- 15 Ways Your Sex Life Changes After Marriage – Improve Married Sex
- Sex will be shorter
- But it will also be more efficient
- You'll schedule it
- It will feel more comfortable
- You'll be more careful about when and where
- But you'll probably be more risky in other ways
- You'll probably feel more in love, less in lust
- You may experiment less
- You don't need romantic flourishes anymore
- Your sex takes on a new meaning
- It will probably be less frequent
- Or it might be more frequent
- It might be boring sometimes
- You'll get straight to the point
- You'll have ups and downs
- Do Married People Really Have Less Sex?
- Why Sex Decreases After Marriage and How to Increase It
- Lack of Sex Causes Feelings of Betrayal
- Busted! Inside The Biggest Myth About Marriage
15 Ways Your Sex Life Changes After Marriage – Improve Married Sex
Throughout the different stages of your relationship, you can expect your sex life to change. From the throes of passion when you first start dating to learning exactly what your partner s best, it's an evolution of intimacy. And if you've made it to the forever stage (a.k.a. marriage) your sex life will change once again.
That doesn't mean it's going to be worse—after all, you're with this person for the long haul and know them better than anyone.
But if you've reached this point with your partner (or are about to) you may be wondering how sex after marriage changes.
To help you know exactly what to expect, we've rounded up the top ways your sex life will evolve after you walk down the aisle.
Sex will be shorter
For better or worse, hours-long lovemaking sessions are generally off the table after a few years of marriage.
That's not to say you won't indulge in longer encounters once in a while, but probably only on very special occasions. “This happens for a couple of reasons,” explains NaDasha Elkerson a relationship expert and coach.
“Life gets more complicated with all the adulting you must do as a team and your spare time gets shorter.”
This is especially true if you have kids, since you never know when you might be interrupted. “When you don't have a ton of time, a quickie becomes an art form.” If you have kids, here's how to have amazing sex after parenthood.
But it will also be more efficient
The fast and furious approach isn't without its benefits. “The better reason that it will get quicker is that over the years you will understand one another very well and both of you will know the 'combination' to unlock pleasure in the other,” Elkerson says. In other words, you'll both be pros at getting the job done.
You'll schedule it
It might not sound that romantic to set aside time to have sex, but bear with us.
“When married couples begin to develop a rhythm around work and home life, they also develop a rhythm around married sex,” says Weena Cullins, a licensed marriage and family therapist and relationship expert.
“When partners are dating and not living together it's realistic to make love whenever they get a chance to see each other, especially if those opportunities are few and far between.
However, when a couple lives together, they may have more physical access to each other, but still feel limited by the demands of their work schedules and other commitments, she explains. In that sense, the scheduling approach is pretty great because it affirms that you both care about having sex and that you'll have enough time to do it.
It will feel more comfortable
Yup, you read that right. “The longer you know one another, the better you know what to do to give your spouse pleasure, ” Elkerson notes. “The pleasure is more intense because there are less uncertain moments. You know one another very well and feel comfortable, and relaxation translates into being able to orgasm more easily.”
She also says that having a higher level of familiarity can make it easier to experiment, which helps keep things interesting and passionate.
You'll be more careful about when and where
“In the dating phase it's not uncommon for passions to run so deep that couples are pretty carefree about where and how they have sex,” says Cullins.
“Ripping clothes off in the heat of passion or even soiling sheets isn't a big deal as long as the sexual connection is made.
My clients report sheepishly report that they think to put a sheet over the couch or bed or carefully remove their clothing before making love, citing that while they truly want to engage in the act they also want to preserve their nice things!”
But you'll probably be more risky in other ways
Precautionary items that were once a complete necessity, condoms, are reasonably ly to make an exit from your sex life. The same goes for other methods of birth control and protection, since “fear of pregnancy or STI may be lowered,” says Eric Marlowe Garrison, a sex counselor, author, and instructor for Masculinity Studies a William & Mary college.
You'll probably feel more in love, less in lust
Sometimes being with your spouse for a long time can result in feelings of strong sexual attraction morphing into a much deeper, more emotionally-charged type of love that's less focused and dependent on sex. “This is safe and healthy, but the 'exhilaration' of sexual attraction and lust decreases,” says Lisa Bahar, a licensed marriage and family therapist based in California.
You may experiment less
But it definitely doesn't have to be that way.
