Whether you’re enjoying the newness of a fresh relationship or comfortable after years together, you can count on your sex life changing. What is hot and heavy at first may calm to sporadic bedroom sessions. Or, maybe that initially awkward and mediocre sex (that perhaps you don’t want very often) can evolve to gratifying, explosive orgasms (that you’d enjoy twice daily). With such a wide spectrum, is there a baseline amount of sex we should be having?
According to the Kinsey Institute for research in Sex, Reproduction and Gender, the best predictor of sexual frequency is age—not marital status. Researchers found that, on average, people between 18-29 have 112 sex sessions a year; people between 30-39 have 86 sex sessions a year; and people between 40-49 have 69 sex sessions a year.
Wondering about the 50+ crowd? After surveying over 8000 participants over the age of 50, the The Normal Bar found that 31 percent enjoy sex multiple times a week; 28 percent enjoy sex a few times a month; and 8 percent have sex once a month. Nearly a third of respondents rarely have sex at all.
Worried about your sex life losing steam? There is an upside: Although the quantity of sex may decrease with age, the quality gets better. In one study, researchers attributed the higher levels of sexual satisfaction in menopausal and post menopausal women to their confidence, managed expectations, and ability to prioritize their sexual needs.
We’re below average! Is there a problem?
Not necessarily. In one study led by Amy Muise of The University of Toronto-Mississauga, researchers found that couples who have sex every night are just as happy as the couples who have sex once a week. In another study, researchers asked half of the 64 married couples participating to double the amount of sex they typically have. When comparing happiness levels from the cohort having more sex to the cohort sticking to their usual sex amounts, researchers found no increase in happiness. Instead, the couples with the doubled sex requirement reported lower energy levels and sexual dissatisfaction.
The findings show that real satisfaction doesn’t stem from the amount of sex, but rather from the quality of sexual experience. Sex is a vehicle for connectivity; some couples need to have sex to be connected and others can achieve connectivity other ways. In other words, as long as you and your partner feel connected, the amount of sex is secondary. “It’s important to maintain an intimate connection with your partner without putting too much pressure on engaging in sex as frequently as possible,” said Muise.
Is there a such thing as too little sex?
Technically, couples who have sex less than ten times a year are considered “sexless”. For older couples, the declining amount of sex is perfectly acceptable. But, for other couples, a mismatched libido can pose problems. If you haven’t been in the mood, take a closer look at your medications—especially antidepressants and antihistamines—and get your hormone levels checked. If you’ve ruled out physical causes, consider a fake-it-till-you-make-it approach; having sexual experiences can actually produce hormones that trigger higher levels of desire. If sex isn’t on the table, engaging in foreplay can also help fuel the flames of desire. Touching, holding, kissing, and other forms of physical contact stimulates oxytocin—a chemical that gives you feelings of closeness and connectedness with your partner.
What if we’re having too much sex?
Lucky you–literally! According to sex therapists and medical professionals, there is no such as too much sex; however, if your desire for sex is interfering with your job or relationships, you should consider chatting with a therapist.