How Much Sex is Enough Sex?

February 8, 2014

in Sex Positive, Sexuality, Survey Says ...

Last week we did a survey asking husbands and wives how often they have sex and how often they want sex. There was actually a great deal of agreement on this from men and women.

The caveat here is that our respondents are not a cross sample of the general population. Based on previous surveys, we know the vast majority are Christians who are serious about their faith. We also know most are very sex positive. In particular, the men are more spiritually minded than the average pew sitter, and the women are more sex positive (See Sex Positive Christians) than the average church going woman.

How often do these sex positive women want sex?:

How often women want sex © surveymonkey.com

At every age up to 54, a large group of women said they would like to be sexual with their husband 3 or 4 times a week. What’s more, those who wanted even more sex outnumbered those who wanted less.

Men gave very similar answers:

How often men want sex © surveymonkey.com

Even more amazing than how many women want sex about every other day is the fact that those who want sex more than four times a week is larger than the number of men who want sex more than four times a week. For those under age 25 it was 25% of men and 48% of women. For older ages, the women wanting more sex outnumbered the men by as much as eight times.

I know many of you are questioning the data here, because your wife certainly does not want sex every other day. There are a number of possibilities, one or more of which may be holding your wife back.

  • Perhaps she is not sex positive. This is sadly very common among Christian women.
  • Maybe she would like more sex, but the two of you have such a busy life it is not possible. Busyness, tiredness, and stress result in many couples having less sex than either of them wants.
  • It could also be that relationship issues are holding her back. One women who said she was having sex 1-3 times a month said in the comments “I’m not happy with the relationship and don’t feel close at all, so I only want it for physical pleasure and not an emotional connection. In happier times the frequency was 2-3 times a week and we were both good with that.” In other words, she is having enough sex to take care of her physical drive, but would want and enjoy a lot more sex if she felt better about the relationship. This is a common thing. Most women’s physical sex drive is far smaller than their emotional sex drive. However, the emotional drive disappears when women do not feel close to their husband.
  • Maybe you are expecting too much. One woman put it this way “My husband would like more but only wants to have sex if I will climax. He does not want to be the only one. If we do it more than 3-4 times/week it is a lot harder for me to enjoy it because my drive is not as high.” This lady’s husband could be having more sex if he was okay with being the only one who climaxed on some occasions. I know it is difficult for us to understand, but some women are just fine with some sex not including orgasm for them, and some actually want sex more often than they want to climax. (I recently discussed this in Why Some Women Don’t Want to Orgasm Every Time.)

Bottom Line: If a woman is sex positive, feels good about her relationship, is not too busy or stressed, and her husband listens to what she wants sexually, the odds are she will want as much or more sex as her husband.

Yes, there are a lot of ifs there, but it means God did not set up the sexual stalemate most men are living. When it goes right, women want a great deal of sex. If your wife does not want much sex, the question is why? 

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19 comments
TGSantini
TGSantini

These "women" or whoever responded are playing games with you.


A guy, for sure, it's a matter of biology, for the typical mentally and physically healthy 25 - 55 yo male, fluid builds up in the seminal vessels, the pressure builds, and every couple or three  days, he wants sex and if he can't get it will masturbate.


Women simply do not have that drive.  For women the closest analogy happens once a monthly cycle.

landschooner
landschooner

I think the poll offers good data to consider. Its nice to know what people think of as their ideal.  wish they'd tease it out a bit more though  because I don't believe that women want sex nearly as much as men do. They may "SAY" they do, and perhaps given all the right circumstances and the list of 57 things all checked off their list FIRST, they do, but those are very significant caveats. My wife has always been very sex positive when whisked away to a $300 per night romantic getaway. But when in ordinary life, NOPE. Given your most stress filled possible day, I believe your average man would think sex is "just the thing they want". I believe for your average woman, given the most stress filled possible day, sex is "the last thing they want".  So given each gender's respective caveats, perhaps they both want sex just as much, but in the reality of regular ordinary life, imho, men want sex more. 


LS

kmh5607
kmh5607

I know in our home it would help a lot if hubby would help clean up after dinner and put the kids to bed. Also there are many times I very much want to initiate, but he won't shower or its been days since he brushed his teeth. I can't get passed that. It makes me gag to even kiss him. Not good for keeping that flame alive. Once so much time has past, my desire fizzles out into ashes. :( I don't know why he can't just keep clean! Even the sheets on his side of the bed are grossly stained. He has a physical outside job, not a suit and tie desk job!

lovelettersfrom
lovelettersfrom

I think the survey has some initial flaws. 1-3 times a month? That can range from once a month to once a week with a week off for menstruation. Huge swing! 3-4 times a week? I bet a lot of disagreement occurs because a wife would like 3 and a husband would like 4. Also you mention some wives don't want to orgasm every time. This can be true of men, too.

JR Bob
JR Bob

Do you know of other surveys that may have asked this question of a random sample of married Christians, or a random sample of the general married population?  


