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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 ›
Emotional intelligence is a skill sought by many employers. Here's how to raise yours.
- Daniel Goleman's 1995 book Emotional Intelligence catapulted the term into widespread use in the business world.
- One study found that EQ (emotional intelligence) is the top predictor of performance and accounts for 58% of success across all job types.
- EQ has been found to increase annual pay by around $29,000 and be present in 90% of top performers.
The achievement is an important milestone in quantum computing, Google's scientists said.
- Sycamore is a quantum computer that Google has spent years developing.
- Like traditional computers, quantum computers produce binary code, but they do so while utilizing unique phenomena of quantum mechanics.
- It will likely be years before quantum computing has applications in everyday technology, but the recent achievement is an important proof of concept.
How quantum computers differ from traditional computers<p>Like traditional computers, quantum computers produce binary code to execute computing functions. But instead of using transistors to represent the ones and zeroes, as traditional computers do, quantum computers like Sycamore use quantum bits, or "qubits."</p><p>Qubits are extremely tiny pieces of hardware that act like subatomic particles, utilizing quantum phenomena like entanglement, superposition, and interference. Qubits can represent ones and zeroes. But thanks to superposition, qubits are also able to represent multiple states at the same time, meaning they can make calculations much faster than traditional computers. That's what helped Sycamore recently outperform a supercomputer.</p><p>Sycamore achieved "quantum supremacy," which occurs when a quantum computer can do something that a traditional computer cannot. To pass this benchmark, Google engineers pit Sycamore against the world's leading supercomputer, Summit, which is housed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.</p><p>"Summit is currently the world's leading supercomputer, capable of carrying out about 200 million billion operations per second," William Oliver, a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, wrote in a <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-03173-4" target="_blank">"News and Views" piece</a> for <em>Nature</em>.</p><p>But the contest between Sycamore and Summit involved a highly specific task, one that was specifically designed to give a competitive edge to a quantum computer like Sycamore.</p>
Beating the world's leading supercomputer<p>The task involved estimating how likely it was that a processor would produce some "bitstrings" more often than others. As you continue to add information to the equation, it becomes exponentially difficult for traditional computers to conduct the calculations. (You can read more about the experiment <a href="https://ai.googleblog.com/2019/10/quantum-supremacy-using-programmable.html" target="_blank">here</a>.)</p><p>"We performed a fixed set of operations that entangles 53 qubits into a complex superposition state," Ben Chiaro, a graduate student researcher in the Martinis Group, which conducted the experiment, told <em><a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191023133358.htm" target="_blank">Science Daily</a></em>. "This superposition state encodes the probability distribution. For the quantum computer, preparing this superposition state is accomplished by applying a sequence of tens of control pulses to each qubit in a matter of microseconds. We can prepare and then sample from this distribution by measuring the qubits a million times in 200 seconds."</p><p>"For classical computers, it is much more difficult to compute the outcome of these operations because it requires computing the probability of being in any one of the 2^53 possible states, where the 53 comes from the number of qubits -- the exponential scaling is why people are interested in quantum computing to begin with," Brooks Foxen, another graduate student researcher in the Martinis Group, told <em>Science Daily</em>. "This is done by matrix multiplication, which is expensive for classical computers as the matrices become large."</p><p>But the specific nature of this task has led some to question the utility of quantum computers like Sycamore.</p><p>"One criticism we've heard a lot is that we cooked up this contrived benchmark problem—[Sycamore] doesn't do anything useful yet," Hartmut Neven, a Google engineering director said at a press event on Wednesday. "That's why we like to compare it to a Sputnik moment. Sputnik didn't do much either. All it did was circle Earth. Yet it was the start of the Space Age."</p>
A proof of concept for quantum computing<p>Although it could be decades until we see quantum computing powering everyday devices, Sycamore serves as a proof of concept that there exists a form of computing that has the potential to be vastly superior to traditional computing.</p><p>"This demonstration of quantum supremacy over today's leading classical algorithms on the world's fastest supercomputers is truly a remarkable achievement and a milestone for quantum computing," Oliver wrote in his piece for <em>Nature</em>. "It experimentally suggests that quantum computers represent a model of computing that is fundamentally different from that of classical computers. It also further combats criticisms about the controllability and viability of quantum computation in an extraordinarily large computational space (containing at least the 253 states used here)."</p>
A study published Friday tested how well 14 commonly available face masks blocked the emission of respiratory droplets as people were speaking.
