Sex is the most unique, empowering, and intimate expressions between a husband and wife. However, an increasing number of couples report dissatisfaction with the frequency of physical intimacy. Many couples want the answer to the question, “What is normal for the frequency of physical intimacy per week?” The answer to the frequency of sex is not the most important factor to experience fulfilling sexual intimacy. The better question for couples to ask is, “How do we bring sacredness back into our sex life?” Over the last five years, survey’s report sexual frequency between 1-3 times per week. Some of the latest information comes from Newsweek.
- Married couples say they have sex an average of 68.5 times a year. That’s slightly more than once a week. — Newsweek
- Married people have 6.9 more sexual encounters per year than people who have never been married. — Newsweek
- 15 to 20 percent of couples have sex no more than 10 times a year, which experts define as a sexless marriage. — Newsweek
- 20 to 30 percent of men and 30 to 50 percent of women say they have little or no sex drive. — USA Today
These stats show that couples do not have sex 295 days out of each year. An interesting parallel exists between current stats on the frequency of physical intimacy and those dating back to the Middle Ages. The Catholic Church prohibited sex up to 252 day per year not counting feast days. Married couples had up to eighty-three days per year to have sex unless the woman was pregnant, post pregnant, menstruating and as long as you intended to procreate (Sacred Marriage).
Most people would think that couples in the New Millennia would be having sex at much higher rates that couples in the Middle Ages, especially in such a sexually explicit culture. Perhaps some of the struggles related to frequency of physical intimacy is in response to the number of Americans that are prescribed anti-depressants.
- More than 200 million prescriptions for antidepressants (New York, June 22 PRNewswire). Sexual desire can diminish by taking these medications.
Another factor to sexual frequency is the number of dual income families.
- DINS (Dual Income No Sex) Women now make up 47 percent of the work force; they’re awarded 57 percent of all bachelor’s degrees. I believe that today’s couples are perhaps the busiest in history due to the schedules of their children. Shuttling children to sports, dance classes, or tutoring leads to exhausted couples and parents.
I believe that frequency of sexual intimacy is influenced by the ages that couples enter into marriages. Men and women enter marriage between the ages of 27-29. After one to two years of marriage couples focus on having children. The frequency of sexual intimacy is now affected by pregnancy, childbirth and the pressures of raising an infant. Couples barely established rhythms of sexual frequency when it is interrupted by parenting and dual careers. Researchers report that 15-20 percent of couples having sex 10 times or less per year. This trend is known as the sexless marriage (Newsweek).
Instead of focusing on frequency, couples need to establish the sacredness of sex. Our overly sexualized culture has created unrealistic expectations toward sexual frequency and intensity. All relationships will hit the sexual doldrums (Solee). Unfortunately, many couples think that struggling with sexual frequency and intensity is something unique to them. This perception is related to an unrealistic expectation of long-term relationships.
I believe, “Only in marriage will couples truly experience the fullness of what physical intimacy has to offer: Outside of marriage couples can experience pleasure, excitement or attraction. However, true intimacy is discovered by staying committed to physical intimacy as couple’s navigate the early years of marriage, parenting, menopause, and aging together.” Couples must learn to revisit the sacredness of sex and prioritize physical intimacy to overcome any of the doldrums related to the pressures of parenting, careers, and physical or chemical changes to their bodies.
In order to bring sacredness into sex couples need to:
- Guard your eyes – the eyes are gateways to a man’s heart. In a sexually explicit culture, men are drawn into what is fake against what is a real depiction of sexual intimacy. Sacred sex is exclusive (fidelity).
- Guard your ears – The ear gateways to a woman’s heart. Women are drawn into flattery rather than what emotionally intimacy truly has to offer. Sacred sex is verbal and emotional fidelity that is based upon friendship and shared values between a husband and wife.
Both of these cultural values, flattery and sexual exploitation creates unrealistic expectations toward sacred sex. The marriage bed is holy (Hebrews 13:8) because marriage is holy. If couples are struggling with sexual doldrums they need to celebrate sex as a unique gift that God gives to married couples. Couples also need to prioritize their relationships by renewing romance. Some suggestions include taking a cooking or dance class, turning off cell phones or keeping social media out of the bedroom.
For Christian couples sexual intimacy is exclusively given only in marriage. Because of these beliefs sexual intimacy is not something to be taken for granted. Like all gifts, each one must be nurtured, valued, and utilized to enrich marriage relationships.