How much sex is too much to want?
September 5, 2007 9:01 PM   Subscribe

How much sex is too much to ask for in a relationship?

I've been with my boyfriend about six months. He's only in the mood for sex two, maybe three, times a week. I want it four or five times a week, probably more if I thought I could get it. Am I some kind of sex fiend, or is this a normal amount of sex to be having?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (16 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Lots of couples don't have equal libidos...there's nothing wrong with either of you.
posted by brujita at 9:08 PM on September 5, 2007

That's not too much sex, but then again there's no gold standard, set amount that one "should be having." The real issue is if dude man can't keep up with you, you're going to run into a problem of incompatible sex drives, which can really cause problems (esp if you're the one who wants more!). Try to remember that someone not being up for sex is not a personal rejection, but simply a physical thing generally beyond their control.

If he really can't be persuaded into putting out more, you're going to have to find some other avenue of sexual expression. It's just like a plate of cookies in your kitchen - just because they're there doesn't mean you have to eat them. Return to the joys of masturbation, or heck - building anticipation.
posted by SassHat at 9:13 PM on September 5, 2007

I would say most couples don' t have equal libidos - some people would like to do it every day, some are happy with once a month.

Maybe there is something you can do, by yourself or with your boyfriend's help, that would make you feel satisfied on the days when full blown intercourse is not in the cards? After all, as long as it feels good, it pays to flexible about what sex looks like for the two of you.
posted by metahawk at 9:20 PM on September 5, 2007

"Normal" covers a lot of ground, and both of you are well within it. So no, you aren't a depraved weirdo slut for wanting sex daily, and he isn't a depraved weirdo eunuch for not wanting it so often. The question you will come to next is much tougher, however: which of you will compromise, or can one of you change your sex drive to better match the other's?

(And not that it really helps when you are itching for it and he says "not tonight," but your desired frequencies are a lot closer than is often the case when this question gets asked, so I think your chances of an acceptable compromise are good.)

I will say, though, that as someone with a sex drive like yours, finally being in a relationship where both partners have compatible sex drives is amazingly nice. Much better than arguing about it all the time, and definitely better than getting pity sex, or going to bed frustrated.
posted by Forktine at 9:30 PM on September 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

Try to remember that someone not being up for sex is not a personal rejection, but simply a physical thing generally beyond their control.

Sometimes, yes, you are completely right. But sometimes a "no" really is a rejection of you; once they are with someone who really turns them on there won't be so many noes being said. I don't think that there is any way to know this for sure from the outside.

Whether the questioner's partner is just naturally a three times a week guy, or whether he would turn into a three times a day guy if he were to start dating his dream woman, who knows?
posted by Forktine at 9:35 PM on September 5, 2007

If you want enough sex that it regularly makes you or your partner raw or sore in a way that you find unpleasant, that is too much sex to want. Happily, lube and vibrators can postpone these things indefinitely.
posted by anaelith at 9:54 PM on September 5, 2007

"Am I some kind of sex fiend, or is this a normal amount of sex to be having?"

My libido is probably on the order of yours, maybe a bit higher. I consider that "normal," although apparently it's somewhat unusual. My partner's libido is much, much lower -- frequencies counted in weeks rather than days -- and I consider that "abnormal," though it turns out that's not too terribly uncommon. Normalcy is very much in the eye of the beholder on a subject like this where human behavior varies so massively.

You're certainly not some kind of freak, and neither is he, and the best step to take at this point is to actually talk about the difference and how it affects both of you. The libido differences between you are not insurmountably huge, when you're talking about a difference of one or two sexual encounters a week, but the subject should be up for discussion so it doesn't become a source of resentment in either direction.
posted by majick at 9:56 PM on September 5, 2007

This is, as others have mentioned, a tough call. The big question that jumped into my mind was: Has the frequency diminished in the six months you've been dating?

If the rate has been dropping, you may want to "dress it up" a bit more and see if things improve. Some guys need a little more priming before the motor starts going. Men need foreplay too, especially if they have a lower libido. But be prepared: he may be into something that you haven't done before.

If this isn't the case and he's always been less enthused, this is a sexual incompatibility issue. Don't try to push him into sex - it'll just make you a nag and turn sex into a chore. Tell him you feel frustrated and see if you can't start communicating and find a way to nail down a "workaround."

