Relationships

How Often Do You Have Sex?

How Often Do You Have Sex?

I spoke to 20 couples, and here’s what I discovered…


Somewhere, within our understanding of human sexuality within relationships, a little voice found its way into our brain with an opinion on how often we “do it.” Suspiciously, particularly after the first few years of a relationship, that opinion is often “not enough” — especially when we measure our sex lives against that of a friend, or a fictional character, or a celebrity — and it’s usually followed by an, “Oh my god. What does that mean? Are we normal? Doomed? Dead??”

So, I turned to Emily Nagoski, Ph.D., sex educator and The New York Times best-selling author of Come As You Are, about how couples can assess the health of their sexual relationships. She has a rhyme to answer that very question: “Pleasure is the measure…of sexual well-being.”

In other words, she says that your sexual well-being has nothing to do with how often you do it, or who you do it with, or what room you do it in. (“It,” by the way, means whatever you and your partner mean when you think about sex.) “The key is whether or not you like the sex you’re having,” says Emily.

I spoke with 20 different people* in long-term relationships. Every person said they’re having less sex than they did in the beginning; some felt like they should be having more; and some were comfortable with where they were. Of those people who were having less sex than they thought they “should” be, to Emily’s point, quite a few were satisfied with the sex they were having.

Take Lauren, a 44-year-old woman from Las Vegas, who has sex with her partner of 10 years once every few weeks. Though their frequency began to dwindle about three years into the relationship, she says, “we have a deeper bond from being together for so long. When we do have sex, it is better than it’s ever been.”

Lynette and her partner have been married for five years, and for their entire relationship, including early on, they’ve had sex about once a month. “We’re totally fine with it, and we’re affectionate day to day,” she says. “I know our number might be low compared to others, but we’re satisfied.”

Jada and her wife have been together a total of 10 years, and had sex once a day for the first year. Now they have sex once or twice a week. They also keep up what Jada calls a “lifeline”: They talk about “sexy things,” and make it a point to tell each other that they’re into one another.

A couple’s sexual frequency can also ebb and flow. Amy, a mother of two in Ohio, who has been married for 10 years, said their sex life is sometimes “hot and heavy.” Then there are “periods of energy shifts” where she and her husband focus more on their careers, home or children.

Either because it can take multiple tries to get a piano in the doorway, or because it’s a message worth repeating (both, probably), Emily Nagoski offered variations on “quality over quantity” throughout the course of our conversation. But how does a couple keep that quality sex going? Especially when you have three seasons of your new favorite show to catch up on, and you’re tired from work, and your kids seem to pick up sharp objects then head directly for the sharpest counter corners they can find the moment you close the door?

“When you look at the research on couples who sustain a strong sexual connection over multiple decades,” Emily told me, “they have two characteristics in common. First, they’re friends. And two, they prioritize sex. They decide that it matters for their relationship. They cordon off time. They let their skin touch the other person’s skin and enjoy sharing that time together.”

I spoke with a few couples who made sex a priority by scheduling it in their calendars, which Emily was all for. “People sometimes hear that as, ‘Oh, there’s no spontaneity.’ But think about all the other important things that you put on your calendar.”

What if you’re not in the mood on the scheduled date? Emily offered up a metaphor from her mentor, Dr. Christine Hyde, a New Jersey-based sex therapist: “Imagine that your best friend invites you to a party. You say yes, but then as the date approaches, you start to worry: Will there be heavy traffic? We have to find child care. Do I really want to put on my party clothes on a Friday night after a long week? But you know what? The date arrives, and you get the child care, and you put on your party clothes, and you show up to the party. What happens? You have a good time at the party. If you’re having fun at the party, you’re doing it right.”

You don’t have to be literal about circling every fourth day of the week underneath a photo of galloping horses, either. My friend Billy and his husband have an unspoken once-a-week pact. They’ve been together for 13 years and have two kids, responsibilities, and a New York City apartment with New York City-thin walls; and their unspoken agreement feels fun and easier for the two of them.

“When it comes to sex frequency, nothing is shocking,” says clinical psychologist Lina Perl, Ph.D. “I’ve had couples tell me they have to have sex every night. I’ve had married people who report that they haven’t had sex for several years and aren’t concerned about it. It’s only problematic when the person has a problem with it. Frequency is meaningless unless it’s bothering you for some reason.”

Declining sex, lack of sex or loss of interest in sex can be an early indicator that a couple needs to check in with one another — but that depends on the couple, agrees Emily. You can have incredibly intense sex and be in a toxic relationship, just as you can experience a “dry spell” within a happy relationship.

After nine months of pregnancy, hazy new baby days, and postpartum depression, Padma, 32, realized it had been a full year since she and her husband had had sex. “My brakes had slammed on,” she said, “There was no way I could have had sex during that time.” But they slowly found their physical groove again with trust and patience. “It was a chapter in our lives,” she says. “Now we’re back in our rhythm.”

And couples can embrace other forms of intimacy, as well. Andrea, 29, has been with her husband for four years, and their current average is about once a week. But four to five nights a week, she says, “we spend deeply affectionate time together in bed, cuddling, talking and laughing.”

Basically, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to sexuality.

“When you see a number about how often American couples have sex on average; that’s a description of the population,” says Emily. “But do any of those people’s sex lives have anything to do with you and your relationship, and your sexuality? Do those people come to bed with you and check to make sure you’re doing it right? They have no place there.”

Emily says that the goal is to “assess our own sexuality on its own terms, based on our personal and relational experience, without reference to anything that’s happening outside of our bodies and relationships.” In fact, Emily told me that a common phrase among sex educators is, “Stop should-ing on yourself.” “There is no ‘should,’ she says. “Should is not a word that belongs in sex positivity.”

As we wrapped, I told Emily that even though I went into this story with the assumption that every couple is different when it comes to sex, I was still struck by the variations. You know what Emily said?

“Exactly. And they’re all normal. They’re all doing it right.”


Amelia Diamond is a writer and creative consultant. In December 2018, she left Man Repeller after five years to pursue the strange world of fiction (along with other freelance creative endeavors). She’s also a New York Magazine alum who lives in New York, was raised in San Francisco, and is very much still working on her bio. Follow her on Instagram, @amilli0naire.

P.S. More on sex, including married couples who sleep in different bedrooms and who initiates sex in your relationship?

(Illustration by Nina Cosford for Cup of Jo.)

*Names have been changed.

  1. Wow!!!
    Reading this has helped me so much realising that what I have with my fiancé is enough. We may not make love all that often, due to him being on anti depressants. But he tries so hard. We are totally intimate in other ways. We sleep naked together with loads of cuddles and kisses throughout the night.
    I have been having trouble dealing with his low libido think he was not sexually attracted to me. Which in turn made me a
    little obsessed with wanting and needing his attention. Wanting more of his time constantly.
    What an unrealistic view I had. I could have ruined our relationship!!

    I now realise what we have is amazing.

    I’m a lucky lady. 🌻

  2. Tricia J says...

    My husband and I have sex at least 5 times a week, if not more. However, I will say that we live by a philosophy that John Wooden and his wife Nellie had. They said they make love every day…sometimes physically, sometimes it’s through setting aside an entire day to talk and just be together, sometimes it is in a simple touch throughout the day or leaving love notes around their home. My husband and I live by this same philosophy. We would say we make love daily, but the physical act of having sex is about 5 times a week and I believe that our approach to “making love” every day makes us crave one another more.

