"My husband says we don’t have sex as often as other people. How often should we be having sex and how can I respond without sinking under the pressure?"
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to the frequency of sex. Everyone is different and our frequency of sexual intimacy is caused by a cocktail of multiple emotional, relational and physical factors which may be as simple as not having a lock on the bedroom door or as profound as deeply entrenched hostilities. Factors such as age, general physical health and the duration of the relationship all have an impact on the frequency of sex. You may be surprised to hear that couples with children have sex more often (115 times a year) than people without children (103 times a year). Funnily enough, surveys show that sexual frequency is even influenced by what country you live in. A Global Sex Survey by Durex found that people from Thailand had the lowest average sexual frequency at 64 times per year, half the frequency of Americans. And for us Brits you may not be surprised to hear that we are less into sex than the French, but we also come up lower than the Germans and Russians. The real point is, it is unlikely to bring any creative change to know what is ‘average’, since sex becomes destructive when it is done without heart and soul. It cannot be reduced down to maths; even though my husband and I were once found in a café writing calculations on the back of a serviette as to how many times we might have been up to it in 25 years of marriage! More important is to motivate ourselves to want to love our husbands and wives in this way since, if done well, it brings happiness and unity. Many people struggle with a low sex drive or complete disinterest in sex, which can be soul destroying for them and their partner. Just remember, all solid behavioural change comes through taking small, realistic steps in the right direction that we build on gradually, rather than attempting an Olympic long jump with no training. Work out what it is that has undermined your sex drive, and if you cannot work it out for yourself then go and talk to a psychosexual counsellor. It is important that we can tactfully say no to sex in any relationship without paying for that through ensuing moods or punishments. However, it is also important to learn to say ‘yes’ more than ‘no’, so that our partners do not become rejected or frustrated. See 1 Corinthians 7:4-5. The motivation behind saying ‘yes’ does not have to be that you are feeling sexy*. It could be that you want to feel close, intimate, you want to communicate love to your partner with more than words, you want to relax, you want to learn, and so we can go on. Expand your reasons for wanting sex and build on the positives that are there. As you move into foreplay on this basis, bring down any resistances and negative thoughts in your mind and allow your body to feel pleasure. Unsatisfying sex is often due to us switching off our pleasure sensors ourselves as well as needing to teach our partners how to touch us erotically. All relationships demand compromise, to meet each other half way and understand each other’s love languages, fears and physical bodies. Keep talking with gentleness, honesty and compassion on both sides. Support each other in the changes you both need to make. This will also involve your husband learning to control his sexual drives without them turning into something negative. Remember the journey is as important and rich as the destination. There will be many treasures of love to be mined along the way. Facts and Figures
1997 Durex Global Sex Survey; frequency of sex per week*Factors most important when making love Globally, the most important factor in making love is satisfying one’s partner. 34% of respondents placed this as a top priority. Personal satisfaction ranked second (27%), followed by not catching HIV/AIDS (18%), avoiding unwanted pregnancy (16%), and avoiding sexually transmitted diseases other than AIDS (5%).