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How Much Sex Is In A Normal Marriage?

Dr. Arlene G. Krieger
May 24, 2008
Has this question ever entered yours (or your spouse's) mind? Are our friends having more sex than we do? Do any other couples have this problem where one partner has high desire, and the other one doesn't? There must be something really wrong with us! Everyone wants sex all the time, don't they? The answer is "not necessarily". More than 40 million Americans feel stuck in low-sex or no sex marriages. Research studies tell us that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 7 men reported little to no sexual desire. At some given time in a marriage more than 50% of couples experience one or both partners with minimal desire for sex.

Issues regarding desire are the most common issue of couples in sex therapy. Many times this is the unspoken complaint of couples entering relationship therapy. First I rule out any physical or biological medical problems. Given this, it is recommended to make an appointment with your general medical doctor, or get a referral from your sex therapist, a board certified sexologist. Your therapist will recommend that the medical doctor run a hormonal profile along with a physical exam to rule out any other problems, such as medical disease or medications that could lessen your libido.

In today's society relationship issues including, sexual anxieties, inhibitions, and problems are the norm. We're afraid of not doing it "right", like in movies and books. "Right" would be intercourse, with both parties craving each other all the time and having simultaneous orgasms every time they're intimate. In other words, "being all over each other 24 hours a day. Wrong! Healthy sexuality means giving and receiving touching that is pleasurable. Sexuality and intimacy may include 1001 different modes of showing love and affection for one another. There is no one "right way" of making love. The optimal experience would be that of being together, with no "editing" of the respective partner. In other words, take your time, experiment, kiss, touch, and take time to build up the level of excitement with one another. If there is always an ultimate goal of an absolute outcome...surely one of you is likely to be disappointed.

Pleasurable lovemaking is not a goal-oriented experience, but process oriented. (The journey, not the destination.) It allows both partners to enjoy pleasure. This can vary. Sometimes one or both has an orgasm and often neither. And that's ok. What's not alright is not caring about yours or your mate's needs. There are many possible reasons for a discrepancy in desire between partners. One is biological. As I mentioned in the statistics previously, more than twice as many women than men have problems with sexual desire. This is because after the infatuation phase of the relationship, when hormones are running rampant, things settle down to natural biological rhythms. And biologically speaking, whoever has the most testosterone usually has the most desire. And of course, we know which gender that is.

Other reasons relevant to both genders are performance anxiety, emotional pain in the relationship, coerced intimacy, sex used as a bartering tool, lack of time, lack of energy, and fear of intimacy to name a few. These can be helped with an understanding therapist. What you can do: see a relationship expert or sex therapist that can help you experience the pleasure and joy of intimate connection. You deserve no less.
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