June 28, 2005 2:40 AM   Subscribe

For those of you in relationships, how often do you engage in sexual activity? Do you find yourselves doing it less as you and your partner age together (the honeymoon stage ending, etc.)? I'm looking for answers mainly from people who have been in relationships for a few years or longer. Honest answers about this are appreciated!
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (33 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

~10 year relationship, every few weeks on average. Sometimes lots in rapid succession, somtimes longer between goes. Definitely less than it used to be.
posted by trevyn at 2:44 AM on June 28, 2005

We've been together 8 years, and 2-3 times a month. Way way down from before we had a baby. Now we cosleep so that really slowed things down for us. We're not ok with it, but it's not a dealbreaker for us, we figure we'll spend time catching up after he moves to his own room.
posted by hollygoheavy at 2:58 AM on June 28, 2005

We've been together for 8 years, married for 4. About 3 times a week, but usually all at once (e.g., Saturday morning, Saturday night, Sunday morning.)
posted by ferociouskitty at 4:13 AM on June 28, 2005

6 years of marriage, my wife is pregnant so things have slowed down to just under once a week these last 6.5 months. But before the pregnancy things were slowing down from 5-8 times a week (the first year) to about 3 times a week on average (the last few years, before the pregnancy). In reality, weekly numbers are quite variable, because things like sickness, menstruation, stress, work, fights, holidays, free-time, celebrations, "making up" all make these numbers skew wildly up or down in a 7 day period.

Yeah, but overall there has been a downward trend, and I suspect after our daughter is born, we won't be heading back up for a while.

The conversation is still good though.
posted by sic at 5:27 AM on June 28, 2005

It typically trails off in every relationship I've ever been in, to about the level trevyn describes.
posted by JanetLand at 5:28 AM on June 28, 2005

I was married for 6 years, with the guy for a total of 8. At the beginning of the relationship we probably had it off twice a day; towards the end of the marriage (when we basically hated each other), it was approximately 3x/week.

Most of my friends who've been married for 5+ years say once every two weeks.
posted by superkim at 5:50 AM on June 28, 2005

Twelve years married, three kids, youngest three years old. Once or twice a week, down from the honeymoon but up significantly from postpartum years.

My wife's a big fan of Astroglide. That makes me one too.
posted by sacre_bleu at 6:25 AM on June 28, 2005

16 years married, two kids. Probably 2-3 times a month or so, in part because I've got a bad back, and many nights I just want to sleep. (It really dropped off last summer, when Mr R started riding to work everyday, and he was too tired to do anything. Now that he's not riding everyday (and he's in better shape), we're back up to 'normal'.)
posted by jlkr at 6:36 AM on June 28, 2005

We've been together for 10 years, and the frequency has been steadily increasing. Good communication, keeping everything fun, good nutrition (no, really) and plenty of sleep.

If you're too tired, you don't. If you feel good, you do. Another good idea is to always be open to the idea - as soon as you think you're not 'in the mood,' well, you're not. If you have an open mind, then there's always the possibility you can get talked, or touched, or kissed into it. . .
posted by dirtmonster at 6:56 AM on June 28, 2005

Three years of living together... it's gone from daily to thrice weekly. Reality took over after a while, and all those late nights make just sleeping next to the Mister a nicer prospect. Of course, give us a long weekend and a hotel room outta town, and odds are good we won't see daylight...
posted by hamster at 7:41 AM on June 28, 2005

Together for 10+ years, married for 3+. Sex at least three times a week, and there are still frequent stretches where it's almost daily. The increase in quality over the years may have reduced the frequency by a bit.
posted by togdon at 7:51 AM on June 28, 2005

Married for 11+ years, together for 14. Good weeks see 3 or 4 events. Some months, it may only be 3 or 4 times for the whole month. A lot depends upon my health and our fatigue level. We have only one child and he's never been an inhibiting factor. However, even if coitus doesn't occur, there's still lots of hugging, touching, groping, etc. We're big into physical contact so that helps to keep us feeling connected when I'm sick and just want to sleep.
posted by onhazier at 9:26 AM on June 28, 2005

Married for 8 years. About once every few months, on average. I'm not particularly happy with this.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 9:47 AM on June 28, 2005

Here's a data point from a younger couple: Together for almost 2 years, living together for the last 6 months. Recently it's been great - 6-7 times a week - but there was a slump there this winter/spring where we went, like, 2 or 3 months without doing it, despite living together. It happens.
posted by salad spork at 9:52 AM on June 28, 2005

Married for nearly 24 years and we average 4-5 events per week.

In the "too much information" category, I'd say that an average of 1 per week event results in her experiencing orgasm, typically multiple. The other times are mutual and enjoyable, but not necessarily orgasmic for her.
posted by cptnrandy at 9:54 AM on June 28, 2005

Together 12+ years, married 8 years (today!) In the beginning, it was 2-4 times a day (once we even had sex 14 times in a day. We were young and hadn't seen each other for months.) It has slowly gone down to anywhere from 2 to 7 times a month. Big drop after the kiddo was born (my fault.) Also, I'm on Effexor which is a serious hinderance.

