Sex is a hugely important part of almost all relationships – but how often do couples have sex on average? Is there even an established answer to this question?
Unsurprisingly, attempts to give a precise answer have resulted in wildly different estimates. The outcome can depend on many things, including the age of a couple, the length of time they’ve been together, living circumstances, and of course their individual libidos. Studies have produced such a range of results because of the myriad factors involved, as well as the willingness of participants to be honest about such a personal topic.
So, to find out what the nation’s “normal” is, we quizzed various couples on their sex lives. Here’s an insight into how often couples have sex:
Chris* & Sam, together for 8 months:
We’re still quite a new couple so we’d say we’re still in the honeymoon phase. When we first met we were all over each other and had sex every time we went on a date (about 3 times a week), often at least twice a night. We’ve calmed it down a bit now but still have sex almost every time we see each other. We’re planning on moving in together within the next few months and we’ll probably have less sex than once we’ve got used to being around each other all the time. We’d say that you shouldn’t worry about how often you’re getting intimate unless there’s a huge mismatch between you and your partner. As long as you’re both content in the relationship, don’t worry about how often other couples are having sex.
Shona & Neil, together for 6 years:
We’ve always had quite an active sex life. At the moment we’re probably having sex about 3 times a week on average. This can really vary though – we’ve gone through a couple of phases of a few months where we haven’t had sex at all, and other periods of time where we’ve been at it like rabbits every day. We both tend to have high sex drives which means we’re well matched. It’s quite rare for either of us to say no to sex. The times when we weren’t sleeping together were when one of us was having a hard time at work or elsewhere in our lives; if you feel stressed or down sex is the last thing on your mind. Generally, we’re really happy with our sex life. We find that being completely honest about things is the best way to ensure we’re both happy.
Anna & Phil, together for 3 years:
On average we have sex about once a week. We’ve lived together for a couple of years and have had to battle the feeling of staleness and overcome our laziness to keep things relatively active. We got into a bit of a rut about a year after we moved in together; we were both incredibly tired most evenings and we just couldn’t motivate ourselves to get frisky. In the end we went without for over a month. Then we sat down to talk about it and decided to timetable in a weekly “sex slot”. It sounds so awful but it did the trick, and now we’re intimate on a much more regular basis.
Reena & Sean, together for 1.5 years:
At the moment we’re living on opposite sides of the country because we met through online dating, which makes having sex regularly a bit tricky! We generally see each other on alternate weekends. On those weekends we have a lot of sex because the tension builds up over the fortnight before – all long-distance couples will have been there! We’re finally going to live in the same city in 6 months and can’t wait to have a more normal relationship and sex life.
Terry & Sally, together for 24 years:
We’ve been together for a long time now (plus we’re getting on a bit!) so our relationship is less about sex and more about companionship these days. On average we probably have sex about once every two months, often on “special occasions” like birthdays and our anniversary. This works well for us as we’ve both found our libido has dropped off over the years so we’re not often “in the mood”. But when we are it’s extra special because we’re not having sex all the time. It seems that most of our friends are in the same position from what they’ve told us, although I don’t doubt that there are others of our age who are a bit more active.
So there you have it! These responses prove that there is no “normal” – some couples are always at it, some less often. Some are happy with a quieter sex life, while others have taken steps to make sure they’re getting intimate regularly.
But if you’re worried you and your partner are getting into a sexual rut, there are some steps you can take to get out of it.
Here are our top 3 tips for couples who want to start having sex more regularly:
- Like Anna and Phil, scheduling in a regular sex slot can work wonders. We know, it sounds unromantic and unappealing, but sometimes you just need to get back into the habit of having sex rather than getting into bed and going straight to sleep. As well as this, reminding yourselves of what you’re missing out on can help things along naturally.
- Start exercising more. Exercise has been shown to actually make people feel less tired, which could help you to avoid that feeling of being too exhausted to have sex. If you’re fitter, you’re likely to perform better, which will make the experience better for both of you and mean you’re more likely to come back for more.
- Speak to a sex therapist. This might seem like an extreme step, but arranging an appointment can’t do any harm if you both agree to it. A therapist will be able to work out why you’re not having sex very often and suggest practical ways to improve the situation. They’ll also encourage you to be completely open with each other – which can’t be a bad thing.
* We’ve changed some names to protect the privacy of individuals