Are you having enough sex or not?

There’s one thing every one of my clients and every potential client has in common: they think they are not having enough sex. Sometimes they tell me they’re having sex several times each week. Other times, that number drops to a few occurrences per year.

Regardless of their number, most people think they are not having enough sex

This is what happens when we don’t have honest conversations around sex. People compare themselves to some undefined norm, often without a) having had conversations with others, and b) reflecting on their own satisfaction with their sex life. 

It’s easier to think that if you just have more sex, you’ll feel more satisfied or your relationship problems will improve. Unfortunately, that’s not often the case.

Read more: Why Sexual Desire in Movies is Unrealistic

Numbers are just information

Our friend, Kimmay reminds me of this all the time. In fact, she created an entire campaign around it called #MoreThanMyNumbers!

Numbers are information. Information is useful. But it doesn’t tell the whole story of who you are or what your sex life and relationship are like.

Numbers don’t tell us if the sex is satisfying or unfulfilling. How your partner(s) treats you. If you enjoy yourselves.

The only thing it reveals is how often you have sex.

More sex isn’t always better sex

If you just read Cosmo and the like, you’d think more sex equals better relationship. Mainstream media encourages us to have as much sex as possible, both overtly and subtly with stories that imply everyone is having more sex than you are.

The truth is more nuanced.

On average, couples in committed relationships have sex once a week.

That has been tested and confirmed in numerous studies over several decades.

Beyond that, a series of recent studies (here and here) with over 30,000 participants looked at the relationship among how often you have sex, your overall well-being, and your relationship satisfaction.

Here are the top takeaways

Note: these are all correlations. They tell us that these factors are connected, not that one necessarily causes another.

  • Your life satisfaction, relationship satisfaction, and naturally occurring sexual frequency impact one another. Context matters.
  • How often you have sex impacts your overall happiness if you’re in a relationship. Not jn a relationship? There’s no connection (i.e. it doesn’t make you more or less happy).
  • If you’re satisfied in your relationship, how often you have sex impacts your overall well-being. If you aren’t satisfied in your relationship, there’s no impact—aka you can have all the sex you want or none and it won’t make you happier or sadder.
  • There aren’t any relationship or happiness boosts from having sex more than once a week.

As the article says:

“The current set of studies help dispel the notion that sex has limitless benefits for well-being and, instead, indicate that at least for people in romantic relationships, sexual frequency is no longer significantly associated with well-being at a frequency greater than once a week […] one reason why greater sexual frequency is associated with greater well-being for people in relationships is that having more frequent sex (up to about once a week) is associated with greater relationship satisfaction.”

We don’t care how often you have sex

Here are a few things we do care about:

We also care about why you feel you aren’t having enough sex. Why you want more sex. And, if you want more sex, why you aren’t having it?

When your sexual frequency indicates a problem

As a piece of information, how often you have sex can indicate that something is wrong in your sex life or relationship. This usually happens when it’s paired with another issue, one you may or may not even be aware of.

Here are three common issues that we often see paired with the complaint about not having enough sex that would indicate there’s some work to do:

You and/or your partner(s) aren’t happy

If you aren’t satisfied with your sex life and/or how often you have sex, it’s worth exploring what else is going on. What’s happening in your life and relationship that holds you back from getting it on more frequently?

There’s a mismatch in your desire.

If one of you wants sex daily and the other would be happy with monthly, then your frequency will be part of a larger conversation about your sex life and how to satisfy both your needs. Desire is a complex issue, and can easily be drained by exhaustion, stress, fighting, and more.

Read more: What to Do if Different Sex Drives are Ruining Your Relationship

You never talk about sex

It isn’t surprising for clients to come to us with a problem only to realise their partner feels the exact same way. But, they never talked, so both assumed the other was unhappy!

We can’t guarantee this will be what happens for you, but talking to your partner(s) helps get you on the same page and discover what the real problem is. 

Not sure how to start the conversation? We got you.

The only people who need to be satisfied with their number are you and your beau(s)

Your sex life is your own. If you’re struggling to reconcile your expectations with your reality, start to notice your thoughts and gently investigate them. 

For example, maybe you find yourself wishing you had sex more. Start by simply noticing this thought when it comes up. Then, expand your awareness: what was happening around you and in your mind when this thought popped in? Next, question it. Is this true? What does having more sex mean to you?  Why is it important to have more sex? Are there other ways to meet this need? 

Getting underneath the thoughts help you discover your truth and follow your own path, without comparison or worry about the shoulds.

To maximise your well-being, have just enough sex to maintain an intimate connection

The exact number will vary person to person, relationship to relationship, and season to season. Ask yourself if once a week feels right for your sex life, relationship and, let’s be real, schedule.

If you want to have more sex, whether that’s bringing it up to once per week or more, give yourself permission to expand what sex and intimacy means. So often people only “count” penis-in-vagina sex (PIV) but there are so many more ways to be connect and gain the benefits of that intimacy.

Never let research negate your experience, and also stay open to it’s lessons. Science guides us but you’re the expert on your sexy times and body.

If you feel fulfilled, keep on keeping on

If you don’t, take a bigger picture view to see what is holding you back from having sex more frequently.

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