How Much Sex Is Normal?

When I became engaged, an older fellow shared a “wedding game” he and his wife tried when they tied the knot. They had a clear glass jar sitting by the bed, and every time they made love in their first year of marriage, a penny would go into the jar. Following the first year, a penny would be taken out of the jar whenever they made love. With a twinkle in his eye, he confessed that after ten years of marriage they gave up on the game. The jar was still half full.

Isn’t the old joke that as soon as the marriage starts, the sex stops? 

More recently, I was interviewed for a TV show. The young reporter asked me, “On average, how many times in a week do you have sex?” Average? I travel 15 days out of the month, and when I get home my body is exhausted from the wear and tear. Sporadic would describe my average. Does that make me inadequate sexually? Hardly. 

There is no average to how many times a couple makes love. Of the billions of people on this planet, you have a unique libido and your life experience and stage of life create the ebb and flow of your sexuality. For example, a typical 18 year-old feels randy and invincible. By the time they reach 40, daily responsibilities replace the energy and zeal sex once occupied. Your sexual uniqueness is just that; it’s individual like a thumbprint. 

When you become coupled, it is a matter of working with two people’s sexual thumbprints. This is where things get complicated because the natural ebb and flow of two people rarely coincide. Sometimes, the two of you are in prime sexual mode and cannot wait to get home to rip each other’s clothes off. Sometimes your partner feels romantic, and your mind is on work. Sometimes you nudge your partner expecting some nooky, and they rollover and go to sleep, leaving you feeling ripped off. Sometimes the two of you will have a week where there is sex everyday. The next month, nothing will happen. This doesn’t make you abnormal. It makes you human. 

While the camera was rolling, I contemplated all of this. Looking back, my answer to that young lady should have been, “There are too many variables to come up with an average amount of sex the average person has in a week. That includes me.” However, because I felt the nervous pressure of being on camera, I chickened out. With my pride in check, not wanting to be publicly humiliated I smiled and answered, “Oh, about five times a week.” 

There are happy couples that have sex every day, there are happy couples that have sex once week, and there are couples that have sex once a month. It’s not a matter of quantity, it’s a matter of what works for you at the present time in your life. A healthy sex life takes time and effort. It takes flexibility and forgiveness. It also takes two human beings understanding that sexuality is a constantly changing variable. 

How much sex is normal? Surveys that give norms on sexual activity should not be taken too seriously. When questioned about personal information, most people get nervous, smile into the camera and lie. Do not fall into the trap of measuring your happiness against someone else’s measuring stick. If you are happy with the sex in your relationship, then you are normal. No measuring sticks needed.

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