There are many reasons to have sex more often, at least when it comes to quality sex in a supportive relationship. More frequent sexual activity is linked to physical benefits, such as lower blood pressure, emotional perks, such as reduced stress, and relationship benefits, such as greater intimacy and a lower divorce rate. While there is not a magic number when it comes to the ideal frequency of sex, the results of a few studies can suggest a ballpark.
As far as the ideal frequency, a 2015 study found that general well-being is associated with sexual frequency, but only up to a certain point.2 Relationship satisfaction improved progressively from having no sex up to having sex once a week but did not improve further (and actually decreased somewhat) beyond this point.
This goal number is fairly consistent with the current average, but should be of concern with our increasingly busy lives. Looking at the frequency of sex in the 2010s, adults are now having sex nine times per year less than in the late 1990s.
What Is the Average?
- Average adult: 54 times/year (about 1/week)
- Adults in their 20s: Around 80 times/year
- Adults in their 60s: 20 times/year
Averages based on a 2017 study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior.
Even though the frequency often decreases with age, sexual activity in older adults remains very important to many people. Those who are married people tend to have sex more often than those who are not.
There are many emotional and psychological benefits from making love that is strongly linked with overall quality of life. Some of these include:
According to a 2015 study conducted in China, more sex and better quality sex increases happiness (though unwanted sex lowers happiness).
That many people deal with chronic stress is a given and has been cited as a reason why adults are having sex less often. This may be a double whammy, as sex may be considered a stress management technique.
Our bodies secrete cortisol and adrenaline (epinephrine) as part of the stress response. These hormones (the fight-or-flight response), can lead to fatigue, high blood pressure, and much more. Sex can reduce the level of these hormones, with effects that can last well into the next day.