What Marital Sex Statistics Can Reveal

Who's Doing It and How Often?

Young couple kissing in doorway of balcony, bed in foreground
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While it's not usually a good idea to compare your sex life to what sex statistics say about others, it can be interesting to look at how often other couples have sex. For example, many people believe they're having less sex than their peers (according to a goop.com reader survey), but scientific study results might prove them wrong.

Other stats can offer insight on married couples' sexual satisfaction and even relationship satisfaction and how it's related to sex.

How Often Do Married Couples Have Sex?

Americans in their 20s (whether partnered or not) have sex about 80 times a year, or more than once per week, says a 2017 study. While that number declines with age, it turns out that there is such a thing as too much sex.

While the frequency of sex is associated with happiness, partnered couples who have sex more than once a week are no happier than those having sex weekly, according to an analysis of three research studies of over 30,000 people.

Having sex once a week might be the ideal, according to science. But the real ideal is what works for you and your partner. If you're happy, then you're having the right amount of sex for you. If you're not, you can work on the problem through better communication, more experimentation in the bedroom, and/or couples or sex therapy.

More research looking at this sex frequency-happiness connection noted that pushing frequency past once a week might "lead to a decline in wanting for, and enjoyment of, sex." In other words, quality counts as much as quantity.

What's more, one study of heterosexual couples published in 2017 linked husbands' "positive behaviors" toward their wives with the frequency of sex. So if you want more in bed, you might try being more generous and giving outside of the bedroom.

Married Sex and Satisfaction

A survey conducted by Durex (the condom maker) in 2013 looked at some of the ways sex can promote connection and satisfaction in couples. Some results included:

  • 96% of respondents said being emotionally connected results in the best sex.
  • 92% are turned on by their partner showing vulnerability.
  • 90% believe it is possible for sex to get better after years of being together.
  • 61% of women and 80% of men say "the sex is pretty good." (Another 2013 survey, from iVillage, got the same result.)

Satisfaction and interpersonal warmth matter more in a marriage than the frequency of intercourse, according to sex researchers. And there is a strong connection between sex, well-being, affection, and positive affect (or mood), according to research published in 2017.

Mutual respect is also important; when partners feel respected, they also report being sexually satisfied. In terms of how their sex life could be improved, people say they're looking for more love and romance; more quality time alone with their partner; more fun; and less stress.

Married Sex and Communication

Couples also say they could have better communication with their partner. The answer to "what should we do to make our sex life better/have sex more often/make sex more satisfying" often begins with talking. One study, published in 2019, tied better sexual communication with greater sexual satisfaction—and even fewer faked orgasms. "Women who continued to fake orgasms were more likely to indicate embarrassment talking about sex with their partner in explicit ways," the study's authors said.

"More than half of women reported they had wanted to communicate with a partner regarding sex but decided not to; the most common reasons were not wanting to hurt a partner’s feelings, not feeling comfortable going into detail, and embarrassment," the study continued.

A Word From Verywell

Though interesting, what statistics say about other peoples' sex lives is usually not relevant to your own. What matters is how you and partner feel about your relationship and sex life—and how well you can discuss it with each other. Communication is key. Depending on the underlying issues and emotions you and your partner are experiencing, you might benefit from working with a personal therapist, a couple's counselor, or a sex therapist.

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