  3. Roos says...

    I happen to really not like that actually. Constantly equating my body with sex when I’m naked is a turn off for me. My partner used to do it a lot more, but he still does it from time to time: reacting to me undressing like a “hungry wolf”. It bothers me because it’s not genuine (he can’t always be in the mood and he does not always have to be turned on when i switch from daywear to jammies). Sometimes I just want to be a naked body WITHOUT being seized up, either genuinely or in a playful/jokey kind of way, as a sexual being.

    • Sophie says...

      I can relate so much to this. I’m not sure why I’m like this

    • A says...

      Me too. Thank you for voicing this, as it’s something I’ve been struggling with. I know the intentions are good and he just wants me to feel sexy but instead it makes me freeze up. I want to be able to change my clothes or have a shower without it seeming like an invitation of some kind.

    • Kate says...

      Here, here!

    • Cat says...

      Yes, same here. Same same same. 18 years of marriage and I still feel like being naked is somehow perceived as an invitation for either sexual activity or comment. It’s frustrating.

    • Rosie says...

      Hmmm. I definitely do not relate to that at all. It always gives me a serious boost to hear my wife call me sexy and I love it more when I’m not actually trying and just doing something normal. I mean, that is usually when I think she is sexiest. That’s kind of the perk of cohabitation, right? Liking the view. What makes you think it isn’t genuine? Every time I think my wife is sexy and say so it doesn’t mean I want to have sex.

    • Raquel says...

      Rosie, I am with you 100%. I sent this article to my husband as a hint, to many things, including this one.

    • AmyB says...

      The “hungry wolf” thing wouldn’t do much for me either… I’ve had multiple kids, and never work out, I KNOW I don’t look like a swimsuit model. I will say, tho, that my husband has a habit of catching me at odd moments of undress and stating, very simple, “you’re very beautiful.” He says it in the sweetest voice, and it always makes me smile. It isn’t sexual, just letting me know that he sees me and loves what he sees, and it’s nice ❤️

    • Isn’t it nice to sleep naked with no expectations except cuddles?

  4. Kim says...

    Delighted to see Amelia Diamond AND Nina Cosford on Cup of Jo!!!

    • Mollie Blackwood says...

      Agreed! Love both of their work.

  5. Emily says...

    My boyfriend and I have sex about once a week, sometimes two if we are really into it (and sometimes if the first time is really good, the next one comes sooner after!). We are 24, so this feels infrequent compared to others I know, but given that we have lived together for 1.5 yrs now and been together nearly 3, we’ve reached a level of comfort and familiarity where the burning, need to have you now desire is not present most of the time. This is my first long relationship and for a while this freaked me out. Now I’ve come to appreciate the lack of obligation for either of us to have sex if we aren’t feeling it that night. When we are both into it, the sex can be funny, special, intimate, playful.. so many things and is honestly better than sex I had at a younger age and in short relationships when my libido was high (and I mean HIGH). It’s hard not to compare yourself to others— like friends who say they have sex every day— but ultimately I feel satisfied with how things are so I don’t think there’s really anything lacking!

  6. M says...

    Ok, but what do you do if there’s an imbalance in desire?

    • Kate says...

      You should check out Emily’s book! She addresses imbalance in a super thoughtful and helpful way.

  7. Savannah says...

    My husband and I haven’t had sex in about 9 months. Since the birth of our little one. I keep asking- gently, not aggressively- and he keeps agreeing… But then nothing happens. He won’t initiate and neither will I. I won’t because it makes me feel too vulnerable, like I’m begging, and I’m already extremely traumatized still from giving birth. He holds me and kisses me still so it’s not all bad. He’s a wonderful man and father. I love him (and our baby) more than anything.

    But none of my friends abstained from sex longer than 3 months after giving birth. Usually right after getting the all clear. It makes me wonder what’s wrong with me every day.

    • M says...

      Please don’t worry that there is something wrong with you, or your relationship based on comparisons to others. I know plenty of friends who have waited to have sex again for over a year after birth, especially after a traumatic birth, and have fulfilling marriages/partnerships today. My husband and I waited for a long time after my traumatic birth experience. We were very honest and open about everything, and realized that we were simply in a season of our relationship – it wouldn’t last forever. We still found plenty of ways to communicate love, affection, desire, intimacy without having sex until I was ready. It was really empowering for me to take the pressure off and focus on getting through a very challenging shift in my life. Then when we were both ready everything naturally fell back into place and the sex was sooo good!

      There is nothing wrong with you. You are going through a huge shift in your life and sometimes it takes time for things to naturally fall back into place. I’m sure it will for you soon enough.

    • Erin says...

      There’s also science to prove that the hormones that give us our libido are much, much lower after having a baby, for men as well as women! Nature is so cool. Our partner’s hormones sort of pick up on ours. As women it’s easy to think it’s because we’re less attractive, our identity has shifted from lover to mother, but that’s only a small part compared to the roles hormones play. This is a great time for couples to lean into their friendship, as had been mentioned and find other forms of intimacy.

    • Fernanda says...

      I have a friend who used to have sex about 5x/week with her husband. After giving birth (and it was a c-section), she says it took them seven months to start it over… and only now that her boy is almost three they got back to they’re usual frequency.

      She’s my only close friend with a child, and to me it sounded super normal! I don’t usually comment, but I felt like giving you a different perspective since you said your friends all had different experiences ;)

    • Smdny says...

      In my friend group there is a huge range of when parents resumed sex post-partum. Many friends had pelvic issues that made sex painful for months. (FYI to anyone experiencing this, find a good physical therapist – you don’t need to be in pain!) Personally I had a c-section and my ab and pelvic muscles were a mess for about a year post-partum. I couldn’t get my muscles to work the way they had and I couldn’t seem to orgasm and it completely freaked me out and made sex scary and unenjoyable. All that to say there are a lot of physical, emotional, hormonal and lifestyle reasons why someone may or may not be down for sex post-partum. Be kind to yourself as your body heals!

    • Savannah says...

      Thank you ALL of you. I so appreciate the much needed perspective (and science). Xoxo

  8. Luísa says...

    I’m so glad my favourite writer is writing to my favourite website ❤

  9. MD says...

    This is such an important conversation. As an ob/gyn, I have a discussion about libido at least once a day. I reiterate that it’s only a problem if it’s a problem for YOU. Also, as awesome as spontaneous desire is (and is most common in the teens/twenties!), many (most?) women don’t necessarily have desire until AFTER arousal. So start fooling around, kissing/touching, THEN the desire comes.

    • KS says...

      THIS!!! I’ve shared this sentiment so often. Sometimes I’m not thinking about sex but kissing and touching will get things going quickly! And I’m the one with the higher drive.

  10. Maud says...

    My boyfriend and I are the unicorns, I guess–after about three years together, we’re having lots more sex than we did in the beginning. We got together during a very difficult time in both our lives, and a lot of the first year was just about the two of us keeping each other afloat. We were so physically exhausted and emotionally raw that the chances of both of us feeling up to having sex at the same time were pretty low! Sometimes I did worry about it, because everyone says the frequency of sex only goes down; it seemed like we weren’t setting some kind of “baseline” and were destined to trail off into near-celibacy. Instead, as we’ve reached equilibrium both individually and as a couple, our sex life has really picked up! (In the beginning, minus that first crazy week, we got it on maybe once a month. Now it’s 4-5 times a week.) I guess we’ll taper off eventually, but for now we’re both enjoying our belated-but-still-wonderful honeymoon period. Just goes to show that there really is no “one way” for these things to work.

