Are you in a relationship without sex?
You might be familiar with the early stage of two sexually active and consenting adults. Everything is hot and heavy, you know immediately after touching lips that clothes are eventually coming off. At every opportunity, something’s going down. And if there is no opportunity, you make one. But when you’ve been in a relationship for a while and you know exactly how things will go, the amount of times you have sex might dwindle. But how long is *too long* to not have sex in a relationship?
I talked with a few people who have been in long relationships. Some of them have kids, some are married, some are just enjoying their income-earning-no-kids-or-wedding-to-pay-for lives. And all their answers differed. Some say they get down at least three times a week, others said once a month and then there are those that save it for special occasions.
But what’s healthy and what isn’t?
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Is it normal to have sex daily?
Yes, it is. This normally happens when a couple first lives together and there’s nothing more important than being intimate with the person you love. This also usually occurs when a couple is trying to conceive, and are just doing their due diligence to get what they want. If you are neither of these couples and sex is still on the daily…then congratulations.
Is it normal to not have sex in relationships?
Of course it is. Life gets in the way sometimes. You and your partner will have different bad days, different stress levels, different sex drives. You might finally get the opportunity one afternoon, but your kid or boss or mother ruins the moment. It happens.
The important thing is to still feel a level of intimacy with your partner—whether or not you keep your clothes on. And if your definition of intimacy changes from hour-long sessions on the bed to figuring out a recipe together in the kitchen, then that’s fine, too. There is, after all, this understanding of being touch starved or “touch deprivation—[which] occurs when a person experiences little to no touch from other living things,” which in itself can be detrimental to someone’s physical or mental well-being.
But what is “normal?”
Some studies have shown that having sex once a week is a good average. When people are surveyed, they generally say “sex is a good thing and makes me happy,” but the level of happiness stagnates at once a week. What this means is that more sex than that doesn’t ~generally~ make the couple any happier, and it’s true across age groups, sexes and sexuality. Maybe it’s why people get grumpy by Thursday afternoon; who knows.
It might be a cop out at this point, but it needs to be said that every couple is different. You might not be the average; you might not be the extremes. The key is to openly and honestly communicate with your partner on what you need and what you can provide—and keep this conversation going. Let it evolve in the same way that your lives and priorities do. And for the love of all things good, never think that asking someone “You in the mood?” will get them in the mood. Don’t forget to put in the pre-work, too.
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver