I bet if you were to ask a selection of happy couples how often they have sex, the most common answer would be somewhere along the lines of “as often as we want to.” Relationships tend to have a higher success rate if both partners have a similar sex drive, since a disparity in libido means that one party is always compromising. But what exactly is the “right” amount of sex for couples to be having in the first place, if there even is such thing as the Goldilocks standard for sexual frequency?
According to a very interesting take on the subject from Jezebel, couples who attend therapy to address their issues with incompatible sex drives are most often told that twice a week is a good benchmark to aim for. The author questions this seemingly arbitrary number and discovers that while there is no medical basis for this recommendation, it does seem to stack up with the average reported by happy couples.
For these couples, sex and happiness enjoy a synergistic link. Having more sex makes them happier, and being happy makes sex more likely as well.
But for couples where one partner craves sex more than the other, quantifying the amount with a rigid number can be very damaging for a couple looking to foster intimacy through genuine desire as opposed to the dreaded fulfillment of “duty.” Imposing this “twice a week” rule can also cause issues for couples that are happy with the amount of sex they’re having, especially if it’s less than this so-called proscribed amount. Seems like we’re always antsy for statistics about what’s normal so that we can have something to compare ourselves to, positively or negatively.
The truth is we should all probably be having more sex, considering its myriad of health and wellness benefits. First of all, it acts as a great form of stress relief while burning calories, approximately 85-100 per 25 minute session. Exchanging bodily fluids means exchanging all the germs that go along with them, and as it turns out, that can be a good thing for your immune system.
According to a study at Wilkes University, having sex once a week raises the level of immunoglobulin A in your saliva by 30%, an antibody that is part of the body’s first line of defense against germs and viruses. Therefore, having a healthy, frequently sex life makes you less prone to catching colds.
Sex leads to feelings of relaxation and physical intimacy, both of which are known to provide significant immunological benefits as well. Finally, as if that weren’t enough, sex has also been shown to boost your brain power and intelligence. Researchers have found that middle-aged rats experienced an increase in neuron generation after engaging in sexual activity, which is thought to restore cognitive function and boost brain power.
After this sexual activity was stopped, the benefits to the brain power were lost, giving more agency to the old expression, “if you don’t use it, you lose it.”