I still think he's incredibly handsome & sexy and I love him so much. But less sex. It's a little sad, but we have a wonderful, full life anyway.

There's a huge variance and a slow down inevitably happends whether your married or not, kids or not. I also get all guilty and bad when I read about people still doing it 3-4 times a week after "what's wrong with us?" but it is what it is. Could be worse, could be better. Weekends are generally the only time...too tired any other time.
posted by aacheson at 9:57 AM on June 28, 2005

Anonymous, I'm not currently in a relationship so I can't really answer your question but I would like to pose the possibility that people who have sex less frequently (than others, or than they'd like to) might be less inclined to answer. This might skew the averages of the answers.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:11 AM on June 28, 2005

people who have sex less frequently... might be less inclined to answer

You'd think so, but that doesn't seem to be the case. I'm impressed with the honesty and lack of goofing around in this thread.

Every relationship I've had has started off with more or less daily sex, tapered off to a few times a week, and then after a year or two tapered off further, sometimes down to a couple of times a month. That seems to be a lot closer to average than I would have guessed. (Do we all secretly feel everybody else is doing a lot more fucking than we are?)
posted by languagehat at 11:30 AM on June 28, 2005

I can never remember: is it, "everybody has more sex and less money" or "less sex and more money" than you think? I too have appreciated reading the answers here. I can't think of how to answer the askme without going off on a tangent, so I won't.
posted by rainbaby at 11:41 AM on June 28, 2005

19 years together. Over the years we've ranged from several times a week to several times a month.

All times are multiorgasmic for her; I'm "suffering" side-effects from depression meds that seem to mangle the signals to the squirting muscles, so while my brain says "whoo-hoo! orgasm", there's no ejaculate. As a result, most of the time I get multiorgasmic, too. Overall, I approve. If you can learn that skill, do so!

We're both rapidly heading to age 40, and the sex is getting better and better, and more frequent. I'd never have guessed that would be the case.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:47 AM on June 28, 2005

people who have sex less frequently... might be less inclined to answer

I'm one of those people and would rather reply anonymously, but hey. Why not?

We are both in our early-mid 20s, married 5 years, both virgins no our wedding night. Sex is (still) physically painful for me - I have some sort of vulvodynia (chronic vulvar pain, but mine is only with inserting objects into my vagina [meaning tampons, too]). The pain was so bad at first that inserting a tampon would make me cry from the pain. How arousing is that, your girl crying from pain during sex? We didn't have intercourse for the first year we were married because of the pain, but did plenty of other stuff.

So we have had many problems in the sex department, most recently being his loss of desire. He was on Wellbutrin for a while and his desire decreased, but it hasn't come back up after stopping the medication over a year ago.

My pain isn't completely gone, but we are able to work around it. Even still, that coupled (heh) with his disappearing desire we only have sexual events once every month to month and a half. So more than when we were first married, definitely, but much, much less than I would like.

How's that for too much information?
posted by rhapsodie at 11:50 AM on June 28, 2005

I've been in 2 relationships of about 4 years each, which is incidentally double the duration of the average American marriage.

I guess the earlier one was like twice a week, and the more recent one was 3-6 times a week, didn't really vary much. Sex was always good in both of them- the relationships fell apart for other reasons.
posted by ikkyu2 at 1:04 PM on June 28, 2005

people who have sex less frequently... might be less inclined to answer

You'd think so, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

How so? How can you tell that the respondents here are a representative sample? I'm looking at the frequencies above, comparing to my own experience, and... uh, find myself to be less inclined to answer. Take that for what you will.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 1:14 PM on June 28, 2005

We've been together close to 4 years -- first 3 years, sex was a daily or twice-daily thing. It really tapered off this year because of various stress-related things, so we can have 2-week stretches where we don't have sex, and then a weekend where that's all we do. (I'm suddenly having a fear of my Mom reading Metafilter right now.) Like someone else said, even if we're not having sex, we're still constantly physically affectionate with the cuddling and the kissing and the touching.

I actually have more to say on this, but don't feel comfortable giving away these particular details here. My e-mail is my profile if you're interested.
posted by Zosia Blue at 1:14 PM on June 28, 2005

Married 15 yrs, 2 schoolage kids, we are both mid 40s. 3-4 times per week, very consistent for the last 10 years or so (usually two or three times on weekend, once during week). Never goes more than 4 or 5 days between "bouts." It's an integral part of our relationship. I used to be the initiator with a much higher sex-drive than her, but in the last couple of years, she's become more "sex-driven" than me and she tends to initiate more than I do. Which has kept our averages about the same for a long time. Why would G~d design things that way?
posted by johngumbo at 1:33 PM on June 28, 2005

I'm looking at the frequencies above, comparing to my own experience, and... uh, find myself to be less inclined to answer.