- The study tested the efficacy of popular types of face masks, including N95 respirators, bandanas, cotton-polypropylene masks, gaiters, and others.
- The results showed that N95 respirators were most effective, while wearing a neck fleece (aka gaiter) actually produced more respiratory droplets than wearing no mask at all.
- Certain types of homemade masks seem to be effective at blocking the spread of COVID-19.
Fischer et al.<p>A smartphone camera recorded video of the participants, and a computer algorithm counted the number of droplets they emitted. To establish a control trial, the participants spoke into the box both with and without a mask. And to make sure that the droplets weren't in fact dust from the masks, the team conducted more tests by "repeatedly puffing air from a bulb through the masks."</p>
Fischer et al.<p>The results, published Friday in <a href="https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/early/2020/08/07/sciadv.abd3083" target="_blank">Science Advances</a>, showed that some masks are pretty much useless. In particular, neck fleeces (also called gaiters) actually produced more respiratory droplets compared to the control trial — likely because the fabric breaks down big droplets into smaller ones.</p><p>The top three most effective masks were N95 respirators, surgical masks, and polypropylene-cotton masks. Bandanas performed the worst, but were slightly better than wearing no mask at all.</p>
Fischer et al.<p>Research on mask efficacy is still emerging. But the new results seem to generally align with <a href="https://newsroom.wakehealth.edu/News-Releases/2020/04/Testing-Shows-Type-of-Cloth-Used-in-Homemade-Masks-Makes-a-Difference" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer dofollow">prior tests</a>. For example, a study from June published in <a href="https://aip.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/5.0016018" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer dofollow">Physics of Fluid</a> found that bandanas (followed by folded handkerchiefs) were least effective at blocking respiratory droplets. That same study also found, as <a href="https://newsroom.wakehealth.edu/News-Releases/2020/04/Testing-Shows-Type-of-Cloth-Used-in-Homemade-Masks-Makes-a-Difference" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer dofollow">others have</a>, that masks made from multiple layers of quilter's fabric were especially effective at blocking droplets.</p><p>The researchers hope other institutions will conduct similar experiments so the public can see how well different masks can block the spread of COVID-19.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"This is a very powerful visual tool to raise awareness that a very simple masks, like these homemade cotton masks, do really well to stop the majority of these respiratory droplets," Fischer told CNN. "Companies and manufacturers can set this up and test their mask designs before producing them, which would also be very useful."</p>
Sharing QAnon disinformation is harming the children devotees purport to help.
- The conspiracy theory, QAnon, is doing more harm than good in the battle to end child trafficking.
- Foster youth expert, Regan Williams, says there are 25-29k missing children every year, not 800k, as marketed by QAnon.
- Real ways to help abused children include donating to nonprofits, taking educational workshops, and becoming a foster parent.
Real ways you can help stop child trafficking<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="21fc2dc85391501eec28c4bf46d7db15"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/AXL0q9jNZGU?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Williams is the founder and CEO of <a href="http://www.seenandheard.org/" target="_blank">Seen and Heard</a>, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that helps foster youth develop character through the performing arts. She's been involved with foster youth for years; I <a href="https://bigthink.com/politics-current-affairs/child-sex-trafficking" target="_self">wrote about her work</a> in child trafficking just over a year ago. Tragically, since that time, the situation for these children has only gotten worse, in large part because of QAnon.</p><p>Williams says child trafficking is an easy cause to rally people together. Fear is also a powerful unifying force, one that QAnon believers are already primed for via the news they consume. Almost every parent cares about their children, making them the ideal target to solidify groups. </p><p>The real problem, she says, is that the youth she works with are falling for these conspiracy theories. Trauma is a particularly powerful tool for indoctrination. If you're a teenager that's been abducted or abused, your trust level is already extremely low. Then you read about a global cabal of powerful men (and a few women) secretly abusing children, and the narrative seems ready-made for your personal history.</p><p>When Williams tried to "lovingly and kindly correct" the youth she was working with after learning about the Wayfair conspiracy, the girls' response was, "well, who owns the media?" </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"She goes from this small little thing to a QAnon talking point. I've been thinking about why she would believe such a preposterous idea—and there are others; it's not just one student, and they're in in deep. I think that when something horrific happens to you as a child, it's a lot easier to distance yourself from the immediate reality that it was an uncle or a parent or a sibling that hurt you. By detaching from that immediate person, they project it onto Bill Gates or Chrissy Teigen. Then it's not so personal, it's global." </p>
A man wear a shirt with the words Q Anon as he attends a rally for President Donald Trump at the Make America Great Again Rally being held in the Florida State Fair Grounds Expo Hall on July 31, 2018 in Tampa, Florida.