Sex isn't always that important in some relationships (so I've heard), but it seems to matter to you. I personally feel it is a big deal. If this is something that's going to become a continual issue for you, you do need to treat it seriously, talk it out, and decide whether this is a relationship where both of you can be happy in the long term.
posted by krippledkonscious at 10:08 PM on September 5, 2007

Unequal libidos isn't the end of the world, but be aware that what is a small problem or inconvenience now can become a big issue later on if that person's libido decreases further (via illness, other health issues, or something mental.)

Keep tabs on it and make sure you keep the lines of communication open...
posted by wfrgms at 11:17 PM on September 5, 2007

I'm a girl and have a much higher libido than my male partner. Mainstream culture finds ways to make us both feel pretty awful about it, pretty often.

Stand-up comedians, sitcoms, romantic comedies, etc, are constantly reminding us of how broken we are. I cannot overstate how bad these messages have made us both feel in the past.

If it's these messages that are adding to your bad feelings, please please talk about them, and work through it.

(I have definitely found unequal libidos to be a very different thing than unequal libidos with the woman's higher than the man's. The opposite is expected.)
posted by birdie birdington at 1:16 AM on September 6, 2007 [3 favorites]

In her first book, "For Yourself: The Fulfillment of Female Sexuality," Lonnie Barbach compared sexual desire to hunger for food. Two people in a relationship don't always want to eat at the same time, or dine on the same foods. The same goes for sex. If you're hot and he's not: "feed" yourself!
posted by Carol Anne at 6:01 AM on September 6, 2007

I'd say your libidos sound relatively equal. From the front page teaser I thought maybe one of you wanted 4 times as much sex which might be a deal breaker but one or two extra bouts is easy to work around. I prefer quality over quantity although there are times for quickies.
posted by JJ86 at 6:10 AM on September 6, 2007

As previously stated, your situation is pretty normal. One thing that I've learned is that once some time has passed in the relationship -- enough that the insecurities and honeymoon sex phase of new love have passed -- these problems won't be such a big deal.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 7:53 AM on September 6, 2007

In reference to birdie birdington above, "unequal libidos" is generally assumed to mean "he wants it more than she does". Due to the the cultural factors she references, some men will try to make you that it's your problem if you want more sex, and even go so far as to state that you are a "sex fiend". This lets the man avoid feeling the weight of these cultural messages. From the way you phrase your question, I wonder if this is not what has happened in your case.

Many partners have unequal sex drives, but in most cases they are unequal the opposite direction to yours. This can make this a very difficult problem to discuss with your friends or even your partner. You can communicate about this and find solutions, but your partner needs to treat you with respect. If he is coming from a position that his needs are normal, and you are a "sex fiend" due to having greater needs than his (but still within a perfectly normal range), he is not treating you with respect, but insulting you. He needs to get over this attitude and start communicating with you in a respectful way.
posted by yohko at 7:59 AM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

I was in the same situation, and found that the first line of attack is to not expect an extensive romp every time. Quickies are your friend. Seduction can change opinions of not into it (I know I may have to work on getting some if I want it)

Three things from my 11 year relationship (6 years married) that has kept everyone happy through sickness, overworkedness, family demands, and general 'don't feel like it'

1. If we don't want the whole deal, there is always 'treat' for someone who wants it - porn, foreplay, lube, toys, assistance with solo play, whatever - that lasts 15 minutes or less.

2. There is always cuddling and contact, no matter what, which helps a lot.

3. Just Chill. Open communication is the key to any long relationship - explore why you don't want it at the same time, take the pressure off to have it (my husband boycotted the bedroom for a bit b/c he felt pressured, and it just didn't make him hot), and see what happens. Learn to enjoy intimacy on lots of levels.

I like Goofy Foot's Guide to Getting it On for reference on all these topics - it's no-nonsense, plain language to helping everyone get what they need.

Good luck!
posted by beezy at 9:07 AM on September 6, 2007

I agree with beezy. Particularly #1. Get to know ...

If there are other issues, such as your making him feel guilty for not having sex with you, or his making you feel abnormal for wanting more sex, then none of these solutions will help, because those are relationship/communication problems, not sex problems.
posted by wintersweet at 3:59 PM on September 6, 2007

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