Frequency of sex in a healthy relationship has been the source of dinner party and divorce court debate for eons. I have had many a conversation about how much sex people would like to be having in a relationship, think they should be having in their relationship and are actually having in their relationship.
My take on this has always been twofold:
- The ‘right’ amount of sex in a healthy relationships varies greatly. It is determined by factors such as: individual sex drives, amount of time that can be dedicated to pleasurable activities like sex, health issues, etc. And, basically any amount of sex can the the ‘right’ amount if both parties in the couple are happy with it;
- In general, a healthy, happy relationship seems to beget health, happy sex…. pretty frequently
From this I have always felt that having sex 2-4 times a week is pretty much optimal for a healthy, fun relationship… subject to the caveats in #1 above.
Imagine my surprise at a new study from the University of Toronto showing that the happiest couples are those having sex once a week. Once a week.
This surprises me. It defies my personal experience…. the happiest couples I know personally have sex more frequently than once a week. And it defies research I’ve seen the past, showing that 2-3 times a week seems to associate with the highest levels of relationship satisfaction.
So why, all of a sudden, do happy couples seem to be having/wanting less sex? Here’s my theory. Firstly, they don’t want less sex, but less sex is a byproduct of the lives they lead. I think the majority of happy, well connected couples would have more sex if they could find the time and energy for it. Life becomes busy and otherwise happy and contented people do not find the time to fit in things (like sex) that are purely pleasurable and indulgent. They’re just busy. Secondly (and this is a little controversial), I think high functioning couples over-report happiness. If you are a busy couple with kids and work responsibilities, but still managing to squeak in sex every 7-10 days, I think you will report being happy at a very high rate… because that’s what’s expected of you. And.. hey.. you’re having sex once a week so it ain’t that bad. But I think they could be happier.
I guess, for me, this comes down to a pretty simple logical chain (which may be wrong). If you’re having sex once a week, you clearly enjoy it. Having sex costs nothing, feels great and connects you to your partner. If you had the time, surely you’d do it a bit more.
Just my two cents. What do you think. How often are the happiest couples having sex?