I know you care a whole lot about how many times you and other people are having sex.
I know this because people like you come into my therapy room dragging in your partner who looks totally humiliated, bent over in shame, as he/she crawls into a corner on my couch. This partner is accused of the heinous crime of not wanting sex. Or not wanting as much sex as you. Or as much sex as you think is “normal” for your age or stage in life. Perhaps you’re not having as much sex as you hear your friends bragging about as they sip champagne or braai their boerewors , beer in hand.
By “sex” I am referring to penetration , intercourse. We are going to expand this definition to activities that you may or may not be doing – but actually long to do.
I know you base your happiness on the amount of sex you have. You measure your relationship according to this number .
The higher the number, the more successful or happy you imagine your relationship will be. And when it does not meet this number , you feel a failure. You become afraid : perhaps your partner no longer finds you attractive, is having an affair , no longer loves you. Whilst all of these may be true, I am betting that it is more likely that you have erroneous expectations about the frequency of sex you and others are having.
You’re part of a big sexual exploitation . The purpose is to cause you to feel sexually inadequate and a failure as a man and a woman. Commercially it gets you to spend millions of rands on pills and potions to ensure you will always be prepared to penetrate harder, longer and that you always have a juicy wet vagina. Lets get a life here. Sex is pretty fun , but really is it worth getting yourself into deep distress and partner conflict?!
Is it fair to equate the health of your relationship with the frequency of sex? Surely you can accept that familiarity and many other notable factors lead to a decrease in interest in sex. Or does it lead to your relationship dissatisfaction and insecurity?
I know people long for touch , sensual play, caressing , hugging, kissing, cuddling and a variety of sexual play from oral and anal play to mutual masturbation , joint porn viewing and BDSM play. These may be a more important predictor of love and happiness for both men and women in long term relationships, than intercourse. These are some of the many factors that determine your sexual frequency. Do let me know which ones you tick off – and add on your own :
* Lifestyle – just too busy and tired
* Health – poor health is a major determinant of sex frequency
* Low sex drive globally – just never really been interested in sex that much
* Age- too old to want sex
* Family obligations – distract me from my own sexual interest
* Body image – too self conscious to get naked and sexy
* Children – no privacy
* Relationship tension- guilt, blame , anger, towards partner
* Partner infidelity
* Sex is boring
* Sexual dysfunction – pain is a major deterrent to sex as is erectile dysfunction and early ejaculation
Lets be voyeurs and climb into other people’s bedrooms and see how often they are being sexual.
Heads up: once a week is the number of times most couples say make them happy and signal a good relationship.
A recent study
, published in 2018, by the San Diego State University found that Americans who were married or living together between 2010 and 2014 had sex 16 fewer times per year compared to 2000-2004.
The study revealed that people in their 20s are having sex more than 80 times per year on average. That number declines to 60 times per year by age 45, and 20 times per year by age 65.
Most significantly — listen up well- the study showed that more sex isn’t always better #gasp! It showed that amongst single people, there is no link between sexual frequency and happiness. Start getting the message : quantity does not equate satisfaction nor better relationship satisfaction . In fact what research consistently shows is that frequent mediocre sex could lead to sexual dissatisfaction in a relationship, while great sex once in awhile could be enough to keep the spark alive.
And here is where I see men in my therapy become vulnerable . It almost brings a tear to my eye to see these kick ass grown up men admit that a non responsive partner feels insulting to them . That coercing their women into sex they know they do not want, is actually terrible and makes them feel like a rapist and opposite to how they want to feel : they do not feel love, connection , masculine pride in seeing their woman aroused . Suddenly he is the client, the one with the problem and his woman is no longer squirming in the couch.
Lets turn our attention to gay men. Are the rumours of randy gay men true? Is their frequency higher than heterosexually identified men ? I envy gay men who defy the mono heterosexist model and are more permissive and creative with their sexuality. Which may indeed result in higher frequency of sex.
published in 2015 found that gay men in same-sex relationships tend to communicate better than heterosexual couples, particularly when their relationship may be troubled. And as a result of this better communication , sex is more often, even as the relationship ages or runs into difficulty. The same study showed that gay couples who live together divide household chores and responsibilities more equally between them, rather than assign them gender-wise. Less work can mean more play when neither partner is overloaded.
Overall both gay and straight couples tend to have sex less frequently in long-term relationships. However a “sex rate” of three times a week or more for gay couples in the first two years of a relationship is almost 70 percent. It drops to less than 50 percent for straight couples and to about 33 percent for lesbian couples.
Interestingly , gay men in short-term relationships have about 20 percent more sex than straight men in shorter relationships, and more than double that which lesbian couples are enjoying. Women in same-sex relationships reported having sex significantly less often than persons in both mixed-sex and male same-sex relationships.
However, women in same-sex relationships reported significantly longer durations of sexual activity than all other groups.
Lets linger longer here. Lets move into my favourite discourse on quality versus quantity. I want to know from you: on average , how long do you spend making love ?? One study indicates that quality sex actually only lasts between three and 13 minutes
— not hours like many believe …Consider this: for women in same-sex relationships, a 2013 Penn State University study
found the median (50th percentile) time spent on sex was 30-45 minutes; in comparison, the median for heterosexual and gay people was 15-30 minutes. It is also worth noting about 20% of women in same-sex relationships reported spending an hour or more on sex, while durations of this length were far less common among the other types of couples studied.
I know sexual intercourse is linked to positive outcomes. In a recent study, researchers found that more frequent sex buffers against the negative consequences of neuroticism. In addition, both men and women report greater sexual satisfaction and higher levels of overall relationship happiness when they have more sex. But, this goes both ways: satisfied couples have sex more often and frequent sex leads to increases in sexual satisfaction.
I leave you with my final thoughts: do not get trapped into frequency of intercourse as a measurement of yourself as a good lover, a good partner, or having a good relationship. Focus on other forms of sexual play and touch , and do not undermine the power of affection , attention and acknowledgment as superior aphrodisiacs. And spend the time , really be present whilst you are penetrating.
For more information on Sexual Frequency, contact me .