  11. ludo says...

    Amelia! Great to see you again (reader from MR)!

    • ALB says...

      Agreed!! 👋🏼 Amelia!

  12. Mara says...

    I’m definitely one of those people who was in a toxic relationship and we had the most wild, romance-novel sex beyond my wildest dreams — every other night! For 7 years! But that dramafest ended long after it should have. Now I’m happily married to someone else and we live harmoniously, but our sex life has cooled drastically thanks to the stressors of life. For now, the once-every-few-months sex works for us. I was very reluctant to read article, thinking I’d read story after story about couples who do, and should, have sex at least once a week or something’s very wrong (I get this from my girlfriends ALL the time and it usually brings me to tears). So, thank you so much for saying that it’s all very individual. I’m also inspired to try scheduling sex!

    • S. says...

      My husband are the same! Together for 25 years and, at first, it was a lot. Every once in a while we discuss if we should be having more sex and get busy again. Then it tapers back off and it feels just fine. We flirt, hang on each other, and are attracted to each other so I’d say we are happy. I’ve had the same thing with friends so I don’t bother telling them anymore! Intimacy is a lot more than sex to me.

    • Mara says...

      S, I’m so glad to hear this! I’m not alone then :-) And great call, I should just stay quiet when my friends start going around the circle talking about all the regular sex they’re having with their husbands. To each their own.

  13. Kate says...

    Nearly finished with Come As You Are but this really resonated with me!

  14. J says...

    I think what is so interesting about sex is that it means something – and requires something – so different, at least for me and my husband. We’ve been together 13 years, married five, and I still need to “feel close” to him in order to have sex. With children, jobs, the daily news (yes, really, this has been a big shadow in our relationship) sex is not at the top of the agenda for me – wanting to feel him with me in the trenches is, and that in turn leads to sex, which reinforces the emotional bond. But for him, sex is (still) mostly a physical act – and he can have sex whether we’re at a good point in our relationship or not. What we’ve discovered a few years into parenting life is that if we keep it to about 1X a week (weekend nap time for the win), we’re able to maintain a balance between emotional closeness and satisfy physical desire/need.

    Potentially TMI, but another thing that shifted our sex life, at least over the past year: pregnancy shot my libido through the roof, which made me understand my husband’s needs differently: just because they are physical, doesn’t mean that the underlying bond of love, trust, friendship means any less. That’s made me much more open to having sex for physicality’s sake – and bonus! – it still reinforces our bond.

  15. NN says...

    A M E L I A D I A M O N D !!!!!!

    HOLY SMOKES I was so excited to see her name here! I love her writing so much and was sad when she left Manrepeller. So excited to read everything of hers!

  16. haha all y’all saying you’re down to once a week, i’m sitting here thinking once a WEEK (⊙o⊙) YOU GO GIRLS!!

    • Caitlin says...

      SERIOUSLY!

    • KS says...

      He keeps a calendar. For 1 week a month (I’m still ovulating though we’re LONG done having kids), I could seriously do it daily. Multiples times a day. For 2 weeks, every couple/few days. And for one week (PMS), I am almost repulsed by any intimate contact. It’s so extreme!! But we expect it and I try to get over it mentally.

  17. Margot says...

    I’m almost 30 and have been with my boyfriend for over 3 years. The six months we had sex CONSTANTLY, 7+ times a week! I’m not sure what happened, but since then it has dwindled to the point where it’s once every 4-5 months. We are busy, but we don’t have kids and have plenty of opportunities to be intimate. The weird thing is, I almost feel repelled by the idea now, and perhaps he does too and neither of us try to initiate it. We mention it once in a while, “we should do that thing more,” but then we don’t. I worry because I don’t know if this is normal, or if we’ve become “roommates” or “best friends.” Has anyone else had this experience? Is this a painfully obvious sign that something is wrong, or could this ever be normal in the context of a healthy relationship?

    • Olivia Virginia says...

      That’s not normal.
      And double-plus not normal for him.
      Are you on the pill?

    • otoh i feel too young (52) to be done with sex, but otothh my bf and i are really happy and snuggly together after starting off HOT HOT HOT and i’m not at all worried that our relationship isn’t healthy. i mean, menopause and antidepressants are involved. it’s funny, you know how people always say about making time for fitness and making fitness a priority etc–well i’m a trainer, i learned to empathize with that by mapping that onto my eternal struggle to make time to keep my house clean. which seems to come naturally to some people like keeping fit is second nature to me. but like when i think about once a week sex i think, a) i guess i could have sex instead of running saturday morning? and b) goodbye ever getting my front room furnished! hahahaha

    • e says...

      I don’t know if it is normal or not, but my husband and I are the same! We’ve been together for 16 years now, but the sex was only really hot/heavy for the first 1-2 years. We do have kids now, but things slowed down long before that. Now we go long stretches without it and I definitely feel not into the idea of it more often than not. We talk about it sometimes, but we’re generally happy so I try not to stress about it. I’m no expert, but for us it works, so I’d say it can be normal in the context of a healthy relationship!

    • AC says...

      I completely disagree that this is “not normal.” I’m in a very similar position – married 10 years, very infrequent sex, and busy lives. When you’re with someone for a long period of time, frequency of sex is going to fluctuate. Other than the sex piece, my husband and I are great partners and friends and I feel like we have a healthy relationship.

    • Sara says...

      It’s possible to have a healthy relationship and also have really infrequent sex. It’s normal. You’re normal. Your partner is normal. Our needs and wants and desires ebb and flow, change and grow, just like we do as people.
      Love to you from this 18+ year married lady.

    • AW says...

      After readying about quality over quantity, I’m surprised that anyone would say such an unhelpful thing like “that’s not normal.” How hurtful. My husband and I have been together for 11 years and sex has always been infrequent. Sometimes
      I feel like we are just both low sex drive. But we love each other, we are best friends, I find him very attractive. I do wish we had sex more but when the opportunity arises, I never feel like it. A few glasses of wine and an offer, and I’m in. But I’d be just as happy with a book and a bath. Don’t tell someone their relationship isn’t “normal.” And what the heck is “normal” anyway!?

    • Jane says...

      I totally understand your need to get other people’s perspectives and experiences- those can be so helpful! But please PLEASE remember that, ESPECIALLY when it comes to sex and sexual preference, there is no normal. If you’re unsettled by something, or concerned, you’ll know it in your gut, and that’s the time to work out a new way, what ever that might be. But no one can (or should!) say ‘normal / not normal!’- normal according to who??!!
      For what it’s worth, my partner and I have sex one or twice every couple of months. We’re deeply in love- this is just what’s ‘normal’ for us. xxx

    • Kim says...

      In my life, when I felt repelled from physical affection from a partner it was a harbinger for the end of the relationship. However, there were already big issues and maybe it was more of a gut reaction for me. If your relatively happy, and he is too, maybe you guys just have sex infrequently. I think it would be helpful to maybe see a therapist if this is bothering you. The word choice of “repelled” caught me.

