How often should you have Sex?

How often should you have Sex with your Partner?

Obviously there is no rule about how often you should have sex, as long as you are both happy. The reason couples are asking me this question is because either they or their partner are not happy with the frequency of sex in their relationship. The most astounding phenomenon in human nature is that we all want to feel special, and yet are keen to determine what’s normal, want to know what others are doing, and ‘fit in’. How often should you have sex with your partner? How often are other couples having sex? What is ‘normal’?

Discrepancies in Sexual Desire

Quite frequently, couples consult me because they desire sex either more or less than their partner, or they would both like to have more of it, but it’s somehow not happening. Unfortunately, if there is a discrepancy in sexual desire to start with, it will most likely become more pronounced in the course of the relationship. The reason for this is that the person who desires sex more frequently becomes the pursuer, and will try to initiate more frequently, which is then seen as pressure to have sex by the other partner. Pressure, or feelings of guilt, are not conducive to sexual desire.

Honeymoon phase over?

In longterm relationships, there is a natural decline in the frequency of partners having sex. That’s a completely normal phenomenon. There will also be times when there is less going on in the bedroom, and times when sex is more frequent. I point this out because in the transition between honeymoon phase and the next one, which is any time between 6 months and 2 years, fears will set in when sexual desire varies or decreases. The response by both partners may be a sense of panic, and they might be trying to have sex when actually neither of them feel like it, just to keep up the frequency they used to have. The result is the opposite. Sex may become a predictable and boring chore when it’s used to combat fear.

Pregnancy, childbirth and menopause

One of the big disruptors of sex life is pregnancy and childbirth. It has profound implications for the mothers’ bodies, and they may desire very different activities from before, or not feel sexual at all for quite some time. Energy levels may be low, because the desire to rest is paramount when dealing with a new baby – the entire life rhythm changes and revolves around the baby. Similarly, menopause can bring about shifts in desire, at least temporarily, and couples may need to find new ways of being sexual with each other. A number of these changes may mean that sex does not happen at all for quite some time, maybe months, but possibly years.

How can we have sex without the stress?

When sex hasn’t happened for a while, or when there are discrepancies in desire, there may be frustration and anger present. Making space for these constricting emotions can actually enhance intimacy. Make a date to talk. Set a timer, and let each person just express what’s going on, and what they feel. The other partner just listens. This talk can be much easier with a relationship therapist or a coach present, who holds the space. It’s better to have constricting emotions out in the open, rather than have them simmer under the surface, and erupt all at once. To take the stress out of wanting and initiating sex, I often suggest to make physical dates, and to decide whether they can or will not lead to sex. You cannot schedule sex as such, because one or both of you may not feel like having it, but making a physical date allows for staying authentic, and asking for what you actually desire, in terms of touch. Structured touch games, like Betty Martin’s 3-Minute-Game, ease communication, allow for self exploration, and makes partners feel positive about each other. Enjoy!

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