How Often Should You Have Sex?

Datebook

Eventually, all marriage and sexuality authors and speakers get around to this one, right? How often should a married couple make love?

The usual response from experts is something like: “It depends. Some couples are content with once a month while others desire that close contact several times a week. Whatever amount keeps you both satisfied is sufficient.”

To which — being the opinionated gal I am — I say, “Balderdash.”

Find me one couple who has sex once a month (for any reason other than an untreatable physical ailment or unavoidable distance) that is incredibly intimate in every other way and fully enjoys that once-a-monther and is well guarded against adultery, and I will eat that word — and let me tell you, “balderdash” is quite a mouthful. I don’t know of any such marriages.

I’m not even sure people are really asking how frequently they should be having sex. Some spouses who ask that question are wanting to know one of the following:

  • Are we normal? Whatever frequency you’re having in your marriage, you wonder how it compares to whatever the norm is.
  • How infrequently can I say “yes” to my spouse’s demands for sex and still be fulfilling their “need”? You think you’re husband/wife is a horn-dog, and you want to know how much sex you need to have to fulfill your spousal duty without having to fill their ridiculous level of demand.
  • How much more can I get my spouse to have sex? You aren’t getting enough sex, and you want to know what frequency would be good so you can insist on at least that much in your marriage.

I’m not overly impressed by such thinking if that’s what is behind the question. However, I am not a question-dodger by any means.

While I generally agree that underlying principles are more important in making decisions about frequency of intercourse, and the goal is not how often you do it but how intimate your relationship becomes through sexual activity, I think this question can be specifically answered.

So I’m going to give an actual answer to the question “How often should you have sex?” At least once a week, and even more is better.

Why do I say that?

That frequency does square with the average. Now remember that averages are based on total numbers and include outliers, such as those couples who have sex once a year and those who do it everyday. Still about once a week is the “norm,” if you will. (Sources: Psychology Today, The Kinsey Institute, Indiana University Center for Sexual Health Promotion.)

Husbands crave sexual release.* While it only takes approximately 15 minutes for seminal fluid to replenish and 2 days for sperm to replenish after orgasm, men typically report a sense of semen build-up after several days. (Note: This time may be shorter if the man is constantly masturbating.) Can hubbies go longer than a few weeks? Yes, of course. But many report testicular discomfort after about a week or two.

Wives need to retain flexibility. From the female perspective, sex can be uncomfortable if the vagina is too contracted or surrounding muscles have atrophied. Think of it like doing aerobics. If you want to be able to make it through a 30-minute class, you need to go at least once a week, or the next time you go, you will be very sore during and afterward. In the same way, your girly parts get sore if you have sex infrequently. You need to keep everything in shape down there, and the only way to do that is to have sex once a week or more.

You need to routinely reconnect to grow your relationship. If we only conversed once a month with our spouse, we would not consider that a close marriage. However, for some reason, there are people who believe that infrequent “physical conversation” can result in intimacy.

It seems that one of the worst concepts expert psychology has wrought in the last few decades is that of “quality time.” Yes, of course, we want quality time, but studies of parenting and marriage have now overwhelmingly demonstrated that quantity time matters too. You can’t make up for lost time by a great date now and then, nor can you be intimate with your spouse without being physically intimate with your spouse with some frequency.

Make the analogy of sex to sleep. In order to feel rested, you need quality sleep. But no one would claim that one hour of quality sleep per night is enough. You need both quality and quantity. True for sleep. True for married sex.

Why should you make love even more often?

  1. Because you want to be above average in your marriage.
  2. Because your spouse desires to be intimate with you.
  3. Because it’s a relational need that cannot get met by any other person in your life.
  4. Because it protects your marriage from outside lust or adultery.
  5. Because you’re good at it. (Go you!)
  6. Because it’s something private that gives you a special connection to each other.
  7. Because the Bible says to have sex in marriage.
  8. Because if your kids knew what you were doing, they’d die of embarrassment.
  9. Because knocking boots is a way better activity than watching sitcom reruns on a Sunday afternoon.
  10. Because you want to.

The Bible is clear that if you take a breather, it isn’t to be a long period of time (1 Corinthians 7:3-5). Unless physical distance or health issues or other reasonable circumstances beyond your control are present, you need to engage with your spouse in sexual activity. (After I drafted this post, I read Sheila Gregoire’s marvelous post on the 1 Corinthians verse: What Does Do Not Deprive Each Other Really Mean?)

What if you don’t want to do it that often? Well, that’s a topic for another day. But suffice it to say that I had covered low sex drive here, Pearl’s Oyster Bed blog specifically deals with low female libido, Sheila Gregoire has great advice on her blog and in her book The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex about how to get your engines revving, and there are numerous other sources to help you out.

What I want to get across here is that frequent sex is important. Married couples should be connecting in many different ways throughout the week to maintain the health of their relationship, and physical intimacy is one of those ways.

Since I know I’ll get feedback, how about I invite it? What do you think? How often should married couples make love? How often do you make love in your marriage? How often do you think is “maintenance” level versus “healthy sex life” level?

*Note for wives who are the higher drive spouse: Yes, it’s less typical, but not uncommon. Check out my Help for Higher Drive Wives post.

91 thoughts on “How Often Should You Have Sex?

  1. Dave

    Thanks J for yet another nail perfectly smashed on its head! As you put it, I have found that when we have a period of higher frequency in love-making, my wife and I connect on all other aspects a lot better. Our communication is better, our parenting is better, life/marriage is just a whole lot better. And the opposite is true. On average, at least 3 times a week should be ideal for married couples in my opinion.

    1. J

      You’re welcome. 🙂 I am also in favor of more than once a week, by the way! I love this statement: “when we have a period of higher frequency in love-making, my wife and I connect on all other aspects a lot better.” That’s true for many couples, and it seems especially true for how husbands feel about their wives when they are physically intimate often. Thanks, Dave!

