(I really tried to make this post shorter, but just couldn’t do it. I’m channeling Ayn Rand tonight!)
A BFF of mine has been married 20 + years and they are childless by choice. They are having sex 4 to 5 times a week, and have been doing so their entire married life. My BFFs and I were talking about this and we said, well, yeah, that’s great for you, you guys don’t have any kids. The childless BFF agreed that it was easier for them to have so much sex, but they still had to make it a priority. I agree, sex needs to be a priority for it to get done, just like anything else. However, the other things going on in our lives impact our bedroom lives considerably.
So what’s the right amount? Two times a week? Three or four? Of course it depends on the couple. There are some extremes that I think should be avoided, though. First is little to no sex because one person in the marriage doesn’t put as much importance on sex. Then there’s the person who feels that if the urge is there, it must be acted upon, every day, twice a day, whatever it is, with no regard for the other person’s schedule or feelings on the matter.
Example 1: (This is a real guy, by the way) Job feels the need for sex every single day. He says he just can’t go without it for even one day. If his wife is on her period she will accommodate him in different ways. They have many children (Quiverful). Job ran into problems at first, when they had lots of small children to care for and Sarah was very, very busy. He just was not getting his daily dose of sex. So he started calendaring it. Big red X on the days he didn’t get it. Shame on you, Sarah! You are not meeting my needs! He also started quoting scripture at her to make her understand that her body was not her own anymore, it was his. So they devised a plan. In the evenings, while she was nursing her baby, she would lie on her side, they would spoon in bed and he would have sex with her. Problem solved! Sarah was pretty much immobilized, couldn’t really do anything else, now, could she? And Job got his daily dose of sex. I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP!!!!! I find this utterly despicable. Where is the man’s self control? His compassion? His understanding? Oh, yeah, HE DOESN’T HAVE ANY. He has no blood going to his brain and so he can only think with the part of his body where all the blood is.
Example 2: (Also real people.) Jim knows his wife’s love language. So he does all he can to give her love the way she wants it. He writes poetry for his wife. He sings her songs. He frequently gives her hour long backrubs. He takes her out to nice restaurants and tries to make their date nights special and memorable. He helps out around the house. He does the dishes. He does his own laundry. He helps with the kids. He makes sure she has “me time”. He works very hard so she can be a stay-at-home mom. He thinks his wife is beautiful. Now, Sue is a very nice person. She is sweet and caring. She is a wonderful mother and a wonderful friend. She loves and appreciates Jim very much. She loves to cuddle, hold hands, whisper sweet nothings, take romantic walks, play footsie under the table, give him sexy looks, rip open the shower curtain and show off her body to him, and fall asleep every night in front of the TV. To Sue, having sex at the end of a perfect, romantic date just ruins the romance. She does not think sex is romantic. If she and Jim have sex once every month or two, she feels that is enough. While I don’t find this behavior despicable, I do find it extremely selfish.
I would venture to guess that most couples have different need levels in any marriage. It is probably more common for the man to need sex more frequently than the woman, but there are plenty of women who are not having their needs met by their husbands, too.
So what’s the right amount? I personally think that the person with the least sexual desire should NOT be the one determining how much and how often. For me and my marriage, I had to step it up. Back when sex was not on the list for me, Conan would remind me how long it had been every 15 minutes, it seemed to me, ha ha! (see my post on why is my husband always, always asking for sex, sex and more sex?) and then I’d acquiesce when I couldn’t hold him off any longer . Without Conan reminding me, I wouldn’t think about it again for weeks. This was very, very hard on Conan. Which I completely didn’t understand! Nobody was telling me or had ever told me about any of this kind of stuff. So I shouldn’t have been the one determining frequency of sex in our marriage.
Now, if Conan wanted it every day, which he doesn’t, as I discovered after I stopped saying no all the time, I feel that would be unreasonable if I had lots of demands on my time already, especially little kids. It shouldn’t become an ironclad law that sex must be had every day or else you’ll get a big red X on the calendar! But I did have to make sex a priority in my life for the health of my marriage.
I’ve learned, after 24 years, that marriage is a lot of compromise and negotiation. And negotiating sexual frequency requires compromise! Oh, and communication. If Conan hadn’t made me crazy with his asking for sex all the time, it wouldn’t have become a priority for me to learn about why this was happening and what I should do about it. If he hadn’t said anything I would have gone about my merry way, perfectly content with the way things were. And I would be missing out on the benefits of a happy sex life. On the flip side, I think that if one spouse wants it every day and the other one doesn’t, then maybe that higher frequency spouse can scale it down just a bit, out of consideration. And they will still benefit from a happy sex life.
So I think that, like a lot of things in marriage, that meeting in the middle somewhere is good. The spouse who wants it every day can say, okay, honey, how about 3-4 times a week? The spouse who doesn’t have much of a sex drive can say, okay, I’ll commit to 2-3 times a week and see how that goes and maybe add one more time if it works out.
So communicate what you want and need and negotiate and compromise about it. I hope and pray for happy, healthy marriages!