American couples are having a lot less sex than they used to. According to a study that came out last year, adults in the United States had sex about nine fewer times per year between 2010 and 2014 compared to 1995 to 1999. For all the criticism millennials and younger generations have gotten for hookup culture and online dating, researchers have found that we’re actually having sex less often than our parents and grandparents did when they were our age.
It’s not really clear why. Many researchers attribute the decline to fewer young adults today having steady partners, but that’s just one theory. We might argue instead that in a society where being too busy and stressed out is practically a status symbol, many of us just don’t have the time for getting laid. That, or we’re simply too tired from a long day at work to roll over in bed and meet our partners halfway.
Whatever the reason for the so-called “sex recession,” let’s all remember that sometimes quality trumps quantity. Think about it like this: Would you rather enjoy one decadent slice of the perfect wedding cake—a beautiful work of art, not too sweet and moist—or three slices of wedding cake that’s just OK?
That’s why it’s so important to maximize the romantic moments you do have with your significant other. Go after the good cake. Here are three of the best times to have sex.
Around day 14 of your menstrual cycle
We’re not saying you should schedule sex, but a quick peek at your day planner can’t hurt. A small study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine in 2008 found that the size of a woman’s clitoris grows larger—up to 20 percent, in fact—around day 14 in her menstrual cycle. With more than 15,000 nerve endings, the clitoris is the centerpiece of the female sexual system. An engorged clitoris increasing the likelihood of sexual arousal and thus sexual pleasure.
First thing in the morning
Morning breath and crusty eyes aside, there’s a reason why having sex first thing in the morning gets your day off on the right foot: The act of getting it on releases endorphins, the feel-good chemicals. According to a 2017 study from Forza Supplements, the most optimum time for sex is 7:30 a.m., or about 45 minutes after you wake up. That’s when many people feel the most energetic; it’s also when estrogen and testosterone levels are at their peak.
Not to mention, that’s when our bodies are most ready for it. Morning wood, anyone?
At 3 in the afternoon
Alisa Vitti, a women’s hormone expert, argues that for straight couples, 3 p.m. is about the time that men and women are most in tune with each other’s sexual and emotional desires, thus making an afternoon romp one of the best times for satisfaction.
See more: 7 Expert Sex Tips for Newlyweds
In fact, according to biological anthropologist Helen Fisher from the Kinsey Institute, our early human ancestors weren’t really into getting their groove on at night anyway—it was just too dark. Sex at night actually didn’t come until the discovery of fire, Fisher told Well + Good recently. According to her research, ancient man preferred to have sex in the middle of the day. “They would wake up, eat, have sex, and then socialize,” she said in the interview.
We’re always looking for a reason to leave work early—this may be the best one yet.