    2. An honest answer

      I think daily is the number for me. (I think most guys are ashamed to state it that way, but I don’t think I’m alone). Also, that is on average. If you miss a day, you have to make it up with 2. So, “ideal for married couples” is definitely “your opinion”. It’s a good opinion, but for me it’s a minimum number. Things start to go more poorly below 3 times a week. Averaging daily keeps us close. Obviously there can be exceptions in both directions – less or more than daily.

  2. Anonymous

    Hubby and I and every other married person could argue this for eternity and never come to a conclusion that everyone is happy with. I can solve everyone’s arguement with just one simple statement, the same one I am praying in my own marriage: “As often as You would have us, dear Lord!”.

    Leaving it in God’s hands takes the stress, pressure and disappointment off the spouses. Of course both spouses need to be open to the Lord’s leading whether they feel it is too much or not enough.

    1. J

      I don’t want to argue for eternity either; I’d rather spend some of that time making love with my husband. 😉 Indeed, we should invite God into every aspect of our marriage, including our sexual intimacy. Thanks!

  3. Anonymous

    I agree that more is better! However, I would caution women from thinking that more rules out adultry. My first husband & I had sex 7 days a week – every day. He still fooled around behind my back. I realize that was because we were not intimate on OTHER levels in our relationship. Don’t starve one area just because you are feeding other areas!! God bless!

    Tracie in Ohio

    1. J

      Tracie, I totally agree. I agonized over how to say that frequent sex protects against adultery, but doesn’t guarantee it won’t happen. Sexual intimacy makes a marriage adultery-resistant but not adultery-proof.

      Since you said “first husband,” I’m praying that means you and hubby #2 are having a great time with your adultery-resistant sex life. 🙂 Blessings!

  4. mind-full

    More is better.
    My husband and I existed on less. Hardly any. Once a month would have looked frequent in our life picture. He wasn’t happy. I wasn’t, but didn’t realize it and didn’t understand why. I thought sex was unimportant, mainly for procreation and not so much for recreation.
    God changed my heart more than a year ago, after ten years of frustration, wall-building and almost the end of our marriage.
    Now, as the aggressor and higher-drive spouse (completely the opposite of myself), I find I can’t go a day or two without love-making. It changed my life, it changed my husband’s life and it changed our marriage and family.
    Our friendship is deep now. We no longer talk superficially about everything, we share our hearts and the deepest recesses of our souls.
    Our parenting is better. We are a pair, a duo and usually a team, with a few mistakes now and then.
    Our marriage is amazing. We come together in mind and spirit so well, we go everywhere together as much as possible, and we truly miss each other when he has to travel for business.
    Our sex life has blossomed. We talk about it. We look forward to it. We do all sorts of little things to entice each other and connect in a way only a husband and wife can.
    We are new in our marriage, in ourselves, in our everyday lives and in all else. Sex is not only the glue, it is the engine, the oil and the fuel.
    I tried to go without it. Our marriage and each of us suffered in growing and expanding ways. Only when God showed me what I was missing did I really see. And by God offering his grace and forgiveness, we have made something beautiful out of a train wreck.

    More is way, way, way better.

    1. AD

      I am so curious about your post..My wife and I have been married for almost 6 years and we are in the same boat. There is little sex in our marriage, and the first 3 years, there was none. We have had countless conversations in the past, and I am now at the end of my rope. How did the change occur? Were you and your husband praying about it? How can I encourage my wife? Thanks, AD

  5. Amy Hannaford

    My first marriage of twenty years was abusive and sex was pretty much non-existent. Or rather, it was on my ex’s terms. And yes, I’m the one that avoided it as much as possible even at the risk of being told how frigid and unresponsive I was, because after day in and day out of being told how stupid and incompetent I was, having sex with him was pure torture. And it was simply sex, never love-making as I envisioned it should be in a loving marriage.

    Now I’m happily married to a man that cherishes me and tells me every single day how beautiful I am and how much he loves me. And our love-making is something I only thought was in fairy tales. I had never experienced an orgasm until I was with him and he makes sure I have one every single time.

    Unfortunately, his odd work hours during the week (up at 3:30am and in bed by 8:00pm) and having my two teen sons living with us, make it virtually impossible these days to make love more than 1-2 times weekly…and that is only on the weekends.
    When we first married, he worked a different job and we made love at least every other night. And I agree with the post above about higher frequency in love-making helping us to connect so much better in all other aspects of marriage as well.

    Now I find myself so frustrated after a week has gone by with no love-making, even though I know he really desires to as much as me. I have shared to an extent my frustration and he feels the same but we do not see much of a solution. I find myself just not connecting with him by the end of the week and honestly, start feeling kind of resentful even though I know he cannot do anything about his odd hours. And as I said, we have two boys in the house, so it’s not like I can just say at 7:00pm, “well, I’m going to bed”. 😉 Last night we thought both boys were going to be gone for a while, but then my oldest ended up staying home. My husband and I looked at each other, smiled and sighed.

    I guess the only thing that gets me through these infrequent periods of love-making is to remind myself how hard he is working for us and how very much he genuinely loves me.

    1. J

      Thanks for giving us your story. SO glad that you got out of the abusive relationship and now experience real intimacy in this marriage.

      One quick idea: I don’t know how old your kids are, but if they are able to fend for themselves for a half hour, it’s perfectly fine to say something like, “Mom and Dad are going to have alone time for a little while. Please only interrupt if it’s an emergency.” When they are younger, they’ll just think you’re talking about boring adult stuff. When they are older, they may realize what “alone time” is. And that’s okay because we are then modeling for our kids that good sex is what good married couples do. Of course, it may be hard to block them out the first few times, but lock that bedroom door, keep the noise down as much as possible, and see if you can at least get in a quickie (or two). Just a thought!

