Sex

Is there a 'right amount' of sex to be having?

Everyone's sex drive is different, after all.

By Lea Rose Emery
crazy stupid love

It seems like every week we get a new study telling us how much sex we should be having - but the studies rarely agree. Some say you should be going at it as frequently as humanly possible, while others encourage you to only have sex on a full moon or under a comet or something similarly mystical. So, is there really a right amount? Well, yes. But only in the sense that there’s a right amount for you - and that’s not something a study can tell you.

The 'more is better' argument

Some people go with a straightforward more is better argument. This was supported by both a 2004 study and the book The Normal Bar, which looked at three to four times a week as the magic number. And, in a way, it makes sense. Sex and orgasms have a whole load of health benefits, they release hormones that help bond you to your partner, and, generally, make you feel effing incredible. So wouldn’t more of that be better? Well, sort of — until you consider two things. Firstly, not all orgasms have to come from sex, so you can get a lot of the benefits just on your own.

Secondly, a lot of us are either too busy or don’t have the urge to have sex three or four times a week. And the pressure we feel to hit those targets and the guilt we feel for not doing it can override any potential benefits. So while in theory, more sex means more bonding and more benefits, is that really realistic?

The realistic argument

The number that you hear a lot for the ‘optimum’ amount of sex is once a week - but that may be because it represents the amount of sex most of us actually have. According to the book Sex by Numbers: What Statistics Can Tell Us About Sexual Behaviour, we’ve gone from having sex five times a month on average to around three times a month. And there is some evidence that once a week does the body good.

A study from Amy Muise, a social psychologist and postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto-Mississauga, found that having sex less than once a week led to lower relationship happiness — but anything above once a week didn’t make any difference. So could it be the sweet spot? I still think it depends on who you are.

The personal argument

For me, if I was only having sex with my partner once a week it would be a sign that something was very wrong, because it would be such a huge change from our normal routine. But for some of my friends, once a week would feel like a lot of pressure, because they’ve settled into only having it a couple of times a month — and that suits them just fine. While for some couples having sex a lot is indicative of their happiness levels, it’s just not for others. And nobody should be made to feel weird for their low (or high) sex drives.

So instead of trying to listen to a study, just do what works for you. Now, that doesn’t mean letting your sex lives fall away completely if you’re busy or tired. If you normally have sex twice a week and suddenly it’s only once every few weeks, you should take a look at your relationship and make sure everything’s ok.

It’s about holding yourself to your own standards, rather than someone else’s. Everyone’s sex drive is different, their schedule is different, their relationship is different. Work out the right amount of sex for you to be having and that should be your benchmark, not what an expert or a study says.

Via: Cosmopolitan UK