Sex drive declines with age. However, this decline is individual, and there isn’t any such thing as the “average adult.” The desired amount of sex varies from person to person. Thus, the frequency of sex varies from couple to couple. The trick lies in finding a balance with your partner and agreeing on what you want.
Lloyds Pharmacy questioned British couples about their sexual habits and found:
- 52% said they have sex once a week.
- 16% said they have sex once a month.
- 12% said they have sex every day.
Other research discovered that, in England, 86% of men and 60% of women aged 60–69 years reported being sexually active, as did 59% of men and 34% of women aged 70–79 years old, and 31% of men and 14% of women aged 80 years or older.
Despite what movies and TV shows might portray, there's no such thing as a flawless sex life. While these statistics give us an average, it doesn't mean this amount of intimacy is the same across all married people.
What factors contribute to changes in sexual frequency?
The frequency of sexual activity in a marriage can vary greatly, influenced by physical, emotional, psychological and lifestyle factors. Understanding these dynamics is essential to navigate the complexities of your sex life.
Physical factors that impact your sex life
Physical well-being is crucial to sexual activity, especially as you age. Health conditions, medications, and overall physical fitness can all influence your desire and ability to engage in sexual activities. Though sexual activity often decreases with age, many older couples maintain a satisfying and active sex life.
Emotional factors that impact your sex life
Stress from work, financial worries, or family obligations can create an emotional strain that might reduce the frequency of intimate moments. Mental health concerns like anxiety or depression can also impact your desire for closeness.
Any emotional dynamics within your relationship, such as unresolved conflicts or feeling emotionally distant from your partner, can determine how often you engage in intimate activities. A solid emotional bond characterised by trust, open communication, and emotional closeness often leads to more satisfying and regular moments of intimacy, which can be a vital aspect of a fulfilling and enduring partnership as you grow older.
Psychological factors that impact your sex life
Psychological factors, such as your desires, levels of arousal, and overall sexual satisfaction, play a pivotal role in determining the frequency of intimate moments in a long-term relationship.
Your and your partner’s unique passions and ability to become aroused are critical factors in how often you engage in intimate activities. When you are both in sync with your desires and experience satisfaction, it leads to a more fulfilling sex life. On the flip side, differences in sexual preferences or satisfaction levels can lead to variations in how much sex you want.
Lifestyle factors that impact your sex life
Lifestyle factors, including work demands, family responsibilities, and daily routines, significantly impact the frequency of intimacy within a marriage.
Extended work hours, the obligations of looking after your children and grandchildren and managing your home can sometimes take precedence over your private life, leading to variations in the frequency of intimate moments.
Other typical lifestyle causes for losing your sex drive may include:
- An unhealthy lifestyle—lack of healthy foods, exercise, and sleep.
- Taking certain medications such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, or blood pressure medications.
- Stress and depression.
- An unhappy relationship with your partner.
- Feeling undesired by your partner.
- A negative change in body image.
- Hormone changes during menopause.
- Sexual boredom—scheduling sex or not experiencing anything new in the bedroom.
Consuming too much alcohol or drugs can also make it harder to orgasm or cause erectile dysfunction.
Finding a harmonious balance between life's demands and nurturing the romantic aspects of a relationship remains a continual challenge, yet it's vital for maintaining a satisfying sex life.
Can technology impact my sex life?
Yes. Technology is a double-edged sword when it comes to sex, offering both benefits and potential pitfalls.
How technology can positively impact your sex life
Technology can be a powerful tool for improving sexual intimacy and communication. For example, it can help you stay close through video calling and texting if you are in a long-distance relationship. Online resources and social media also provide valuable information on sexual health and well-being, offering a supportive platform if you are looking to enhance your intimate connection.
For technology to positively impact your sex life, it's essential to strike a healthy balance. To do this, you can allocate specific tech-free moments for bonding and reconnecting with your partner.