    2. Anonymous

      Go to bed at 7, then! Why should two teenage boys stop you from having fun! Hubby and I live in a tiny house with 4 small children. Yes, we have made love while I barked orders through the door. Yes, we’ve made love through someone banging on the door and throwing a tantrum. Yes, we’ve been near climax and had to stop to usher a toddler out of the room. He is rarely home anyway, so if we stopped every time a child inconvenienced us, we’d never have sex!

      Yes, I look forward to being uninterrupted, not hearing a kid’s show blaring in the background, and being able to make all the noise we want, but for now we take what we can get. And yes, we shower together with the kids knowing, too. Who cares!? We’re married!!

    3. Amy Hannaford

      My boys are 21 and 17 1/2 and are my children from my first marriage. My youngest obviously had to move in with us being under 18 and my oldest was not going to move in, but because of financial reasons he had no where else he could afford to live…and my ex, their father, lives in a travel trailer so has no room for them even if they would want to live with him. Their father was abusive to them as well, but has tried hard to turn what happened in our marriage to it being my fault. The kids know how life was, but I think being kids they still feel some loyalty towards their father and he is so good at playing the “poor me” role that I honestly think they just feel sorry for him.

      The whole situation is messy, so even though they know I’m very happily married and they do like my husband, they still feel a little uncomfortable seeing us together and being around the two of us. And I think it’s mostly because their father, my ex, makes them feel guilty for being around my husband because he’s mad at me for divorcing him and remarrying. And my ex has told lies about me, including the one in which I had an affair with my current husband while my ex and I were still married…totally bogus.

      So, to go to bed early and have sex in our bedroom that is right across from the boys’ rooms is very awkward for me and I think would be for them too…they are old enough to know what is going on. And even if I am married and that’s what married couples do, it would be different I think if the boys were my husband and mine children, kwim?

      But having said that, I did go “take a shower” one night a couple weeks ago at the same time my husband “went to bed”…I told my boys I would be out shortly. Well, 45 minutes later I was done with my “shower”, and that was one hot shower let me tell ya! 😉 And as I was getting dressed to go back out to the living room, I got a text on my cell phone which was on my nightstand. It my son asking if I had gone to bed because I had been gone so long! Haha!

      Guess I’ll have to take more “showers” during the week. 😉

  6. Anonymous

    I think we need to be careful of using the “how often” type of measuring sticks. I really hope that sex is just not something to check off the To Do list. For me as a man, “quantity for quantity sake” tends to be empty and hollow because I’d rather connect deeply less often than go thru robotic sex because we haven’t met our quota for the week. Now, not to say regular sex is only robotic, but it can become that without the right heart attitude. I am thankful that my wife and I have a good frequency. But without some variety and freshness, or willingness to serve the other, we just go thru the motions. I think it is safe to say that most (if not all) of us have been there a time or two.

    This may be semantics or splitting hairs, but the title and 1st paragraph might illustrate what I’m trying to say. Oft times “How often should you have sex” and “How often should you make love” are not the same question. If you can blend the two, AWESOME, but sometimes they are not the same. When my wife and I “make love” I feel so satisfied at a deep level. When we “have sex”, not always so. Not to say a ‘quickie’ isn’t satisfying, but I would choose to have a higher percentage of deeply connecting sex.

    Love your site.

    1. J

      Absolutely not a check-it-off, got-my-quota experience! Indeed, other posts I’ve written address that intimacy needs to be more meaningful and really involve intimate connection between spouses. Thanks for the reminder! “Right heart attitude” is key!

      (By the way, sometimes I choose to use “sex” in the title rather than “make love” or something else to (1) limit the number of characters in the title and (2) attract more readers who respond to that word with curiosity. Just thought I’d let you know. Thanks, though.)

    2. Anonymous

      I fully understand the “sex in the title” concept. I’m sure many of us have seen the ‘For Sale’ boards and such on a college campus where you see “SEX!! now that I have your attention, Algebra book for sale” Funny but effective!

  7. Greg

    I appreciate the anatomical truth and explanation behind this post! As so many have shared, it’s clear God intended frequent intimacy to be a key part of a healthy, loving marriage.

    1. J

      “Frequent”–I should have just answered with that. LOL! Thanks, Greg. I once had a pastor who said that the problem in his church was that the people who weren’t supposed to be having sex (singles) were, and the people who were supposed to be having sex (married) weren’t. Purity before vows + frequency after vows = 🙂 sex life.

  8. mommaof3

    I think that once per week should be a minimum requirement! I would say that we average about 2-3 times per week, however sometimes it is almost every day of the week, while occasionally it is a whole week between occasions. I would love for it to be a daily thing, however with 3 young kids (ages 2,3,and 4) and living overseas away from family who can babysit, that is not a reasonable expectation.

    1. J

      Wow, you’re knocking it out of the park with such little ones in the house. That’s a tough time to juggle young kids and a focused marriage. Kudos to you, and blessings for continued happiness!

  9. Anonymous

    My husband and I have been working through this lately. It seems like we go a week when we have it two or several times and then weeks go by without having it. We are trying to find a more regular routine where we can both enjoy the timing. His job requires him to work long hours – come home exhausted, and I’m not really comfortable with the “every Sunday whether we want to or not” idea. Any suggestions for developing a satisfying routine without it feeling… well…. routine?

    1. J

      This is going to be hard to hear: Schedule it anyway. You have to free your mind from thinking it’s a “whether we want to or not” sort of thing. It’s just like a standing date. Like if you and your husband went went out for dinner and a movie every Friday night, you might enjoy that a great deal…and you can still beg off from time to time if you really don’t feel good.