“Sexual experimentation can drop off as couples adopt the persona of 'your average, happily married couple,' not realizing that happily married couples do swing, do have sex toys, do experiment with BDSM, and do watch porn!” Garrison explains. So while the tendency to be adventurous in your sex life often diminishes as your relationship goes on, you can certainly make an effort to spice things up to avoid getting bored.
You don't need romantic flourishes anymore
Maybe your courtship was filled with rose-petal-covered beds and sensual bubble baths, but those gestures tend to fall away as your partnership develops. “Couples grow secure with one another and complacent and no longer feel the need to put effort into wooing their partner,” says Rhonda Milrad, LCSW, relationship therapist and founder of online relationship community Relationup.
While it's certainly not necessary to do these things every time you head to the bedroom (see: the virtues of the quickie mentioned earlier), it can make things more exciting to consciously up the romance factor every now and then.
Your sex takes on a new meaning
Before, sex was just about fun, but now, married sex could be more about getting pregnant. For some couples, getting pregnant is a piece of cake, but for others, careful planning is necessary in order to achieve the desired goal.
“When couples find out that they have to be intimate during a woman's ovulation window—which could be as small as a few hours every month—it can cause feelings of pressure, anxiety, frustration, and sometimes resentment,” Cullings says.
Sometimes the pressure can cause performance anxiety, but the goal of conception can also make sex even more meaningful.
It will probably be less frequent
“It might have been hot and heavy at the beginning, but if you've been married a while, it's not uncommon for the sex to be less frequent,” says Elkerson. “This doesn't mean anyone is unfaithful or less attracted, it's just a symptom of life happening to you and your relationship.” Basically, it's just par for the course.
Or it might be more frequent
This is mainly true for couples who lived apart or in different cities before marriage, says Garrison. The novelty of being able to have sex whenever you want can make for super frequent romps for the newly-cohabitating.
It might be boring sometimes
You know which positions work well for you, what turns your spouse on, and how to get the job done the back of your hand. But sometimes, doing the same thing over and over again can get a little monotonous. “You're not necessarily less in love or less attracted,” Elkerson says.
Sometimes, people just get lazy after being together for a long time. “If you find married sex becoming less interesting than it once was, try something new with a good dose of enthusiasm,” she suggests. “You'll surprise your spouse and perhaps inspire them to try something new themselves.
You'll get straight to the point
“There is less foreplay after marriage,” says Milrad. Mainly, this is because the goal is to orgasm and finish. “This often occurs because when you are in the dating phase, you are trying to win and keep your partner's interest, and the insecurity you feel in the relationship keeps you motivated to put effort and attention into lovemaking,” she says.
As mentioned earlier, though, there's no reason it has to be this way. If you're not loving the super-quick nature of your time between the sheets, all you have to do is make an effort to focus a little more on foreplay and romance.
You'll have ups and downs
While things are ly to settle down in the category of married sex, it's also highly probable that there will be times when you have more sex than you did before. “Sex will change all the time because you have a whole lifetime to live together,” Elkerson says.
“If you're in one phase, be patient; another phase is coming. If you stay open to having sex instead of waiting to be 'in the mood,' give it an enthusiastic effort, and try to have fun, you can have a fulfilling sex life for many, many years to come.
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Do Married People Really Have Less Sex?
Source: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock
We've all heard jokes about the frequency—or infrequency—of married sex. Are these jokes a kernel of truth? Do married people really have less sex? If so, why? And if you are married, what can you do to sustain a long-term, satisfying sex life?
Do passionate relationships become fundamentally different when you get married? In some ways, our relationships change, but many differences between married and unmarried couples are advantageous for spouses. For example, married individuals report stronger relationship satisfaction than cohabitating counterparts.
And although sexual frequency is usually positively associated with relationship satisfaction, cohabitating couples report more sex but less relationship satisfaction than married pairs (Yabiku & Gager, 2009). Further, married couples are more committed to one another than cohabitating pairs.
While cohabitating couples are ly to end a relationship if they are dissatisfied with their sex lives (Yabiku & Gager, 2009), married couples are more ly to stay together even when they are not having as much sex as they would .
It is important to recognize that some individuals—especially women—who are dissatisfied with their sex lives actually desire less sex in their relationships rather than more (Smith et al., 2011).
