The following question was recently asked by someone who apparently is sexually frustrated in their marriage but it also gets asked by people who are cohabitating or in long-term relationships.
In a healthy marriage how often should couples have sex on average? – S. Williams; Seattle, WA.
No Two Are Alike
There is no “magic formula” as every individual has his or her own sex drive. Ideally the goal is to marry someone whose libido is similar to your own. Even with that later on there could be medical issues that arise or stressful events outside of the bedroom, and raising children, which may make sex the last priority for someone.
I’ve read in the past that the average number of times a married couple has sex is 2-3 times per week. However I don’t believe they took into account the lengths of the marriages. Another article defined a “sexless marriage” as any marriage where a couple has sex less than 12 times per year. Nevertheless it did point out that in the end all that matters is if the (couple) is happy/content with their sex life.
Naturally if one person wants sex 4 times a week and their mate feels once a week is ideal there could be problems. Over the course of a year you’d be looking at 208 times VS 52 times. That’s a long ways from being “equally yoked.” Maybe it’s possible they could somehow meet in the middle or the person with the lower sex drive is willing to sexually please their mate without intercourse from time to time.
Lastly it’s possible that two people are never going to be sexually compatible. Most couples during the “infatuation phase” of a relationship or “honeymoon period” appear to be mutually desirous of passionate sex. Sometimes after there is an “emotional investment” or “commitment” one relaxes and reverts back to their (natural) libido. The person with the higher drive will feel as though they’ve been duped or are a victim to a “bait & switch”.
It’s not uncommon for the person with the higher sex drive to be made to feel like they are the one who has their priorities out of line. Oftentimes they are belittled or shamed into feeling there is something wrong with them for wanting to have a passionate sex life. There is no right or wrong. Some people have higher sex drives than others. Having less sex does not mean love runs deeper. It generally means one person is likely to be sexually frustrated.
Sound the Alarm
Naturally if you are unhappy with your sex life it is imperative that you express your feelings and thoughts about it. On some level everyone wants to feel desired by their mate whether they are a man or a woman. Nevertheless if you have not had sex in weeks or months it won’t be exactly a newsflash when you point it out to your mate. They may have simply hoped you would not have brought it up. Nevertheless the unhappy person in a relationship is always expected to be the one to initiate a conversation before they decide to do something.
In actuality communication should be a two way street. Imagine accepting a job offer where you are paid on the 15th and last day of the month. Six months into the job the 15th rolls around and your check isn’t auto deposited. You contact payroll and they inform you the company has decided to switch to a once a month payroll. Naturally under those circumstances you would have expected your employer to issue a memo of some kind beforehand! And yet in relationships/marriages it’s common for one person to decide not to have sex without informing their partner beforehand. In fact some people choose to give less of themselves the more secure they are in a relationship. Communication initiated by the unhappy partner is in effect sounding the alarm.
Suppose Nothing Changes
In the end only you can decide if sexual incompatibility is a “deal breaker”.
Not long ago I posed a question in a forum asking: Is sexual incompatibility a good enough reason to end a marriage? Approximately 90% of people stated sexual incompatibility was not a valid reason to end a marriage.
However I believe if people were asked: Would you rather your mate leave you or cheat on you? Most people would in fact say they prefer their mate to leave them! It’s almost the same question.
Generally speaking a hungry person is not going to stay in a house without food. They will eventually step out.
Lots of sexually unhappy married people choose to stay and cheat. In fact the goal of most cheaters is to hold onto all that is good in their primary relationship while addressing their other needs on the side. While there are countless other reasons given as to why people cheat, sexual incompatibility is often cited.
The underlying spirit of a “monogamous relationship” is the belief that one is “forsaking all others” (because) they have someone who is “committed” to fulfilling their sexual needs.
Very few people get married or enter into a monogamous relationship to stop having sex! A relationship without sex is pretty much a wonderful “platonic friendship” and a marriage without sex is a little more than being “roommates with the same last name”
Sexual desire for one another is one of the key differentiators that distinguishes relationship love from paternal, sibling, and friendship love. Generally speaking people don’t change unless they are unhappy with their results.
There are only two ways to experience joy and peace of mind in relationships: We either get what we want or we learn to be happy with what we have. Stay or move on. The choice is up to us!