How often do couples have sex? 10 questions to ask your partner about your sex life
Are you and your partner happy with your sex life?
- Americans are having sex an average of 62 times per year - with people in their 20s having sex around 80 times per year, people in their 40s having sex around 60 times per year and people 65+ having sex about 20 times per year.
- According to a 2019 study, 55% of women reported being in situations where they wanted to communicate with a partner about what they like (and didn't like) about their sex lives but ultimately decided not to say anything.
- There are ten questions you can use to create a safe and positive discussion about sex, letting you gauge how sexually satisfied you (and your partner) are in the relationship.
How much sex does the average couple have?
How often does the average couple have sex?
Photo by VGstockstudio on Shutterstock
From potential health benefits to deepening our understanding of how the brain functions during sexual intercourse, sex is a topic that has been studied and analyzed for decades. Naturally, the question that is posed quite frequently is this: How often do couples have sex?
According to a 2017 study led by San Diego State University psychology professor Jean Twenge, Americans are having sex on average about 62 times per year.
To get to that average, the study further breaks down age-related statistics:
- Individuals in their 20s are having sex (on average) 80 times per year.
- By age 45, that number decreases to around 60 times per year.
- By age 65 the number is closer to 20 times per year.
According to a study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, Americans appear to be having less sex now compared to 10 and 15 years ago. In fact, Americans who are married (or living together) have had sex an average of 16 times fewer (per year) in the years 2010-2014, compared to the years 2000-2004.
Why is talking about sex with a partner so difficult? It doesn't have to be
According to a 2019 study, women are still having a very hard time communicating with their male counterparts about what they want in bed.
One thousand women were interviewed by sex researcher and author Debby Herbenick, and 55% of them reported being in situations where they wanted to communicate with a partner about how they wanted to be touched, what they liked and what they didn't like - but ultimately decided not to say anything.
Talking to your partner about your sexual desires can feel intimidating, and hearing about what your partner likes (and doesn't like) about your sex life can feel threatening. However, having these discussions can improve your relationship by creating a more open and honest discussion about sex and pleasure.
Adam and Karissa King, the marriage therapist and life coach duo behind marriage counseling service Dear Young Married Couple have turned "the sex talk" into a fun bonding experience with their "Sexpectations" card deck.
The questions in the deck are ideas that come from real relationship and marriage counseling sessions and are designed to help you and your partner create an intimate and safe space to talk about your sexual desires.
The most common reasons for shying away from "the sex talk" with your partner are (according to the study linked above):
- Not wanting to hurt your partner's feelings (42%)
- Not wanting to go into detail about your fantasies (40%)
- Feeling embarrassed or ashamed of what you want (38%)
- Not knowing how to express or communicate your desires to a partner (35%)
To better understand how to talk with your partner about sex in a positive and constructive way, Astroglide's resident sexologist and relationship expert Dr. Jess O'Reilly shares the importance of "the three F's" system of communication about sex with your partner.
"I suggest all couples talk about the three F's: feelings, frequency, and fantasy. These F-words serve as stepping stones for effective communication with your spouse."
Ask your partner these 10 questions (and create a discussion) to discover if you’re both happy with your sex life
Talking to your partner about what you like (and don't like) about your sex life can lead to a happier, more intimate relationship.
Photo by Dmytro Kapitonenko on Shutterstock
Megwyn White, Director of Education for Satisfyer (a leading sexual wellness brand based in Germany), explains 10 different types of questions that can be used to create a safe and positive discussion about sex, letting you gauge how sexually satisfied you (and your partner) are in the relationship.
- Question: Can we schedule a date-night once a week to prioritize each other and our sex life?
Making time to listen to each other's feelings and desires (and then setting aside moments in your busy lives where intimacy can flourish) will lead to a happier, healthier sex life.
- Question: Are there things I am not doing that you wish I would?
Providing open points like this in your discussion can give your partner a safe space to express what they do and don't like about your sex life.
- Question: Can we try to make more time for [_____]?
Being specific with your partner about what you want and use language that doesn't place blame on one side. Using "we" statements (rather than "you" statements) reiterates your partnership.
- Question: Do you like it when I touch you there, or is there a different area that's longing to be touched?
Be specific when your partner asks you this question - exploring actionable touch mutually inspires excitement and arousal.
- Question: What is your favorite sexual memory of us?
Reminiscing on your favorite intimate moments together can rekindle the excitement and activate a deeper desire in both partners.
- Question: Is there any moment of our sex life in the past that you want to recreate now?
Understanding what has worked well for your partner in the past is a key to understanding how they feel pleasure.
- Question: Can we explore phone sex the next time one of us is away, if I promise to indulge in one of your fantasies?
Sharing fantasies with your partner can feel intimidating, and phone sex is an easier way to express your desires to your partner and learn what kind of things they want to try.
- Question: Would you want to try using a couple's sex toy the next time we have sex and check in after to see how it felt?
If you (or your partner) are interested in trying something new, this can be a very unique bonding experience. Be sure to check in with your partner after to ask how they feel about including the toy in your sex life going forward.
- Question: I love the way you smell after you get out of the shower - can I join you next time?
Building anticipation and offering a spontaneous act of intimacy can help excite your partner's desire and builds a deeper sensual connection between the two of you.
- Question: Can you wear that t-shirt I gave you because you look really nice in it?
Setting the mood, letting your partner know you appreciate them and offering compliments can help build their confidence and solidify that you are romantically and physically attracted to them.
The benefits of having a healthy sex life…
The health benefits of sex have been researched extensively. It's been proven that a healthy sex life (more specifically, orgasms) are scientifically linked to improvements in mental health (including the minimization of depression and anxiety symptoms) and the development of a strong and healthy immune system,
Additionally, according to a Harvard Medical School study, frequent sex (or frequent ejaculation) has proved to reduce the risk of prostate cancer in men.
Sex is good for you - but what defines a "healthy" sex life?
Healthy can look different for every couple and every individual. While the studies listed throughout this article suggest about once per week as a minimum for sex in a "healthy and happy" couple - there is nothing more important than creating a safe, open and intimate connection with your partner.
What that looks like for you, only you (and your significant other) can decide - and creating a safe space for conversation is the very first step in ensuring you are both sexually satisfied and happy in the relationship.
- Are Sexual Fetishes Psychologically Healthy? - Big Think ›
- Why you should (and shouldn't) be monogamous - Big Think ›
- Do open relationships actually work? An expert weighs in - Big Think ›