How often should you have sex? One, two, ten times a week? That's a question couples can ask themselves at any point in their lives. But what does that number really say about their sexual satisfaction?
It's human nature to wonder whether we have more or less sex than others. While it is still difficult to answer this question, it seems that the number of sexual interactions may depend on how many years have passed since you were born.
Indeed, according to a study relayed by the Kinsey Institute and published in the Journal of Sex Research in 2018, your age could make it possible to reliably predict the frequency of your intimate moments under the sheets.
Less and less free time
Not surprisingly, the researchers found that 18-29-year-olds have more sex during the year, with an average of 112 'sex sessions' per year - or about twice a week. The 30-39-year-olds had sex 86 times a year (1.6 times a week), while the 40-49-year-olds had sex 69 times a year.
So why does the frequency of sexual acts decrease as we get older? Because of increased obligations and responsibilities, rising stress levels and chronic health problems, study participants argue.
In addition, couples at the beginning of a relationship - in the 'honeymoon' phase - tend to have more sex. But as the relationship matures, the rate can slow down: with work and children, they may not have as much time for sex as they used to.
It's also in the head
Psychological factors and negative stereotypes about age also have a strong impact, said Dr Justin Lehmiller on the Kinsey Institute website:
'Feeling older predicted less interest in sex over time, as well as lower levels of sexual satisfaction. More generally, this study provides further support for the idea that your brain really is your biggest sex organ. No matter where you are in the lifespan—from your teenage to your twilight years—the way you feel about yourself can fundamentally shape your experience of sex.'
Marriage also plays a role, as research showed: 34% of people with a ring on their finger have sex two to three times a week, 45% several times a month and only 13% a few times a year.
'Every couple is different'
However, in an article entitled 'When It Comes To Sex, Quality Matters More Than Quantity,' the Kinsey Institutepoints out that regular sexual intercourse is not necessarily a guarantee of a satisfactory relationship, referring to a 2017 study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior.
Overall, the results indicated that the happiest marriages were not necessarily those in which the partners were very sexually active. The couples who said they were the happiest were characterised by 'a satisfying sex life,' but one that was accompanied by 'a warm emotional life,' the authors of the research wrote.
'Remember that every couple is different,' said the International Society for Sexual Medicine (ISSM). They continued:
The 'right' frequency is one that satisfies both partners. It may take time to figure this out, but putting the focus on intimacy, communication, and bonding with a partner is more important than worrying about numbers, targets, or the sexual frequency of other couples.