Some of the decline in marital sex may be due to a sense of a loss of novelty or habituation to your partner (Call et al. 1995; Rao & Demaris, 1995; Yabiku & Gager, 2009).
You may not be bored with your partner; it may instead be that married individuals might not perceive the need to have sex as often. Cohabitating couples initiate sex more frequently and may also expect sex more frequently (Byers & Heinlein, 1989; Call et al. 1995).
Once the frequency of sex declines, a couple may grow used to that decreased level of sexual activity (Call et al., 1995). Interestingly, people who remarry actually report having more sex than counterparts who are in their first marriages (Call et al., 1995).
This increase in sex found in remarriages may be due to the novelty of a new sex partner or it may be that people have simply left unhappy marriages for happier (and sexier) relationships.
“Some people say, 'You know, sexually, it’s more exciting when you’re single.’ I don’t know about that. You ever try to have sex with two little kids in the same house?” –Jeff Foxworthy
If you have children, you will immediately understand Foxworthy’s statement. Married individuals are more ly than cohabitating counterparts to have children, and those children can definitely interfere with plans for a passionate evening.
Further, due to the demands of child care, individuals with children may experience increased fatigue and therefore decreased interest in sex (Rao & Demaris, 1995; Yabiku & Gager, 2009).
Yabiku and Gager suggest that married individuals spend less time having sex because they devote more time to other activities, including child care. (That’s one way to put it.
Another was eloquently phrased by my friend Matt, who recently said to his wife, “Not tonight, honey. I’m so tired that I’m just going to go to sleep and hope that I dream about having sex with you.”)
“Honey, they don’t call it a job for nothin’.” –Samantha, Sex and the City
Similar to the demands of children, the demands of a career may also interfere with sexual desire. Cheung et al. (2008) found that Chinese women who work full time reported less frequent sex.
However, other researchers have found that both men and women who work more also report having sex more frequently (Gager & Yabiku, 2010)—and some have found no relationship between work and the frequency of intercourse (Call et al., 1995).
“Gay people got a right to be as miserable as everybody else.” –Chris Rock
Because the frequency of sex often depends on the desires of both partners, and because men report more frequent sexual urges than women, gay men do report having sex most frequently among types of couples, followed by heterosexual couples and then lesbian couples (Peplau, 2003). We await future research to see if sexual frequency declines in same-sex marriages in the way it seems to in opposite-sex marriages.
“What’s a man’s definition of safe sex? When his wife’s town.” –Comedy Central
While this joke refers to married couples, cohabitating individuals may report engaging in more sex than married peers because they are more ly to cheat on their lovers (Yabiku & Gager, 2009). (Gay men report more sex with individuals other than their primary partner than do heterosexuals and lesbians (Conley et al., 2013).)
“I've been married so long I'm on my third bottle of Tabasco sauce.” –Susan Vass
The two factors that appear to most strongly influence sexual frequency are age and marital duration (Rao & Demaris, 1995).
Married couples tend to be older than cohabitating peers—and with age come changes in hormone levels and an increased lihood of illness or sexual dysfunction (Cheung et al., 2008; Yabiku & Gager, 2009). Further, marriages tend to last longer than cohabitating relationships.
Future research will be necessary to determine whether coital frequency declines in longer cohabitating relationships as well (Call et al., 1995).
So What’s a Married Couple to Do?
We will all age, regardless of our relationship status, and many of us hope for relationships that last well beyond the “honeymoon period.” To sustain a satisfying sex life we need to focus on the factors we can control:
- If you have children, set aside some kid-free time for you and your spouse. Hire a sitter on a regular basis, or take a long lunch break.
- Your marriage is important. If you need to, schedule time for intimacy just as you would schedule time for an important task at work.
- Talk with your spouse about his or her sexual desires. Make sure you are on the same page with respect to the desired frequency of sex as well as the types of sexual behaviors you desire.
- Although you may not be able to make your spouse “novel,” you can add novelty to your usual sexual script. Try varying the location of your trysts, consider wearing something different, applying a novel scent, listening to romantic music, etc. If you have the means, visit an exotic destination.
- Work on your marital satisfaction. More satisfied couples share more sexual intimacy (Call et al., 1995). Take some time to decide what you can do for your relationship to make you happier as a couple. Recent research shows that positive non-sexual behaviors saying “I love you” or complimenting your spouse can lead to an increase in sex, as well as an increase in romantic satisfaction (Schoenfeld et al., 2016).
