them to create a space for sex to happen. Still, there’s no correct number for how often you should have sex, as long as both parties are happy with the sex life. Still, if you agree that you want to have sex more frequently and are unsure of a goal number, you should try to have sex at least once a week. A 2015 Society for Personality and Social Psychology study revealed that couples who have sex once a week are the happiest.

Though frequent sex and greater happiness are linked, this correlation wasn’t significant at a frequency of more than once a week. The results found that sustaining an intimate connection with your spouse is essential, but you don’t have to have daily sex if you keep that connection. Still, it would be best to focus on what makes you and your spouse happy, not the research. Thinking too hard about numbers could make you forget the most critical factor of your sex life: quality. People love remembering great sexual experiences, so thinking about quality experiences is better than dwelling on quantity.

Why do married couples stop having sex?

Numerous factors lead couples to stop having sex. The top reason why couples stop having sex is exhaustion and routine. Sexual health in married couples is challenging if you’ve had a tiring and long day at work. It doesn’t mean your marriage is in danger, but your partner’s sexual desires are likely clouded by tiredness, stress, and anxiety. Stress is a libido killer because cortisol and adrenaline neutralize relaxation in the penile arteries. You could also fall into the rut of your daily routine. When sex happens the same way, couples can stop feeling sexual satisfaction.

The issue is these couples participate in the same script and don’t think about pleasing or surprising their partner in new ways. Therefore, it’s crucial to keep sexual motivation up, knowing it’s likely to decrease over time.

Another reason why couples stop having sex is sexual discomfort. Married couples may not have regular sex if they feel pain or discomfort during sex. This sensation can happen to women, especially after menopause. During menopause, estrogen levels decrease and no longer produce the same lubrication levels, affecting their sex life and potentially reducing their libido. However, it’s not that senior women aren’t meant to have sex; they can still feel extreme pleasure if they lubricate more and find different ways to please each other.

On the other hand, men can also feel discomfort during sex. Almost one percent in five percent of men feel pain during sexual intercourse. This condition can severely affect relationships, body image, and mental and physical health when left without treatment.

One last reason married couples stop having sex is that they don’t trust each other. Do you talk to your partner every day? Communication is vital, especially when you’re in a marriage. Sexual intimacy requires trusting your partner. If there’s a wall in the relationship, it may reflect in your sexual activity.

Numerous couples have seen improvements after discussing unrelated issues digging into their confidence and ruining their sex life. However, if the communication is broken and you don’t know how to talk about complicated topics, it may be time to consider professional help.

How to achieve a satisfying sex life.

The first step to achieving a more satisfying sex life for both parties is discussing your desires with your spouse. Communicating with them will help you understand what’s missing in your relationship, whether it’s concerning how often you have sex, opening up about your relationship, or experimenting with new activities. A difference in sexual needs could mean you want more physical touch or closeness from your spouse outside of things that happen in the bedroom. Still, you must sit down and talk with your spouse if you want something to change.

Sometimes, all you have to do is make an effort to become sexual again or think about how you want to define your sex life moving forward. For example, if you’re experiencing desire more than your husband, you should be able to express that energy, and he should still be able to feel desired. Not all of that sexual energy should be coupled with having sex.

Remembering frequent sex isn’t the only gauge of happiness in a long-term relationship or marriage is vital. A relationship can be fulfilling and sexual through romantic gestures or flirtation, not only penetrative sex. It’s more about you and your partner conveying desire and maintaining a solid emotional connection. So if you have sex daily or once a month and are happy in your sex life and marriage, there’s no need to worry.

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