Many married couples usually discover that they no longer have sex as much as they used to do in the early days of their marriage, especially before they started having children.
Couples are known to reminisce about the spontaneity of sex in those early days, compared to latter years when sex feels more like a duty and, sometimes, boring as couples can’t wait to get done in minutes.
Yet, psychologists say age, energy level and other factors impact the amount of sex married couples or those in a long-term relationship are having.
According to a psychologist at Peaches and Screams, Barbara Santini, “The frequency of sex can decrease as couples age and their energy levels diminish.”
intimate moments outside of the bedroom do not have to diminish, even after being married for 30 years or more
“Work, children, and other obligations can also create stress and diminish the time couples have to spend with each other,” Santini added.
The drop off in frequency of sex as couples age may also, in part, be explained by the menopause, which occurs around 51 years and can be associated with the physical discomfort that makes sex difficult and a lower libido.
In a poll of Gransnet and Mumsnet users, almost a third (32%) of women over 60 said they had lost their libido since the menopause. But older men can also be impacted by a lower sex drive, too.
“Libido tends to decrease, for both men and women, with age,” explains Dr Peter Stahl, SVP of Men’s Sexual Health and Urology at Hims & Hers. “It’s normal for testosterone production to slowly decline as you get older, particularly after you reach 40.
women over 60 said they had lost their libido since the menopause. But older men can also be impacted by a lower sex drive
“For men, there are many causes of a lowered sex drive including low testosterone, depression, stress, chronic health issues and excessive drug and alcohol consumption.”
Indeed, experts say whether you’re having less (or more!) sex than you’d like, it is important to remember that quality over quantity is key.
While there’s no universal rule about how much sex you should be having, Santini says it is essential to communicate openly with your partner about your sexual needs and desires to ensure that both parties feel satisfied and fulfilled.
Rather than viewing intimacy as an expectation or obligation, couples should strive to make it an opportunity for connection and pleasure
“Rather than viewing intimacy as an expectation or obligation, couples should strive to make it an opportunity for connection and pleasure. By making time for spontaneity and exploration, couples can keep their sex lives exciting and fulfilling, strengthening the emotional bond between them.
“Ultimately, the right frequency of sex is one that feels satisfying and enjoyable for both partners,” she adds.
It’s also worth noting that the frequency of sexual activity in a marriage does not define intimacy.
“There are many other ways couples can express love and commitment to each other without having sex as often as they did before marriage,” Santini explains.
“Understanding what type of physical and emotional connection works best for you and your partner can help establish a long-lasting and thriving relationship.
“Some couples might find that engaging in activities outside the bedroom strengthens their bond, while others may opt for more traditional forms of physical intimacy, like holding hands, hugging, or sharing a kiss.”
By making time for spontaneity and exploration, couples can keep their sex lives exciting and fulfilling
It boils down to the fact that being open and honest with one another is key.
“Communication is an integral part of building and strengthening any relationship, especially within a marriage,” Santinie explains.
“Couples need to work together continually to understand each other’s needs and expectations better, no matter what stage of life they are in.
“Ultimately, it’s up to each spouse to decide whether or not having regular sex is essential. What’s important is that intimate moments outside of the bedroom do not have to diminish, even after being married for 30 years or more.
Ultimately, the right frequency of sex is one that feels satisfying and enjoyable for both partners
“Couples can continue to find new and creative ways to connect and express their love, making their marriage even stronger and more fulfilling over time.”