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?

couple in bed hiding their faces sex relationships

Are you and your partner having the average amount of sex...or maybe more?

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  • 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?

concept of sex naked couple with clothes on the floor

How often does the average couple have sex?

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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

couple in bed together kissing and talking sex relationships

Talking to your partner about what you like (and don't like) about your sex life can lead to a happier, more intimate relationship.

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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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

This is what aliens would 'hear' if they flew by Earth

A Mercury-bound spacecraft's noisy flyby of our home planet.

Image source: sdecoret on Shutterstock/ESA/Big Think
Surprising Science
  • There is no sound in space, but if there was, this is what it might sound like passing by Earth.
  • A spacecraft bound for Mercury recorded data while swinging around our planet, and that data was converted into sound.
  • Yes, in space no one can hear you scream, but this is still some chill stuff.

First off, let's be clear what we mean by "hear" here. (Here, here!)

Sound, as we know it, requires air. What our ears capture is actually oscillating waves of fluctuating air pressure. Cilia, fibers in our ears, respond to these fluctuations by firing off corresponding clusters of tones at different pitches to our brains. This is what we perceive as sound.

All of which is to say, sound requires air, and space is notoriously void of that. So, in terms of human-perceivable sound, it's silent out there. Nonetheless, there can be cyclical events in space — such as oscillating values in streams of captured data — that can be mapped to pitches, and thus made audible.

BepiColombo

Image source: European Space Agency

The European Space Agency's BepiColombo spacecraft took off from Kourou, French Guyana on October 20, 2019, on its way to Mercury. To reduce its speed for the proper trajectory to Mercury, BepiColombo executed a "gravity-assist flyby," slinging itself around the Earth before leaving home. Over the course of its 34-minute flyby, its two data recorders captured five data sets that Italy's National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF) enhanced and converted into sound waves.

Into and out of Earth's shadow

In April, BepiColombo began its closest approach to Earth, ranging from 256,393 kilometers (159,315 miles) to 129,488 kilometers (80,460 miles) away. The audio above starts as BepiColombo begins to sneak into the Earth's shadow facing away from the sun.

The data was captured by BepiColombo's Italian Spring Accelerometer (ISA) instrument. Says Carmelo Magnafico of the ISA team, "When the spacecraft enters the shadow and the force of the Sun disappears, we can hear a slight vibration. The solar panels, previously flexed by the Sun, then find a new balance. Upon exiting the shadow, we can hear the effect again."

In addition to making for some cool sounds, the phenomenon allowed the ISA team to confirm just how sensitive their instrument is. "This is an extraordinary situation," says Carmelo. "Since we started the cruise, we have only been in direct sunshine, so we did not have the possibility to check effectively whether our instrument is measuring the variations of the force of the sunlight."

When the craft arrives at Mercury, the ISA will be tasked with studying the planets gravity.

Magentosphere melody

The second clip is derived from data captured by BepiColombo's MPO-MAG magnetometer, AKA MERMAG, as the craft traveled through Earth's magnetosphere, the area surrounding the planet that's determined by the its magnetic field.

BepiColombo eventually entered the hellish mangentosheath, the region battered by cosmic plasma from the sun before the craft passed into the relatively peaceful magentopause that marks the transition between the magnetosphere and Earth's own magnetic field.

MERMAG will map Mercury's magnetosphere, as well as the magnetic state of the planet's interior. As a secondary objective, it will assess the interaction of the solar wind, Mercury's magnetic field, and the planet, analyzing the dynamics of the magnetosphere and its interaction with Mercury.

Recording session over, BepiColombo is now slipping through space silently with its arrival at Mercury planned for 2025.

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