When it comes to our personal and professional goals, we often consult with our friends to guide us and tell us whether or not we’re on track (or maybe we do this so we can feel “normal” when they can relate to us). In some cases, we go directly to the experts.
The thing is, if we were left to our own devices, many of us would have a difficult time reaching that weight loss goal, giving up a harmful habit such as smoking or binge eating, or having those difficult conversations to begin with. This is also true in matters of sex.
Sure, everyone wants a healthy sex life but what does that mean exactly? The answer will be differ from person to person. It will depend on a number of factors including lifestyle choices, work schedules, emotional health, and age.
For example, there are some people (about three percent) who choose to wait until marriage, mainly for faith-based reasons, and there are others who only feel comfortable having sex in the context of a committed relationship. And then there those who choose a life filled with casual sexual encounters. Note that these are not all the “categories” that exist. Also, behaviors may change over time.
While we cannot offer a personalized definition of a healthy sex life, we can present how often you should be having sex according to your age, thanks to a research paper by the Kinsey Institute published in 2005 as well as a few other studies. These should be taken as reference and not as a sole indicator of sexual health and happiness.
First of all, let’s take a look at the average age of first intercourse.
According to the Kinsey Institute, most of us first had sex when were just teenagers. The average age for males was 16.8 years and for females, 17.2.
For their own reasons, there is a sizable population of people who remain virgins.
In a 2009 article published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, researchers wrote that 5 percent of men (122 of 2,469 subjects) and 2 percent of women (104 of 5,120 subjects) have never had sex. Those surveyed fell into the age range of 25 – 45.
Age Range: 18 – 29 years old
As you might’ve guessed, on average younger adults are having the most sex. The report says that they have intercourse about 112 times a year.
Age Range: 30 – 39 years old
There are so many things that change in your thirties. By this time, many people choose to settle down in their careers, get hitched, and start their own families, but not all do. The average number of times per year for this age bracket is 86, which is still at least once per week.
Age Range: 40 – 49 years old
There was a 7 percent difference in sexual activity between the first and second age groups, which didn’t seem like much. However, the difference between the first age group and this one is much larger at 12 percent. Those in their forties are having sex about 69 times a year.
Age Range: 50+
Fifty-somethings, we didn’t forget about you. Some people have reported having the best sex of their life in their fifties. According to one blog (Best of Everything After 50), part of the reason for this is because they have a lot more free time. In previous years, they were focused on raising the children.
About half of the couples in their sixties and seventies continue to be sexually active. This number drops to a fourth in ages 75+, according to a study by the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior.
What should you do if you don’t fall within the averages?
Remember that these numbers come from a survey, which includes only a small sample of the population. A number should not dictate the health of your relationship.
If it struck a chord, chances are you were already feeling insecure about your sex life. Talk about it with your partner. There’s always room to make things better. You just have to take that first step.
Why does it matter?
Did you know that about 13 percent of married couples have intercourse a few times per year? About 45 percent do the deed several times a month, 34 percent go at it 2 -3 times per week, and only 7 percent do more than that.
Still, the number of times you have sex doesn’t have any medical or scientific significance. If this is the case, why does it matter at all?
We’re not recommending that you aim for a specific number but it is important to note that dissatisfaction in one’s sex life can lead to the dissolution of relationships, including marriage.
Here are a few tips on how to improve your sex life.
The answer might seem straightforward. In order to improve your sex life, you have to have more sex. One study says that the happiest couples have sex 2 -3 times per week.
The website YourTango, however, considers once a month the bare minimum, once a week the average, and 3 – 5 times per week “perfect.”
It’s about more than just sex. It’s about the kissing and the cuddling too.
Individuals have reported that they were happier with their sex lives when there was frequent affection (kissing, cuddling, and caressing). Just like any other problem, you must be present and patient.
Other things you can do: schedule sex (yes, this can definitely work) or if you spend too much time together, find ways to miss each other.