- Stop ruminating about the frequency of sex. Research shows that the quality of marital sex has a stronger impact on relationship satisfaction than the quantity (Schoenfeld et al., 2016).
- Keep your sense of humor. My favorite joke about married sex, which inspired this piece, comes from my friend Katie. I happened to run into her at the grocery store and we talked together for a while. She stopped in the “family planning” aisle to buy some condoms for herself and her husband. While looking at the different options she picked one up and quipped, “These must be the condoms for married me—very few in the package and they don’t expire for a looonnnggg time.”
Portions of this post were taken from The Social Psychology of Attraction and Romantic Relationships. Copyright 2015 Madeleine A. Fugère.
Why Sex Decreases After Marriage and How to Increase It
Not all couples experience an exponential drop in their sex lives post marriage—or so I hear. I'm still waiting to meet the couples that continue vigorous and enjoyable sex lives consistently throughout their marriage—affairs don't count!
Lack of Sex Causes Feelings of Betrayal
For the partner that feels betrayed and the one who feels underwhelmed about the loss of sexual encounters within their marriage, it really is normal, not great, but normal. Ups and downs are part of life, especially your sex life. Sex is a symptom, not the main issue—rarely do couples report all aspects of their marriage being great with the only exception being sex.
Women can be known to put sex on the back burner, but usually because we have all burners going at once, typically thinking about 20 things simultaneously and sex gets shuffled around in the mix.
Kids get sick, work priorities come up again, an argument with your spouse and before you know it, sex just jumped several items down on that list of priorities- maybe it leaped off the list altogether. Men can be guilty of pushing sex aside too.
Some people even think marriage itself is the culprit for the lack of sex. If you are puzzled by what decreases the sex life between couples, here's a few hints and a few helpful tips.
Keep in mind that a decent sex life takes work, there is no quick fix. Just having good health and a good body takes effort in the way of proper diet and exercise.
Children have a huge impact on a couple's sex life. I remember a repetitive conversation/argument my husband and I had during the many ensuing months after our daughter was born. Our dialogue would go as follows:
Husband: “So, am I going to get some (sex) tonight”?
Wife/Me: “Well if that line alone doesn't get me in the sack, what will (heavy sarcasm)? Certainly not a massage, foot rub, you cooking dinner, or you putting the baby to sleep…”
Husband: “OK, I get the point.”
Wife/Me: “I can't believe you have time to think about sex when all I can think about is the luxury of taking a shower or eating lunch one of these days.”
The wife is left feeling resentful and the man feels inadequate because he isn't getting a fair slice of the precious time his wife spends on the baby.
Men and women change after having a baby, therefore, the relationship changes, and all too often the man wants the woman to resume her pre-baby self far too soon. Realistically, and obviously, women take longer than men to resume their pre-baby self.
The problem arises when the man expects too much too soon. The woman is taking care of a new being and someone (husband/partner) should be taking care of her or at least helping her take care of herself.
While men feel the pressure of fatherhood, a woman is going through much more, physically and emotionally. She is learning how to re-balance her life, and men need to be patient because, believe it not, the woman usually puts herself and her needs further down on the list than the needs of her partner. So, if you're feeling neglected, think how she must feel.
Here's another secret I'll let the men/fathers in on. Make it easy for your wife to be with you. Don't be another stressor or remind her how long it's been since you've had sex. Insist that your wife has time for herself sans baby or children.
Take it upon yourself to schedule the babysitter. Women get consumed, even obsessive, with their role as a mother and if she doesn't get to be by herself for decent periods of time, she will forget the (pre-children) woman inside her- leaving that identity for the role of supermom.
Insist on her getting time for herself and time with you, without the kids.
Women have a bottomless reserve of giving, and giving, for their children- it's an instinct. A man will say he is tired and simply be done with his day. But a woman will keep on giving to her children, past the point of exhaustion.
She may not have anything left, but somehow if her children need more or are sick, she digs deep down in her bottomless reserve and gives more. Problems can occur when the husband wonders why she can't find it within her to give more (ie.
sex) to him- why will she not go above and beyond for his needs? That's not a fair question for men to ask. No competition- sorry guys.
If husbands are expecting their wives to easily shut off their mother role once the kids are asleep, he'll be dissappointed. Give her time, on a weekend or during the day sometime, to shut off the mother role- when she is not exhausted already.
