March 22, 2019


So how often do people really find the time to have sex?

File 20190225 26162 9tba0n.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

We’re having less sex than we used to.
Toa Heftiba

Australians report having sex once or twice a week, on average. For Brits, it’s less than once a week, while Americans report having sex two to three times a week.

We can’t know for sure how often individuals actually have sex. Some people may incorrectly report their sexual frequency, either by mistake or on purpose. But the national estimates data are based on representative samples, so they’re a useful guide.

What do we mean by sex? Some studies simply ask participants how often they “have sex”; others define it specifically, such as “activity with another person that involves genital contact and sexual excitement”.

Tried This? RATE IT Now…

Image of Love To Dream Swaddle Up
Love To Dream Swaddle Up

Submitting your rating…

Read more:
What’s the point of sex? It’s good for your physical, social and mental health

Of course, averages don’t reflect the diversity of the population. Some people, whether they’re in a relationship or not, never or almost never have sex. Others have sex every day.

And individuals can vary from year to year, depending on their sexual opportunities, health status, and other factors.

Why is the average about once or twice a week?

How often we have sex is based on our genes, biology and life circumstances.

Biologically, if couples have intercourse at least twice a week, sex is likely to occur at least once during the six days a month when a woman is fertile. The couple would therefore be more likely to reproduce than other couples who have sex less often.

Reproductive success can lead to genetic selection of behaviours. In other words, people who have sex frequently may be more likely to have children, and therefore keep their genes in the gene pool.

But the level of genetic push towards having sex can vary from one person to another.

Our life circumstances may play a role in how often we have sex, especially as other things compete for our time: paid work, child care, house work and, increasingly, our smartphones and 24-7 entertainment options.

Technology can sometimes get in the way.
Annie Spratt

In fact, Australians and Americans are having less sex than they used to in past decades.

Aussies had sex about 20 times fewer in 2013 than a decade before. Americans had sex nine times fewer, on average, in 2014 than a decade before.

Read more:
Australians are having sex less often than a decade ago

Who has the most and least sex?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, people who have a steady partner have sex more frequently than those who don’t. And those who recently entered a sexual relationship with another person tend to have more sex than others.

Couples tend to have sex less often during late pregnancy and in the years after the birth of a child. Lack of opportunity and poor health are also associated with low rates of sex.

One of the strongest predictors of lower sex frequency involves getting older. Sex frequency tends to go down as people age.

No one knows for sure why this is the case, but it may be, in part, because many older people have spent a long time in a relationship. Relationship satisfaction tends to decrease over time, possibly leading to reduced sexual interest in their partner.

Read more:
Let’s talk about sex over 60: condoms, casual partners and the ageing body

Also, as people get older, they tend to experience more health problems and to become less energetic. Men may lose the ability to gain or maintain an erection as they age.

More sex won’t necessarily make you happier

Most people enjoy sex and believe it adds to their enjoyment of life.

The higher the frequency of sex, the more likely a couple is to feel satisfied with their relationship – but only up to a point. That point seems to be once per week. At levels higher than that, well-being doesn’t seem to be associated with frequency.

Psychologically, couples tend to be happier if they have sex as often as they both want.

But their perceptions of how often other couples have sex also plays a role. Couples are happier if they think they are having more sex than other couples.

In one study, researchers randomly assigned participant couples to double their frequency of sex for 90 days.

These couples increased their frequency substantially but didn’t quite reach the double level. At the end of the three months, those couples had significantly lower moods and liked sex less than the control couples who had sex at their usual frequency.

About half of married Australians are satisfied with their frequency of sex. Slightly more than half of unmarried adult Australians are satisfied.

Quality, as well as quantity, of sexual experiences may be important for relationship satisfaction. Factors such as duration of sexual experiences, mood setting, variety, and good communication are associated with sexual satisfaction.The Conversation

John Malouff, Associate Professor, School of Behavioural, Cognitive and Social Sciences, University of New England

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

  • It’s hard when you’re kids share your bed lol.
    Now that there’s two of them, it’s even harder!
    Just think it’s weird to compare yourself to others in that department.


  • I recently saw someone claiming that box sets had killed people’s sex lives.


  • No complaints here – the right balance.


  • Some couples probably said it was a private matter and gave no reply to the questions when asked.


  • I have never thought to compare the frequency of our sex to other couples. Why would that have an impact on your happiness? Weird.


  • I’ve never understood why statisticians are interested in this!!


  • You can’t just have sex to meet a statistic. Sex between you and your partner needs to feel right not scheduled so whether you have sex 3 times a week or once a week it really shouldn’t be forced or required. Life sometimes gets in the way and that’s ok.


  • I like the comments so far and feel that they accurately reflect real life.


  • Pregnancy, young children, lack of sleep, work commitments etc all contribute to lack of sex and the results dont surprise me.


  • I definitely think the age of your children and their sleeping habits is a huge influence.


  • Lol… sex is nice and everything. But have you tried sleep? God I love sleep. I could literally sleep all night every night. I even sleep in the middle of the day sometimes. Oh yeah. Sleep.

    • Lol! Love your comments! :) Sleep when in desperate need of some shut eye is definitely the sweetest thing around! :)


  • Interesting read.
    I think more then anything else it’s being loved, valued and respected that makes you happy, not the sex act on itself.


  • Ours has waxed and waned over the years, depending on what else was going on in our lives at the time. It’s never been an issue between us so I guess we are getting the balance right


Post a comment
Like Facebook page

LIKE MoM on Facebook

Please enter your comment below
Would you like to include a photo?
No picture uploaded yet.
Please wait to see your image preview here before hitting the submit button.
Your MoM account

Lost your password?

Enter your email and a password below to post your comment and join MoM:

You May Like


Looks like this may be blocked by you browser or content filtering.

↥ Back to top

Thanks For Your Star Rating!

Would you like to add a written rating or just a star rating?

Write A Rating Just A Star Rating