      I wish we were sitting together over coffee and I could just chat it up with you and explain, but it’s a mental hump to get over feeling awkward that you’re going to have sex every ____day. But one of the best things to do is to also make that day a pamper-you time (in preparation or just to clear your mind). Make your sex day the day you get a pedicure or take a bubble bath or get in a nap or whatever so that you can relax and feel good about anticipating alone time with the hubby.

      Routines are not all bad. If you routinely had a 5-star chef come into your house and prepare dinner while a housecleaning service got your home spotless and a masseuse treated you to a wonderful massage, would you complain? Of course not! You’d finish up by saying, “See you next week?” So figure out how to make that intimate time together a routine that you really look forward to and want to repeat.

      That’s my advice. Sorry if it wasn’t what you wanted to hear. :/ Best wishes & blessings!

    2. Anonymous

      Thank you. No, it’s not what I wanted to hear, but it is what I needed to hear, and it makes a lot of sense. So much of it has to do with my atitude, and I’m working on that. Thanks for taking the time to answer, and I, too, wish we could sit down for a cup of coffee and a chat!

  10. Anonymous

    As often as needed to satisfy the high drive spouse. It has been my experience, once the high drive spouse has been satisfied for some time and knows they will be satisfied, they become a little less high drive. It seems like they ask all the time because none of their requests are being met. We are to think of others more highly than ourselves and to do unto one another as you would have them do unto you. Because I know some will wonder, I’m not the high drive spouse.

    1. J

      That’s very insightful. It is true that higher drive spouses can seem unrelenting when their needs are rarely met, but when they become more confident of success, they can ease up and the two of you can enjoy (or at least should ease up/enjoy). Thanks!

  11. Paul Byerly

    J – Great post, thanks. I agree with your balderdash statement, it’s dead on.

    My experience is that with most things “average” has little to do with that is best. The average American eats way too much, watches too much TV, and so on. The average Christian does not donate enough time or money, and does not read their Bible or pray enough. Average means you are like others, and if others are a mess, then being average means you are a mess. Not the goal I want to set for myself!

    Personally I see once a week as a near starvation diet – it will keep a marriage going for a while, but over a long time it will result in loss of marital health. The problem is our culture is so busy that many of us can’t manage much more than that, and suggesting we should seems intrusive.

    1. Sarah Brice

      I have to say that I completely agree with you. As a woman, one who loves sex with my husband, once a week would not be near enough for me! We have sex almost everyday and probably average 7-10 times a week (there’s those great multiple time a days too!), so I think as often as possible would be my response. It is not just about the physical aspect. It is about CONNECTION.

    2. J

      You know, of course, Paul, that I consider once a week the bare minimum. I’m definitely in favor of encouraging marriages to aim for WAY ABOVE AVERAGE. That’s indeed what God desires for us!

      And you also know that many couples are not even at that bare minimum…sadly. Thanks so much!

    3. Anonymous

      Unfortunately, it seems my hubby doesn’t start to feel hungry until 2 weeks. We may have sex every week, even twice a week (less than I want), but he isn’t really wanting it until he’s voracious for it….every 2 weeks. In the meantime, I’ve starved and died in our marriage. I mean it. Without the sex, I die….disconnect, feel less loved, unsuccessful, like the marriage isn’t working. Praying for more because talking hasn’t helped and makes him withhold more.

    4. Anonymous

      I become so uncomfortable reading this. My husband just doesn’t seem to need sex that much. Is it possible -being married in our 40s and both virgins – that because he didn’t experience the opportunity to have high drive sex in his 20s that his drive just isn’t that high? When we’ve tried “sex challenges” ie/ have sex 7 days in a row – we can only go a few days before he is unable.

    5. Paul Byerly

      Anonymous – I’ve never seen a good study on it, but anecdotal evidence supports what you suggest.

      However, it is possible to grow to be able to have and enjoy more, and I suspect it is more about changing the mind than the body.

      If he is willing, and that is the big issue, one way to deal with this is to have sex far more often, with him only climaxing some of the time. This means more sex for you, and more sexual build up for him.

    6. J

      I’m so aware every time I write about the “typical” husband and wife that many wives out there have unwilling husbands when it comes to sex. Frankly, I think the problem as a whole has gotten worse with the prevalence of porn. I am NOT saying your husband is into porn, just that men are finding other ways to release energy–through porn, hobbies, work, etc.–which should be reserved for physical intimacy with their wife.

      I agree with Paul’s suggestion.

  12. Sara with an H

    I’ve been married for 7 years, and there have been times when our frequency has been next to never (like *maybe* once a month). That was after my daughter was born and I was still dealing with hormones/breastfeeding issues/new parent issues. I started to realize that blaming the baby for me not wanting to have sex wasn’t the truth and I started making more of an effort (That’s when I found this blog). It took some time, but we got there. Now, I’d say we average about once a week or so. Some weeks its more, some its less, but it averages out. I am prone to get UTIs, so that kinda puts a damper on sex every now and then, and my husband is VERY conscious of my personal hygiene – to the point of asking our OB if there is something HE is doing that is why I keep getting UTIs. (There’s not, BTW). I usually don’t say no to him, but have been lately because of morning sickness/general pregnancy yuckiness, but he takes comfort in the fact that it’ll turn around in a few weeks. (My second trimester makes me very…excitable – like, he doesn’t make it up the stairs excitable) I agree that more is definitely better, but I also think that it sorta ebbs and flows. Sometimes life gets in the way and before you know it, a week has gone by.

    1. J

      Thanks for sharing your story, Sara. I don’t know why some women have a higher incidence of UTIs. That’s incredibly bothersome. I hate that you have to endure those.

      Congrats and blessing for your pregnancy! I was the same in mine–nauseated in my first trimester and nearly insatiable in my second. 😉 Enjoy!!!

