Answering, “How much sex is normal?”
A great doctor once said that if sex didn’t feel so great, that the human race would have died off generations ago. It’s a valid point raised by Dr. Allison Cameron from House (yes, sorry, I don’t mean a real doctor). You can argue that some people would have done it for the sake of having kids and keeping our species alive, but the world certainly wouldn’t be overpopulated in that case, would it?
“[Sex is] violent. It's ugly. And it's messy.
And if God hadn't made it unbelievably fun, the human race would have died out eons ago.”
—Dr. Allison Cameron, House
Let’s just follow the thought and admit it: Sex is fun (and, sometimes, funny). But while we all enjoy it from time to time, our sexual appetite isn’t normally a switch we can turn on and off. We feel tired, we don’t feel sexy and we just don’t want to get naked. And, of course, there are other things to factor in as well: the kids in the other room, the piles of paperwork to get through, the responsibilities that need get done.
Asides from the joy we get from that sweet release, sex actually has some medical benefits. Studies have shown that sex is linked to a slimmer waist (burning some 3.6 calories a minute!), a stronger heart and lower risks of prostate and breast cancers. Mentally, sex is associated with lower rates of depression and an overall better mood.
But what is a good, healthy and normal amount of sex, anyway?
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Most couples will tell you that they try to do it once a week; my own friends have “required” that of their partners. And while I’m sure they didn’t do any research, it turns out that they’ve actually hit the nail quite squarely on the head.
Research from Amy Muise, an assistant professor of psychology at York University (Canada), states that sex once a week is the “optimal” amount to get down and dirty. “We found that sexual frequency was associated with greater well-being up to about once a week for the average person,” she says. “Having sex more frequently than once a month was not associated with greater well-being.”
Now, the raunchy ones of you might have your heads running wild at this point. But let me just reiterate: more sex is not a ~bad~ thing; it just hasn’t proven to cause more happiness. On the other hand, having sex less than once a week for couples cause a dip in the contentment scale.
But then we need to consider more factors than just the run-of-the-mill “I’m tired” excuse: age, natural sex drive, the length of the relationship, each partner’s general health. The amount of sex a couple has doesn’t always have a bearing on how healthy they are as a couple; there have been studies that showed some couples only have sex once a month and still consider themselves happy.
So how do you really know when you’re on the brink of a sexless and hopeless romance? How much sex is normal?
The answer, unfortunately, is dependent on who you’re ruffling the sheets with—because when it comes down to it, a “healthy” amount of sex is actually when one’s sexual appetite is satisfied. Now we understand that one partner may have more desire than the other, which is really where the “once a week on average” theory comes into play.
If you find yourself asking, “How much sex is normal?” the answer generally lies in opening up the conversation with your partner. And understand that, sometimes, rules really just have to be put into place. As a once-great band once sang:
It's not always rainbows and butterflies
It's compromise that moves us along, yeah
—Maroon 5, She Will Be Loved
Art Mathew Fetalver