We’re Long Islanders. We talk about sex, we think about sex, and we definitely want to make sure we’re having enough. The question can come from either person in a relationship, though usually when we hear the jokes from comedians and sitcoms, it seems as if men want more sex than their female counterparts.
Unfortunately, the scientists seem to agree. Across every measure, from the frequency of sex, to number of fantasies, to masturbation, to desired frequency, the metadata suggests that “men demonstrated stronger urges than women [source: Baumeister, Catansee and Vohs].” So perhaps there is some truth to the jokes.
And it’s not just the seven year slump that seems to be problematic. “The male mojo doesn't represent a snapshot of time; rather, it persists across age groups, marital status and sexuality.” That means it is important to work out our differences in sex drives, even if we’ve been married or in a committed relationship for years. [source: Christen Conger].
Sex: Not Just Important In The Bedroom
More importantly, the studies tell us that our sex lives influence more than just what happens in the bedroom. As the authors of the above study stated, “If one gender generally experiences stronger or more frequent sexual desires, then this pattern is likely to become incorporated into the society’s conceptions of sex roles.”
We see this in the lengths of time that women and men wait to have sex, we see this in the perceptions of women, and most importantly, we see this in our relationships with our partners.
If one person perceives a lack, this naturally feeds into every aspect of our relationship – from emotional intimacy to workload balances.
The scientists also tell us that it is usually men who are doing the negotiating for more sex: “McCabe found that men in relationships (across the full sample and all levels of relationship longevity) showed significantly more desire for intercourse than they were having, whereas women had about what they wanted.” [source: Baumeister, Catansee and Vohs].
What does that mean for a marriage or partnership? Most likely, it means that there is the possibility for tension in this area of our lives. When we start to evaluate our own levels of intimacy, we start wanting to find out about others, to figure out what’s “normal”.
Here are some ideas from the Kinsey Institute for married individuals for frequency of sex.
|Percentages of men – frequency of vaginal sex||Age 25-29||Age 30-39||Age 40-49||Age 50-59|
|Not in past year||1.6||4.5||9.1||20.6|
|A few times per year to monthly||9.3||15.6||16.2||25|
|A few times per month to weekly||46.3||47.3||51.0||38.3|
|2-3 times per week||37.1||26.8||19.9||15|
|4 or more times per week||5.9||5.8||3.7||1.1|
It’s natural to want to know what “normal” is, and even to want be within a certain range, but we need to get at the heart of that question: are you happy with the amount of sex in your relationship?
Is it too much, too little, or just right – not based on what your friends think or your neighbors are doing, or even the studies, but what seems to be working for you and your partner.
Most important, though, is that both people in the relationship are allowed to feel normal – to know that it’s perfectly natural not to have the same sex drive as your partner’s, no matter which person wants more.
Some Questions To Ask Yourself:
- Do you and your partner argue about sex?
- Do you feel any uncomfortable emotion when you think about sex with your partner – either aversion, or anxiety, or even just tenseness?
- Does your partner ask for more (or less!) than you are willing to give?
If one partner wants to have more, or even both, but aren’t sure how to go about it, here are some tips to getting a little more in the bedroom (and surprisingly, they don’t start in the bedroom).
Start By Talking:
- Begin your sentences with “I”.
- Talk about your own feelings and needs, not an accusation of what they are or are not doing.
What Else Is Going On?
- Are you and your partner getting enough sleep? This is a major cause of a loss of libido in both men and women. [Source: WebMd].
- Stress can seriously lower your libido. Working on this one is easier said than done, of course!
- Is one person feeling as if they do more around the house or with the kids or at the office than the other? This is a touchy subject, but any effort that can be made towards sharing the tasks will be appreciated by the other. As a friend once said “Nothing makes me hotter than seeing my hubby washing dishes.”
Have You Tried Any Of These Things, But It’s Still Not Working?
Physical intimacy is a very large and complex part of every relationship, and deserves the time and focus of both partners.
At Nassau Guidance & Counseling, many of our clients are in committed relationships, and we work to enrich and guide these relationships with care and attention.
Our diligent efforts on behalf of both people in the relationship have helped many couples to resolve conflict, and more importantly, invite more intimacy – both emotionally and physically—back into their lives.