Tag Archives: frequency of sex in marriage

Should You Track the Frequency of Sex in Your Marriage?

How often do you have sex? It’s a question some spouses can easily answer, and some not so easily.

If you read my short story, “After the Baby,” in Behind Closed Doors: Five Marriage Stories, the main character is a husband who knows exactly how long it’s been since he and his wife made love. Because it’s been too long. And I get that in comments and emails from time to time — a spouse who can state with absolute accuracy how many times they’ve had sex with their mate in the last month or year.

Yet maybe we think we know, and don’t. Spouses are not always on the same page about how often sex is happening in their marriage.

I found it interesting that Jimmy Kimmel Live has grabbed couples off the street and asked how many times they’d had sex in the last month. Check out one clip from the show:

One couple matched each other’s answers, but the other didn’t. Why the discrepancy?

It made me think about the suggestion I’ve heard that a spouse track how often they make love in their marriage. Is this a good idea?

Calendar being marked with a pencil

I used to think probably not. Because this practice is often suggested by someone who thinks they’re not getting enough, and they’re basically looking for evidence (translation: ammunition) to make the case that they’re being cheated.

But I then I decided to test it out myself. Unbeknownst to my husband (Hi, love! Are you reading this?), I marked on my calendar the days we made love for about a month. And you know what? It was more often than I thought it would be.

As the higher-drive spouse right now in our marriage, maybe I was a little more focused on when it wasn’t happening than when it was. And isn’t that really a bit short-sighted? Perhaps even selfish?

Now that I have a better sense of our routine, I can relax a little more. Yes, I sometimes want a higher frequency of sexual intimacy, but we’re doing pretty well. And putting those instances on the calendar, I could connect what might have gotten in the way of us making love or, better yet, what made it a good time to make love.

My general conclusion was that loaded calendar days kept us from connecting in many ways, including physically, while quality time together often ended with lovemaking. Hardly a stunning revelation, but it was helpful to see in my own life.

If you can approach tracking the frequency as an interesting experiment, perhaps it would be worthwhile to see how often you’re making love. I suspect what would happen is what occurred in the video. Some couples would find that they’re having sex about as often as they thought, and then they can decide whether that’s enough for their marriage or if they need to make some calendar changes.

Other spouses will discover a discrepancy — probably because lower-drive spouses think they’re doing it more often than they are, and higher-drive spouses think they’re doing it less often than they are. For this second couple, it could be eye-opening to discover the truth of what’s happening in your relationship. And it might pinpoint an attitudinal or behavioral change you need to make for the wellbeing of your marriage.

Having actual data could help you avoid making unfounded accusations about what’s happening in your sex life. After all, one of the Ten Commandments is “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16). And let’s face it: Some spouses have falsely accused their spouse of pursuing more or giving less sex than they actually are. If you’re tracking to uncover the truth, maybe this idea would work for you.

Have you ever tracked the frequency of sex in your marriage? Were you surprised by the results? Do you consider this a good or a bad idea?

Related Post: How Often Should You Have Sex?

Q&A: Will Frequent Yeses Turn My Husband into a Sex Maniac?

Welcome to the Summer of Q&A with J! The first question I’m tackling today addresses giving your husband the green light for frequent sex. If you let him know you’ll say yes when he initiates, will you be stuck with more sex than you can handle? Read on.

Q&A: Will Frequent Yeses Turn My Husband into a Sex Maniac?“[I]n offering sex to my husband every day, sometimes more than once a day, I have turned him into a sex maniac, I think.  He told me that he and his late wife, with whom he had a very good marriage…went through periods…when they only had sex once or twice a year, and that even as newlyweds, it was only once or twice a week.  Supposedly if you offer your husband sex every day, this dissipates his fear that he won’t ‘get any’, so his demand goes down.  No, just the reverse, daily sex and multiple daily sex has become the norm.  Just recently we slowed down to maybe five days a week.

“I’m ok with this — for myself, I’m not so crazy about sex, but I love having that experience with my husband — but, as both of us are devout people, I wonder if it’s such a good thing for him.  I know it’s good for his health and good for our marriage, but I wonder if awakening so much desire is really a good thing, spiritually.  I talk to him about it, because he is surprised by this too, but he doesn’t feel it has any bearing on faith or spirituality…

“On the one hand I am concerned about turning my husband into a sex maniac but on the other hand I can’t help but be flattered.”

I see two major issues in this reader’s question.

“Supposedly if you offer your husband sex every day, this dissipates his fear that he won’t ‘get any’, so his demand goes down.”

I suspect this is true, but not over the short-term. When a higher-drive spouse has longed for sex but hasn’t gotten to experience it fully, an invitation to partake at will can result in a bit of overindulgence. Why? For some, it feels like this just can’t be. They worry this offer is too good to be true, so they must get as much as possible now, just in case, or they test the waters to confirm it’s real and not a pinch-me-awake dream.