    2. Sara with an H

      My OB said that some women’s urethra extend further than others and that this is what contributes to more frequent UTIs. I typically get one about once a year. My husband actually asked her if we needed to refrain from having sex for a little while just in case. My response, before the doctor was even able to answer was “No!! The second trimester is almost here. YOU remember what that was like right?” 🙂

    3. Anonymous

      If you want less UTIs boost that immune system and stay away form drugs especially antibiotics. Take cranberry extract and vit c 4-5 thousand milligrams a day. You may be surprised. Your husband will, thank you. The voice of experience.

    4. Sara with an H

      I tend to stay away from drugs as much as I can. I really don’t like to take anything unless I’m absolutely miserable and if I can avoid antibiotics, I do. But sometimes, you get sick and you gotta take ’em. I did ask my OB about the cranberry extract (something like AZO cranberry), and she said it was safe during pregnancy, so I’ll probably try some of that. I’ve also been drinking A LOT of orange juice this pregnancy (like 2 gallons a week!) so I’m sure my vitamin C is where it needs to be 🙂

    5. Anonymous

      Sarah, a friend recently told me about using D-Manoose to treat their young daughter’s frequent UTIs. I really don’t know much about it, other than that I’m pretty sure it was safe to use during pregnancy and you can get it on Amazon.com. You might want to look into it

    6. Sara with an H

      I have heard of that, but I also don’t know much about it and its definitely something I’d be willing to try. I’ll have to look into it some more. Thanks!

    7. Lisa

      Totally off the topic of this original post, but my mom was/is prone to UTI’s, and she just found out that it’s because she had kidney stones that were retaining the infection even after the meds. It got very serious after a couple years of not being diagnosed, that’s the only reason I bring it up. You may want to look into that. She was on the high VitC dose, etc, and all that did was mask her symptoms until her infection was septic. Not to scare you, but it’s a possibility with frequent UTI’s…

    8. Maria Masala

      I haven’t had a UTI in over a year after having several in a ro thanks to d-mannose. It is a sugar that is not absorbed into our bloodstream which goes into the bladder and latches on to the bacteriadragging them out. I took it all through my second pregnancy. It workes better in an alkaline environment so it is best to take it w/out oj or vitamin c. Unfortunately I live in Italy and got all my info on an italian website so I cannot suggest any sites w/this kind of info or where to buy the mannose. I hope there are similar websites in english because mannose works wonders.

    9. Anonymous

      Do you get up and empty your bladder after sex? Once I started doing this I’ve had no more UTIs. Not the most romantic thing, to get up and pee right after, but you can always come back to cuddle after that. And much better than a UTI if it works well for you.

  13. Anonymous

    My wife and I are in our early 20’s. I would say its twice a week. We have a two year old. Both work full time and im in school full time. Would like to be more but just busy.

    1. J

      Good for you both. Here’s my piece of encouragement: It typically does get easier as your kids age. Those early years are so physically demanding for parents that it’s hard to find time alone. Best wishes!

  14. Megan@DoNotDisturb

    Great post and I agree with everything you said. We often get asked this question and we, like you, are not afraid to put a once a week minimum answer out there. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Megan

  15. Anonymous

    I agree that once a week should be the minimum. I know if it’s been more than a week for us, we both are desperate for it! 🙂 But,unfortunately, there are times when it is once a week for us – that’s rare…2-3 times a week is probably average for us, which I think is great considering our circumstances. We have 2 issues we have to struggle through – we have 2 boys, one with severe autism, which presents oh so many challenges on top of “normal” parenting challenges, and I also have endometriosis, which again presents oh so many challenges! It’s actually really hard for me because I love sex, and I hate those times I have to say, “I just can’t tonight, I’m sorry” as I’m curled up in a ball with heating pads and am medicated, which offers little relief.

    1. J

      I have wondered about having someone come blog someday about maintaining a good sex life with special needs children in the house. That certainly is a challenge.

      As to the endometriosis, I hope you are sharing the extent of your pain with your doctor. After many years, I had an endometrial ablation, which was wonderful for me, although it may not be for you.

      Blessings!

    2. Anonymous

      I think having someone blog about maintaining a good sex life with special needs children is such a great idea! And is actually something I’ve thought about bringing up. There are a lot of blogs dedicated to special needs children, but not many Christian marriage blogs. A lot of what is discussed on the Christian marriage blogs just does not apply to my marriage…in some ways, yes, but like I said, we have challenges not present in most marriages, and some of the advice given is not something we can apply to our marriage.

      As to the endometriosis, my doctor knows. She wants me to have surgery, but we have to keep putting it off because my son sees 3 or 4 specialists, on top of his regular doctors, and we always have too many medical bills. I have an appointment soon, though, and will be hopefully be having some procedures done at the beginning of the year. I am limited on what I can do…I can’t do birth control pills because they mess me up, and we have actually been trying for one more baby for about 4 years now.

  16. Bea

    My husband and I have had very rare moments in our marriage where we have had a lot of sex. But for the most part, we fall quite short of the average. Reading anything that says how much we should have sex always makes me uncomfortable because I know we aren’t even close. We have sex maybe a couple times a month (no kids, no crazy schedules, no health problems–other than I get a lot of UTIs also–, nothing really major). I have had a low sex drive pretty much the whole time. I dont have a huge desire for sex and dont really feel like it’s so great that I need it, honestly. I recently switched birth control a couple months ago though, and I am hoping maybe that will change things for us! I’d hate to think that I just dont like sex and am set to have a less than average sex life for us! We do have an otherwise nice relationship–we’re great friends and we laugh together a lot. But I admit, we often get stuck watching sitcom re-runs and Im not totally upset about it lol. Like I said, hopefully my hormones will straighten out and maybe that will not be the case anymore 🙂

    1. Anonymous

      You’re not alone. I have felt the same way for many years, and while I try to “fill his needs,” sadly, I am not equally enjoying it all. This year I discovered I have a low functioning thyroid gland, which is improved with herbs for this condition, but it hasn’t changed my libido. I believe other health issues may be responsible for low libido, like: adrenal fatigue, candida, gut issues, low blood pressure or circulation problems, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and so on. Of course, there can be emotional reasons too. But it would be great if the physical side of things was functioning better! Good luck improving your sex life!

