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How Often Do People Have Sex & How Important Is It?

By: Sam Pirson , April 9, 2024

Is there honestly a way to talk about how often you have sex that isn’t tacky or may leave your partner feeling judged? Sure, but even those conversations are meant for a very select group of people in your life, and realistically, asking a lot of people is the only way to know how often do people have sex. Seems like it may be the only way to find out what is “normal,” right?




There is no magic number to indicate whether or not the amount of sex you and others are having is good or bad, although you can find out how you compare to the average amount other people are having sex. But then, the more important question may be why do you want to compare the frequency you’re having sex to others rather than exploring how much sex you’d like to be having. And, realistically, the amount of sex you’re having can change over time for a variety of reasons.


Keep reading to find out how much sex everyone is having and if it should really matter to you.

How much sex is normal and does it really matter?

man-kissing-woman-in-dark-room People often look to compare themselves to others to ensure their feelings or desires are “normal.” According to a 2017 study from The Archives of Sexual Behavior couples are enjoying sex 54 times a year, which is roughly once a week. The frequency Americans were having sex between 1989 and 2014 has steadily declined, yet it is commonly believed that once a week worked for the happiest couples.  It’s common to want to know where you fall on a scale of things that aren’t often spoken about among friends at depth (and with any concrete truth for that matter). Even with all the stats, data and averages about how much sex is normal, what does pinning yourself as normal according to a couple studies really do anything for you?   The most important things are that you are fulfilled by the amount of sex you’re having, realistic about the amount of sex you want to be having, and that you recognize it will likely always be in flux.  However, if you’re struggling with mental health or may need some time to focus on yourself, not having sex or connecting with someone in an intimate or sexual way may afford you time to be selfish and be only concerned with yourself. Thus, the frequency of the amount of sex you’re having can change, and likely should, in different periods of your life. If anything is normal and should be accepted, it’s that.

Factors that can influence sex frequency


There are plenty of factors that can influence sex frequency. From biological to environmental factors and things that can be changed and others that simply need to be accepted, a lot of influences are at play. 

Physiological aspects such as hormonal fluctuations, age, and overall health can play pivotal roles. Psychological factors such as stress, mood, body image, and past experiences also heavily impact one’s sexual appetite. Relationship dynamics, including communication, intimacy, and compatibility shape sexual frequency significantly. Sociocultural factors, such as societal norms, religious beliefs, and cultural attitudes toward sex further influence individuals’ behaviors and choices. Economic stability, work-life balance, and access to contraceptives and sexual health resources are additional determinants. Ultimately, the interplay of these factors contributes to the spectrum of sexual behavior and frequency observed among individuals.


Factors that can reduce your frequency of sex


Within these factors, there are ones that unequivocally lower the frequency of sex people are having both in and out of committed relationships. 


  • High stress: Stress hormones like cortisol can interfere with sexual arousal, so if someone is very stressed, their desire for sex will decrease.
  • Relationship or connection issues: Unresolved conflicts or emotional distance in a relationship can lead to a decrease in sexual intimacy. A lack of emotional connection can tank desire. 
  • Health problems: Chronic illnesses, pain, fatigue, and certain medications can affect sexual desire and functioning. Physical discomfort obviously makes it difficult to relax and can make sex less appealing or even painful.
  • Poor body image: Feeling insecure about one’s body can lower self-esteem and confidence, making a person less likely to engage in sexual activity.
  • Mental health issues: Depression, anxiety, or trauma can impact libido and sexual satisfaction as psychological factors play a significant role in sexual desire and arousal.
  • Lack of time: Busy schedules, work commitments, and family responsibilities can leave little time or energy for sex. Prioritizing other obligations over intimacy can reduce the frequency of sexual activity.
  • Hormonal changes: Fluctuations in hormone levels due to factors like menopause, pregnancy, or aging can affect libido and sexual function.
  • Unhealthy lifestyle: Poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and drug use can contribute to sexual dysfunction and lower libido.
  • Communication issues: Difficulty discussing sexual preferences, desires, or concerns with a sexual partner can cause sexual malalignment. 
  • Boredom or routine: Engaging in the same sexual positions or activities repeatedly without variation can lead to boredom and a decline in interest.
  • Performance anxiety: Worrying about sexual performance or fears of inadequacy can create pressure and anxiety, making it challenging to relax and enjoy sex.
  • External factors: Environmental stressors such as financial problems, job instability, or major life changes (e.g., moving, bereavement), or even the declining state of the world or political climate can impact sexual desire and frequency, especially in places where the government is policing sexual reproductive freedoms and women’s rights. 


Factors that kick the frequency of sex into overdrive.


On the other hand, there are factors in one’s life that can increase the frequency of sex they are having. 