Also, imagine you’ve been wanting and waiting for something for a long time. When you finally get the go-ahead, you can go a bit crazy. Think about young kids and Christmas, the first visitors to an amusement park or concert, or even “Black Friday.” If you’ve camped outside Wal-Mart since midnight waiting for the deep-discounted holiday shopping to begin, when 4 a.m. arrives and the attendant throws open those doors . . . you might sprint into and through that store with the fervor of a Cheetah on Red Bull.

But I’ve been shopping on Black Friday afternoon, and it’s not bad. After the initial hype, things ease into a typical holiday shopping crowd. I’d expect the same to happen in a marriage. Once you throw open those bedroom doors to your husband (or wife), they might be extra-eager to soak up all the intimacy they can get. Over time, however, things will likely settle a bit. Will they settle to the same level you might want? Maybe, maybe not. Your higher-drive honey may always want more than you’d order up, but you probably won’t be inundated with Energizer-bunny levels of sexual intimacy.

“I know it’s good for his health and good for our marriage, but I wonder if awakening so much desire is really a good thing, spiritually.”

On one hand, how could it possibly be bad to awaken sexual desire in your marriage and enjoy God’s gift of physical intimacy? Isn’t it living into God’s design to enjoy frequent sex together?

Some believe because sex is physical, it’s somehow “lesser-than” in the spiritual realm. Yet many Spirit-filled activities have a physical component. Consider Matthew 25:34-36: “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Jesus counts all these things, very physical manifestations of love, as righteousness. Sex as God designed is a physical expression of agape love to your mate. And because God is so loving, He made it physically pleasurable.

However, there is another side to this. The Bible says sex can get in the way of focusing on your faith at times. Why else would it say…?

The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” —1 Corinthians 7:3-5 (emphasis added)

Refraining from sex here is clearly a set period of time, agreed upon by both spouses, and for a specific purpose. It can be good to abstain from sexual relations for a short period to dedicate yourself to prayer—as one might fast from food for the same reason. It’s not the thing itself (food/sex) that is a problem, but removing potential distractions can foster one-on-one time with God. Day-to-day, however, there’s no indication frequent sex itself interferes with spirituality.

Still, sex could mess up your spiritual life if it continually competes with God for your attention. Exodus 20:3 says:  “You shall have no other gods before me.” Anything can become a “god” to you, meaning you place it above the real Father in Heaven. Jesus also said: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Luke 12:34). If one’s focus becomes all about sex, sex, and more sex—so that your heart is there and not with God and your spouse—then yeah, that’s a red-flag issue.

In the case of this specific reader, I suggest she hang in there, because the frequency will probably go down a little bit more. (Although 4-5 times a week sounds good to me.) She doesn’t have to say yes every single time to be honoring God and her husband with sexual intimacy. But she can. As long as you are prioritizing God above all and otherwise devoting yourselves to your faith, get it on as often as you’d like. And thank God for the goodies when you’re done!

Quantity vs. Quality: What Do Hubbies Want?

31 Days to Great Sex book coverQuick announcement first: I dropped the ball weeks ago and forgot to announce two winners for Sheila Gregoire’s fabulous book, 31 Days to Great Sex. But the winners are Heather G. and Megan, and Sheila is sending their books. Congratulations, ladies! In the meantime, it’s not too late to get your copy for Valentine’s Day or just because. You can purchase the book for less than a Chick-fil-A meal ($4.99) through my affiliate link by clicking HERE.

I think this post is the second-to-last entry in my It’s Raining Men (hearing from the hubbies) series. Today’s entry is from Jay Dee of Sex within Marriage. I love his honesty about how hubbies feel, paired with his seeking God’s heart for sexuality in marriage.

When J first approached me about writing a post, I had just listened to a podcast called Sexy Marriage Radio, and they posed the following question: Would you be willing to give up half the frequency of sex to double the quality of sex?

I didn’t know the answer to that question for myself. I might be willing to try for a short term though. So, I came up with a plan.

Cut our frequency in half for 2 weeks to see if sex was better. Then, double our frequency to see if it got worse.

I thought it was a solid plan. But, life has a way of setting our plans for us. Over Christmas break, my wife developed an awful cough which turned turned out to be a lung infection. Unfortunately, we didn’t figure that out until a month into it. So, all through the Christmas and New Years season, my wife has been fighting what seems like the worst cold she’s ever had. She couldn’t sleep because she was coughing too much, couldn’t breathe through her nose, wheezing, couldn’t catch her breath, and drinking enough lemon tea to keep a small company in the black.

To sum up: She was exhausted and felt awful.

So, by coincidence, phase 1 of my plan fell into place, but a little more harshly than I would have liked. Our frequency dropped to more like 1/4, or less, of normal instead of the 1/2 I planned/was prepared for, and Phase 2 probably isn’t going to happen for a while. So, while I was hoping to bring empirical data to bear for this question, I’m afraid I cannot. Even so, I have some thoughts, and some experiences to draw on that I’d like to share.