    2. J

      One of the reasons I suggest that wives have sex more often is because frequency tends to increase your libido and comfort with intercourse. I know that hormones and other physical challenges can play a part in your libido, so I also hope those issues get worked out. Praying for you both!

  17. KM

    You know , all of that advice about raising a woman’s libido is good, but the simple physiology and aging means that there will be difficulty for women over 45. Estrogen levels play havoc with sex drive, and it is simply more work for a woman to be aroused. Low libido has to be discuss in in a context of more than “more foreplay.” I have found most discussion about low libido very unhelpful for me. Perhaps some medical doctors need to be addressing these concerns, not bloggers who perhaps don’t have sufficient knowledge of clinical experience.

    1. J

      From my research, there tends to be a decrease in libido for both sexes as they age. But for women, these dips may occur while they are transitioning into menopause, and plenty of women come of it with a healthy libido. Indeed, I hear from couples in their 60s and 70s who say they are enjoying the best sex of their lives.

      My point is that low libido may not be entirely due to age and often can be addressed.

  18. Danica

    My husband and I are both in our mid 20s and just had our one year anniversary this week, so I know we are still newlyweds and so people expect us to have sex often, BUT I am really proud of the fact that we have sex almost everyday (and sometimes more than once a day)!! We came to our marriage from opposite ends of the spectrum (me=virgin before marriage, him=divorced and promiscuous before getting saved just a few months before we started dating) and at a busy and stressful time in our lives (I was halfway through grad school-had a midterm 2 days after the wedding- and he was starting a new job). We’ve had to navigate our different upbringings, our different approaches to intimacy; we’ve had to mesh my well-grounded faith with his very recent introduction to faith, my perfectionism with his laid-backness. Having sex is one thing we both love and enjoy, and it’s made dealing with all that other stuff way more enjoyable, basically because we know we get to have sex with each other and because we both knew this was a private thing between us that we only do with each other. I feel like I do a good job of satisfying him (because he tells me I do!) and I am satisfied as well. Basically, I love my husband tremendously, despite our stresses and faults, and I think that’s mostly because we both love Jesus and having sex with each other 🙂

    1. J

      Good for you both!! You had some extra challenges, and it’s nice to have started out your marriage in such a great way.

  19. Timothy Summers

    Its a quality vs quantity debate. If you have ten quickies a day, that’s not deeply fulfilling, any if you have mind blowing, multi orgasmic sex once s month that’s a huge disconnect because you loose great time in romantic interlude.

    To me the test is outside of the bedroom. If in a normal day you talk , text chat and really have an open conversations; and that means both of you. Your time in the sack is right. However if the only time you are solely focused on your spouse is when your horny them the basics of relationship is hurting.

    1. J

      I agree, Timothy, that it isn’t just having sex…it’s having connecting sex.

      The only issue I have with the outside-of-the-bedroom test is that many wives think things are great because they feel like best friends in their marriage and have no idea that their husbands are starving for sexual contact. But yeah, if you’re only about hanging out with the honey with your horny, the relationship is definitely hurting.

    2. Timothy Summers

      J, I think for me the outside of the bedroom test is a good indicator of communication. If you are having good communication. The “I am in the mood talk” comes very easy

  20. momknitter

    I just found your blog via The Generous Wife and this is the first post I have read. My first thought was that once a month might be OK for some couples, so saying once a week minimum made me cringe. And then I starting thinking about my own marriage. We celebrate 11 years next month and, of those 11 years, 5 included young kids sleeping in our bed (at first every night, then every now and again.) Sex became infrequent. He needs more sleep than I do, so he was in bed at the same time as the kids and was up when early while I would sleep in and stay up late. It would happen maybe once a month. There were times when I had no idea how long it had been. And I was OK with it. My desire was nil. I didn’t have the time or the energy. He didn’t either. Then something happened in our marriage that was a forewarning of potential issues. It woke us up quickly (no cheating, thankfully, but it was a wake up call!) There was a lot of arguing and hurt feelings. Then we had make-up sex. And it was amazing. So we had sex the next day and it was still amazing. Over the next few weeks, we were having sex 4 or 5 times a week. And our relationship improved drastically. And my drive also went through the roof! We discussed it and decided to make it a priority to have sex 2-3 times a week minimum. We are both happier and our marriage is better than it has ever been. And the sex is better than ever, too! From here on out, there will be sex at minimum 2 times a week. I won’t let it be ignored or forgotten, no matter how crazy things are.

    1. J

      Thanks for coming over here! Lori at The Generous Wife is wonderful!! It really does make a difference to physically connect with your spouse. That certainly isn’t the only kind of intimacy we should be fostering in marriage, but it is a nice piece of the whole pie. I appreciate your sharing your story.

  21. Ronny

    I know this isnt the sex helpline but sometimes reading such posts leaves me frustrated. Its the end of what I d call a lovely day spent with my wife in the company of other people. Our drive home took about an hour within which we had some great conversation. We get in bed and I begin to initiate some action. No response. Body language from her side says “Sorry pal we are closed”. Its been about 10 days and before that it was about another 10 days. As fate would have it, just 2 days ago an ex called me “just to say hi” and asked if I could meet her tomorrow. I know what her agenda is. I didnt want to do it. My wife & I are Christians. I am a man. A very starved one. Tomorrows meeting is now very attractive, looks like a good prospect. I know I have the power to decide on doing the right thing. I can exercise self-control. BUT I cant help but wonder, why do wives do stuff like this. Do they even realize when they are pushing their man into another womans arms? If you get fed well at home, you ll have no need to go out and look for junk food. But its kind of hard to stay home starving!

