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What Is The Average Amount Of Sex For Married Couples?

What Is The Average Amount Of Sex For Married Couples?

By Dr Dean Knoll

Ah, the age old question: what is the average amount of sex for married couples?

This question is often asked, but it's difficult to answer with numbers. The average sex frequency for married couples is the frequency that the couple agree works best for them. As long as both partners are satisfied, there is no right or wrong answer.  

This is easier said than believed though, and it can be hard not to compare your marriage and the average amount of sex you have to others. So, we are going to discuss all aspects of how often the average married couple gets down in the boudoir, including:

  • How often the average married couple has sex;

  • Why sex lessens over time;

  • Married sex by age;

  • How important sex is in a marriage; and

  • How to improve the amount of times you have sex in your marriage.

But first, a word on sex.

The word "sex" often means different things to different people. For example, in a 2010 study 486 men and women in the U.S. (aged 18-96) were asked what defines "having sex".  Ninety-five percent (95%) said yes to penile-vaginal intercourse, while 45% said yes to touching, fondling or manually stimulating a partner's genitals was "having sex". The respondents stated oral sex around 70% and anal sex around 80% was considered "having sex". For the purposes of this article, we will be referring to the average frequency of penetrative sex for married couples.

So, what is the average amount of sex for married couples?

According to the 2018 General Social Surveys data on 660 married couples found that 25% have sex once a week, 16% have sex 2 to 3 times a week, 5% had sex 4 or > times a week, 17% had sex once a month, 19% had sex 2-3 times a month and 7% had sex once or twice in the past year. Additional research has shown most couples are having sex 50 - 55 times a year.

Why does sex lessen in marriages over time?

When couples first get together, there's often a period of having sex frequently due to initial excitement of a new relationship. Over time, the average amount of sex married couples (and couples in general) have can go down as people return to their normal libidos. 

People's desire for sex can fluctuate based on factors such as stress, work responsibilities, sleep, medications, diet, exercise and financial problems. Additional conditions can include low testosterone, erectile dysfunction or Peyronie's disease in men. Women may experience vaginal dryness after menopause, which may make sex uncomfortable. Sexual activity decrease may be linked to overall health or lack of partners.  

Average sex frequency for married couples by age.

A recirculated study by the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University suggests that younger aged couples are having more sex than older aged group couples. Specifically, the research showed that people between the ages of 18-29 are having the most sex with an average of 112 sex sessions per year (roughly 2 times a week). People between the ages of 30-39 have sex on average 86 times a year (roughly 1.6 times a week). People between the ages of 40-49 engage in sex sessions roughly 69 times a year (roughly 1.3 times a week).

As one ages, all aspects of our sexuality can change, and so too does the average amount of sex for married couples. Arousal and orgasms might take longer, desire can lower and sexual frequency can decline. AARP reported (2013) in a study of over 8000 people over 50 years old that 31% of couples have sex a few times a week, 28% of couples have sex a few times a month, 8% of couples have sex once a month and 33% of couples rarely or never have sex. However, age is just a number. Dwelling too much on numbers could make you forget the more important aspect of one's sex life: quality.

Is sex all that important in a marriage?

Sexual activity of any type (not frequency) is paramount in a marriage (relationship). Achieving a mutually-satisfying sex life requires talking about your desires and goals with your partner. Sex in relationships also boost happiness and help couples bond.

Sex can play a role in increasing intimacy between romantic partners and regular sex is linked to lower divorce rates among married couples. It can also offer benefits for physical and psychological health including lowering stress, improving sleep and boosting immune function. 

How to increase the amount of times you have sex in your marriage.

There are many ways you can increase sex frequency.


Experiment with sex toys

Experimenting with new activities like using sex toys, sex videos or role playing can improve a married couple's sexual satisfaction and ultimately increase the amount of times they have sex. Toys, sexual videos and lubricants have been helpful to improve a couple's sexual experience.  

Penile vacuum devices and penile rings to overcome erectile dysfunction, lubricants and arousal gels to assist in decreasing vaginal dryness can lead to an increase in the average frequency of sex in your marriage, as well as overall satisfaction. Male and female vibrators assist in arousability, which can also improve a couple's sex life.  

Schedule sex

Scheduling sex may be a way to show your partner that you want to prioritize sex just as you do other areas of importance in the relationship.  

Go on “intimacy” dates

An intimacy date, different than a sex date (non-goal oriented) involving kissing, cuddling or massage may ultimately lead to an increase in the average amount of sex or married couples.  

The average sex frequency can not be answered with definitive numbers. If a married couples’ average amount of sex works for them and they are both satisfied then there is no right or wrong answer. Several physiological and psychological conditions, that can affect one or both partners of the couple, can certainly influence sex frequency.

Speak to a sex therapist

A sex therapist may be beneficial to a couple to identify issues that lead to a dissatisfying sexual relationship. Resolving these issues can lead to an increased amount of sex in your marriage and the return of a satisfying sexual relationship.   

Ultimately, the average amount of sex for married couples is extremely personal, and depends entirely on that couple alone. There are many ways to increase the frequency of sex in a marriage, though it is important to remember that every marriage is different, and what matters is that both partners are happy and satisfied.

L. Dean Knoll, M.D. is the Director of the Men’s Health Clinic and Prosthetic Urology for Urology Associates in Nashville, TN. Dr. Knoll received his medical degree from the University of Health Sciences, Chicago Medical School, North Chicago, Illinois. He completed an internship in general surgery and a residency in urology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. A frequent contributor to the medical press, Dr. Knoll has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles, abstracts and book chapters. He has delivered numerous lectures and operated both nationally and internationally. Dr. Knoll has been a principle investigator in over 110 basic science and clinical trials of new devices and pharmacotherapies for various urological diseases including new devices and pharmacotherapies for the diagnosis and treatment of male erectile dysfunction, male and female urinary incontinence and benign prostatic hypertrophy. Dr. Knoll is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a diplomat of the American Board of Urology. He is also a member of numerous international and nation medical organizations, including the American Urological Association, the International Society of Sexual Medicine and the Sexual Medicine Society of North America.

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