Oftentimes in a long-term relationship (and sometimes in a short-term relationship) there’s a lull—a point in which your sex life—that at the beginning was a no-holds-barred, clothes-ripping extravaganza—becomes a little more...sedate. Suddenly, a Saturday night becomes more about Netflix bingeing than wining and dining, and when the lights go off, you’re already half asleep.
This is normal. In fact, it’s so, so normal. But it’s also normal to start to wonder how much sex you should be having. Is it OK for your sex life to slow down? What does it mean if your sex drive changes? These are all things that most of us worry about from time to time. So if you feel like your sex life is fading or that things are a little lackluster, know that you’re not alone. When trying to work out what’s the right amount of sex to be having or how much sex is normal, it’s important that you don’t compare yourselves to TV, porn, or even your friends—because every couple is different. Here’s what you should keep in mind.
Know What’s Normal for You
First of all, when it comes to sex, there is no normal. There’s no right amount to be having; there’s no perfect, healthy number. Every couple is different. The Kinsey Institute has found that having sex once or twice a week seems to be average depending on your age, but that doesn't mean it’s the “right” number to aim for. For some people, that would be a really slow week—for others, once a month might be more likely.
What’s important is that you and your partner are both satisfied. That’s it. If you both feel happy, connected, and sexually satisfied then you’re probably having the right amount of sex. If one of you isn’t happy, then you should talk things through and look for a way to find a compromise. That might mean reinvigorating your sex life or it might mean that one of you spends more time masturbating or finding other ways to scratch that itch. If you have a big departure from your norm, that is probably something you should discuss. Just remember that it’s about what works for you two as a couple—nothing else matters.
Look at the Relationship as a Whole
If you feel like your sex life has taken a sudden change, it can help to take a step back and look at the relationship as a whole. It’s not unusual for your sex life to be a microcosm of your relationship; if your relationship is going strong, so is your sex life. But if there are any issues arising, then your sex life may pay the price. Try to see if you have larger communication issues at play or something else that might be creating distance, then deal with the source of the issue and see if your sex life improves.
Focus on Intimacy, Rather Than Sex
One of the biggest problems that can come out of a sex rut or a dry spell is that it can create a huge gulf between you and your partner—not just physically, but emotionally. If you and your partner aren’t having much sex, for whatever reason, make sure that you’re still finding ways to foster intimacy between the two of you. It might mean spending more time on the couch curled up together, making more of an effort to touch base about how you’re both feeling emotionally, or it could just mean finding other excuses to touch. Just make sure that you’re replacing that sexual intimacy with another way to bond.
Try Adding Some Novelty
If you do want to try and reinvigorate your sex life, novelty is often the easiest way. That doesn't mean you have to go and pick out the most complicated sex position from the Kama Sutra, it just means taking something new. It could be having sex more spontaneously—in a new room, at an unusual time, in a new position. It could mean adding a new toy or experimenting with one of your fantasies. It can be a big change or a little one. If you’ve been having the same sex in the same positions for your entire relationship, it makes sense that things would slow down. Trying something new can really help bring you closer together again.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Finally, when it comes to how much sex you’re having, try not to overthink it. There are so many different things that can play havoc with your sex drive, from stress to medication to mental health issues. If there are little ups and downs in how often you’re having sex, there’s no reason to panic, because everyone experiences some fluctuation. Sometimes overthinking your sex life and putting too much pressure on yourself can just make things worse. The stress of worrying about your sex life can ultimately mean that you just end up having less sex—or that the sex you do have feels stilted or uncomfortable. Try to relax and remember that little bumps in the road are totally normal.
There’s no right amount of sex to be having, and there's no normal number of times or perfect sex drive that you should be striving for. Things just aren’t that clear cut. Focus on having a strong, intimate relationship and try to find a level of sex that makes you both feel satisfied and content—because sex is always a part of the larger picture.