While sex is an important part of a romantic relationship, you may wonder how much sex the average couple has. But is there such a thing as "too much" sex? I know: Is that really possible?! Only you and your partner really know. For instance, you two may have sex every day and think it's an average amount, not too much. However, maybe one of you thinks it's too much and the other does not. In one of your previous relationships, sex may have been in the forefront of everything, akin to breakfast, lunch, and dinner — you and your partner would fit it into your day multiple times a day, even meeting for a quick "lunch" sometimes, too. Some people may have thought it was "too much," but you two didn't. On the other hand, perhaps you know a couple who has sex two to three times per week and they think that's "too much." But when you talk to a married-with-kids friend, she tells you that sex more than once a month is a lot for them.
"Healthy sexual expression exists on a wide continuum," Dr. Rachel Needle, licensed psychologist and Certified Sex Therapist in West Palm Beach, FL, and the Co-Director of Modern Sex Therapy Institutes, tells Bustle. "Every individual is different in what and how much of it they enjoy. Statistics on how often individuals have sex vary based on factors such as age, length of time in a relationship, and definition of 'sex.' However, this doesn't mean that there is anything wrong with or pathological about individuals or couples who have sex less or more often than averages." After all, even if you do ask a friend how often they and their significant other have sex, they may be in a completely different place than you and your partner — just like Dr. Needle says. Maybe they just started dating and cannot keep their hands off of each other, and also can't keep their clothes on. One person's "too much" sex may be another's "not enough" sex. And, chances are, you can think back to relationships where sex played a bigger or smaller part than it does in your current one.
The Factors That Effect Sexual Frequency
Factors and circumstances, too, play a part in one's sex life. "Sexual frequency can depend on factors such as — but not limited to — desire, schedule, opportunity, anxiety, and attachment," Dr. Needle says. "It can also vary throughout relationships and over the course of your lifetime." For instance, maybe you are in a long-distance relationship, so you are on a pendulum between "not enough" and "too much" sex. Or if your partner is an accountant, perhaps your sex life wanes the closer it gets to tax time when they're working overtime. Point being, outside circumstances can help define what "too much" (or "too little") is at any given time.
Here's When "Too Much Sex" Can Be A Problem
I know you still may be thinking there's no such thing as too much sex, but when it interferes with your life in an unproductive way, you may need to think twice. "Sex, like most other behaviors, can become problematic, but that doesn't necessarily have to do with frequency," Dr. Needle says. "Meaning, there are people who have an unhealthy relationship with sex. If you find yourself preoccupied with thoughts of sex, think that sex is interfering with your life, responsibilities, or relationships, or if you are experiencing shame or guilt or any other negative impact as a result of sex, then it might be beneficial to seek out a mental health professional who specializes in sexuality or a Certified Sex Therapist."
Watch For Physical Warning Signs, Like Vaginal Pain
This may go without saying, but if you're suffering from vaginal or pelvic pain, it could be a result of too much sex. You may have a bruised cervix and may need to take it easy for a while — or have different types of sex, such as something less penetrative, aka oral sex. "Some people might experience physical discomfort from a lot of sex in a short period of time," Dr. Needle says. "For example, for females, it is possible to have less lubrication after prolonged sexual contact or penetration, which can lead to pain and irritation for themselves and their partner. If this happens, don't be discouraged, but pay attention to your body and slow down or switch sexual activities if you are sore or in pain."
Instead Of "Too Much," Consider "Just Right"
If "too much" is too much for you, say something to your partner. "Sexual satisfaction contributes to overall quality of life," Dr. Needle says. "Having a lot of healthy sex can be a fantastic thing! Sex is good for you! Sex can: contribute to good cardiovascular health, boost immunity, relieve tension and stress, improve sleep, lower rates of depression and anxiety, and relieve pain. If the amount of sex an individual is having is not getting in the way of their life or responsibilities, causing psychological or physical problems, discomfort, or distress for themselves or anyone else, then be safe, have fun, and enjoy having a lot of pleasurable sex." Of course, only you and your partner know how much sex you both want and need for a fulfilling physical relationship, so communication, like always, is key.