How Much Sex Is Too Much Sex?

I know, I know. The “how much sex is too much sex” has been done to death. But here’s the amusing (and distressing) part.

When you Google “How much sex is too much” and leave it at that, your options begin to split off in interesting fashion.

There’s how much sex is too much with my boyfriend or girlfriend, how much sex is too much to ask for, how much sex is too much for one night. And then the kicker – at least to some of us – how much sex is too much for marriage.

Personally, I find that terribly sad. Understandable, having been married (and divorced), but tragic really when I consider how starry-eyed we are when we walk down the aisle, and how wide the gulf in bed may grow as the years wear on.

Clearly, even Google reflects that sex in romantic relationships is one matter, and in our (theoretically) most coveted covenant, something else entirely.

As to frequency of sexual activity with one’s partner or even a desire for sexual contact, any number of articles are available on the Internet. They run the gamut from reasons women don’t want sex to more thoughtful articles on sexless marriage and why women stop having sex.

Naturally, we have a plethora of perpetually popular picks – tips and tricks for ramping up desire.

And let’s not forget that we’re all subject to conventional wisdom, which advises that we must like and want sex – men, as much and as often as possible, and women – when we’re in love (and preferably married).

Sexual Generosity

I recognize the periods when libido is lower, and when it soars like a proverbial kite. Stress, fatigue, or physical discomforts may temporarily turn me off to sex.

But I’m never turned off to affection, and I believe in sexual generosity.

Now now. Lower those eyebrows. I’m not talking about putting out when anyone asks – though if that’s your thing (man or woman), then enjoy, be safe, be legal, and have fun!

When I speak of sexual generosity, I’m acknowledging times when when my desire may be lagging, but my regular partner is nonetheless in the mood.

So what does that mean? Indulging in a quickie? A “localized alternative” to more standard or adventurous fare? Or are we back to the issues of how much sex is too much for one night, for one week, for a new relationship, or the well-oiled (if not lubed) marital machine?

Are we talking spontaneity? Negotiation? Issues with kids?

If we’re talking about sex and marriage with babies and little ones, the primary caregiver is going to be beat, beat, beat. Can we distinguish stages of marriage, ages of couples, ages and stages of stresses with children?

Sex and marriage when we’re in our twenties or thirties is a different animal than the empty nest years. The empty nest years with the original model is different again when we’re 50-something and on Spouse Number Two (or Three or More). At 60+ or 70+ do we really think we’re not still hungry for touch? And what if there’s a considerable discrepancy in age or physical condition?

Sex, as Partners Age

I ran across an interesting bit of reading compliments of AARP. (Yes, you heard that right. Basically, if you’re over 50, you’re welcome to join – and frankly, at 50-something it’s nice to be welcome somewhere!)

Might I add, Antonio Banderas was on the cover of this particular AARP Magazine? He’s 51, and hot hot hot. Now is the issue of sex among midlife and older citizens a more appealing?

Might I add that AARP.com features an article on heating up your love life that was full of sound advice at any age?

I digress, and would like to return to legitimate concerns around aging and sexuality, as well as aging and changing physical condition. The article I mention touches on infidelity in older people, specifically when one partner has Alzheimer’s and the other remains healthy – and desirous of a sex life. Consequently, the healthy partner finds comforts outside the marriage, while not opting to end the union.

So does this count as infidelity?

Technically, I suppose so. But do we condemn one partner to years of a sexless marriage as a result? Personally, I find it honorable to remain married and nurturing to the long-time spouse, and entirely human to want, need and enjoy physical affection and sexual intimacy.

Too Much Sex, Too Little Sex

Too much, too little, just right? Google may provide clues, but only that or more likely, clues to some level of dissatisfaction or at the very least, ongoing curiosity. Sadly, it also reflects that sexless marriage is all too prevalent.

So what do you think?

  • Is twice a day too much sex – when you love and desire your partner?
  • Is twice a week too much sex – when you’re stressed, aching, or low on stamina?
  • Is twice a month acceptable – in a long-term marriage as the couple grows older?
  • Is twice a year better than nothing – or a painful reminder that it is nothing?

Is the answer to every one of these questions – it depends?

And perhaps that’s what’s to be learned: our needs change, our views change, our bodies change. Isn’t this all the more reason for less judgment when it comes to those we know, and perhaps greater compassion for our own needs – as they evolve?

How Much Sex is Enough 

Better still, I could phrase the question to you – or to myself – in more positive terms. How much sex is just right?

And then my expression softens, my answer becomes fluid, my smile takes on a Mona Lisa affectation. For me, “just right” is a function of passion and loving; of quality balanced with frequency; “just right” is an individual and intimate story between lovers and friends – who give and take on terms they find mutually agreeable.


Image of Antonio Banderas originally posted to Flickr by david_shankbone at http://flickr.com/photos/27865228@N06/4567523635 and licensed under Creative Commons 2.0.

 

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© D. A. Wolf

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Comments

  1. What a great topic and fodder for thought. You know, I feel so sorry for my husband because I am never consistent. I will go through phases when I am just not interested at all, and then suddenly, wham! He’s overloaded with affection. Poor Guy is like, “Whaaa?”

