Beliefnet
Doing Life Together

couple-1719666_1920When it comes to a couple’s sex life, what is normal? Twice a week, once a month, every day?” The answer depends on a number of factors, making a pat answer difficult. Things like medications, caretaking young children, taking antidepressants, and more affect a person’s sexual desire.

I laugh at the scene in the movie, Annie Hall, where the therapist asks the couple Alvy and Annie (played by Woody Allen and Diane Keaton) about how often they have sex. Alvy answers, “Hardly ever. Maybe three times a week.” Annie answers, “Constantly. I’d say three times a week.” This funny moment speaks to the way men and women think about having sex.

The key for most couples isn’t about having the same sex drive or being in sync with each other every time desire is felt. It is about negotiation the times when one initiates and the other refuses. What is usually needed is each spouse making an effort to meet the other’s need. Michele Weiner Davis in her book, The Sex-Starved Marriage,   says that a reluctant spouse can make a decision for desire. That when couples prioritize their sex life and put energy into it by flirting, complimenting and being nice, things go better. In fact, many partners who are not in the mood, get in the mood with a little prompting. The key is to stay open and receptive.

So, the most important thing to remember is not what is normal in terms of frequency, but how satisfied you are as a couple with your sex life. Dissatisfaction and disconnection can lead to problems and should be discussed. Sexual difficulties can be triggered by physical, emotional or even stress problems. Thus, getting to the root of dissatisfaction is important. Things like busyness, boredom, childhood trauma, stress reactions, aging and a host of other issues can lead to sexual difficulties and become points of contention.

Couples are often hesitant to bring up the subject of their sex lives even when both may be dissatisfied. However, it is important to start talking, sleep in the same bed together, show physical affection to each other during nonsexual times and make time for intimacy. If you find yourself unable to make changes or even have a conversation about your sex life, consider getting professional help from a therapist who specializes in sex therapy. Doing nothing only continues the dissatisfied and puts the marriage at risk.

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