Couples often ask themselves: “What is the right amount of sex to be having per week?” That’s not exactly news. What is surprising, however, is just how little reliable information there is out there to support a solid answer.
Single folks might be inclined to answer: “As much as bloody possible”, though this is also more complicated than a simple “Yeah the boys!” and a pat on the back. We’ll come to this eventually.
While a younger couple might be inclined to think that their insatiable appetite for hanky panky is a sign of a greater problem (either a shallow relationship or, perhaps, sex addiction), whereas an older couple are more likely to find themselves in a situation whereby one partner has started to pump the breaks on regular shagging, whereas the other partner would just rather be pumping.
Though there is technically no right or wrong answer to this question, an unhealthy sex life can sadly mark the end of an otherwise happy union, and, considering that all it takes to stipend an unfortunate break-up is some honest chit-chat, we thought we’d delve deeper into the important subject that is the right amount of sex per week.
The key to any fair discussion about the right amount of sex is to listen to the pros, and realise that, no matter what search engine you use, or study you reference, there just isn’t one correct answer. The plethora of “studies” you’ll find online, whether floating in the shallows of Google or scouring the depths of digitised research papers, are many and varied. The most reliable source for accurate figures, the General Social Survey unfortunately, pulls data from an incredibly broad pool of subjects across different demographics (this is especially troublesome as libido decreases with age, so subjects should be grouped by age for any study to shed honest light on the matter).
If you’re happy in your sex life, and your partner feels the same, then you’ve found the right amount of sex per week that works for you, whatever that may be. If however you, like many others, feel that you and your partner are out of sync, then have a read below to help get a better understanding of what makes a healthy sex life.
This article is part of our Under the Covers Series
Is There A Wrong Amount of Sex To Have Per Week?
Technically yes, technically no–this is largely dependent on your circumstance.
If you’re in a committed relationship and you’re not doing the deed at all, then you’re not having enough sex.
If you’re single, and you’re having sex every night of the week, you might be bordering on the obsessive.
Considering the former scenario, age is a big factor. The aforementioned General Social Survey doesn’t take this into account, but other studies show that younger couples have sex more than once a week, on average, whereas older couples are getting in the sack on far fewer occasions, averaging less than one romp per week. The average adult in the US, a separate study showed, has sex 54 times a year (or, just over once per week). Married couples who co-habitate tend to have slightly less sex than the average.
How Much Sex is Too Much Sex?
Like anything in life, if you’re doing something to an excessive level, where it actually becomes detrimental to your overall existence, then it’s too much.
Unlike other potentially addictive habits, a high amount of sex in your life is usually a celebrated thing, though this is highly dependent on the circumstances.
A young couple who seemingly don’t leave the bedroom for the first three months of their relationship is probably normal, but a single bloke who’s spending every last cent of his pay on the prowl every night, going to bars and clubs in the hope of picking up, is probably going overboard. There’s nothing wrong with having a healthy sexual appetite, but if it affects other important elements of your life–work, finances, socialising with friends, etc. then you’re probably overdoing it.
How do I Talk to my Partner About Having More (or Less) Sex?
One of the bigger troubles couples face isn’t so much the lack of action in the bedroom; it’s the inaction in terms of speaking up that actually does the damage. A partner who tries to have more sex, more often, and faces rejection, often feels that they might not be able to properly talk about these issues with their dearly beloved, for fear of hurting their feelings, or coming across as disappointed in somebody they otherwise wouldn’t criticize.
A lack of healthy bedroom time can also, on the other side of the coin, cause feelings of inadequacy to a partner who finds themselves getting told “not tonight” by their better halves more often than not.
The best way to approach the topic, whatever your angle may be, is at a time where dirty deeds aren’t on either of your minds (i.e. over the breakfast table fully clothed is neutral territory, and a far better opportunity to talk about sex than when you’re half-naked in bed together).
What’s The Right Amount of Sex for a Single Person?
This poses an interesting conundrum for some, as the old-boys-club mentality of hi-fiving your mates after pulling a babe in the club three nights a week might not sound like such a bad lifestyle. But if you’ve ever heard of sex-addiction, you’ll know that term exists for a reason. A common psychological journal cites the definition of addiction as: “a condition in which a person engages in use of a substance or in a behavior for which the rewarding effects provide a compelling incentive to repeatedly pursue the behavior despite detrimental consequences.”
“Detrimental consequences” is probably the key take-away from this definition. If keeping a few girls on the go leads to you start a revolutionary magazine and buy a mansion in Beverly Hills then you’ve probably got no cause for concern. But if you’re dropping all of your coin in the late opener in the hopes of scoring, maybe it’s time to have a little meeting with yourself (if for no other reason, look into the long-term effects of sex addiction, and how it impacts the ability to start and maintain future meaninful, intimate relationships).
The Right Amount of Sex, in Summary
The classic “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” adage is just as applicable here as ever, but remember that in a relationship, it takes two to tango, and there’s a small chance you’re blissfully ignorant to your partner’s needs and desires if you haven’t put the kettle on and chatted it out over a cuppa.
The right amount of sex per week may seem like a fluid concept, but it’s an important one to consider, whether single or committed, happy or horny. Sometimes stepping up and initiating a positive, open conversation is all it takes, after all, better blue balls than no balls at all.
This article is part of our Under the Covers Series