Sexual Frequency and Relationship Satisfaction
"Women need a reason to have sex. Men just need a place." Billy Crystal
Lots of comedy routines about guys wanting sex all the time while their ladies are not nearly so interested have gotten big laughs through the years. But setting aside the jokes, is there an actual sexual frequency that works best for both sexes? According to new research, there just may be a magic number for couples, but what that number is might surprise you.
The study, which was conducted at the University of Toronto Mississauga in Canada, found that for most people in lasting relationships, having sex once a week is ideal for their satisfaction and well-being.1 The subjects were 25,510 Americans between the ages of 18 and 89 who responded to questionnaires in 1996 and 1998. Approximately two-thirds of the participants were either married or in a long-term relationship.
Among this majority who had more committed romantic involvements, an active sex life resulted in a higher happiness quotient. But more sex was not necessarily better. Their happiness ratings appeared to hit a ceiling at once a week intimacy. Levels of satisfaction steadily rose as sexual frequency increased, but only up until it reached once a week; at that point, happiness hit a plateau.
The surveys filled out close to two decades ago were selected for use because those were years that the questions included clear information about volunteers' relationship status. Since it is entirely possible that things have changed somewhat in people's mindsets on sex and happiness since the mid- to late-1990s, the scientists added a more recent component to the investigation. They set up an online trial involving 355 male and female participants and asked questions about how often they have intercourse and their overall well-being. Interestingly, the findings were exactly the same: satisfaction was maximized at sex once a week and leveled off with greater frequency than that.
The researchers also wanted to focus on whether having more sex would make people feel happier than being wealthy. They measured reported levels of satisfaction with life in couples who had sex less than once a month against those who had sex once a week and found the difference was greater than that of couples earning between $15,000 and $25,000 annually versus those earning $50,000 to $75,000 a year. In other words, sex might just matter a lot more than money to most people, and the once-a-week crowd is most satisfied. What's more, when the scientists controlled for the length of the relationship, age of subjects, and even gender, the model of peak happiness with once-a-week sex held steady.
Next, the investigators considered a separate national survey--from a third, unique population--that concentrated on questions about happiness, sexual frequency, and relationship contentment. They analyzed this data set, and determined that the regularity of sex was associated with seven percent of reported overall happiness and satisfaction in a romantic relationship.
That is quite a bit of evidence in favor of a once a week romp between the sheets. But of course you have to do what is right for yourself and your partner. Some couples might thrive with a daily dose of sex while others are most comfortable having sex one time a month or so. No one needs to shoot for a specific number just because that's the average that makes the majority of people happy; we all have our own preferences.
The primary thing to remember is that sex is an essential part of a healthy relationship. It's an expression of intimacy that helps the bond between partners continue to grow. But if your libido isn't quite what it used to be, don't necessarily blame aging and being busy with the kids. A drop in your level of desire may be caused by hormone imbalances--especially testosterone, no matter your gender--that tend to increase as we get older; but a natural hormone balancing formula restablishes everything to perfection once again. So take care of your body and make the time--however often works for you and your significant other--to maintain your sex life, and you will be happier in your relationship and with life all around.
- 1. Muise, Amy; Schimmack, Ulrich; and Impett, Emily A. "Sexual Frequency Predicts Greater Well-Being, But More is Not Always Better." Social Psychological & Personality Science. 18 November 2015. Accessed 22 November 2015. http://spp.sagepub.com/content/early/2015/11/16/1948550615616462.abstract