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images<p>As Williams mentions, there are over 30,000 kids in foster care in the Los Angeles area alone. It's easy to fall through the cracks. The systems in place aren't perfect; they're certainly underfunded. When you're in a system trying to support you yet isn't capable of doing so, viewing the world as imperfect, and even harmful, becomes the lens through which you see reality. Again, this makes for a perfect indoctrination tool.</p><p>One popular QAnon talking point is that 800,000 children are missing. As Williams says, child trafficking experts "don't buy this for a minute." The number makes for a good meme but a poor representation of the problem. </p><p>To source better data, Williams turns to the <a href="https://www.missingkids.org/" target="_blank">National Center for Missing and Exploited Children</a> (NCMEC) and the <a href="https://www.fbi.gov/services/cjis/ncic" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer dofollow">National Crime Information Center</a> (NCIC). An important factor when reading data: if a teacher <em>and</em> a caregiver report a missing child to NCIC, that counts as two children, not one, which accounts for some of the fluctuations in numbers. In total, between 25,000 and 29,000 kids go missing every year. Importantly, 94 percent of those children are recovered within four to six weeks. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"They're not documenting the recovery rate. It's not like these numbers are perpetually hanging out there. So this 800,000 number is just ludicrous." </p><p>Williams compares what's going on to Black Lives Matter. Blacking out your Instagram profile picture is performative. It signals that you actually care, which is great, but if you're not supporting Black-owned businesses, for example, there are no teeth to your activism. </p><p>Of course, blacking out your profile doesn't cause the real-world harm the QAnon virus does. Sharing misinformation is ultimately harmful to the children in need of help. Williams offers the resources below—ranging from donations to nonprofits to educational trainings to becoming a foster parent—for people that actually want to do something to help victims of sexual and physical abuse. They might not make a great Twitter meme, but in the actual world, this support makes all the difference. </p><p><strong>To report abuse/neglect, call the child abuse hotline: 800.540.4000 (LA county) / 800.422.4453 (National)</strong></p><ul><li>Support anti-trafficking organizations by donating to <a rel="noopener noreferrer dofollow" href="http://savinginnocence.org/" target="_blank">Saving Innocence</a>, which runs the continuum of care from rescue to recovery, <a href="http://gozoe.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer dofollow">Zoe</a>, a reputable faith-based organization, and <a rel="noopener noreferrer dofollow" href="https://withtwowings.org/" target="_blank">Two Wings</a>, which helps to rehabilitate female survivors</li><li><a rel="noopener noreferrer dofollow" href="http://www.nolabrantleyspeaks.org/" target="_blank">Nola Brantley</a> offers in-person and online trainings to help combat the commercial sexual exploitation of children</li><li><a rel="noopener noreferrer dofollow" href="http://instagram.com/imrebeccabender" target="_blank">Rebecca Bender</a> is a trafficking survivor that runs "Myth Busters," which combats conspiracy theory disinformation</li><li>The <a href="https://www.instagram.com/missingkids/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer dofollow">National Center</a> of Missing and Exploited Children</li><li>Operation <a href="https://www.instagram.com/ourrescue/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer dofollow">Underground Railroad </a></li><li><a href="https://www.instagram.com/defendinnocence/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer dofollow">Defend Innocence</a> offers tips for parents and caregivers to keep kids safe</li></ul><p><span></span>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>