And don't expect to get sex the first week or so of giving her more outings by herself- be patient and show her this is genuinely time she deserves, no strings attached.
Even if you're hoping for some sexual favors sometime down the road, you should still be sincere about helping her detach from the kids a little.
Encourage each other to have a life and hobbies outside of the kids. If the kids are your life, your sex life will suffer- of course when you're done procreating/adding to your family, that is.
Aren't we all guilty of accusing our spouses for changing after we marry them? Sometimes it seems they change so much, we lose some of the initial attraction we felt for them.
Or maybe we changed so much that our attractions varied as well.
Somewhere during the dating process we were attracted to the other person and no matter what advice follows this, it really is necessary to date your spouse and have hobbies aside from each other to discuss when you're out on a “date”.
The way a woman views her man is crucial to her sexual feelings toward him. A woman feels most attracted to a strong, not necessarily physical, but supportive man- even if a woman is strong and independent, she still wants to know her man represents a safe place to fall.
Women have an ideal in their head, from the time they were little girls, about the man they will marry.
While it's important for women to give up their man in the fairytale, it's also important for men to know what makes their wife attracted to them most and up their game, so to speak, in that category. If she is attracted to your child- boyishness, find places to go where you can play.
It's complicated in the way that love is unconditional, but realistically, attraction is conditional. We can't give up or let ourselves go o sit around watching TV, and expect our spouses to be attracted to us.
There is nothing in the marriage vows about being eternally attracted to your spouse- sad but true.
The good news is your spouse was probably attracted to you for several reasons initially so maintain a few of those attractive features and traits to keep your spouse dazzled by you.
Men seem to complain a lot about their wife's body changing after marriage, usually gaining weight. If you pressure her or concentrate on this aspect too much, then she will withdraw further away from the bedroom, and consequently your chances of sex diminish. Women are very mental/psychological creatures, especially concerning sex.
They realize when they've gained weight and it effects them mentally. The best thing to do is be an example- stop eating junk around her or focusing activities around eating. Women want to feel close to their husbands so they will partake in activities or even bad habits, late-night snacking- just to spend time with you.
If she gets her connection by eating with you, then she won't need to engage in other connections, such as sex.
“Couples think, If I'm not getting what I want, then you don't matter”
— Tony Robbins
We have to do things we hate for the other person's sake and give up the competition, while working on becoming a team.
There may come a time when your partner says I want less sex or more sex. You would to acknowledge your partner's needs, but they aren't compatible with your needs or maybe you feel you can't give more sex unless you get some of your other, non-sexual needs met.
Typically, one person in the relationship has emotional, spiritual, and psychological needs that must be met before they welcome the idea of sex. If those needs are not met, sex decreases or becomes dissatisfying for that person. But how does each partner get their needs met when one is not willing to give unless given to? Does it become a stand-off?
First, the needs should be communicated in the most respectful way with your partner- no attacking or blaming.
Then, work on a give and take program- you ask for a date night or a massage (whatever you deserve or helps you feel connected) from your partner and you will give him a favor in return.
I have to say this works to get things going again and proves to one another that giving and taking is possible. You may need to flip a coin to determine who starts the giving. Score-keeping this isn't a long-term solution, but it works during the lulls and low points.
Sometimes we expect marriage and our spouse to fulfill all our needs, after all, they did in the beginning. A new relationship seems to fulfill everything on your list; you don't need to eat, sleep, or love anything else. You are perfectly full and complete. This is unrealistic in marriage though.
We need to consistently evaluate who and what can fulfill our needs- it's not all our spouse's responsibility. Some of our needs can be met from our friends, relatives and ourselves.
You may be focusing on having more sex in your relationship, but some of that need may be derived from a lack of self-worth or emotional intimacy.
Lack of sex is a symptom of a deeper problem. Something else is going on and has been for a while.
Since women are mental/emotional creatures, it's usually a woman who holds resentment or anger about something in the past. This is a mental road block a woman must overcome to get physical again.
As a man, you can either talk it out with her (don't have a “get over it” attitude) or you can get help from a counselor together.
It's obvious as a nation, we don't effort. We want to work less and have more, eat more and weigh more, etc. Add one more to that list; It takes effort to have a sex life with your spouse, and even more effort to have a good one. I'm not suggesting doing it begrudgingly, but making time for it to happen adding a little spice.