    • Margot says...

      Thank you so much for all of the thoughtful and caring replies, I truly appreciate the range and differences in perspective on my question. Of course there is no right answer to “is this normal” but it is so helpful to hear your experiences and opinions.

      I should clarify, and it’s my fault for writing my initial post during a brief lunch break on my phone, what I meant by “repelled by the idea” (not repulsed!) is that I just don’t want sex, not that I am disgusted by the idea. I feel attracted to my boyfriend and his body, we cuddle and kiss and even take showers together. We have a great relationship in an emotional sense, it’s just that the sex isn’t happening, and I was wondering if this is something that other people have experienced.

      I’ve taken your comments to heart and I agree that it’s worth bringing this up with my gyno, and I may consider popping into a therapy session to make sure there’s not an underlying issue. I love this community, thank you.

    • not to get all it depends on what the meaning of the word “is” is, but one doesn’t really know what the meaning of the word “repulsed” in one paragraph by a stranger on the internet. i mean, am i drawn as if by a magnet to touch my boyfriend’s butt and say “touch,” yes, about six or seven hundred times a day. but do i shrink back at the thought of time-consuming sex after which i will need a long nap, also yes. might i encapsulate the latter as “repulsed”–if i were typing fast, maybe? but only i know that inside that capsule are also the 700 daily butt touches. so that’s what i always think about other people’s capsules, you really don’t know what’s in them

    • oh nevermind, margot already said for herself!

    • Margot says...

      Eek yeah I actually never said repulsed, I was misquoted!

    • or eek are you *sure* you read the tiny print on that darn tiny capsule right (52!)

      the good thing is, all this was fresh in my mind and stopped me from taking a flying leap off some other paragraph by a stranger on the internet (-_-✿)ノ

  18. Julie says...

    Not sure if someone has already mentioned this, but when I was younger, I was led to believe that intimacy had to mean sex (the P in V kind). I’ve been able to enjoy my sex life with my partner of 17 years a million times more once I allowed everything else to count—fingering (not necessarily to orgasm), oral sex for one of us or both, intense kissing, fondling, hand stimulation. Just some show of sexual desire and engagement from the other person. I think there’s so much emphasis placed on the frequency of vaginal sex in heterosexual relationships, when most women (including me) rarely orgasm from it. Orgasms for me also tend to take a while, which can seem daunting on a day when I’m exhausted and not willing to go through the effort. The idea that I can be intimate in a variety of ways and get sexual pleasure without always feeling like I HAD to orgasm for it to count has been very liberating. It makes me want to be intimate with more husband WAY more often.

  19. Lisa says...

    First of all, such an interesting and great article. Secondly – so happy to see Amelia again! I love her writing and missed her over at manrepeller

  20. Thank you for such a refreshing, frank post! Sending the link to my husband who thinks we never have “enough” sex. I guess we have some relationship work to do

    • Holly says...

      Yeah that’s the dynamic of my marriage, and pretty much all my friends in heterosexual partnerships. The women think we don’t have enough sex because that’s the message our husbands send us. It’s not like the “should” is coming from some societal pressure or external place (at least not that we’re aware of) — it’s coming from our husbands, and that makes it tough.

    • Jane says...

      My partner of 10 years says this is the biggest issue for him in our relationship. He says “ideally” he’d have sex twice a day, while I could easily go months without it even crossing my mind. When I was single for years, I don’t think I ever missed it. We’re so incompatible that way, we both have to compromise a lot!

      I’m actually reading Come as You Are right now to try and figure out how and why I am this way (for those who read it too, I answered yes to all SIS questions) So far it’s been fascinating, I hope it’ll help my partner and I figure out a balance.

  21. Julie says...

    “And they’re all normal. They’re all doing it right.”

    I love that so much. My husband and I have been together for 10 years and married for 6. We usually have sex once a week, sometimes twice, and it took me a year or two after marriage to stop worrying about the frequency (which felt like not enough compared to the beginning of our relationship). Now my husband travels for work a lot, so if he’s gone for a few days we’ll text or Skype and talk about what exactly is in the sex cards when he gets home. The anticipation keeps things fun.

  22. Olivia Virginia says...

    A controversial idea from an older woman and semi-retired Women’s Health Worker.
    Your children don’t have to be asleep for you to be intimate with your partner.
    They need to be
    *in another room/space
    *happily and safely distracted

    No, really. That’s all.
    5 month old cooing happily in her crib as her mobile spins?
    Perfect opportunity!

    Teenager playing XCubeStation with his headphones on at 9pm?
    I promise you he’s not troubling his head about what is (or isn’t) happening in the downstairs bedroom.

    Prior to the WW2 housing boom when people really had small accommodations and had to get creative…parents would send kids on a *fool’s errand* within the confines of their neighborhood. It was a code between parents. If a kid showed up looking to borrow a “seedless apple” the neighbor mom knew to stall the kid with milk and cookies and some long, drawn out questions about school. And the comfort of knowing the favor would be returned when they sent THEIR kid 3 houses down to find a “lefthanded monkey wrench”.

    The idea that sex MUST slow down when you become a mom is a myth.

    • Eliza says...

      Hahaha those are hilarious excuses. Sounds like a fun adventure for everyone ;)

    • Rosie says...

      100% agree. I went down on my wife the other day and I could hear Coco through the wall the whole time haha
      Also, I knew my parents had a sex life when I was a kid! They weren’t inappropriate about it, but I found my mom’s diaphragm in her purse when I was in first or second grade and she openly told me it was what she used when she and my dad had sex because they were done with babies.

    • AC says...

      This is great! What solid, practical advice!

  23. Rachael says...

    Amelia is writing for cup of jo!! How wonderful!

  24. Sally says...

    We’re about once every 7 to 10 days… We’ve never ever scheduled it, because then, to me at least, it feels like a chore. Lazy weekend afternoons are the best time for us. :)

    I think, when you’ve been with someone a longish time, you start to know their signals for “hey, I’d like some sexy!time please”, often before they know it themselves. For me, I know when my delicious hubby is getting geared up, because he finds any reason under the sun to touch/pinch/play-slap my butt! It makes me all giggleish inside, every time. :)

  25. Nina says...

    hear, hear

  26. MM says...

    This is so good!! Emily is the voice of reason. What a truth bomb that the national average sex frequency has NOTHING to do with your own personal relationship. We’ve gone through different phases, but my sex drive has always been ummm….over the top? Although life gets in the way and we’d been having far less frequent sex than our norm, something happened in the past few weeks to stir things up. I can trace it back to a number of factors, but the biggest changes are that our two daughters finally seem to be entering slightly more independent ages, and things at work are chill right now for both of us. We’ve been able to take a deep breath after a long spell of treading water…..and we’ve been having almost daily sex recently–even twice in a day last weekend! It seems the more I have, the more I want. Anyone else relate to being (by far) the partner with a higher sex drive?

    • nicole says...

      Me! I’ve been with my husband for 9 years, married for 2.5, and I have always had the higher drive, by a lot. When early on I would get teary or frustrated with him not reaching out to me, now I just use my words and tell him exactly what I would like. We are open and communicative about it, and he’ll turn me down occasionally, but I don’t take it personally. It’s just a slight mismatch in drive, and I’m still happy with the intimacy we do have.

    • Care says...