Do you have a general idea of how your results would compare to a survey like that which samples a more general cross section of Christians?


What does sex positive mean?  Is that something you just are or aren't, or can it be changed.


BTW: I love the site!  Great Job!!

Trying But Not Convinced
Trying But Not Convinced

I appreciate that you present so many polls. It definitely helps ground some of my thoughts and our marriage discussions (as in, what IS normal? Is 3 a lot or too little?) I am wondering, though, do you have a background in statistics? I ask because in education there sometimes is a fallacy of the Bell Curve that goes like this: if the statistical distribution of most tests falls along the bell curve, then the distribution of scores from every test must fall along the bell curve. The fallacy comes when the prof distributes the grades in accordance with the results (i.e. the top 3 get A's, the next 5 get B's etc.) rather than in accordance with the performance of students according to a fixed standard (90%+ is an A, 80%+ is a B, etc.) The reason is because the results of a properly prepared exam will yield bell curve results as long as the student population is average, so the Bell Curve happens without assistance. No Bell Curve means the exam was not prepared well or the population is not average (think Harvard.) In the case of your poll, you have now assumed that because the MAJORITY of women want sex 3-4 times a week, that EVERY woman should want sex 3-4 times a week, provided the circumstances were right. I do not think it is a proper use of poll results to send that message. The Bell Curve describes how the results tend to fall over time. It is an after the fact observation. Yes, like with grades, results can be changed by changing the inputs (marital satisfaction, communication, schedule, etc). But, unlike grades, I don't think it is proper to send the message that the person with a 1-2 x/week natural set point is a failure and has to be "changed".

CrackingTheRomanceCode
CrackingTheRomanceCode

Paul,


Very interesting survey!  God knew what He was doing.


People mess things up a bit.  We can learn to listen to our body and enjoy our spouse.

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

@TGSantini  Physically you are right, women have mental, emotional, and relational reasons for desiring sex. 

Wives who want sex more days than not are very real. Given the time many women in good relationship would be happy to have sex daily.

themarriagebed
themarriagebed

@caleberlin Men have a stronger physical drive, but healthy women have a very strong emotional drive for sex.

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

@landschooner  Given that as many as 20-25% of wives are being told no when they ask their husband for sex, I think it is more common that you suggest.


Yes, a woman's sex drive is more easily derailed than a man's, but for many it is not nearly as delicate as you indicate. If women enjoys sex and experiences how good it is for her body, mind, marriage, she can set a good deal aside to have sex.


I agree it usually takes more stress or tiredness to put a man off sex. This can lead to a man being to accepting of stress and busyness in his and his bride's life. Occasionally being too stressed or tired for sex is understandable. When it becomes the norm something is very wrong.

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

@kmh5607  Have you flat out told him you would initiate sex if he was less smelly?


I used to have an outside job. A daily shower was a given, and sometimes more than one. I figures it was not only kind to my wife, but good for our intimate life.

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

@lovelettersfrom  If you break it down too much it is difficult to get any useful data. 


I doubt three are many arguments over 3 vs 4 times a week. I could be wrong, but mostly it is far larger differences than that.


Yes some men, especially older men, want to not climax every time. The survey was about sexual activity which resulted in either spouse climaxing, so that would include the wife only having an orgasm. It would exclude sex where no one climaxed. I realise for a few such sex is "full sex" but I wanted to exclude what for most would be seen as something less than that.

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

@JR Bob  Not aware of a survey that covers a wider range of Christians. I would not expect much difference in the men's answers. For the women I would expect to see more in the less than 3 times a week categories and fewer in the more than four times a week categories. I suspect there would still be a high point on 3-4 times a week, but not as strong.


See Sex Positive Christians

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

@Trying But Not Convinced  No formal statistics training, but I've done a lot of reading on it. I realise our samples are skewed, and that limits what can be applied to the general population. Occasionally we do a survey for which a good secular version exists, and some of those have lined up surprising well.


I did not mean to indicate every woman would want sex 3-4 times a week. I said the odds were she would want as much or more than her husband wanted. 


I agree with you on natural set point being just fine, but I would argue the majority of women are not experiencing their natural set point. Due to the things the world and the church do to them, they are messed up sexually. We've seen plenty of women who said they had no desire to ever have sex get healed and then want sex daily for months, followed by 5 or 6 times a week for years after that. 


Are there sexually healthy women in good marriages who would be happy with sex once or twice a week? I suspect there are. I also suspect most of those women would be very willing to have sex twice as often if their husband asked nicely.


Given that most biological things do fall on a bell curve, I would expect normal, healthy sex desire to do the same. I would also expect that curve to be fairly high and narrow.

kmh5607
kmh5607

Yep. He doesn't think he smells, so he doesn't see the problem! It's like once his sweat dries, he is magically clean! Not so guys! Especially if your wife is pregnant, please be hygienic! I always make a big deal of how good he smells when he does sud up.

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