    And honestly, I have no idea either. :)

    • BigLittleWolf says:

      As I was reading through some articles, TKW, it’s interesting how volatile libido can be – and we forget that things like health, medications we’re taking, the worries we carry in our heads, our body image, even our surroundings all impact our being in the mood. And from what I’ve read, more so for women than for men.

  2. Whatever works for everyone.

    • BigLittleWolf says:

      You know Madge – there was this great article I read last night and then couldn’t find again this morning, or I would’ve included a link. It was a discussion about women who don’t care for sex, or don’t care that much one way or another – and the pop culture prejudice they live with because of that. It was a wonderful and provocative article – and an important topic. Libido isn’t the same in everyone, obviously, and we shouldn’t “grade” the libido of others and judge them for it, either.

      If I can dig up the article again, I certainly will. Because I agree completely – whatever works!

  3. In Woody Allen’s 1977 romantic comedy Annie Hall (one of the funniest films of all time), there is a scene with a split screen where Annie (Diane Keaton) and Alvie (Woody Allen) are talking with their respective therapists.

    YouTube: Annie Hall – Alvie & Annie Discuss Sex & Frequency

    Alvy Singer’s Therapist: How often do you sleep together?

    Annie Hall’s Therapist: Do you have sex often?

    Alvy Singer: [lamenting] Hardly ever. Maybe three times a week.

    Annie Hall: [annoyed] Constantly. I’d say three times a week.

    Very funny but excuse me, three times a week? According to Newsweek, married couples have sex an average of 68.5 times per year or 1.3 times per week. Broken down by age groups we probably see a difference but since divorce is sometimes a topic of conversation here, how about an average of zero?

    Aside: After the big D, I like many have been trying to re-assess my life and figure out just what wild and wonderful things may still await me. For instance, I’m thinking if I can get me, myself and I together, I could have a threesome.

    • BigLittleWolf says:

      Such a classic, Mr. Belle! Thank you for the link, and the excerpt of dialogue. (Delicious.)

      Incidentally, my research on frequency of sex in marriage a few years back (and frequency of sex, in general) reflected that the Bulgarians, Hungarians, and Russians were at the top of the list. (Might those in cold climates fare better? If so, perhaps you’re very well positioned – threesome or otherwise.)

  4. What a great topic because I too wonder about this. I sometimes put out when I’m not in the mood because my husband listens to me when he’s not in the mood. Sex can be such a big deal sometimes but most of the time it can be as easy as saying I love you for 15 or 20 minutes.

  5. “Is twice a day too much sex – when you love and desire your partner?”

    Hmm…this sounds like a bit of a stretch to maintain. Would be fun for a vacation. But couples can also have fun doing things together besides sex, and the twice a day might cut into their other activities as a couple (unless you can successfully multi-task. I will discretely skip some hilarious stories from when I was younger.)

    Re Russians and reported higher sexual frequency re cold climates: My experience with winter camping is that I know how Eskimos make love – quickly. While with the Russians, it may be the vodka speaking to the reporter.

    • BigLittleWolf says:

      A stretch to maintain, Paul?

      I guess that depends upon the person, the partner, their respective libidos, their ages, their lifestyle, and yes… how much time they have… And maybe that vodka factor? ;)

  6. Oooh – do you think you want it more when you’re not getting any?

    • BigLittleWolf says:

      You’re making me laugh, Cathy! But it’s a valid point. Like craving great food in copious amounts, when you’ve been on a strict diet?

      As Paul says, though – affection can go far as well. So maybe it depends on whether or not it’s a strict diet or starvation, though I imagine there are many other circumstances – like being near the person you want to be affectionate or sexual with, and being spurned or ignored – as opposed to not being in a relationship, and dealing with that particular hunger.

  7. ” I’m not talking about putting out when anyone asks – though if that’s your thing (man or woman), it’s not my, well… affair. ”

    Not your affair?

    You crack me up!

  8. I would agree, highly individual preferences are at play. One thing I notice about myself is that the longer times I have been without sex, the less I desire and want it. When it’s happening regularly and enjoyable, I think about it and want it all the more! For me, that somewhat explains the peaks and valleys.

    I find myself most satisfied in the 3-4 times per week range. Satisfied, but wanting more!

  9. It is contingent upon so many different factors. I can think of a couple of women from my past where it was nothing less than once a day, every day and often multiple times.

    We kept that up for extended periods and it worked for us. But in other case it was far less frequent.

    I am thinking out loud here, but I think the answer is that it depends on whatever works for you and your partner. I do know for certain that I couldn’t be in a sexless relationship.

    That sort of connection is too important to me to give up.

  10. I have found the actual act of making love is ephemeral, evanescent at best. That is the allure, the dice roll aspect of having great sex. But there is more to it than just putting part A into part B, isn’t there.

    The prelude, teasing, and flirting could be considered good sex too. Or maybe that’s just me. I still get a visceral response to the camera panning away from a couple just about to engage in “the act” to the curtains blowing ever so lightly in the breeze.

  11. Recently I read an article about a married couple who took a vow to have sex every day for a year. The interesting thing is that during that time, they discovered they were nicer to each other.

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