      Yes! I am the the one with the higher drive. I’m a cis-woman in a heterosexual relationship. It’s very hard. We’re in a 2.5 year relationship that is committed and we continue to have conversations about it. Just recently I told him that I felt I was doing the emotional work of these conversations, reading about it, trying to find solutions and compromises, working beyond a solution of just “talking about it”. I was very upset with him and communicated that and I think using “emotional work” clicked for him.

  27. Kelly says...

    The advice I’ll always remember is Nicole Cliffe on twitter basically saying “the secret is to react like a cartoon wolf whenever your partner disrobes even slightly” or something to that effect.

    Sounds corny, but expressing desire for each other throughout the day without any pressure to perform is really great for our confidence.

    • Julie says...

      I just adore her.

    • Rosie says...

      When I was visiting my parents over the holidays, I overheard my parents talking in their room right after everyone had headed off to bed and my mom was talking to my dad about everything they needed to get done before Christmas and he said “Please don’t ask me to concentrate on anything important when you’re standing there without a shirt on.” It made my heart melt. Here they are in their 60s, and my dad still can’t focus on anything when he’s looking at my mom’s boobs. Maybe it sounds weird, but I’m thrilled that they still have a good sex life.

    • JessicaD says...

      OMG Rosie, +1 to your parents and +2 to you for your positivity!!!

  28. Rosie says...

    Sex is different for lesbians. Because there is no official end to sex and you only really stop when someone taps out, I think of having SEX as a several hours long event. We just do that on Saturday and Sunday now because our work schedules are nuts and I’m okay with that because it isn’t uncommon for us to fool around and knock out an orgasm here or there during the week. I don’t think it is exclusive to lesbian relationships, but it helps that if she is horny, but I’m not I can give her a really great orgasm and not have one myself, and nobody’s feelings are hurt, and nobody is disappointed. I have straight friends who complain about it being one sided all the time, but I love making her come so it never feels like a chore and she seems to feel the same way. We’re both very comfortable initiating it, and that makes me confident we both are having our needs met. Lesbian bed death is a thing, but we only really avoid sex when we’re fighting, and we didn’t have much sex at the end of my pregnancy. I stopped breastfeeding after eight weeks because it wasn’t working and once we were able to split up the feedings 50/50 our sex life came back VERY quickly. I don’t feel like our daughter has impacted it much except we’re less likely to have sex outside our bedroom during the day. My wife probably wouldn’t love me talking about this on the internet, but I wanted to add my two cents after exclusively reading straight women’s perspectives.

    • Rachel says...

      Thank you for sharing your perspective! It was so interesting to read.

    • Caitlin says...

      Thanks so much for sharing your perspective, Rosie! I definitely took notes on being able to satisfy your partner or having them satisfy you without an expectation or need of reciprocity. I’m going to try to incorporate that into my relationship with my husband :)

    • t says...

      I am also in a lesbian marriage and I think of sex as the long drawn out kind but also the quick one sided orgasm. Sometimes we will even just masturbate in bed together and to me that is still sex.

    • A says...

      Thank you. CoJ–Is love to hear more from a LGBTQ perspective (although I know you have increased your focus). Maybe about coming out in your 30s? Currently my situation and is live to hear others’ perspectives.

  29. Jen says...

    With my spouse for 17 years, we have a young child and it ebbs and flows. We have more sex now than we ever did where we first got together but I think that stems from not having long commutes and exhausting work days anymore.
    We both work from home and love having sex in the morning while our daughter is at preschool. Otherwise it’s immediately after she goes to bed, before the tv is turned on. I’ve realized over the years that my husband is happiest when we are having sex 3-4 times a week minimum, and since he’s a generous lover…well, it works out splendidly for me as well to schedule it in!

  30. Jessica says...

    Scheduling sex may lack spontaneity, but I’m not sure who decided good sex has to be spontaneous. It somewhat ignores a very important sex organ, the brain. The fun part of scheduling sex is that you end up thinking of the fact that you are going to have sex throughout the day, and that can go a long way to ramping up arousal and making the sex even more exciting. My husband and I will send each other flirty texts throughout the day hinting at what we’re gong to do that night, so that by the time we get to the act, we’re mentally in a sexy place. That goes a long way to a really fulfilling love life.

    • Lisa G says...

      I completely and utterly agree with this. You get excited knowing whats around the corner.

    • Bonnie says...

      Hear, hear, Jessica! Good point!

    • Mel says...

      YES! The brain is the strongest sex organ for sure. We don’t schedule sex but if one of us is really wanting to we’ll hint at it (not going to lie I just send a pic of me in undies with some suggestive text) then all evening as we’re taking care of our 2 year old my husband will steal kisses or butt grabs and the second she’s in bed it’s game on.

    • Julie says...

      My husband and I do this as well, he’ll tell me when I’m leaving for work to “get ready for tonight” and it makes the work day so much more enjoyable knowing that we’ll be intimate later that night.

  31. michaela says...

    I’m so grateful for this post! I loved what Padma said about a period of going without sex in her marriage being just “a chapter in our lives.” It’s so reassuring to know that sex, like so many other things in our relationships, can ebb and flow throughout different times in our lives. As someone who’s struggled for a long time to have pain-free sex thanks to vulvodynia and vulvar vestibulitis, I’ve had a lot of guilt about our “infrequency.” Now that I’m feeling better and better thanks to a year+ of physical therapy, it feels like a tremendous victory to both of us to be having sex twice a month even though that number might still sound low to others! My husband and I often reassure each other (let’s be honest, reassure me) that we haven’t missed our “prime” while we were in this season of dealing with my health, and that we have lots of chapters still ahead.

    I just started reading Come As You Are and it’s so, so wonderful. Emily lays everything out in such a factual, nonjudgmental, and kind way that it just breaks through the mental barriers in ways I’m not able to myself. The thing about context is SO LIFE CHANGING. And knowing about “responsive” sexuality released me from a lot of self-judgment that I was somehow doing something wrong if I “needed” an erotic story or to listen to porn to feel turned on.

    • SMM says...

      Good for you for getting help and it working for you.

      Listening to porn? Is that a thing? If so, please tell me more..

    • Michaela says...

      SMM, yes! I sometimes pull up a video on my phone and then just listen instead of watching, but I recently heard about the app Dipsea! They produce high-quality, feminist, erotic audio stories. It’s like a sexy podcast! I haven’t committed to a membership but they do have a small amount of free content so you can get a taste.

  32. Ann says...

    I love this piece!! Thank you so much for taking on this topic.

    This is sort of related, sort of not, but would you guys ever consider doing a piece on couples counseling and people’s experience with it? Someone’s comment about a sex therapist made me think about this. I think CoJ would do a fantastic job on that topic!

    • Julia says...

      Great idea!

    • Shem says...

      Great Idea!!! I had a really bad experience with a couples counselor — it made things worse! Would love to know if that has happened to others too.

    • CR says...

      YES!!! That would be awesome. We’ve been going for 2.5 years and I always wonder about other people’s experiences.

      @SHEM, we went to 2 different therapist before we found our current one. Even though there are times when I don’t agree with certain things overall we’ve managed to form a good “profesional relationship” and she has helped us a lot. We are both committed and really treasure our time with our therapist

  33. clare says...

    Yay amelia!! love seeing her writing here.

    • Kristin says...

      Same! When I read the byline I was psyched. Great article, Amelia!

