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Should You Have a Sex Quota?

Our Experts Weigh In

The Case: The New York Times reported that the average married couple has sex just 58 times annually and, since then, almost every major news outlet has mentioned this phenomenon of sexless marriages. We asked our experts: Should couples aim for a certain quota when it comes to sex? If a couple has too little sex, does it mean their relationship is doomed? And is there such a thing as too much sex?

Sexperts Em&Lo say:

We know that you'll hate this answer, but it really depends — on so many factors. It depends on your age, the length of the relationship, your schedules, stresses the two of you are under right now ... but most of all, it depends on how often each of you wants to have sex. If you're incredibly lucky, you'll both want to have sex at about the same frequency. And that's exactly how often you should do it. And you shouldn't give a damn what anyone else tells you about what's "normal" or "average." If one of you wants it more than the other, then you'll have to negotiate some kind of compromise. Again, "normal" or "average" should not be part of the argument; rather, it's finding a compromise that you both agree on. For the record, the right compromise might not necessarily be the exact halfway point between the two frequencies.

Dr. Charlie Glickman, Ph.D. advises:

Asking how often or how long you “should” have sex is like asking how often you should eat. The answer is: “Enough that you feel satisfied without overdoing it.” If you're feeling like you're not getting the sexual satisfaction, physical contact or attention from your partner that you want, then your needs aren't getting met and it would probably be good to change that. On the other hand, forcing yourself to have sex because your partner wants to, or because you think you should, is a great way to build resentment. It's quite common for people who are feeling upset with their partners to not want sex. Sexual frequency is often the canary in the coal mine, signaling that there are some deeper issues. A lot of therapists report that people come to them with sexual problems, when the real cause is something else.

Dr. Natasha Janina Valdez gives her take:

If you have sex every single night, chances are a big part of your relationship is based on sex — but that doesn't mean it won't work out. Two people with big sex drives often have a lot of sex in the beginning of the relationship. The real question is what to do when your sex life wanes and goes down to once a month or hardly ever. When this happens, I believe you should never let a week go by without being sexual with your partner. Sex is part of the glue that keeps you together. Don't let it fall by the wayside ... especially after having kids!


Em & Lo have co-authored six books, including Sex: How to Do Everything, and blog daily about sex, love and everything in between at EMandLO.com.

Dr. Charlie Glickman, Ph.D. is the Education Program Manager of Good Vibrations, a leading resource for sex education, and regularly writes a sex advice column for TresSugar.

Dr. Natasha Janina Valdez is a relationship and sex therapist and clinical sexologist with a doctorate in human sexuality. She is the author of A Little Bit Kinky: A Couples' Guide to Rediscovering the Thrill of Sex.

  • What you do in bed (and how often you do it) varies from couple to couple.

Should You Have a Sex Quota?
Our Experts Weigh In
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