By the time you reach adulthood, it's safe to assume that you've moved away from the "musts" and "can't live without it" ideations of your youth. But that doesn't mean you're completely absolved from feeling pressure to keep up with your best friend's idyllic Instagram feed or falling victim to romanticizing a stranger's relationship. In fact, the "should haves" or "supposed to bes" have a way of making their way into the most adult situations, including your sex life. But if you've been wondering how often you should have sex with your spouse because so-and-so gave you whatever advice, then experts say you can go ahead and forget about it.
"Despite what certain catchy headlines may tell you, there are no hard and fast rules or guidelines for how often you should be having sex," Sarah Hunter Murray, a sex researcher and relationship therapist, tells Romper in an email interview. "Each couple has to figure out a rhythm and routine that works for them."
Toni Coleman, a licensed clinical social worker and relationship coach agrees, adding that various studies offer averages based on self-reporting and show differences ranging from a couple of times a month to once a week to several times a week, generally depending upon age and health. "Every couple and their circumstances are unique to them," she tells Romper in an email interview. "Tuning into what their partner wants and needs is the key to knowing 'how often.'"
That being said, Murray says research suggests that couples who have sex once a week are the most happy and satisfied. "While we might think the more sex the better, research suggests that couples who have sex more than once a week are no happier or more satisfied than those getting it on once a week," she says. "So if you and your partner want to have sex every day or every other day, by all means enjoy. But once a week seems to be a pretty solid number for most folks."
Of course, if one partner is asking for sex and intimacy and their significant other is often saying they are "not in the mood," then Coleman points out that there may be some issues in their sex life that need to be discussed. "Sometimes one partner has lost all desire for sex and that can lead to complete breakdown in marital intimacy, affection, and goodwill — which are major factors present in divorce," she says. "If one partner wants sex very frequently but does not pull their weight in the overall relationship, this needs to be addressed. They need to understand that being a good partner outside of the bedroom is foreplay and that this can help them have a sex life that works satisfactorily for both."
Murray says you can also ensure a healthy sexual relationship by sticking with the old adage that quality is always more important than quantity. "Having enjoyable, take-your-time sex that includes kissing, foreplay, and lots of touching and cuddling — but only happens once every couple of weeks — could be far more satisfying than lackluster quickies every other day," she says.
If you want to take the lead on initiating sex, then experts say penciling in sexy time or even showing a little skin can do the trick. Of course, a sneak peek can also be effective says Britanny Burr, editor at large and relationship expert for Psych N Sex, in an email interview with Romper. "If you happen to be changing in front of them, do it slowly, face them, maybe even throw some eye contact in there to show that you are fiercely comfortable with your body and your body in their presence," she says. "If all else fails 'I want you' is a seriously underrated phrase."
Because there's nothing wrong with saying what you want, right?
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