  • Healthy emotional connection: Feeling emotionally connected and secure in a relationship fosters intimacy and increases the desire for sexual activity.
  • Communication: Open and honest communication about sexual needs, desires, and fantasies can lead to increased sexual satisfaction and frequency.
  • Physical health: Regular exercise, a healthy diet, and proper sleep can improve overall well-being and boost libido. Physical fitness and vitality are often linked to increased sexual activity.
  • Mental Health: Managing stress, anxiety, and depression can positively impact libido and sexual function. Good mental health promotes a positive attitude toward sex and intimacy.
  • Variety and novelty: Trying new sexual activities, experimenting with different positions or locations, introducing novelty into the bedroom, or even learning how to sext with each other can keep things interesting 
  • Quality time together: Spending quality time with a partner, engaging in activities that strengthen the bond, and fostering emotional intimacy can lead to more frequent sexual encounters.
  • Feeling desired: Being desired and receiving affectionate gestures from a partner can increase arousal and desire for sex.
  • Physical affection: Non-sexual physical touch, such as cuddling, kissing, and hugging, can build intimacy and arousal, leading to more frequent sexual encounters.
  • Self-confidence: Feeling confident and comfortable in one’s own skin can boost libido and make a person more willing to initiate or participate in sexual activity. This can come from working out or acceptance of yourself. 
  • Sexual satisfaction: Good sex begets more good sex. Positive sexual experiences and mutual satisfaction in the bedroom can reinforce desire and lead to increased frequency of sex.
  • Reduced stress levels: Managing life’s stress through positive emotional regulation techniques, like mindfulness or hobbies can alleviate tension and create a more conducive environment for sexual intimacy.
  • Healthy sexual communication: Discussing sexual preferences, fantasies, and boundaries openly with a partner can lead to increased sexual exploration and satisfaction as well as deeper intimacy. 
  • Prioritizing intimacy: Making time for intimacy and prioritizing sexual connection and even spontaneity in the relationship can lead to more frequent and fulfilling sexual encounters.
  • Major life changes: Things like moving into your own home or apartment, going to college or having a substantial shift to your schedule (more free time) can afford someone more time or space to prioritize frequency of sex.

How often do people have sex, really?


If you find yourself asking ‘how often should you have sex’ or ‘how often does the average person have sex,’ the average amount of sex you’re having could also depend on your relationship status in addition to the many above factors.


How often do couples have sex?


When we think of how often couples should have sex on average, a multitude of factors for each person individually as well as the relationship’s dynamics can influence it. Some couples may engage in sex multiple times a week, others may find satisfaction with doing it less frequently, and you can expect it to fluctuate throughout the course of the relationship. So what does the data provide as an answer to “how often do couples have sex’? The above research says the happiest couples have sex about once a week, but this is simply an average. Not only will weeks all look different, but this differs for each relationship.


How often do single people have sex?


While people might assume singles might be doing it more, they’d be wrong about how often single people have sex. So, how often do single people have sex? According to a study done in 2021, about the same amount, and maybe a little less, than married people on average. While 36% of single people are having 1-3 times per month, 35% of married people’s sex frequency is about the same.

Is it important to have sex more than once a week?


It’s important to not treat sex like an item on the to-do list to cross off as much as it is important to prioritize it and not overlook it. Yet, ultimately the most important thing to consider about the sex frequency is what your own personal preference is and how that aligns with your partner or partners. This is more important than fixating on ‘how often do other people have sex.’

How to determine the average amount of sex for you


In order to figure out how much sex you’d like to be having, it’s worthwhile to throw the average amount of sex other people are having out of the window. Forget it. Ask yourself these questions to determine how often should you have sex:


  • How do cultural or societal norms influence my expectations around sex?
  • How do I feel about my current level of sexual activity?
  • How do I feel about having sex in terms of what it does for me?
  • How do I approach sex?
  • Do I have any feelings or judgments about how frequent or infrequent people have sex?
  • What factors positively or negatively influence my desire for sex (e.g., stress, mood, health)?
  • How does my partner or partners’ level of sexual desire align with mine?
  • What is my overall satisfaction with my sexual relationship?
  • How do I prioritize sex compared to other aspects of my life (e.g., work, hobbies, social life)?
  • Am I comfortable discussing my sexual needs and preferences with my partner or partners?
  • Are there any past experiences or traumas affecting my attitudes toward sex?
  • What role does physical affection play in my relationship satisfaction?
  • How does my libido fluctuate throughout different phases of my life (e.g., during periods of high stress or relaxation or hormonal changes)?

How to increase your sex frequency if you want more

Now that you know the average sex frequency shouldn’t mean anything to you and you’ve determined what’s right for you, you can adjust how much sex you’re having accordingly. Whether that’s having important conversations within your relationship(s), trying out friends with benefits, or putting yourself out there more, you have options. Sign up for and find someone whose sex drive perfectly matches yours.
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