Sex does happen less frequently in long-term relationships. (Photo: iStockphoto)
When you’re in a long-term relationship, there will be times, inevitably, when you’re not having as much sex as you want to be – or think you should be.
Of course, we all know that going at it like bunnies is not common when you’ve been with someone for a long time – it’s not going to be the ‘honeymoon phase’ forever.
While we know this is ‘normal’, it can still be a cause for concern for many of us if we feel like we’re having less sex with our partners than we should be.
The reasons why can be due to a number of factors, including busy schedules, opposing work shifts, a lack of sexual desire and low sex drive, or, in some cases, we may not feel attracted to our partners anymore, or fin ourselves drifting apart.
While the latter is something that either requires extensive communication, trust, possibly relationship counselling, or an eventual break up, the other reasons can be addressed with certain changes to our lives, or they may be temporary changes that will resolve over time.
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Sex can be hard to talk about, and there will always be the problem of comparison and the fear that everyone else, or every other couple, is having more of it than you.
The burning question is: is there a certain amount of times we should be having sex?
Ness Cooper, sex and relationships coach at The Sex Consultant, says no.
Cooper explains that having sex less often ‘isn’t always a sign of anything negative.’ She adds that studies indicate that on average, individuals are having sex once a week.
She says having sex less frequently ‘can be a sign that both you and your partner have formed not only your joint relationship identity with a routine but also you both are accepting each other’s individual identities and needs too.’
There is no magic number when it comes quantity of sex. (Photo: Getty Images)
Additionally, there is not a specific number of times a week, a month, or a year that is considered ‘healthy’ for committed partners to be having sex.
‘While there are averages on the number of times individuals have sex, they shouldn’t be used as a way to assess your relationship. There is no magic number when it comes to quantity and every relationship is different, it’s quality that’s the important factor when building further connection and intimacy,’ Cooper says.
Having sex less often in a committed relationship can also mean you’re simply comfortable in your committed relationship as you ‘share other aspects of your lives together’.
However, if you feel like it has dropped dramatically, Cooper recommends seeking advice ‘from a sex therapist or coach to help you work out the reasons why,’ or consulting ‘with a GP to see if there are any underlying health reasons’ responsible for a decrease in libido.
But, Cooper emphasises that ‘every relationship dynamic is different’ and sex may not be the main form of intimacy or pleasure in your relationship compared to your friends’ relationships.
‘Sex can be a healthy part of a relationship, but it shouldn’t be the only thing that keeps you connected and together,’ she says.
What to do if you want to have more sex with your partner
If you do want to have sex with your partner more often but find that your schedules are not accommodating those needs, Cooper has a few recommendations for you.
‘My biggest recommendation is to stop using the following line: “I don’t have enough time.”
‘While sex can take a chunk of time out of your week, we need to stop saying we don’t have enough time for intimate interactions. Scheduling time for sex can be effective for some couples, particularly if added with a date night where you connect with your partner in multiple ways.’
Additionally, sex is not always ‘orgasm focused’ and making time for ‘non-orgasm focused sex can be a good way of slowly building up passion,’ according to Cooper.
She adds: ‘Remember the amount we may want to have sex will vary day-to-day and there’s no guarantee that it will match with your partner’s sexual needs every time,’ but rather, it’s all about communicating your needs with your partner and seeing what works for your relationship – there is no one size fits all.
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