  34. Paulina says...

    Amelia!! I have been reading manrepeller and cupofjo since their inceptions it feels like, and couldn’t love this mash-up more.

  35. Amanda says...

    AHH I love Amelia and I LOVED this piece!! So exciting to see her work here <3

  36. Jess says...

    I’m about halfway through Come As You Are after Joanna recommended it. LOVE IT. Love Cup of Jo.

  37. txilibrin says...

    Our frequency moves from 4-5 times a week to twice a month. No pattern there. Just life. I’m pregnant now and never felt that sex drive everyone apparently has, and my husband tries to be mindful. We used to have sex every day but then life and responsibilities got in the middle. I’m exhausted allllll the time

  38. Joanna says...

    So grateful for this post as this was something I was super stressed about at the beginning of my marriage. I didn’t get married until I was 40, first marriage (virgin) and my husband is older and had been married before. I kept putting up the ‘should be’ and comparing and felt like we were failing as we weren’t having sex every day, or every other day. Once a week didn’t feel like enough! Then thank the heavens a sex therapist was suggested and I have realized, as this article states, what is right for me and my spouse is right for us, no one else! Hallelujah! Less stress and actually now more sex! :)

  39. Robin says...

    This is so great. I’ve been with my partner 25 years (we started young!) and we’re definitely in a lull. With two young kids we’re tired, and also on a bit of a different schedule (I do the night clean up, he does breakfast). And my libido post #2 is lower than i think it’s ever been. I find touching him, making sure I give him a kiss or get up close when I get the chance makes a big difference to both of us. But more sex would help too. I may have to start scheduling! Sex is important, for our relationship at least. Not the act, but the touching and cuddling and taking care of each other – it glues us back together like a date would, but we rarely get a chance for those! So scheduling it is …

    • CSC says...

      Robin, I’ve found that scheduling at least once a week is VERY helpful for me, as my libido is quite low in this two young children/Lexapro season of life. Our therapist helped us recognize that if I’m mentally prepared to have sex, our sex is better and more frequent. I’m rarely in the mood, but if I spend time thinking about it and thinking about what would turn me on, then I end up being excited for it.

  40. LP says...

    My husband and I (together nine years, married five) had sex 5-6 times a week when I worked at home, but since I started a new job it’s down to 2-3 times a week. We miss the frequency but agree that the quality and desire is better with fewer encounters.

    • Kelly says...

      It’s not the main focus of the book, but And Baby Makes 3 By John Gottman has some good stuff on desire and sex after kids that was helpful just in terms of leaving us both more opportunity to pursue it and getting in the same headspace. Really helpful relationship stuff too. (No baby yet, so will report back if it works!)

  41. Anne says...

    Oh heeeeyyyyy Amelia! Squeal. So happy to see you here.

  42. Jen says...

    I’m wondering what to make of the fact that — as far as I can tell — only women’s responses are featured here. In my experience, men and women (or two different people, regardless of gender) who are in a relationship can have VASTLY different takes on whether or not they’re having enough sex. I would like to have seen responses here that were not just from ONE of the partners in a couple. Because sometimes people are on very different pages and don’t even know it, which can be really problematic.

    • jen says...

      Yes, I totally understand that this is a forum for discussion between women…I’ve been reading for years. It’s just that it’s not as helpful to tell us, “don’t worry! Whatever you think is ‘enough’ is enough!” because it’s the *disparity* between the expectations of two people that causes issues. And sometimes one person is really frustrated with the state of affairs, while the other one thinks everything fine. It would be helpful to couch this in a way that talks about how to have that communication. Or what to do when the two of you are on different pages. I know a lot of women who would have answered this by saying they don’t have sex very often but that it’s totally ok…then ask their partner and you get a very different answer. I read this whole thing thinking, “I wonder if their partner agrees?”

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh, that’s so interesting! i hear you. i guess i assumed (perhaps incorrectly) that in a long-term relationship people would know how their partners felt. but maybe they haven’t talked about it, at least lately; or maybe their partner didn’t want to tell them exactly how they felt. great point, jen. we’ll address this in the next one for sure!

    • Amanda says...

      Thanks for this article! I love Emily Nagoski’s book and this touched on a lot of the same themes in a really approachable way.

      Also, I personally am happy that cup of jo focuses on the perspectives and experiences of women. The internet is full of places where I can hear men’s opinions about sex, whether I want to or not. I appreciate having a space where I can have that conversation with women.

    • june2 says...

      I always thought it was a “love language” thing – regardless of gender but would still be interesting to hear men confirm that.

      Also, feel like the statement ,”First, they’re friends.” is everything.

    • Ez says...

      100% agree, I was thinking the same thing. In my experience, you get a completely different response when dudes talk about sex when their partners aren’t there.

    • Eliza says...

      To Jen’s point, I worry, and maybe that alone says something about our 10-year-relationship, that when my husband says he’s satisfied with the frequency, that he’s not actually content but is just being a kind and patient partner. I know my desire/requirements are less frequent than his. So that means I either need to be having sex more than I really want or have energy to (which is fine and usually fun but I never initiate and sometimes it feels, at least at the start, obligatory-but-not-bad) or he is having sex less than he really wants to (and if he’s self-sexing to take care of himself that’s fine too as long as it fills his need, in my opinion.) I don’t feel like either of us is wrong, but one of us is often making a concession either way. the frequency and quality of the sex can be agreed on and doesn’t mean it’s better or worse or less normal…. but that also doesn’t mean both parties are getting what they want. So even with open communication there can still be a discrepancy and traditional solutions don’t always make both partners happy.

    • CR says...

      I agree with Jen. My husband always wants to have more sex then me and now with a 12 month old the disparity is even greater.

      I know he feels like we don’t have enough but I’d like to hear and learn about how couples navigate their relationship when they are not on the same page.

  43. Elena says...

    Amelia Diamond!

  44. Daniela says...

    Oh how funny, my fiancé and I just talked about this last night. When we started dating a year and a half ago we averaged four times a day (!!). Now that we’ve been together longer, sex is not what we think about when we get home from twelve hour shifts, but we usually take a shower together which feels really intimate. We have Sundays off together so Sunday mornings are our regular sexy time! If we have more days off together we usually do it daily, but not always.

    Reading this made me realize whatever works for us, works! We are always touchy and flirty and I may have worried about us averaging once a week sex, but hey it works :)

  45. AmyB says...

    My husband and I are 41, married 10 yrs (together 16ish) with four kids aged 19 to 2 (not all biologically his, obviously). We have sex probably 4-6 times per month, but on no real schedule; we may have sex three nights in a row, and nothing again for weeks, sometimes it’s strictly oral, sometimes one of us will “satisfy” the other just for kicks and it’s completely one sided. The key for us is that we are genuinely the BEST of friends, so there’s always intimacy, whether it’s physical or emotional, and always a true appreciation and respect for each other. We also flirt with each other. A lot 😂

  46. Summer says...

    Great topic, we used to have sex once a week, on a weekend night after the kids were in bed. Now we have a teenager …… who does not go to sleep before 11 on weekends, it is terrible. I usually am passed out by then. So sometimes, after the kids leave for school, we go to work an hour later and have some adult fun then in the morning. It feels so special, I absolutely enjoy it.

    • Laura says...

