When expressing doubt or concern over your relationship, how many times have you heard this one: how is your sex life? For many couples, regular intimacy with their partner is the truest indication of a healthy, flourishing relationship. If sex happens frequently and both parties are fully engaged, the couple continues to feel connected. But if intimacy is petering out, it can indicate relationship troubles or even health or lifestyle problems affecting sex drive.
But what exactly is “normal” in a healthy sex life? The short answer is that there is none. People are people and sex is sex. Never let someone else decide “the rule” for you; if you are in a committed relationship, it is up to you and your partner to work our your own normal.
Intimacy in your relationship will flucutate over time and even from week to week. Your sex life might start off so voracious that you are making love every night or even a couple of times per day. This is pretty typical of a new relationship, but even that depends on the couple, their circumstances, and when they can get together. However, very few couples maintain such a frequent routine over a prolonged period.
Expect your frequency to taper off the longer you are in a committed relationship. This doesn’t mean you love one another less or that you’ve become any less attractive. Like almost anything, your enthusiasm will often find a stasis after the initial “honeymoon period.”
Unfortunately, it’s more than just time that will affect how often you have sex, but these need to be on your mind when trying to assess the health of your sex life.
Factors Affecting Frequency
The biggest consideration you need to take into account is your sexual appetite verses your partner’s. Simply put, one of you may want it more often than the other, and sometimes this can actually be a huge turn off. Always make sure the two of you are open about discussing preferences. Just refusing your partner’s advances isn’t the best long-term solution because it communicates nothing about the larger issue. There is nothing wrong with saying you don’t feel well or even telling them you are not in the mood, but if there is a difference in how often you two want to have sex, this needs to be in the open. Communication is the key to a healthy relationship in the sex department.
What happens if your sexual appetite is not the same as your partners? What if they want it more than you do? There is nothing wrong with having different sexual appetites in a relationship. Both of you will need to be understanding about the other’s situation and offer some compromise. For example, does your partner really want to have sex or can intimacy be obtained in other ways? Snuggling, laying your head on their chest and talking, touching, or even kissing may be enough of a middle ground.
Old people never have sex, right? Wrong. Getting older doesn’t mean you’re suddenly less likely to be intimate with your partner. However, with age comes changes in health that can sometimes negatively impact one’s sex drive.
Some adults entering their 40s and 50s may experience hormonal changes, such as low testosterone in men, that can cause fluctations in their sex drive. Medications for health issues that can crop up later in life can also have averse side-effects on sex drive. It’s important to discuss all side-effects of new medications and any health changes with your doctor to know whether this is a problem you can tackle.
As the relationship develops, it can be more difficult to make time for frequent sex during a seven day period. Are you living together or in separate households? If there are two apartments in the mix, this makes it harder to get together, especially when you consider the commute.
Have either of you gotten a new job recently? Or a promotion? Or maybe one of you has just been working a lot of overtime? Your work schedule is a necessary evil that will often threaten to take time away from your relationship. If you’re worried about a decline in your recent sexual activity, try looking here for one of the most frequent culprits.
Outside activities will also have an effect on the number of times sex will happen. If one of you has taken on a hobby or some extra commitments such as schooling, more gym time, or a new book club, this will definitely cause your sex life to go through some more fluctuations.
It can be hard enough finding time for each other when it’s just the two of you, but throwing kids into the mix makes it that much more difficult. Do one or your significant other have kids at home? If so, how old are they? Infants don’t always have to affect your frequency of sex, but older children most certainly will. Tiptoeing around their schedules to avoid potentially awkward situations will make an already busy schedule even trickier to navigate. Your normal needs to take this into account.
Discovering your “normal” can be a challenge with so many things to consider, but it’s important for keeping your relationship in perspective. Normal is a state of mind for the individuals involved. There is no set formula for what is healthy when it comes to how many times per week a couple has sex. Your normal is not my normal, so don’t put a number in a box based on what you think is the right answer. Find your own rhythm first, talk with your partner openly and honestly about your sex life, and work together to establish your number. If it’s once a week, once every two weeks, or even once a day, it doesn’t matter. Be open-minded to what sex means to you and find your own answer.