How Often Do Couples Have Sex in Relationships?

How much sex is normal or healthy? There’s no right or wrong answer to this question, and the media may skew our views as to what a “healthy” amount of sex is. Many factors affect how often people have sex, including their age, health, stress, mood, and sexual desires.

Happy couple on couch
Ezra Bailey / Getty Images

Benefits of Sex

Healthy sex life can strengthen your bond with your partner and help keep your relationship healthy. Sex also provides numerous health benefits, such as boosting your mood, lessening stress, strengthening your immune system, lowering your blood pressure, reducing pain, and helping fight heart disease.

That being said, only you and your partner can decide how much sex is right for both of you. Studies show that regularly having sex is a more important factor in keeping a happy relationship than money.

Frequency of Sex

Most couples typically have sex once a week. This helps keep an intimate connection and gives the feeling of having an active sex life, but it still allows time for anticipation and spontaneity, as sex feels more like a special experience than a daily routine.

Having sex more than once a week typically makes couples feel just as happy as if they had sex only once a week. The happiest couples and most stable relationships have sex approximately as often as they want to have sex.

Satisfaction With Sex Life

Most men and women feel that a satisfying sex life improves their overall quality of life, but it doesn’t play a crucial role in their happiness.

About 90% of men and women agree that "a good relationship with a spouse or partner is important to the quality of life." Around half of men and women feel that even though sex gives them pleasure, it’s not a necessary part of a good relationship.

Around half of men and women in heterosexual relationships are content with how often they have sex with their partners. The other half of men are dissatisfied with the amount of sex they’re having usually because they want more sex. About two-thirds of unsatisfied women are in the same boat.

Since men tend to think about sex and feel sexual desire more than women do, men are about eight times more likely to self-stimulate.

Factors Affecting the Sex Drive

Age and health also play a crucial role in determining your sex drive. As the years go by, sexual problems can develop, including erectile dysfunction, a loss of interest in sex, anxiety about performance, and trouble climaxing. As health problems begin to manifest over the years, sex often gets put on the back burner. 

It’s very possible to have sex well into your 80s, as almost 40 percent of men between the ages of 75 and 85 have sex with a partner, especially thanks to a variety of erectile dysfunction drugs readily available to lend a helping hand. 


Masturbation is common as 63 percent of men age 50 and older do it. As well, 43 percent of men and 36 percent of women in this age group have a sexual arrangement with someone other than their spouse or long-term partner.

Masturbation or infidelity can become an alternative to sex, especially if difficulty or discomfort exists with intercourse in the relationship.

Importance of Quality Over Quantity

The quality of the sex you’re having is much more important than the quantity. Men’s happiness tends to come more from the physical aspects of sex, while women’s happiness comes more from the emotional aspects.

The most important thing in your relationship is to talk to each other about your sexual desires and keep the lines of communication open. If you want to have sex more frequently or spice things up between the sheets, let your partner know. Communication, not sex, is the lifeline that your relationship needs to survive.  

Frequently Asked Questions

How often are most couples having sex?

On average, most couples typically have sex once a week. However, younger couples are more likely to have sex more frequently and older couples tend to have sex less frequently. One study found people in their 20s have sex about 80 times a year while those in their 60s decline to an average of 20 times a year.

Is it healthy to have sex every day?  

As long as both you and your partner want to and feel up for it, it is perfectly healthy to have sex every day.

What is considered a normal sex life? 

There is a wide variation of what is considered to be normal when it comes to sex. According to the Kinsey Institute, humans have a diverse spectrum of sexual preferences and behaviors. All that really matters is that all parties involved are consenting adults and in agreement about the boundaries. 

Was this page helpful?
6 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Debrot A, Meuwly N, Muise A, Impett EA, Schoebi D. More Than Just Sex: Affection Mediates the Association Between Sexual Activity and Well-Being. Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2017;43(3):287-299. doi:10.1177/0146167216684124

  2. Twenge JM, Sherman RA, Wells BE. Declines in sexual frequency among American adults, 1989-2014. Arch Sex Behav. 2017;46(8):2389-2401. doi:10.1007/s10508-017-0953-1

  3. Harvard Health. Attitudes about sexuality and aging. Harvard Health Publishing.

  4. Smith A, Lyons A, Ferris J, et al. Sexual and relationship satisfaction among heterosexual men and women: the importance of desired frequency of sex. J Sex Marital Ther. 2011;37(2):104-15. doi:10.1080/0092623X.2011.560531

  5. Schick V, Herbenick D, Reece M, et al. Sexual behaviors, condom use, and sexual health of Americans over 50: implications for sexual health promotion for older adults. J Sex Med. 2010;7 Suppl 5:315-29. doi:10.1111/j.1743-6109.2010.02013.x

  6. Kinsey Institute. Sex FAQ and statistics.

Additional Reading