There was a time when I thought that I wanted multiple sexual encounters with my wife every day. That is what I was expecting going into marriage, and wow, was reality a wake-up-call! Those that have visited my blog or know me from The Marriage Bed forums may know that my marriage had a pretty rocky start with no shortage of blame on either side. But a few years ago we took a huge step, worked through a lot of issues, did a lot of communicating, and turned our marriage around. After that, it felt like a new marriage. We finally got the honeymoon phase we had missed when we got married. We actually had sex 9 out of every 10 days for a month. We changed the culture in our marriage for a time. Instead of wondering “are we going to have sex tonight,” we assumed we would. This was amazing for me, but exhausting for my wife whose sex drive still didn’t (and doesn’t) match mine. During our talks, my wife had made a promise that she would never say “no” again when it came to sex. In all honesty, I don’t think I believed her, and so I squeezed every chance I could get out of it, and she didn’t fight me. I think part of me was taking my fill while it was available (thinking it would run out), and part was testing her to see if she meant it. Neither was a very good response from me.

Eventually though, things slowed down. We went down to 4 out of every 5 nights. Why did it slow down? My wife still wasn’t saying no, though later she did tell me she couldn’t have kept that pace up much longer anyway, regardless of any promise she made. I believe it slowed down because sex was becoming, not empty, or cheap, but it was watering down slowly. Now, I’m not saying that a couple can’t have sex every night have amazing experiences and connect intimately with each other. I’m saying that for me, and I’d guess many others, there is a law of diminishing returns when you start pushing frequency to its extreme, in either direction. Let me explain:

If you have an extremely high frequency of sexual encounters (let’s say every day or more for example), for most people, sex will lose its “specialness.”  It won’t be “that thing I only do with my spouse and it helps us to reconnect,” it will be “that thing we do all the time.”

On the other side, if you have an extremely low frequency, let’s say a few times a year or less, sex turns from “that thing I only do with my spouse and it helps us to reconnect” into “that thing we’re supposed to be doing more often, but we don’t, because my spouse is selfish.”

I should point out that I’m talking about long term trends here. If you both decide to take a break from sex for a time (medical reasons, fasting & prayer, birth of a child, physical separation), I don’t think that’s an issue, so long as both agree and it’s not too long of a time. On the other side, if you both agree that you’re going to have sex every night (vacation, birthday gift, anniversary, or just a surprise), I don’t think that’s an issue either, so long as you both agree, and it’s not too long of a time. I won’t say how long is too long, that’s for the couple to find out and decide.

However, I think there are some near universal constants.

On the high-frequency side: If you’re having so much sex that it is causing detriment to your life, your work, or your other relationships, it’s probably too frequent.

On the low-frequency side: As J has mentioned in a previous article, and I agree, a couple should get together (except in extreme circumstances) at least once a week.

She made a good case, and I suggest you read it if you haven’t already.

Go on.

I’ll wait.

Done? OK. I wanted to add one point to it. The rabbis that lived during the New Testament and prior to that were of the mindset that a minimum frequency was once a week. Now, since Paul was a Pharisee, and a Rabbi, he would have had the same thoughts on this topic. So when he wrote his first letter to the Corinthians and the famous passage every Christian marriage blogger knows:

“Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” – 1 Corinthians 7:5

In Paul’s mind, he would assume that his audience would be aware that a week was long enough to go without reconnecting in this way.

So, keeping that all in mind, what’s my answer?

Would I be willing to give up frequency for quality of sex?

Honestly, for myself, no. Why? Because, if I may be so bold: our quality is pretty outstanding from my experience. Is there a difference when we have it less frequently? Yes, unquestionably: Orgasms are stronger, and they happen sooner. But that’s not worth the trade off. I mean, the orgasm is such a small (albeit dramatic) part of the whole experience, and why would I want to shorten sex by that much, I like the buildup, I like the time spent working each other up, and personally, I like longer sessions.

But, if my wife came to me and said “you know, I think I might enjoy sex more if we had it less often,” then, without much delay or disappointment, I’d start discussing what the new frequency would look like, and we’d find something that works for both of us, because this is a marriage. My needs and wants aren’t the only ones that matter, and ultimately, if she is more fulfilled sexually, then I am as well, because I feed off her pleasure, it is what drives me, what really gets me off.

Now, I’ve spent a lot of time reading about sex, writing about sex, and talking to people about sex, and the only thing I can guarantee is that you never find an issue that everyone agrees on. Some people will disagree with me adamantly, some will say that’s exactly how they feel, and if you are a wife reading this, I cannot tell you how your husband will answer. I can only hope I’ve brought up some points that will start a discussion with your spouse, because his answer is the only one you need to concern yourself with. God bless, and have fun figuring out your answer.

This is definitely a good post to start a discussion in your marriage about quality and quantity of sex. Make sure it’s a discussion and not a demand-session, as Jay points out. I really appreciate his approach.

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Jay is passionate about two topics above all others: theology and sexuality. His blog (www.SexWithinMarriage.com) seeks to explore the nature of sexuality from theological, scientific, and experiential viewpoints in order to help married couples understand their sexuality within the context of Christian marriage.