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Frequency of Sex in Marriage

How often should a married couple have sex? I’m frustrated because my wife would probably be content to make love once a month – but that doesn’t come close to satisfying me.
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You aren’t the only husband and wife clashing over the question of how often they “should” have sex. The issue usually comes up when spouses’ expectations about the frequency of intercourse don’t match — a common complaint.

There’s no such thing as “normal”

The first thing to remember is that there’s no such thing as “normal” here. Individuals can be entirely different when it comes to sexual desires and interests. And even researchers don’t agree on how often the average couple has sex.

The problem with some of the information floating out there is that oversimplified averages can create anxiety. If you have sex more than three times a week, does that make you abnormal? If you have sex twice a month, is your marriage less healthy than most?

It’s not about the numbers it’s about the relationship

When you and your spouse aren’t sure whether the frequency of your sexual activity is “normal,” remember five things:

Every couple is different

Frequency of sexual activity can be a measure of the general health of a marriage — but there’s no numerical standard that applies to every couple.

Factors like gender, individual expectations, developmental maturity as a couple, and cultural differences all affect the numbers. These variables are especially evident in early marriage when a couple is still in the process of figuring out their normal.

Quality precedes quantity

When it comes to sex, quality really is more important than quantity. This doesn’t mean that either spouse has an excuse to cop out of marital responsibilities in the bedroom. Instead, it’s a call to excellence.

When intimate communication begins to grow and needs are satisfied, increased frequency usually isn’t far behind. 

There’s a time to serve

Sadly, many factors in our broken world can leave one or both spouses needing special consideration. It’s important to be sensitive and considerate of your partner.

Sexual trauma, abuse, addiction, abortion, and disease can affect our sexuality in profound ways; recovery is often slow and requires patience and understanding from both spouses.

A husband also needs to understand his wife’s reproductive cycle. Menopause, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, and caring for infants and children can leave a wife drained physically and emotionally. At these times, a husband needs to keep the big picture in mind.

Intentionality matters

Impulsive, spontaneous sex can be great — but it tends to fall by the wayside when jobs, mortgages, and children enter the picture. If you give your spouse only the leftovers of your time and energy, neither of you will be sexually satisfied.

Planning a time and place for intimacy might not seem intimate. But not planning can lead to lack of fulfillment — or worse, looking for fulfillment somewhere else. Be intentional.

Sex is a picture

Scripture paints a beautiful portrait of Christ’s return for His beloved Bride, the Church. Our spiritual union with Him is echoed in every aspect of our earthly marriages, including sexuality. The implication should be obvious: Sex is about the relationship — not the numbers.

Don’t be afraid to get help

Professional therapy can be a big help to couples in your situation. Would you let us point you in a good direction? Our goal is to help you find the best Christian care available. Call our licensed or pastoral counselors for a free over-the-phone consultation. They’d be glad to talk with you, and they can give you referrals to trained therapists in your area who specialize in sexual issues.


Related Video
Frequency of Sex in Marriage: Gary and Barb Rosberg talk about the normal, healthy frequency of sex within marriage.

If a title is currently unavailable through Focus on the Family, we encourage you to use another retailer.

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No More Headaches: Enjoying Sex and Intimacy in Marriage

The 5 Sex Needs of Men & Women: Discover the Secrets of Great Sex in a Godly Marriage

Red-Hot Monogamy: Making Your Marriage Sizzle

Intimate Issues: Twenty-One Questions Christian Women Ask About Sex

What Is “Normal” Sexual Desire?

Sex and Intimacy

Marriage Alive

Love and Respect

Adapted from The Complete Guide to the First Five Years of Marriage, a Focus on the Family Book published by Tyndale House Publishers. Copyright © 2006, Focus on the Family.

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