    1. Anonymous

      Cancel the date. Then sit your wife down and ask her to listen. Then spill your guts.

      I did this about six months ago as a last effort to save my sexless 18-year long marriage. The tears. The pain. The anger. The frustration. The resentment. They all brought it home to my wife just how crappy she has been treating me and our marriage.

      Things are better now. Not where I want our marriage to be, but at least the issues are on the table and we’re working on them.

      When spilling your guts, use a lot of “I feels”, “I need”, etc., etc. Don’t use “You never”, “You always”, or any other phrase that will put her on the defensive. Expressing your deep and painful emotions to her may be overwhelming, so you don’t need her to be more defensive than necessary.

      Good luck….and don’t forget to cancel the date.

    2. Anonymous

      Hang in there Brother! I don’t want to address the issue between you and your wife, but I will say this. As to your ex, don’t go there!!

      God honors obedience and you have made a covenant with your wife. The Word does not say ‘love her IF’, or ‘love her when’, He wants us to love our wives as Christ loved the Church and gave himself for her. And I don’t want to put myself on some perch, I’ve been there. That road is just full of pain and heartache. You are on a road and can make decisions to stay on that road or turn here or turn there. Decide to stay on the right road.

      Some of the old hymns are being forgotten, but let me leave you with this one. “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of this world will grow strangely dim, In the light of His Glory and Grace.”

      Hang in there, pray for your wife, trust in God for each day.

    3. J

      SO frustrating indeed. I hear from spouses like you too often. You have to establish some boundaries to keep your marriage safe and then address the issues within your marriage. To talk about sex, do not bring it up in the bedroom! Too much pressure there. Also, avoid talking about how much you need it and any mention of the word “release.” Explain to your wife how much you desire to be closer, to feel her in your arms, to pleasure her, to feel that one-flesh connection physically as well as in other ways in your marriage. Ask what she would like your intimacy to be like. I’m praying you can have a heart-to-heart talk with her. And I also pray that churches will step up and speak out more to Christians about the importance of being connected physically in marriage.

  22. stella a

    I think if i had a better marriage i’d have sex mote often.i’m one of those that once a month or not at all would b better for me.my husband had been abusive in all ways.he hasn’t hit me in almost a yr,,but we don’t communicate.s live together as total strangers.we have 3 kids.there’s no family time on his part.so how do i as a wife want to have sex,if that’s the only time he seeks me?? Yes that caused infidelity on my part awhile back,what husband didn’t give me id get it elsewhere.I’ve stopped being unfaithful with Gods help,but s still need lots of work if sex is to be more frequent in my marriage….

    1. J

      I take domestic abuse VERY SERIOUSLY. Your safety comes above sexual satisfaction. So if your husband has hit you and has not sought outside help, the statistical likelihood of him hitting you again at some point–so sad to say–is very high. Your marriage needs professional help. If you haven’t sought any, find a counselor or pastor. You are in my prayers.

  23. Christy

    Minimum for us once a week. ideally we would like it to be more and depending on his schedule of being away from home we have gotten it in twice a week at times. It really just depends on the amount of time he can be here. Ideally I think it would be good if we could get 3 times in but maybe that will have to wait until retirement when he is actually at home for more than a couple of days at a time. I will say because he is gone so much we have made it a point to have AMAZING communication skills and we are the best of friends. We have been married with his crazy schedule going on 16 years and I still light up when he walks through the door after not seeing him for days. It just puts my heart in it’s happy place. 🙂

    1. J

      Crazy schedules can really challenge this once a week minimum. It sounds like you’re making sexual connection a priority, though. Good for you both, Christy! I smiled when I read your “heart in its happy place” statement (and read it aloud to my husband with a “listen to how sweet this is!” introduction).

  24. becominghiseve

    Thanks for writing this, J. My husband and I are both passionate people with pretty high sex drives. His primary love language is physical touch (my secondary). Sometimes though we get into a rut of going awhile without sex because of health reasons, busyness, tiredness, emotionally challenging days at work or home, etc. Those top 10 reasons why you should make love more often hit the nail home. I especially love #1 – Because you want to be above average in your marriage! I definitely want an above average marriage, and I can say that we do “make love” more frequently than once a week. I need to remember the things on your list more regularly when I find myself making excuses not to have sex. In fact, I want to make my own list.

  25. Dave

    I decided I would throw this out there. I’m writing from the point of view of a man in a sexless marriage, so I’ve certainly experienced sexual deprivation. At one point in this journey, there was a short stretch of several months where we made love once or twice a month, and this stretch taught me something about how I feel about frequency (hopefully I can explain this).

    During this stretch (which this post and other commentators would still call a “starvation diet”), I noticed something. It was a lot easier to deal with rejection when it seemed “close ended”, meaning that I knew that it would be a couple of weeks and she would say yes. It felt like a lot of my frustration before and since is maybe not so much tied up in how often we make love, but rather in how open ended the rejection is. Once a week could possibly be pretty frustrating if there was no promise or expectation that it would ever happen again. Whereas once a month seemed almost blissful when I had a reasonable promise/expectation that it would happen again sometime in the next month.

    It just seems that part of my frustration isn’t so much about lack of frequency, but the not knowing when or if it will happen again.

  26. LaRae Alcidor

    Frequent sex is an issue yes, but I often find that many christian sites or other healthy sex sites ignore another burning issue: frequency of orgasms. If a spouse is being sexually intimate with their partners “regularly” (based on your post that’s once a week) what physical satisfaction exist if there is no “release” afterwards.