I'm with GhostInTheMachine. I was extremely reluctant to post, but wanted some of other side represented. Oh--that, and self-pity, of course.

languagehat: Do we all secretly feel everybody else is doing a lot more fucking than we are?

Thanks to this thread, now I don't have to wonder. I know. However, I suppose I should mention that the frequency of others' "events" does not really have any bearing on my own. That is, it really doesn't matter if I'm doing it less than you as much as it matters that I'm doing it less than I'd like.

Matt, can we have that anonymous response pony already? Sorry.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 1:37 PM on June 28, 2005

In a 10 year relationship, my spouse and I had sex once a day until our kid was born (although pregnancy made it more frequent -- 2 or 3 times a day from month 3 until month 8). We couldn't have sex for six weeks after the birth, but until breastfeeding was over, it slowed to three times a week.

A year after the birth, it ramped back up to almost every day until some serious problems erupted in the marriage and we slowed to 2 or 3 times a week. We had sex once a week up until we separated.

It didn't seem to map to the length of time we had been together, but rather how much time we had to spend with one another, focused on each other and how much we appreciated one another.
posted by socky at 1:45 PM on June 28, 2005

Young couple (early twenties), together four years. The fact that we are on and off long-distance factors into this, but if you put when we're together as a lump I would say an average is four times a week, a bit less than what it was when we were teenagers and in school together. I would be inclined to think that's a product of comfort rather than age. As others have said we have a large amount of physical contact, sexual or otherwise. We hold hands almost all the time. Not feeling any pressure to perform x number of times a visit means both of us are very happy, however active we feel like being. We just enjoy each other however we can.

That said, I think it's very common for frequency to taper off as a couple ages together, and I don't think this is a bad thing unless it bothers a member of, or the whole, couple. I don't know if it's reasonable or wise to compare one couple's sexual frequency with another's as some sort of judge of adequacy, there are so many factors that are unique to each couple's dymanic that affect how often they get busy (children, jobs, sex drive, happiness in the relationship, etc).

If you're unhappy with your sex life, focusing on whether you are in the majority or minority for quantity isn't going to make up for lack of quality, or address whatever factor is causing the increase or decrease. If you ARE happy with having sex some "crazy" number of times a week, stop worrying if you're normal and just enjoy yourselves!
posted by nelleish at 2:01 PM on June 28, 2005

Married 17 years and 8 days, and when I'm not pregnant (as I am now) it varies from 4-12 times a month, depending on how in sync our schedules can get with all of our kids, my chronic insomnia and everyday busy-ness. I agree with nelleish, though, quality is significantly more important than quantity.
posted by Dreama at 4:09 PM on June 28, 2005

I also agree with nelleish, we shouldn't compare ourselves to others, every relationship is a universe.

I also think that it's important, within the relationship, not to become obsessed with sex. It is an essential part of a long-term relationship, along with other kinds of physical and emotional intimacy, but it is not (or shouldn't be) the only thing. I think that two different people in this thread have talked about having sex up to 2x a day until their relationships fell apart (not from lack of sex, obviously), and even then still having sex once a week "when we hated each other". All I can say is, wow. I could never have sex even once with somebody I hated, let alone once a week. But, sex has different meanings for different people.

That said, I'm going to have a tough time adjusting to less sex when our baby is born, but I suspect that my daughter is going to keep me busy enough not to worry about it too much ;)
posted by sic at 4:23 PM on June 28, 2005

How can you tell that the respondents here are a representative sample? I'm looking at the frequencies above, comparing to my own experience, and... uh, find myself to be less inclined to answer.

Sorry, didn't mean to imply the whole spectrum was represented here, just that discussions of frequency usually revolve around "two or three times a week" (remember the Woody Allen joke?), and I'm not used to seeing people admit to "every few weeks," "2-3 times a month," and so on. It may not be a representative sample, but it's more so than most I've seen. That's all I meant.
posted by languagehat at 5:32 PM on June 28, 2005

Hmm. 5 years together now, and it's holding fairly steady at about once a week (and normally a quickie at that). This is about exactly enough to stop me going completely insane, I'm profoundly interested in sex, she's much less so.


This was a very good question, anonymous.
posted by tomble at 12:24 AM on June 29, 2005

As others have said we have a large amount of physical contact, sexual or otherwise. We hold hands almost all the time.

Judging by the responses in this thread, I'd say my relationship tends toward the high (a few or several times a week) end of the normal range. The normal range seems to extend to the several times a month end.

My relationship is very high-touch. We hug and kiss several times a day, from morning awakening to departing for work to arrival home to randomly throughout the evening, to the goodnight kiss and snuggle. A dozen or dozens of times a day, we touch.

I'm quite curious whether this correlates to frequency of sex... perhaps less physical couples have less sex, and perhaps the key to more sex is more clothed, non-sexual, loving touching.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:30 AM on June 29, 2005

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