Sex – How often is often enough?

I recently received a request for an article, and I think it’s a good one.

I was wondering if the team could address a very important question that has come up over and over again among my circle of friends–sex. More specifically, the frequency of it. What is “normal”, what is “problematic”, who decides which is which, and how to navigate the inevitable differences in drive over time.

This is a VERY tricky subject, and I do not want to pretend to be the authority on this.  People are different, relationships are different, and even the time of day can affect the answer to this question.  The way I see it, there are a few ‘conversation starters’ that can open the doors to discussing the ‘right’ answer with your wife.

How often is often enough?

Personally, I believe there is no set rule for this.  I’ve heard that 55 is ‘the right number’ – once a week, plus birthdays and anniversary; but I can’t agree with such a regimented concept.  Sex is supposed to be somewhat spontaneous, and on the whims of those who are in love and full of hormones.  Too many times, I’ve seen the ‘only when I’m ovulating’ plan, or the ‘I do it at least once a week, or I’m afraid he’ll leave me’ drama, and countless other ‘rules’ about how much, how often.  Eventually, this results in two unhappy people who are with each other out of a sense of ‘duty’.  This pretty much never ends well for anyone.

So how can you find the balance with your spouse?  Have a real conversation about it!

The first thing to make sure is that you find the best time to talk about it.  Some people have the best conversation while lying in bed.  Others do best while driving in a car.  The important thing about the best time and place is that there can be no distractions.  No TV, no phones, no computers, no books, NO DISTRACTIONS.  You need to respect this issue enough to see the entire conversation through, no matter how uncomfortable it may be.  Now what should you talk about?

Is it me?

The most tragic assumption anyone can make is to think that a person’s lack of ‘drive’ is because of a failure on their part.  The ‘is it me?’ question is not an unreasonable question to think, but it must be discussed before it envelops the person, and consequently, the relationship.  Much of the time, people are oblivious to the fact that they are not ‘putting out’ enough to make their partners feel sexy, wanted, and desired.  Just as you can’t be expected to read her mind, she cannot be expected to read yours.  If there is not enough sex going on, you need to tell her.  If she can’t keep up with you, you need to work it out together.

If you are afraid that you are not ‘good enough’ in bed, ask her how you can improve.  What things do you do right?  What things do you do wrong?  Tiny things can make a huge difference for her, and if you show that you want to have sex for HER enjoyment, and not just to get off, you’ll probably have better luck getting lucky.  Be careful, though.  If she starts correcting you, or pointing out things that you could be doing better, DO NOT TAKE IT PERSONALLY.  You asked the question because you want to know what works for her.  If you find out that your trademark move that kept you ‘busy’ every night in college doesn’t work for her, you need to accept it and not argue its merits.

Do you want it?

We’ve discussed what sorts of things can get in the way of a woman’s sex drive.  The question is whether or not the things that are in the way can be overcome.  Is there anything that you can do to make her life easier, so she won’t be too tired/stressed/unhappy to want to have sex?  Much of the time, it can be apparent to you that all she needs is a good orgasm, and all of her stress will melt away and simply won’t matter anymore.  Unfortunately, that may not be where her brain is, and she might need your help to get there.

The other thing to consider is the time of day.  When do your hormones peak?  In the morning?  Afternoon?  Evening?  Middle of the Night?  When do hers peak?  If she is ‘ready’ in the morning, and you are ‘ready’ in the late evening, you’ll need to work out some compromises together to find the balance that works for you.  Do you peak at the same time?  Are you near each other when it happens, or are you at work?  I foresee some long lunches in your future.  🙂  Find a way to make it work together.

The issue with the timing of your ‘peak’ is that unless you’re really thinking about it, you don’t know when it happens.  Take the time to really think about when you are ‘in the mood’, and ask your wife to do the same.  Many questions could be answered by this simple self-exploration.

Am I asking for it properly?

Most husbands get upset when their wives want something but don’t ask for it… why are you allowed to expect something, but never state that you want it?  Subtleties don’t necessarily work (depending on the time of day), and whatever you think is being ‘blatantly obvious’ may not be very obvious to her.  She may be thinking that you are just feeling loving and affectionate – not that you are giving the sign for sexin’.  On the other hand, are you missing her not-so-blatant queues?

Talk through what words, queues, actions, and hints are *always* going to be a sign for sexin’.  For those who don’t want to ask “do you want to have sex right now?”, there are a myriad of other ways to ask – but she needs to know what they are.  Double entendres, such as ‘do you want to go to bed?’ probably won’t work.  If she’s tired, she’ll want to go to SLEEP in the bed… not get a fantastic cardio workout.  Find a special phrase that is unmistakably “I want to tear your clothes off and make such noises together that the neighbors think about calling the police and/or animal control.”

Heck – say that!

Could it be anything else?

The point of this conversation is to make sure that you are being clear and open about how much sex you want to have with your spouse.  If you are not getting enough, you should not be afraid to say so.  On the other hand, you need to listen to her if she cannot or will not give you exactly what you want.  Does sex cause her pain?  All that boasting about how you are the most gargantuan man on the planet may impress your guy friends, but it can sometimes be pretty frightening to women.  If you are ‘larger than life’, make sure you take the necessary precautions to prevent injury.  There are a plethora of lubrication options out there.

Is there something else that is preventing her from meeting your needs and desires?  As scary as it sounds, there may be something physically wrong, and it may be time to go to the doctor to get some tests done.  Low testosterone levels can cause normal, otherwise healthy people to simply have no sex drive.  There is a test for it.  It doesn’t necessarily mean that there is anything wrong with the person.  It is something that can be treated.   Not up for bloodwork?  Sometimes, herbal remedies and even acupuncture can make a difference.  Find a way to work together to get past whatever it is that is causing the drive to be in neutral.


All this talking is great and all, but let’s get back to the point… how often is often enough?

Like I said… I don’t know!  Dear readers, how often do you have sex?  Is it enough?  Please share in the comments!

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Filed Under: featuredIn BedIn TroubleRomance 101


About the Author: Abby Dryer's goal in life is to bridge the communication gap between men and women. She finds herself giving lots of marital advice to her guy friends whose wives don’t want to have to explain *everything* to their husbands. “Women are hard to understand. I’m a woman, and *I* don’t even get us sometimes! Goodhusbanding is a great guide to help men understand their women, and hopefully communicate with a little more confidence, because that’s what works… communication!”

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  1. Obviouslyannie says:

    I’ve never kept a tally but neither of us has complained (except for the occasional headache!). I read in an advice column once that every newlywed couple should get a piggy bank and every time they have sex, put $1 into the bank. After a pre-determined amount of time (1 year, 5 years, 10 years, etc) your supposed to crack the bank open on your anniversary and use the money to fund a second honeymoon. I guess you’d know there was a problem if you only had $5 in there!