How often sex therapists think you should be having sex

Narjas Zatat@Narjas_Zatat
Wednesday 31 August 2016 13:20
Picture: KatarzynaBialasiewicz/istock

What is the optimum environment for a perfect relationship? You know the one we’re talking about: that starry-eyed Notebook romance.

A new study, which looked at more than 30,000 people revealed that the happiest couples were having sex only once a week.

Amy Muise, one of the researchers writes:

We found that people who reported having more frequent sex in their relationship also reported being happier. But this association was no longer true at frequencies greater than once a week.

To be clear, having sex more frequently than once a week was not associated with less happiness, it just wasn’t associated with more happiness on average.

Muise also cites a different study, in which couples were asked to double the amount they were having sex. Findings correlated with the first research: the couples did not report "greater wellbeing".

Right. So sex once a week is best?

Well, not quite.

Esther Perel, sex therapist and author of Mating in Captivity argues that the frequency of sex is less important than the physical and emotional connection that can come with it:

People will experience that desire ebbs and flows… if there is a spark between you but it only happens every few weeks, that’s okay. The renewal, the connection, the playfulness is what most people are longing for.

Sex therapist Tammy Nelson confirms this idea, explaining to the Huffington Post:

’Normal’ is a setting on the washing machine, nothing more. What’s important is that you learn to have empathy for your partner.

It's not about a prescribed frequency, but how the connection between you and your partner becomes stronger

A wealth of studies show that emotions are communicated through touch; anger, disgust, fear, gratitude, sympathy, happiness, sadness, and importantly, love.

One research paper explains that it isn’t how often your partner touches you but rather how often you respond to their touch that indicates the level of intimacy:

The stronger the reciprocity, the more likely someone is to report emotional intimacy and satisfaction with the relationship.

More: Here's how long sex has to last to be considered good, according to experts

More: The UK's second most popular sex position is also pretty dangerous