What is the right quantity of sex?

What is the right quantity of sex ?
People are afraid that they don't have enough sex or too much sex. What is the correct quantity?

As a sexologist and a clinician specializing in sex and intimacy, the frequency of sexual interactions is two of the issues I hear about most often. Some people are worried because they are hyper-sexual or sexually addicted; others think something could go wrong because they don't have sufficient sex. Naturally, this raises the question: how many sex should we have?


What is the right quantity of sex ?

How Much Sex is the Right Amount of Sex?

Whatever the worry – be it too much sex or not enough sex – the individuals and couples who ask about sexual frequency are typically experiencing a considerable amount of anxiety and stress about their sex life (or lack thereof). Usually, they want to know what is normal. Often, they’ve done an internet search and found a ridiculously wide array of opinions and dubious facts that are more likely to confuse than enlighten.
Some of the most methodically obtained data (and therefore the most likely to be accurate) is provided by the General Social Survey, which has tracked American sexual behaviors since the early 1970s. The GSS suggests that heterosexual married couples have sex approximately 58 times per year. But this number does not consider the age of the couple or how long they’ve been together. In other words, this statistic doesn’t differentiate between people in their 20s and senior citizens, or people who just got married and those who’ve been together for a few decades. Other information provided by the GSS more helpfully suggests that couples in their 20s have sex an average of 111 times per year, and that the frequency of sex drops approximately 20 percent per decade as couples get older.
Are you counting decades and percentages on your fingers right now?
Unfortunately for those seeking accurate answers about ‘normal sexual frequency’ even the GSS data may be misleading. For instance, the GSS says heterosexual men over 18 say they have sex with another person 63 times per year on average, using a condom 23% of the time. This adds up to more than 1.6 billion heterosexual male condom uses per year. Meanwhile, heterosexual women say they have sex with another person 55 times per year, on average, using a condom 16% of the time. This adds up to 1.1 billion condom uses per year. Are the men lying, or are the women lying?
In point of fact, they’re both lying. Fewer than 600 billion condoms are sold in the US each year. And at least a few of those are used by gay men, with countless others rotting in the wallets of hopeful teenage boys. These discrepancies tell us that it’s incredibly difficult to obtain accurate information about sexual activity and behavior, even when the questions are being asked by reputable research organizations like the GSS. So, from a statistics perspective, we really don’t have any idea what’s ‘normal’ when it comes to sexual frequency.
In my experience as a sexologist and therapist, healthy sexual frequency is an individual preference. One person or couple might be having sex several times per week and think that’s not nearly enough. Another person or couple might be having once per month and feel that’s sufficient or even more than sufficient. And there is nothing wrong with either of those scenarios. Either way – lots of sex or very little sex – there is no need for anxiety and stress. Having sex more often than normal (whatever you perceive ‘normal’ to be) does not make you a sex addict. Having sex less frequently than normal (again, whatever you perceive ‘normal’ to be) does not mean you’re clinically undersexed.
If either of these extremes is causing you significant distress, of course, and if hearing the facts about sexual frequency (such as they are) does not help to alleviate your distress, you may want to seek professional assistance. On the other hand, if the simple realization that you are probably more ‘normal’ than you thought diminishes your stress and anxiety, then you should proceed accordingly.
Short of addiction, human sexuality is immensely varied in terms of what people like to do and how often they like to do it. And those desires can be significantly influenced by a wide variety of factors, ranging from age and physical health to psychological well-being and feelings of emotional intimacy. Which means there’s no such thing as normal when it comes to sexual behaviors and frequency. In my opinion, if you’re comfortable with the amount of sex you’re having, you’re having the right amount of sex. Even if that amount is ‘a lot’ or ‘none at all.’ As long as your sexual activity (or lack thereof) is not creating negative life consequences, diminishing your self-esteem, harming others, breaking the law, or causing problems in your relationship (if you’re in one), you needn’t worry.
If you feel that you may be addicted to sex or porn, a completely anonymous 25-question Sex and Porn Addiction Self-Assessment can be found at SexandRelationshipHealing.com, along with free articles, podcasts, webinars, and live online Q&A sessions. Information about treatment for sex addiction, porn addiction, and fused substance use and sexual behavior can be found at SeekingIntegrity.com.

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