How Often Do Couples Have Sex

How Often Do Couples Have Sex [Statistics]

We often wonder about the sexual habits of other couples, but it’s crucial to remember that every relationship is unique. There isn’t a universal “normal” when it comes to how often couples have sex; what’s truly important is mutual satisfaction and open communication.

In this meta-study, we explore various aspects of sexual frequency among couples, offering valuable insights and statistics. We aim to help you understand broader trends and how they might apply to your relationship. We’ll look into whether more sex strengthens relationships, identify an optimal frequency, and provide practical tips for enhancing sexual satisfaction.

Here’s what we’ve covered:

Key Findings

  • The average adult has sex about 54 times a year (roughly once a week).
  • 21% of couples reported having sex two to three times per month.
  • 9% of couples reported not having any sex.
  • About 59% of married couples reported having sex weekly or more.
  • A study found that increasing sexual frequency didn’t necessarily lead to greater happiness.
  • Factors affecting sexual frequency include stress, health, age, and life events.
  • Communication and mutual satisfaction are more crucial than adhering to any “normal” frequency.
  • An active sex life can improve overall well-being, including physical fitness and reduced stress.

Average Number of Times Couples Have Sex

We have earlier analyzed the sex frequency for both couples and singles and in this connection, we decided that it was interesting to isolate couples and create this more in-depth piece since the behavior from singles to couples is significantly different.

Understanding the variability in sexual frequency among couples offers valuable insights into relationship dynamics:

Study 1:

In a study from the University of Chicago’s General Social Survey, a decade-long research project, it was found that the majority of couples have sex, on average two to three times per month. This study defined a couple as individuals who were married, living together, or in a serious relationship but living separately.

Statistics from this study suggest a range of sexual frequencies among couples:

  • 19% reported having sex one time per week.
  • 16% reported having sex 2–3 times per week.
  • 7% reported having sex 3 or more times per week.
  • 18% reported having sex once per month.
  • 21% reported having sex 2–3 times per month.
  • 10% reported having sex only once or twice per year.
  • 9% reported not having any sex.

Study 2: 

This study, published in Jama Network Open Journal in 2020, studied the trends in the frequency of sexual activity among adults 18 to 44 years of age in the US, from the years 2018 to 2020.

In this study, the following was found for married couples:

  • 57.7% of married men and 60.9% of married women have sex weekly or more.
  • 35.4% of married men and 32.4% of married women have sex 1–3 times a month.
  • 5.2% of married men and 5.5% of married women have sex once or twice a year.
  • 1.7% of married men and 1.3% of married women report having no sex at all.
  • The average adult has sex about 54 times per year, which is roughly once a week.

Married couples reported different frequencies:

  • 1.7% of married men and 1.3% of married women report having no sex at all.
  • 5.2% of married men and 5.5% of married women are having sex once or twice a year.
  • 35.4% of married men and 32.4% of married women are having sex 1–3 times a month.
  • 57.7% of married men and 60.9% of married women are having sex weekly or more.

The following table outlines the frequency of sexual activity for married couples in 2016–2018:

Frequency of sexual activity Men Women
No sex at all1.7%1.3%
Once or twice per year5.2%5.5%
1 – 3 times per month35.4%32.4%
Weekly or more57.7%60.9%

The same research noted the frequency of sexual activity for those who had one or two partners in the last year in 2012:

Frequency of sexual activity 1 partner 2 Partners
No sex at all60
Once or twice per year3013
Once per month488
2 – 3 times per month9811
Weekly909
2 – 3 times per week17718
4 or more times per week5818

Study 3: 

In a 2019 British Medical Journal (BMJ) article, researchers examined changes in and factors influencing sexual frequency among 18,876 participants. Drawing on data from three national surveys on sexual attitudes and lifestyles, the study found that couples living together or married reported an average of three sexual encounters per month. This frequency was significantly higher compared to single, divorced, or widowed individuals.  

Conclusion:
The three studies indicate that the majority of couples married or cohabitating have sex an average of two to three times per month. Study 1 found that 9% of couples did not have any sex and study 2 found 1.5% of participants did not have sex, for an average of 5.3%. Study 1 indicated that 10% of couples had sex once or twice per year, while the results of study 2 were 5.4% for an average of  7.7%. Couples who are married have sex more frequently than individuals who are not in a relationship. Frequency factors include preferences, health, age, relationships, and life events.

The average adult has sex about 54 times per year, roughly once a week. However, these numbers are not prescriptive. The optimal frequency of sex varies based on individual and mutual preferences, health, age, relationship dynamics, and life events. Stress, body insecurity, chronic medical issues, and technology use can also impact how often couples have sex.

Does More Sex Make Relationships Stronger? 

More sex does not necessarily equate to a stronger relationship. Studies have shown that increased sexual frequency does not always lead to greater happiness. For instance:

  • A 2015 Carnegie Mellon study found that couples instructed to increase their sexual frequency reported decreased happiness.
  • The General Social Survey in 2022 indicated that couples having more frequent sex were not necessarily more satisfied in their relationships.

The key to a strong relationship seems to be finding a balance that works for both partners, rather than aiming for a specific frequency.

Couples instructed to increase their sexual frequency reported decreased happiness.

Tips for Improving Sexual Frequency and Satisfaction:

  • Communication: Discuss your sexual needs, desires, and any issues with your partner.
  • Reduce Stress: Manage stress through relaxation techniques and prioritizing self-care.
  • Build Confidence: Address body insecurities by focusing on positive aspects of your body.
  • Limit Technology: Keep devices out of the bedroom to enhance intimacy.
  • Stay Healthy: Maintain good overall health, which can improve libido and sexual performance.

What is the Optimal Number of Times Couples Should Have Sex?

There is no universally optimal number of times couples should have sex. It varies based on individual and mutual preferences.

Ultimately, the frequency of sex in a relationship is personal and varies widely among couples. Rather than focusing on how often you should be having sex, consider prioritizing what feels right for you and your partner. Open communication and mutual understanding are the keys to a fulfilling and satisfying sexual relationship. Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, and finding your balance is what truly matters.

Sources: www.theknot.com, www.nbcnews.com, www.medicalnewstoday.com

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