Sex among couples has decreased over the past decade, according to a study published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior. What’s more, this decrease was even more significant for married couples who live together, and who had sex 16 fewer times a year.
The study’s first author Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University, says married couples may have less sex because they’re preoccupied with balancing having careers and raising children.
She adds that with online streaming services like Netflix, where TV programmes are easily accessible, couples tend not to prioritise intimate time. “We can only speculate; there are now so many other ways to spend leisure time at home,” she says.
According to Time, married couples have sex about 51 times a year (about once a week). Research by Amy Muise, an assistant professor of psychology at York University in Canada, who’s cited in Time, suggests that having sex once a week is the optimum amount to maximise happiness.
“Sex is associated with feeling more satisfied in a relationship,” Muise says. “That’s not to say that having sex a few times a week (or more) is a bad thing. It just doesn’t seem to make couples any happier.”
In fact, couples who have sex more than once a week do not report being any happier, according to a new study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science.
A report asserted that although sex shouldn’t be a chore, there are ways to bring passion back into the relationship. This includes having sex at lunch time, at a hotel or by scheduling sex dates.
“Instructing couples to double their frequency might have turned sex into a chore for them,” Muise points out.
Professor George Loewenstein of Carnegie Mellon University concluded after a 2015 study that couples who tried to have more sex did not necessarily feel happier. Yet he still feels an effort should be made. “I still think that couples could benefit from a bit of outside encouragement to have more sex,” he says. “That’s especially true if you and your significant other have been together for a long time. When a couple has been together for some time, the mere presence of the other person, even unclothed, ceases to be exciting or arousing.”
But that doesn’t mean doing it won’t be just as fun and invigorating as it used to be, he adds. It may just take a little more work to get your fires started.