As much as I adore sex, I don’t think aiming for a nightly bout is the healthiest or smartest of choices.
Last week I read a Huffington Post article called “5 Reasons You Should Have Sex With Your Husband Every Night.”** The author, Meg Conley, wrote the piece after realizing that she and her husband hadn’t had sex in a over a week, which was long for them, and makes some fantastic points. Routine sex helps women feel feminine, she asserts, provides enjoyment, enhances intimacy, relieves stress and allows a woman to treat her man like a man so he’ll act like one. As you might guess, I wasn’t hip on that last bit (which is section three in the article). As the last line summarizes, “talk about a small investment and big returns,” this makes sex seem like currency. And although Conley presents women as beautifully sexual creatures given ideal circumstances, I’d have preferred, “Let humans be humans.”
**Because the article I’m responding to focuses on straight married couples, this post will, too—but much of could apply to GLBT couples and singles, too. I’ve also decided to focus on daily, rather than nightly, sex; timing of sex is a whole different topic.
I don’t want to attack Conley’s piece, particularly since I find much of it sex-positive and empowering—we need more of that from and for women! I’m also grateful that her article made me think, which is what strong writing does. Today I’d simply like to share those thoughts.
The only reason to have sex every day, in my opinion, is because you and your partner want to. Sexual wants and needs vary among individuals and couples, regardless of gender—and many perceived gender differences in sexual desire derive from society and culture, not physiology. Women are more likely to put up emotional walls that bar sexual desire because of common myths, for example, such as sex is a guy thing and “dirty,” and feeling as though we don’t measure up to society’s harsh and unrealistic standards of sexiness. Addressing these obstacles and others, such as relationship rockiness and stress, frees us up to embrace and express our sexuality and desires as we see fit, whether that involves sex daily, weekly or less.
Prioritizing sex can help remind us that we’re sexual creatures when the world or life’s complexities has suggested otherwise and help keep the daily grind from leaving no time for, well, THE SCRUMPTIOUS GRIND! ;) But I also see benefits we might only gain by not having sex every day, anticipation being the biggie. Missing sex for a time and experiencing giddy, “I want you!” buildup can make sex even hotter—particularly if we allow ourselves to fantasize about it in the meantime. As women, it’s important to allow ourselves to want and think about sex as often as we’re inclined, and recognize that the notion that men naturally think about sex constantly while women seldom do is a damaging myth. On the whole, we’re just as sexual and equally, if not more, capable of sexual arousal and pleasure than men. (Remember, Masters of Sex is non-fiction! Thank goodness. :))
I’ve personally gone through relatively long periods of daily sex and stretches without. Sex daily can be AWESOME, but it also raises the risk of some amount of monotony. Sure, it’ll still bring pleasure, if we’re healthy and pursuing it for the right reasons—not simply to be a “good wife” or faking orgasms. But as recent research shows, women are more likely to tire of sexual monogamy than men; we tend to crave more excitement and change. So while I’m sure there are exceptions, if you decide to give daily sex a go, your guy may consistently dig it while you gradually grow somewhat bored or even resentful. Sort of like eating the same delicious food every day, you both may have to make serious efforts to spice things up. That’s not necessarily negative, of course, and could be fun, but if you’re the only one wanting more or different, you may have to drop some not-so-subtle hints…
I also find setting standards or rules about sex risky, regardless of the specifics. If we strive for daily sex, we could end up feeling pressured to have it simply because we’re “supposed to.” It also sets us up for perceived failure. For a couple who’s been having sex, say, once per month, nightly sex is a steep goal, and the loftier the goal, the more likely we are to fall short, give up and feel crummy. Also, suggesting that the woman, versus the couple, should aim for daily sex could cause her to feel pretty (or even more) inadequate and self-conscious, even if she doesn’t take the challenge on. I recommend taking gradual steps toward an improved sex life as a couple instead. The specifics depend on your current norm and what you both wish to strengthen or change.
There is no “normal” when it comes to sex frequency, just what works best for you as a couple.
Sex should evolve naturally for couples from emotional and physical intimacy and natural desires we best let flow. Rather than set aside time every day for sex, aim to connect with your partner on an intimate level—emotionally, physically or both—routinely, whether you have five or 50 available minutes to do so. Will sex happen? If you’re both healthy, communicative and comfortable with your sexuality, quite possibly! But not always, and that’s okay, too. There are countless ways to enjoy sensual intimacy without actually having intercourse. The more intimacy and sexual self-comfort we cultivate, the more and, most importantly, better sex we’re likely to have.
If you do set your sights on having more sex, keep in mind that many factors commonly tinker with libido, including:
- Poor body image and self-esteem (biggies for women)
- Medications, including birth control pills
- Sleep loss (huge for women and men)
- Hormonal shifts associated with menstruation, pregnancy and menopause
- Illnesses, such as depression and hypothyroidism
- Vaginal dryness and pain during sex
If you’re experiencing low libido, seek professional guidance. Most causes be remedied through medical treatment or lifestyle shifts, and simple awareness goes a long way. Unless you’re asexual, a lack of desire for sex isn’t natural and probably reflects an underlying cause.
Lastly, whether you desire sex once, twice, seven or many more times within a timeframe, please don’t criticize yourself over it. Doing so only perpetuates negativity in a world still lacking of sex-positivity, particularly for women. If you and your partner want to have sex every day, go for it! If not, that’s perfectly fine, too. Allowing ourselves flexibility and growing in-tune with our sexual needs and wants are far more important than how often we get down and
An insightful reader here recently commented: “I often feel sexual pressure, not because I physically have an enormous need for sex but because there’s a mentality that if you’re not having sex something’s wrong with you.” That should never be the case. Pop culture and the media often present female sexuality in over-the-top, porn-like ways, while women-depowering beliefs about our sexuality run rampant in daily life. I know men and women who’ve gone months or even years with very little, if any, sex due to reasons such as being single—and there’s nothing wrong with them. (I do recommend that you single gals masturbate, however, especially if you’re not into casual sex. Celebrating and staying connected with our sexuality is important.)
Owning and celebrating our sexuality means being as sexual we desire, which doesn’t merely—or even necessarily—mean having sex. Thinking about sex, talking about sex, recognizing its importance and naturalness and embracing our bodies and sensuality all count. I believe sexuality should be at least as prevalent in our spirits as what happens beneath the sheets. Assuming we take care of ourselves, that sexy, naked awesomeness appears as mind-blowing frosting.
How do you feel about the notion of aiming for daily (or nightly) sex? What other steps have you taken to enhance your love and sex life? I love hearing from you! ♥