Couples are surprised at the effort involved to just get away from their routine to have sex or quality time that might lead to sex. Sex doesn't just happen when married. There are several ways to satisfy a man and a woman, but it takes effort to discover these things- uprooting the usual routine to discover long-term bedroom bliss.
Men, if you put out effort, your wife may put out too. Don't take anything for granted. Since spontaneity and lust are pre-marital luxuries, romance is the replacement now that you're married.
What is your wife's definition of romance? In addition, pour on the romance occasionally without even attempting to get her in bed.
This will demonstrate you have no ulterior motives for being romantic- it's a deed done for the favor bank.
Women's effort should begin with herself- make the effort to feel good about yourself or attractive, whatever that takes for you. For me, that's reading or watching a romantic or sexy book or movie. A little fantasizing does a woman's brain wonders.
Now that I am a stay-at-home mom I can't justify spending much money on my wardrobe, but once a month I buy a new outfit or some item of clothing that makes me feel good, and wear it, maybe even on date night with my husband.
Also, exercise gets your blood flowing to all you areas even if your goal isn't losing weight, it releases feel-good hormones, which help in other areas of you life (ie. sex life). The practice of doing something for yourself makes you more willing to do something for someone else.
Yes, I know it's easier said than done and that's why we call it effort.
There are biological reasons that lead to a diminishing sex life. Many occur after child birth and in the 50+ age group for men and women. For example, heart and cardiovascular problems can cause impotency in men.
After child birth and during menopause, women's hormones can fluctuate extensively, causing a physical and mental decreased appetite for sex.
A doctor's evaluation and blood tests can uncover the reason for a loss of sex drive.
- Focus on making the relationship better in general; communicate more, view each other as partners, share interests and activities together, go through hardships together.
- Masturbate together.
- Read or watch something naughty.
- Don't overthink about sex. Let it happen if it happens…it's perfectly natural.
- Take an adventure—do something completely your comfort zone together. This is the first thing Tony Robbins uses for couples he counsels.
- For women who can't find the inspiration to have sex with their husbands, here is one incentive: after you have sex with him is when he is feeling closest to you and open to conversation about things you may want to discuss while he's in a really good mood. If you have sex before bed, though, he will probably be fast asleep so pick a good time not right before bed.
- Kiss more.
- See a romantic or steamy movie together.
- Go to one of your favorite date places (or activities) before you got married.
- Talk dirty (over the phone, text, or email is good).
- Touch each other more.
- Try a new activity or challenge with your spouse—you may see them in a new light.
- Make a short list together about the top things that turn you onto the other person and keep that list handy to refer to later.
Busted! Inside The Biggest Myth About Marriage
In the newly-released movie “American Reunion,” the latest installment of the “American Pie” series, one of the major plotlines revolves around Alyson Hannigan’s character, Michelle, who has transformed over the past decade from a sexually adventurous coed — remember that “one time at band camp”? — into an overworked mom who’s too exhausted to sleep with her husband, former pie-humper Jim, played by Jason Biggs.
The film is just the latest illustration of the by-now-clichéd scenario: man and woman get married, man and woman start losing interest in getting busy every night and, soon enough, man and woman’s formerly hot sex life is as lively as a deflated balloon.
While there is some truth to the cliché — and the seemingly endless wisecracks born it — it doesn't tell the whole story. What's more, it trivializes the very real stresses that couples may experience as their sex lives ebb. So what's really going on? Well, everything, it's complicated.
To look at the statistics about marriage and sex, you wouldn’t even know that there was an issue to begin with.
“Studies have found that married people have more sex than single people, and they also have more varied sex,” says sexual health expert and best-selling author Dr.
Laura Berman, who hosts “In The Bedroom with Dr. Laura Berman” on OWN. ”Oral sex is also more common among married people.”
One of the most comprehensive studies on the subject, which was released in 2010 by the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University, confirmed this, compiling statistics on sexual attitudes and habits of 5,865 people between ages 14 and 94.
An average of 61 percent of singles reported that they hadn’t had sex within the past year, compared with 18 percent of married people.
Looking specifically at those between the ages of 25 and 59, 25 percent of married people reported that they were still having sex two to three times per week versus less than five percent of singles.
