Sex can facilitate and intensify intimacy in a relationship, creating a tangible, emotional, psychological, and (for some) spiritual connection. It can also be a lot of fun and burns more calories than 20 minutes on a treadmill.
So if you feel like you’re not getting enough sex, it can feel like your relationship isn’t thriving like it could.
If you have a higher sex drive than your partner, you may sometimes feel rejected. It might seem unfathomable to you that their partner would not want sex as often, and so you may feel unwanted or undesirable. However, it doesn’t necessarily reflect their levels of desire –people are just wired differently.
It’s possible to compromise, especially if you take the time to find out exactly what your partner likes and what makes them feel comfortable. This can be a tricky conversation to have but it’ll benefit you both in the long run and you may even feel closer for it.
Sometimes this can be purely circumstantial – feeling like anxiety, stress, and tiredness can affect someone’s sex drive. If your partner is tackling these conditions, say, during exam time or an emotional rough patch, it can be helpful to read between the lines and simply be supportive rather than applying pressure or guilt.
People’s own perception of themselves also plays a part in their sex drive. So if someone doesn’t feel good about their body or their appearance this will often impact libido, as confidence is such a big part of feeling sexy. In The Student Sex Survey 2014, 49% of people said “what I look like” was their greatest worry during sex. 58% of those were women, and 24% were men. You can’t fix your partner’s self-perception, but you can certainly be a positive influence.
Diet and lifestyle can really make a difference to your sex drive and desire for sex. Getting plenty of sleep, regular exercise, and a healthy diet can allow the body to regulate itself and reawaken the desire you once felt. Sharing an intimate moment with your partner can also help you feel sexy. A sensual massage, a relaxing bath, or even a just shared meal with no distractions can help bring you closer together.
It may seem like more sex equals a better, happier relationship. But it’s not necessarily true. The old quantity vs quantity rule applies here; shoot for quality every time. How often you have sex really depends on what suits you as a couple. Don’t get caught up on frequency – if once a month works for you both, then great.
The good news is that there is no normal. There is only what works for both parties of a relationship. According to the Guardian’s British Sex Survey of 2014, the average Brit has sex four times a month, but trying to keep up with what’s normal can put an unnecessary strain on a relationship.
Being open and honest about what you want and encouraging your partner to be honest about what they want can be liberating. Some couples worry that talking about sex will be awkward but talking about your expectations and desires can actually bring you closer and improve both your sex lives.