Tag Archives: how often should you make love

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!

Want More Money? Have More Sex. (Really.)

money signs

Photo Credit: Microsoft Word Clip Art

“…sexual activity is considered to be a barometer for health, quality of life, well-being and happiness.”

So researchers state in the opening paragraph of a new report on the correlation between sexual activity and wages. Yep, wages.

A British researcher analyzed a study that took place in Greece and included a random telephone survey of about 7,500 households. Respondents were asked about their wage level and sexual frequency (the options being none, once/twice a year, once a month, 2-3 times a month, weekly, 2-3 times a week, and more than 4 times a week). The study also asked for other demographic and personality factors to control or correlate such things as gender, educational level, and extroversion. Note that 58.3% of the surveyed individuals were married.

So the takeaway of the study is that those having sex more than four times a week earn more, by a statistically significant amount. That simply means that the results stood out.

Now this doesn’t mean that there is a cause-effect relationship, that more sex automatically equals more money. But in a seemingly unfair slap from the universe for those not in this category, the ones getting busy more often are also getting rich* more often.

But it’s not so unfair, when we consider why this might be:

Having sex four+ times a week likely means you’re in a relationship. I strongly advocate that relationship be a marriage (since God strongly advocated it first). Other studies have shown great health, well-being, and financial benefits to being a marriage that provides companionship, shared responsibility for finances and child-rearing, and yes, sex.

Those who have regular sex tend to be happier. A healthy sex life is related to higher self-esteem, lower levels of depression, and general happiness. This could be a product of biological chemicals and physiological responses, but I think it’s also a sense of relational well-being and intimate connection to someone you love that contributes to being happier.

Healthy individuals are more likely to have sex and to have higher-wage jobs. There is likely a casual effect of poor health on both earning levels and frequency of sex. If you’re struggling with health issues, you may have difficulty both in having sex and in fulfilling the tasks of a job. The upshot is that, inasmuch as you can effect it, stay healthy. Eat well, exercise, throw off any addictions, etc. You know the drill.

Sex can be empowering. So this is my own theory, one I mentioned here before. Having read about and heard from men on this issue, I believe that having sex with your mate can boost your personal confidence in such a way that you feel like you can take on the world. I doubt it’s just men, too. There’s something about quality lovemaking with your spouse that just tethers you to their love throughout the day and makes some of the daily annoyances roll off your back a bit better. Why this is true, I’m not sure. However, like everything else about God-honoring marital sexuality, I suspect it’s a gift from God Himself.

Knowing what you’re coming home to makes you work harder. Another theory mine, based on conversations with and observation of married couples. You might think that an unhappy spouse would avoid home by staying at the office and working longer hours, and thus earn more. While I have seen that pattern, workaholism isn’t the same as productivity. The person secure in their marriage — through companionship, shared values and purpose, and lovemaking — is more likely to work with fervor, push through tasks more efficiently and effectively, and let stress go when they leave the workplace. They want to be productive and earn their keep to continue providing for the life they enjoy, and the lover they enjoy it with.

Those are the reasons I see for the sex-and-wages correlation.

So what else is there to conclude but that if you want more money, have more sex?

At least it’s worth a try.

*Just to clarify, no, I don’t thinking getting rich is a worthy goal for Christians. But properly providing for your family is (1 Tim 5:8), and some Christians have indeed grown rich and used their money generously for God’s work.

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.