      This is such a great idea. Thank you so much for sharing. Our kids growing up and staying up late has completely messed up our sex life, and this could totally work.

    • Tilly says...

      Ha! We are in the same boat.

  47. Tara says...

    Mainly here to comment that it’s awesome to see some brand spankin’ new “Amelia-writing” on the interwebs again. The Cup of Jo and ManRepeller crossover is my fav.

    All of this. Great. Love it.

    • Emily says...

      I started reading this, scrolled up to see the writer and then went “WHAT THE HELL IS AMELIA DOING HERE!!!???! YESSSSS.” Freaking love her and everything she writes. Now, on to the humor pieces, @amilliOnaire.

    • Sarah says...

      we love you Amelia!!!! please keep writing on COJ :) :)

  48. Anne says...

    My husband and I have been together for five years and have never had more than a couple “dates” a year (and we don’t even have kids yet!) because it’s just not in our budget. It can feel silly, but getting creative together about date-night-in has been so much more rewarding, because it forces us to find even the smallest common interest. Sometimes we’ll cook our way through a cookbook, or open a bottle of wine and play MTV VJ together (literally just taking turns picking out our favorite music videos from the 90s and cracking up for hours). Date nights don’t have to be fancy, just a change of pace from binging Netflix on a Friday night. Plus, having to get creative reminds you that your partner is still full of surprises! What’s sexier than that?

  49. Becca B says...

    I would love to hear tips on keeping sex sexy when you’re trying to get pregnant! We’ve been trying for a year plus and doing it on demand can get a little tiring, especially when you’re getting poked and prodded at the doctor all the time, too.

    • CC says...

      I second this!! We haven’t been trying for quite as long as you, Becca, but already we’re both feeling weary of being beholden to the schedule.

      Sending positive vibes your way! Hope you have good news soon :)

    • Elisabeth says...

      I’m sure every situation is different, but we tried for 2 1/2 years and by the end (or maybe the whole time), sex felt like a chore. Now that we were successful and I’m pregnant, sex has felt fun again and our frequency (after I stopped feeling super sick), has increased a lot. I love the advice about doing what works for you as a couple and acknowledging that sex can ebb and flow.

    • LS says...

      My husband and I have been trying for three years. For us, it makes a huge difference if we continue to have sex and enjoy each other throughout the month just because. Sex during ovulation can still feel a little forced, but I guess muscle memory and how close we are feeling anyway takes the sting out. Some months are harder than others, though, that’s for sure. Oh and we both try to be super flirty the week leading up to it.

    • MRS says...

      Becca, I hear you! My husband and I tried for 2.5 years and I felt the same way. Conceiving is pretty much all I thought about every second of every day, even during sex. What helped me was to remember that the more I enjoyed sex (and came to an orgasm), the more likely we were to conceive! Once I really got that into my head, I focused less on his orgasm (i.e. sperm) and more on mind. Holding your hope!

    • Caitlin says...

      Becca, I also found it tough to keep up the enthusiasm for sex while trying to get pregnant (and then going through fertility treatments, and then being pregnant, and then having a small baby, and now being pregnant again with a small toddler). Our sex life has really taken a hit.

      I try to tell myself that it is okay that this is not a particularly sexy time of life for us. When we stopped putting pressure on ourselves (read: on me) to have sex, it became a lot more enjoyable. Now we’re still not having sex as often as we’d like, but when we do have it, it’s great. And at least for me, that is better than having sex that feels like a chore!

  50. Katherine says...

    I’ve got a 5.5 month old, and I’ve had sex with my husband four times since she was born. It took seven weeks for me to get cleared for sex after delivery from my OB, then my daughter hit the four month sleep regression hard, so it’s been 1.5 months since the last time we had sex. Part of me feels bad that we haven’t (it’s definitely me who hasn’t wanted it, because any extra time was for trying to sleep!), and to be honest I don’t crave it or even miss it, but I think full time breastfeeding has something to do with my lack of mojo. I also don’t feel great about how my postpartum body looks, and as much as I wish it weren’t the case, it influences my willingness to get naked. What I do miss is being intimate with my husband; since he sleeps in the guest room during the work week to ensure he’s well rested, we don’t even get to snuggle much these days and I definitely miss that closeness with him. He’s never once pressured me about it, which is so kind, but this is a good reminder to make sex more of a priority.

    • Sonja says...

      One of the MANY aspects of motherhood that threw me for a loop was sex. I thought I’d be SO ready as soon as I got cleared but I just wasn’t. The first year of our son’s life was our driest. I got my first period on his first birthday and it was like a light switch – I was back and ready for action! Carry on, Katherine. You’ll get your groove back.

    • Hilary says...

      In my experience, nursing erased my libido. I nursed A LOT until my daughter was 18 months old and didn’t completely wean until she was 2.5. Sex felt like going to the dentist and we were lucky if it happened once every few weeks. Finally, when my youngest was about 3.5, it came roaring back. But don’t discount those nursing hormones – I think they’re designed to decrease libido, since our bodies know that spacing makes sense when we have an infant who still needs to nurse.

    • Jessica says...

      I would suggest reminding yourself to ask for intimacy and holding you and your partner up to providing it. And it may not have to be much. I currently have a one week old baby, and for the last 5 months of my pregnancy, intimacy really waned. My husband slept in the guest room to give me room to be comfortable and due to potential complications, sex was put on the back burner. Now that my baby is here, I know it will be a while still before we can have sex.

      But what I was really missing was just feeling his skin against mine. So, just this week, as I was lying down for a short nap, I asked him to cuddle with me for 5 minutes before he went to tend to our daughter. I can’t tell you how good that 5 minutes felt, and helped me to feel more connected to him again. It doesn’t have to be much, but just a little effort can go a long way. I know this will be hard to juggle with a baby, but committing to small acts of intimacy more frequently I think will be key, and much less pressure then finding the time for a real in-depth sexy session.

  51. Meghan says...

    With three young kids, my partner and I realized we were not having much sex. So we started making Sunday afternoons in the garage office a thing. Once we get everyone down for naps, we rush to the garage with a baby monitor and two shots of tequila. And that’s been going so well, we added Wednesday mornings into the mix. (We both work from home.) We went to a nice dinner the other night, and I said to him, “I’m thrilled I don’t have to rally to have exhausted sex with you tonight.” And we could laugh because we were planning to have it in two days. It sounds unromantic but for us, scheduled sex is just the best thing ever.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, that is so so cute.

  52. Morgan says...

    Has Amelia joined the cupofjo team?! That would be amazing!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      we adore her! she’s doing freelance writing while working on her book projects, so she’s writing some stories for us. we’re happy to have her! xo

  53. This is beautiful. Thank you!

    I would love to see a post about solo sex. Maybe tap Molly-Margaret of @whatswrongwithmyvagina on IG? She’s so good a talking about it.

  54. Julie says...

    Group of my girlfriends got in an accidentally-heated argument a year or so ago when one asserted that any couple who doesn’t have sex 4+ times a week is in trouble, and another friend broke down in tears because she and her husband were only having sex once a week or so (which I think is still pretty frequent)! Such an important conversation to normalize—whatever is normal for you is normal! Thank you for this, Amelia.