How technology can negatively impact your sex life
Overindulging in technology use can create a rift between partners, fostering emotions of neglect and insecurity. According to a United States study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, couples who have a TV in their bedroom, on average, have 6 per cent less sex than those who do not.
Falling into the trap of technology addiction, pornography, and masturbation can also diminish physical intimacy, and the readily available explicit content on the internet can potentially cause a lack of sex in a couple's relationship. In a survey of 20,000 married couples, those who reported seeing an X-rated movie recently were 12% less likely to have a happy marriage.
How much sex is needed to be happy?
There's no magic number.
Each person and couple is unique, with their own desires, preferences, and expectations regarding intimacy. What's just right for one couple may not be enough or too much for another.
In reality, factors like emotional connection, effective communication, shared values, and mutual understanding all have an impact. Striving for a specific number of sexual encounters won't guarantee happiness. What truly matters is that both of you feel content and satisfied with your level of intimacy.
7 tips for maintaining a healthy sex life
Achieving and sustaining your marriage partnership takes effort and attention. Some valuable tips to help you maintain a healthy and passionate sex life include:
- Talk openly with your partner about your desires and needs.
- Spend quality time together without distractions.
- Try new things to keep the relationship exciting.
- Manage stress and stay physically and mentally healthy.
- Take time to understand their love language.
- Quality matters more than quantity.
- Seek professional help if needed.
Let’s explore these in more detail.
1. Talk openly with your partner about your desires and needs
Talk openly with your partner about your sexual needs, wants and fantasies. Creating a safe discussion space allows you to understand each other better and align your passions, fostering a more intimate connection.
2. Spend quality time together without distractions
Getting caught up in distractions is easy in today's fast-paced world. Make quality time, such as regular date nights, a priority, where you can set aside smartphones, work issues, and other distractions.
3. Try new things to keep the relationship exciting
Trying new experiences, whether in the bedroom or outside, keeps the connection exciting. It can be as simple as exploring new hobbies together, experimenting with different sex positions, or trying out new sex toys.
4. Manage stress and stay physically and mentally healthy
Stress can affect your sex life. To keep it vibrant, manage stress through relaxation techniques, regular exercise, and a balanced diet. A physically and mentally healthy body is more likely to respond positively to intimacy.
5. Take time to understand their love language
We all express and receive love differently. Whether giving them a gift, showering them with compliments, or cuddling them after a long day, understanding your partner's love language can lead to a deeper emotional connection. When you meet their emotional needs, it often paves the way for a more fulfilling sex life.
6. Quality matters more than quantity
It's not about the number of times you have sex; it’s more the quality of those moments that truly matter. Focus on making each experience special, memorable, and satisfying for you and your partner. Deep emotional and physical connection can sometimes be more rewarding than frequent sex.
7. Seek professional help if needed
If you've tried all the above and still can't improve your libido, check with your GP that there are no underlying health issues. You could also speak with a certified sex therapist for ideas on improving your sex life. If a sexless marriage or relationship is making you suffer, you need to do something about it.
What is considered ‘normal’?
Every relationship is different, and there's no one-size-fits-all regarding how much intimacy is right. You're likely on the right track if you're happy and content with your partner. But it's essential to know that more sex doesn't automatically fix an unhappy relationship; there's more to it than just physical intimacy. But remember, if it works for you, and you and your partner are both comfortable with it, then that's what truly matters.
Your journey to a healthy and happy sex life
By exploring your sexual desire, managing stress, and discovering each other's love languages, you can lay the groundwork for an intimate and deeply fulfilling connection.
Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all solution; the magic lies in uncovering what sets your relationship on fire. Quality, not quantity, is the name of the game. So long as you think you're getting enough sex, and your partner thinks they're getting enough sex, things are fine.
If challenges arise, don't hesitate to seek professional guidance. With dedication and a commitment to nurturing your special bond, you can anticipate an exhilarating sex life that enriches your marriage and keeps the flames of love burning brightly for years to come.