How Often Should Couples Have Sex? Having Less Sex Actually Improved My Sex Life

Suzannah Weiss/Bustle
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Based on all the advice on the internet, you'd think everyone were looking to have more sex. We're taught everything from what foods will increase our sex drives to how to get our partners in the mood. But what if having LESS sex could actually be the fix your sex life needed? That's how it was for me.

When my partner and I first started dating, we'd have sex every day. Then, when that frequency started to decline, I assumed that meant our passion was dying. So, I forced myself to keep doing it every day, thinking it was good for our relationship. But after a while, I realized the sex I was having when I forced myself was not as good. So, I cut back to a few times a week — and sex became great again.

"We all have a tendency to get caught up in 'keeping up with the Joneses' syndrome when it comes to sex," sex therapist Vanessa Marin tells Bustle. "Everyone feels like they're not having enough sex, and there's definitely a sense that the more sex you have the better. But that's just not true! Pushing yourself to have sex when you don't want to is only going to decrease your libido and make you feel resentful of yourself and your partner. Focusing on quality over quantity is going to make you much happier — and the sex you'll have will be way better too."

Despite the myth that more is better when it comes to sex, one University of Toronto Mississauga study found that couples who have sex once a week or more are happiest — but after you reach that once a week mark, having more sex doesn't increase your happiness. Besides, the real frequency with which you should have sex is the frequency with which you want to have sex. Here's why having less sex was actually the best thing for my sex life.

1Now, When I Have Sex, I Really Want It

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As it turns out, sex isn't so great when you're not really in the mood. It's like the difference between eating food because you like it and it's there and eating because you're hungry. Things are just more enjoyable when your body's craving them.

2And When I Really Want It, I Orgasm More Easily

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One of the first signs I noticed that I was having more sex than I wanted was that I was taking longer than usual to orgasm. The more turned on you are, the easier it'll be. And while orgasm isn't the most important part of sex, it is an indicator of how much I'm enjoying myself.

3I Feel Empowered To Set My Own Rhythm

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When we have sex based on what we think our partners want or what we think is best for our relationship, we don't give ourselves the chance to learn how much we really crave it. There's a lot of talk about empowering women to go after what they want in bed, but how can we do that if we don't know what we want?

4I'm More In Touch With My Body

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Figuring out how much you want to have sex is great practice for getting in touch with all your desires. Things like what I want to eat, when I need to sleep, and how I want to spend my time are clearer to me because I'm learning how to listen to my body.

5I'm Not Resentful

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When you have more sex than you want for the sake of your partner or relationship, you may come to resent them for taking up time you could spend doing something you actually want to do. You might even feel used. Only having sex when you truly desire it keeps your boundaries firmly in place.

Of course, there are plenty of reasons to have lots of sex. But you'll only see those benefits if you actually want it. Convincing yourself to do anything you don't really want can wear you out and zap your enjoyment, so only say "yes" when you truly mean "yes" — not just "OK."