Yet, while Indiana University’s data is often cited as evidence that married sex can be hot – way hotter than single, anonymous, no-strings-attached sex, thankyouverymuch — it doesn’t really reflect the shift that individual married couples notice in their sex lives as the years pass, nor the anxiety that this change can trigger.
Unfortunately, there isn’t conclusive statistical data comparing the frequency of couples’ sex while they’re dating to the frequency of their sex as a married couple. However, it doesn’t take a scientist to understand that, as time passes, their sex lives will take a hit.
It’s human nature to crave novelty, as great thinkers as far back as Pliny the Elder have noted — it’s what makes new couples want to rip the buttons off each others’ shirts and engage in lingerie-sparked romps until the wee hours of the morning.
But eventually, having access to the same naked body night after night is bound to erode its novelty. “Tonight’s the night” becomes “not tonight” — after all, there’s always tomorrow (and the next night… and the next night… and… okay, you get it).
If your relationship started off hotter, heavier and sweatier than a Florida summer, this sexual shift can be disheartening — even a little scary — as you start comparing your married sex life to the one you had early on in your relationship (or to the assumed steamy sex lives of your fellow wedded friends).
This is where the complications about married sex begin: When you start worrying about not having sex — and what that might mean about you, your spouse and your spouse’s attraction toward you.
Sure, plenty of relationship advice books declare that anyone can reignite the spark in their marriage, with a whole spectrum of tips from recreating the courtship mood through role-play to scheduling mandatory date nights. However, it’s impossible to replicate the passionate, falling-crazy-in-love phase of a relationship.
What most of these books won’t tell you is that that’s okay.
So what if some nights you’d prefer binging on Chinese food and watching “The Biggest Loser” to ripping off each other’s clothes? Isn’t that what marriage is about — being forever bound to someone who will love you even when the chow mein you just inhaled saddled you with a massive food baby?
While a couple’s sluggish sex life can create dramatic tension for a movie plotline, in real life the pressure that couples put on themselves to reenact the early days of their love affair can cause more issues than their lack of sex.
“A big problem in marriage is that one or both people start thinking something is wrong with them because they're not having sex as much as they think they should. When you start comparing your sex life to what you think it ‘should be’ and conclude that you fall short — well, that’s a problem,” says psychologist Harriet Lerner, Ph.D., author of “Marriage Rules.
” “Often, lack of sex doesn't mean anything else is wrong in your relationship. Sexuality is vulnerable and often has a life of its own apart from how your marriage is doing.
” (Lerner’s perspective is particularly timely as Lifetime debuts its new show, “7 Days of Sex,” later this month, in which real-life couples are challenged to have sex for one week straight with the hope of “saving their marriage.”)
This is not to say that couples should resign themselves to sexless unions. The foolproof solution for couples wanting to have more sex is simple: have more sex. Experts agree that the more you do it, the more you want to do it, which is far more encouraging than the oft-quoted axiom, “if you don’t use it, you lose it.
” Lerner even suggests that couples go about getting it on even when they’re not in the mood. “If you wait to have sex until one or both of you genuinely feel desire, you'll wait too long,” she says. “In marriage there is often at least one person in the couple who won't feel a natural desire to initiate sex.
Push yourself to get started even if you're just doing it for your partner's pleasure.”
As sterile as this advice might sound, the just-as-unsexy truth is, “For all the safety and security that marriage can bring it’s not easy to have ‘good sex’ with the person you live with year in and year out,” Lerner says.
Adds Berman: “You can’t expect wild sex to happen on a regular Tuesday night unless you put it in a little effort. If you want more romance, then be more romantic. If you want more sex, then initiate sex more often.” Basically, put down the take-out, turn off the TV and bring sexy back already.
Yet, while the experts’ solution to having more sex is straightforward, how individual married couples relate to their lives can remain emotionally complex.
In marriage, spouses exclusively give sexual pleasure to each other, therefore whether or not they have it can be closely connected to how they think they measure up as partners.
It doesn’t help that sexual desire can be a tricky fire to ignite, as it often requires harmony from heart, head and, well, loins.
At the very least, couples can try to stop engaging in the most libido-crushing activity of all, which would be to dwell on — and beat themselves up over — all the sex that they’re not having. Leave that to the single people.
See what real people have to say about marriage and sex. HuffPost Weddings asked its followers if marriage equals the end of sex — click through the slideshow below to see readers' responses.