What Statistics About Married Sex Reveal

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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, sometimes people believe they're having less sex than their peers, but scientific study or survey 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.

This article discusses how often couples have sex. It also covers how sex frequency is related to relationship satisfaction and communication.

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 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 with the frequency of sex in your marriage, 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.

While sex frequency generally declines with age, it turns out that there is such a thing as too much sex. 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.

Recap

Research suggests that the average adult in their 20s has sex around 80 times a year, but there is no "ideal" amount of sex. What matters is whether you and your partner are happy with the quantity and quality of sex.

Married Sex and Satisfaction

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.

Recap

Many factors can affect the quality and frequency of sex, but many couples report that communication plays a pivotal role. Couples that communicate well may be more likely to have better sex more frequently.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How often do married couples with children have sex?

    Surveys tend to suggest that sex frequency declines after having children, although this varies from one couple to the next. Research has found that 89% of women report resuming sexual activity within six months after having a child. Factors such as sexual dysfunction, lack of sleep, body image issues, stress, conflicting schedules, and the demands of parenting can all play a role in how frequently couples have sex after having children.

  • How does frequency of sex change with age?

    Changes in sexual desire and frequency are normal as people age. For men, sex drive tends to peak around age 18 when testosterone levels are highest and then begins to gradually decline starting at around age 30. For women, sexual appetite usually peaks in the 30s and 40s and begins to decline following menopause. Hormone levels and other physical changes can play a role in how frequently people desire or engage in sex as they age.

  • How does frequency of sex change with length of marriage?

    Research suggests that relationship duration plays a role in the decline of sex frequency over time. Known as the "honeymoon effect," couples typically have sex more frequently at the beginning of a relationship followed by a sharp decline after the first year. In addition to the length of the relationship, other factors such as physical health and age also affect sex frequency over time.

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