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Feb 28

How Much Sex is Enough Sex?


By Laura Berman, PhD
Have you ever wondered if you and your partner have enough sex?

If so, you are not alone. Most couples think “Is our sex life normal?” at some point in their relationships, and it’s easy to feel like you might not be sexually active enough, especially when it seems like everyone around you is having sex all the time. Between the media and boasting friends, you might find yourself worrying about the action (or lack thereof) going on in your bedroom.

Here’s the good news. When it comes to sexual frequency, it doesn’t matter what is going on in other people’s bedrooms. It only matters that you and your partner each feel as though you are committed to satisfying one another’s desires.

A new study led by the University of Toronto has found that the key to sexual fulfillment lies not in a magic number, but in what researchers call “sexual communal strength.” Sexual communal strength occurs when couples prioritize one another’s sexual needs, even when it might at times conflict with their own energy level or desire. The researchers found that when people are motivated to meet their partner’s sexual needs, their own libido responds positively as a result. And, those partners are likely to have their sexual needs met in the end as well.

Think of it as teamwork in the bedroom. Instead of working to get your own needs met and thinking exclusively of your own desires and feelings, you consider your partner’s side of things as well as what is good for the “team” as a whole (i.e. your relationship). The benefits of doing so are two-fold. Not only does it ensure that your partner is satisfied and connected to you, but it also makes you feel desirable and attractive. It keeps in touch with your sexual side and it helps to maintain everything from healthy circulation to sexual response to fantasies.

Most importantly, it helps you to remember the importance of sex in a long-term relationship. A great sex life isn’t just about meeting a certain number of orgasms per week. It’s about connecting with your partner in a physical and emotional way, as well as about fulfilling each other’s desires and prioritizing each other’s needs.

Of course, this doesn’t meant that you should have sex when you really don’t want to or that you should engage in sexual acts that make you uncomfortable. However, the study does suggest a new way to think about sex. Instead of thinking “What can I get out of this?” or “Do I really want to have sex right now?” you might think, “What can I give my partner? How important is sex to him right now?” You could end up discovering that you are in the mood if you stay in the moment instead of casting sex off the table right away. I call this the “just do it” mentality, meaning that if you let your body and your mind stay open to the idea of sex, you will often find that you have much more sexual energy and desire than you actually realized.

At the end of the day, the right amount of sex is the amount that keeps both you and your partner happy. You might not always have the exact same number in your head, whether he wants more or you want less, or vice versa. But if you are motivated to fulfill each other’s needs and are a team player in the bedroom, you might find that you both end up getting what you want.

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