    Imagine a husband and wife have sex and every time the wife gets her release but the man does not. How much frustration and discomfort will he endure before its discussed? Now by your explanation they’re having “frequent sex” and are by default sexually intimate. Yet it does not explain or even hint at the physical need for sexual release.

    I use the example of the man not being to achieve release with his wife because it is a scenario that is assumed to happen more often with women being in an orgasmic drought. I believe this example gives a better perspective.

    I feel the topic of frequency of orgasms/sexual release is overshadowed by “sexually intimacy” because its still considered even more “taboo” than sex itsself. When youh discuss “depriving” your spouse (Corinthians verse) deprive means more than just sexual contact; deprivation also includes orgasms.

    1. Anonymous

      Yes. Hubby and I had regular sex 1-3 times a week, yer for 3 years he never gave me an orgasm. I was so starved and sex was torture with all that build up and no release. And I don’t care what anyone says, masturbating instead is NOT release enough by far!!! It made me want sex all the time, hoping for an O. Now that hubby is giving me more frequent O’s, I’m satisfied with less sex, rather than every day….which is good for us because hubby is a 1-3 times a week guy, sometimes up to every 2 weeks.

    2. J

      I’ve discovered that the importance of orgasm varies a bit with wives. Some want one every single time, some not so much. I agree, however, that never or rarely having an orgasm does not result in satisfying sex for most wives. I have talked about orgasm on my blog, though. In fact, How to Orgasm is one of my more popular posts. Perhaps I should bring it up again.

  27. Kate Aldrich

    Awesome J! We get this question alot and people probably don’t like my answer a lot of the time. It is hard to put a number on it because each marriage is different, but I agree that God’s design is for more rather then less. When we are sharing sex together we are investing and nurturing our one flesh connection! If you are only doing that once a month-well I think that speaks for itself! Thanks for addressing this! Awesome as usual! 🙂

  28. Anonymous

    I always appreciate your marriage encouragement!

    We’re in a time of transition as I just had my first child 7 months ago. Before I didn’t have to give much thought as to “how often”, because we just seemed to have time. It’s a bit more of a challenge now. 🙂

    I’ve found that I need this way of connecting with my husband about once a week. He could go for it almost every day.

    What’s working for us, is to have a longer time of connecting, spending more time, putting more energy into it about once a week. Then throughout the week as needed we try to sprinkle some quickies in there for his sake.

    The biggest help for me has been tracking our times of making love. Yes. I know it sounds crazy…but at this point in my life two weeks ago can feel like “didn’t we just have sex a couple of days ago”? Seriously.

    I have an app on my phone that I started using to track cycles, as I was having hormonal issues before and after baby. It also allows you to track intimate times. I check a couple times a week to see how much or how little we’ve made sex a priority.

    Some weeks I see that we’re on track. However, just recently I noticed a trend that we were slowing a bit. I looked at the calendar and instead of saying “yes” to some opportunities for social commitments, I said no so that we can have that time to invest in our marriage.

    I would love if my husband would take the lead on making our sex life a priority but as he is very sensitive to my needs, it’s difficult for him to ask often, since it makes him feel selfish. I hope that will change someday but in the meantime, I’m trying to be sensitive to the way he feels and realize that it’s more enjoyable for him if he knows that I’m invested in it.

    I am not a details person. I am not a factual person. I get caught up in everything going on around me, so for me at least, our sex life has to be an *intentional* priority.

    1. Anonymous

      Good for you! Continue to gently encourage him to start taking the lead more often. I think it is natural for the wife to be more in the lead sexually during such times as pregnancy and new baby. It sounds as is the adjustment period and time of post partum healing are pretty much coming to a close, so the next several months can be a great time for him to start initiating.

    2. Anonymous

      I too keep track in my PDA calendar. We had a fairly dry period for about two years, like sometimes only once every month of two. We were going through a period where we were both very depressed about our youngest daughter’s lifestyle and safety since she was 2,000 miles away.

      Things have settled down now and I have been doing some relationship studies for married couples as well as studying about sexuality in general. I started tracking how often and how much time spent on sex as an objective measure of the regeneration and growth of our intimate life. I realize it may sound too clinical to many people, but it lets me know when I need to put more work into our relationship. If we start dipping in frequency for no apparent reason, I look at the possibility that we are slipping in or relationship efforts. It is so easy to watch too much TV, spend too much time blogging (oops) or surfing the web, spend too much time reading or on other personal, solitary indulgences. I pull up the monthly calendar and look for the number and distribution of little red squares. Too much white space means not enough attention is being given to our relationship and some correction is in order of some type, and not necessarily more sex, though the correction will probably result in kick-starting our sex life. I don’t think it is any less romantic than “scheduling sex.” Scheduling sounds so unromantic, but most men would admit that it would be great knowing that come hell or high water, sex is on the agenda this week, period. Dave 2

  29. workinprogress

    I know you touched on this, but I have found that when we are only having sex once a week (or less), it isn’t really all that great. He climaxes too quickly, and mine are weak to non-existent. When we are in a groove of every 1-3 days, he lasts much longer, seems to have more powerful orgasms and I also have much better orgasms. It really is like working out. If I miss a week at the gym, it’s like starting from scratch again. When I’m working out every other day, I have the stamina and strength to enjoy a gruelling work out 😉
    And yes, we connect much better emotionally when we are enjoying more regular love making.

  30. Anonymous

    Most of my marriage I would prefer to have sex everyday. My husband has low sex drive and probably would prefer it 1 or 2 times a month. Since we’ve had 3 kids I want it less, which is a blessing (much less frustration). He wants it even less than me. He’s good with less than 10 times a year. He doesn’t even notice how infrequently we have sex.

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