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We've all heard jokes about the frequency—or infrequency—of married sex. Are these jokes based on a kernel of truth? Do married people really have less sex? If so, why? And if you are married, what can you do to sustain a long-term, satisfying sex life? Do passionate relationships become fundamentally different when you get married?
In some ways, our relationships change, but many differences between married and unmarried couples are advantageous for spouses. For example, married individuals report stronger relationship satisfaction than cohabitating counterparts. Further, married couples are more committed to one another than cohabitating pairs. It is important to recognize that some individuals—especially women—who are dissatisfied with their sex lives actually desire less sex in their relationships rather than more Smith et al.
Some of the decline in marital sex may be due to a sense of a loss of novelty or habituation to your partner Call et al.
You may not be bored with your partner; it may instead be that married individuals might not perceive the need to have sex as often. Once the frequency of sex declines, a couple may grow used to that decreased level of sexual activity Call et al. Interestingly, people who remarry actually report having more sex than counterparts who are in their first marriages Call et al. This increase in sex found in remarriages may be due to the novelty of a new sex partner or it may be that people have simply left unhappy marriages for happier and sexier relationships.
You ever try to have sex with two little kids in the same house? Married individuals are more likely than cohabitating counterparts to have children, and those children can definitely interfere with plans for a passionate evening. Yabiku and Gager suggest that married individuals spend less time having sex because they devote more time to other activities, including child care. Similar to the demands of children, the demands of a career may also interfere with sexual desire. Cheung et al.Exploring LA Strippers, Girl Bikers And Teen Activists Fighting For Sexual Equality With Adwoa Aboah
Because the frequency of sex often depends on the desires of both partners, and because men report more frequent sexual urges than women, gay men do report having sex most frequently among types of couples, followed by heterosexual couples and then lesbian couples Peplau, We await future research to see if sexual frequency declines in same-sex marriages in the way it seems to in opposite-sex marriages. Gay men report more sex with individuals other than their primary partner than do heterosexuals and lesbians Conley et al.
Married couples tend to be older than cohabitating peers—and with age come changes in hormone levels and an increased likelihood of illness or sexual dysfunction Cheung et al. Further, marriages tend to last longer than cohabitating relationships. Future research will be necessary to determine whether coital frequency declines in longer cohabitating relationships as well Call et al.
Copyright Madeleine A. Byers, E. Predicting initiations and refusals of sexual activities in married and cohabiting heterosexual couples. Journal of Sex Research, 26 2 Call, V. The incidence and frequency of marital sex in a national sample. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 57 3 Cheung, M. A study of sexual satisfaction and frequency of sex among Hong Kong Chinese couples. Journal of Sex Research, 45 2 Conley, T. A critical examination of popular assumptions about the benefits and outcomes of monogamous relationships.
Personality and Social Psychology Review, 17 2— Gager, C. Who has the time? The relationship between household labor time and sexual frequency. Journal of Family Issues, 31 2 Peplau, L. Human sexuality: How do men and women differ? Current Directions in Psychological Science,12 237— Rao, K. Coital frequency among married and cohabiting couples in the United States. Journal of Biosocial Science, 27 2 Schoenfeld, E.
Does sex really matter? Archives Of Sexual Behavior, doi Smith, A. Sexual and relationship satisfaction among heterosexual men and women: The importance of desired frequency of sex.
Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 37 2 Yabiku, S. Sexual frequency and the stability of marital and cohabiting unions. Journal of Marriage and Family, 71 4 Madeleine A. Dating and Mating.
Plus, seven ways for couples to keep their spark alive. References Byers, E. About the Author. Read Next. Back Psychology Today. Back Find a Therapist. Back Get Help. Personality Passive Aggression Personality Shyness. Family Life Child Development Parenting. View Help Index. Do I Need Help?
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