It seems that about every 6 months to a year a blogger makes big news by doing one thing: pledging to have sex every day for a certain amount of time. People go nuts over these stories. Now, if you’ve been paying attention, you know that I personally feel that having an active sex life is really important in relationship health, but not being a sex therapist or educator, I can’t really say anything with any authority. All I can say is that Husband and I are super cranky if we go without sex too long, and are generally happy people if we are going at it often. Friends of ours that are having…marital problems is too strong a term. Let’s say they are easily irritated with each other. We’ve noticed those friends often have a very infrequent or nearly non-existent sex life. But which came first? Is not having sex leading to irritability, or is irritability leading to not having sex? Or are they completely unrelated? I have no idea and wouldn’t even venture a guess. All we know is a good roll in the hay (or lack of it) affects us (Husband and me).
Once upon a time, we tried the whole sex for a year thing, really just so we could say that we did it. We quit because we have sex almost every day anyway, sometimes twice a day, but knowing we had to felt too much like work and not enough like joy. And then we got to wondering, for the sake of the experiment, what counts as sex. Vaginal intercourse? Oral sex? Any sort of penetration? Does one or more of us have to orgasm for it to count? We sort of figured that since we have sex almost every day anyway, this experiment wasn’t worth the frustration it was giving us.
All of this brings me back around to my main point. Since we have sex almost daily, I’m always surprised when I see yet another blogger in the news pledging to have sex every day for a month, year, or other period of time. After the latest one (which I admit was actually partially about body image, so there was a whole new dimension to the experiment that I fully applaud), I looked at Husband and asked him point blank why this is news (the sex every day part. Not the body image part). Doesn’t every healthy married couple have lots and lots of sex? Barring emotional or health concerns, of course. I mean, aren’t we the picture of average?
“It’s news because not everyone is us. We’re not average,” Husband said.
I always forget this. Always. Our frequency just feels so natural and comforting that I never remember that we’re the exception. A friend I confided in even told me once that Husband and I simply have too much sex. Another friend told me I must be the best wife ever for giving my husband sex that often (I had to correct her and told her that we both have high sex drives. I’m not sacrificing. We’re both giving and receiving). And yet, I always forget these conversations that indicate that we’re not average. According to the Kinsey Institute, our age group generally has sex an average of once a week to a few times a month, and the youngest married couples (18-24) average about 2-3 times per week. But with so many sexless marriages running around (an estimated 15-20%), I figured the average among happy, sexual fulfilling marriages must be higher. It must be that 5-6 times per week (sometimes as much as 14) that Husband and I have, right? RIGHT???
I made a quick and dirty informal poll of both my mom friends and my sex blogging friends, all happily married, all in relationships that are by no means sexless. I expected to see at least 4-5 times per week, probably more. Maybe as much as 7+. I expected to see that answer from just about everyone.
That’s not what I saw.
The average among my friends of a wide variety of ages was still (drum roll please) 1-3 times per week, with only a couple of exceptions. I’m trying to wrap my brain around this. Maybe we are odd after all. And somehow, I don’t care that we’re the oddballs.