  55. A says...

    We have an “unspoken” once a week practice that is hit or miss. However, I did voice my desire to have sex at a minimum once a week, because I think it helps our connection as a couple. Also I’m close to menopause and as an obgyn, believe that you use it or lose it.
    Finally, don’t discount viagra if he needs it. ED is real and common, and shouldn’t be the reason your sex life peters out.

  56. I’ve loved Amelia’s work at Man Repeller! It’s super fun to see her byline here. This is terrific, very good, super solid advice, but virtually impossible to actually implement in my experience. LOL! Oh, well. We keep trying.

  57. Sophia F. says...

    Love this piece and love seeing Amelia here. I’d be really interested in a Cup of Jo story on how to keep the spark alive when you are in a really taxing phase of life – my husband and I have been married for seven years and have high energy 5- and 3-year-olds and a million things on our plates that we can’t set aside, from jobs to aging parent issues to children’s health problems to necessary and stressful home repairs. We know we need to make time for our relationship, but we are lucky if we can carve out twenty minutes to just hang out together at the end of the day before we pass out from exhaustion. I’d love tips from couples who’ve been there (because everyone has in some way at some point, right?) about how to get through tough phases without your relationship suffering when you don’t have the time or money (we live in a major city and babysitting here is over $20 an hour, which added to the cost of a date itself gets out of hand pretty quickly) to set aside one night a week for a date, etc.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s a GREAT idea, sophia. (and i do have to say: i think lulls are very normal during those chaotic early days of parenthood!) i’d love to research/write more about ways to help keep the spark alive.

      here are a few past posts you might like, too:
      https://cupofjo.com/2016/08/initiating-sex/
      https://cupofjo.com/2011/11/motherhood-mondays-who-gets-the-best-kisses/
      https://cupofjo.com/2016/04/marriage-after-kids/
      https://cupofjo.com/2012/08/do-or-dont-scheduling-sex/
      https://cupofjo.com/2012/03/relationship-tip-keeping-the-sparks-flying/
      https://cupofjo.com/2016/01/sex-in-a-marriage/

      xoxo joanna

    • t says...

      I love my spouse and have been married 8 years with two young children. I don’t want to divorce my spouse but I have very little interest in having sex with them. I chalk it up to not really being “in love” with them (you know, love them but not in love) but I’m not entirely sure that’s what it is.

      I am not oblivious to this not being a healthy sexual relationship but I am perfectly happy and once a month or so i get drunk and we have sex. Not ideal but for now it is what it is.

    • Grace says...

      The rec center in my town has a parents night out program once a week where you can drop your kids off for 3-4 hours and it’s only $15/kid. The babysitter’s do art projects with the kids, movies and outdoor games in the spring/summer. I would do some research on that in your area. Also check and see if community centers offer something similar.

      I would also recommend asking friends and family for help. It may feel like weakness or you don’t want to burden others but I bet there are people in your life that genuinely want to help you. You don’t know unless you ask for what you need!

    • Lauren says...

      Honestly the best thing I’ve found is if the two of you are together and you think about it, don’t hesitate: just push yourself to start ‘doing it’ the same as you would some unwanted chore. 😳 Because one hundred percent of the time I totally get into in, and then after I’m always like WHY dont I start things more often?!! Of course I sure miss the days when the desire came first! 🤷‍♀️

    • Lia says...

      THIS. We have twin two year olds and a six year old and we have had sex exactly once in the last three years (we stopped as soon as we got pregnant with the twins, since it took a while to conceive and we were burned out, ha). The exhaustion and stress of full time work and parenting makes sex the last thing I want to do. And going out is a TOTAL pain because we have to find a sitter, make a plan, spend so much money and once we came home at 10:30 and THE SIX YEAR OLD WAS STILL AWAKE (instant mood killer!!!!). But honestly, it doesn’t bug me as much as I thought it would! Definitely a season of life, and maybe one day we will do it again more often. Actually, one of the most fun and memorable evenings we had recently was sitting on the couch and playing UNO while talking for two hours. Never thought I would reach the day when UNO is better than sex, but here I am!

    • Danielle says...

      I hear you! It’s so hard. One idea that my husband and I enjoyed was day dates! Have a babysitter take the kiddos to the park or library so you and your husband can be home alone, with no additional spending on top of babysitter fees! 2-3 hours can be heavenly!

    • Katie says...

      This sounds exactly like my life (although I only have one kid). We’ve just been going through a really hard time, and having time to ourselves as individuals and as a couple is really hard. And we’re exhausted! And it’s expensive! And just… the isolation of going through it all. It’s tough. I’m going to check out the links Joanna posted, too.

  58. Kristy Lin says...

    Yay Amelia Diamond! On Cup of Jo! Two of my very favorite internet things in the world collide

  59. Emily says...

    I’m not in a relationship (and haven’t been for quite some time to my chagrin) and I desperately want to be having more sex than I am. I feel like my prime years are slipping by and I’m not so sure what to do about it.

    • t says...

      I have totally been there. In my early 30’s I was not in a relationship but wanted an active sex life with someone other than myself. It took a few tries but I found a successful, no strings attached, friends with benefits situation through an online dating platform.

      For me it was so much more intimate and comfortable than just one night stands and it took the emotional compatibility piece out of it so finding a partner was easier.

      Anyway, it’s not for everyone but it worked for me.

    • Laura says...

      Get tinder! ;)

    • a says...

      Dude. I feel this so much. Somehow I ended up in my group of friends as the one with the incredibly high sex drive and yet the only one who is single… As for the tinder thing, I’ve definitely tried. It can be kind of rough out there… I have no words of wisdom or anything, just want to tell you that I’m in the same position and I feel your pain.

    • Paige says...

      Sexual “prime” is a myth—don’t believe it! The sex in my twenties doesnt compare to the sex in my thirties. Things just get better. Dont believe the lies; you will have great sec when the time is right for you. Xo

    • B says...

      I hear you, Emily! Admittedly, I haven’t had sex in a few years (something I rarely admit to others). I suppose I feel so hungry for sensual intimacy, not the act of casual sex with just anyone. Self pleasure and self love are such important acts, but there is undoubtedly a particular need in connecting with another human body. Wish it was a perspective discussed more often; late 20s aren’t always full of steamy sex… and it’s hard. Anyway, similar to A, just wanted to say I feel your pain and you’re not alone.

    • Emily says...

      Thanks to everyone who commented. I’m turning 40 soon, so I’m not in my 20s as some may have assumed. I’ve been on bumble/tinder/hinge/O.K. Cupid for YEARS. To no avail. I’ve had a few short flings over that period of time, but I have a hard time connecting with people I met online. And by prime, I’m really thinking about my body. As I’m getting older it’s going south which makes me sad.

  60. Lindsey says...

    Yay, Amelia! I read her writing for years at MR, and it’s fun to be able to read her words again, on yet another internet corner I love.

    Also, based off of so many CoJ recommendations, I finally read Emily’s book “Come As You Are” and I have to join the cacophony of enthusiasts. It really is that good!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i’m so glad you enjoyed the book! i found it so eye-opening and encouraging. xo

  61. Lana says...

    Hiiii Amelia! So glad to see you here! Really like this article as I had a convo about this w/ my partner several days ago. It really bothers her when we do not have sex regularly, but more on a nagging, should-kind of level.

  62. Diana McNeill says...

    I had to do a double-take with that by line! Welcome, Amelia! I missed your writing once you left Manrepeller! I hope to see more by you soon!